Your “Go To” Place for Repairs & Parts for Outboard Motors
We help put the fun back into boating!
There are things you can do to keep your boat running well.
Don’t let this happen to your boat!
Doing the following will result in happier boating
and less money out of your pocket.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
Winterizing Your Boat
The best place for your boat to be during the winter is out of the water, under cover, in a climate-controlled boat storage area. This, however, can be expensive. If you don’t have this option perhaps you should consider shrink-wrapping your boat. This, too, is a little expensive but provides a very protective cover. Short of these two items, make sure that your boat is well covered with a tarp or some other sturdy cover.
Your first step in winterizing should be to make a checklist of all items that need to be accomplished. Check the owner’s manual of both your boat and motor for manufacturer’s recommendations on winterization. If you are a new boat owner, perhaps you should employ the assistance of a friend with experience in winterizing or hire a professional to do the job.
Here are some general procedures you’ll need to follow:
Flush engine with fresh water using flush muffs or similar device attached to the raw water pickup. Let all water drain from the engine. Wash engine down with soap and water and rinse thoroughly. Disconnect fuel hose and run engine until it stops. It is important to follow a step by step process to make sure that all fuel is drained from the carburetor to prevent build-up of deposits from evaporated fuel. Use fogging oil in the cylinders to lubricate the cylinder walls and pistons. Apply water resistant grease to propeller shaft and threads. Change the gear oil in the lower unit. Lightly lubricate the exterior of the engine or polish with a good wax.
Fill your fuel tank(s) to avoid a build up of condensation over the winter months. Add a fuel stabilizer by following the instructions on the product. Change the fuel filter(s) and water separator(s).
Make sure the bilges are clean and dry. Use soap, hot water and a stiff brush to clean up any oil spills. Once the bilges are clean, spray with a moisture displacing lubricant and add a little antifreeze to prevent any water from freezing.
Spring Start-Up Checklist
- Replace spark plugs
- Check plug wires for wear
- Check prop for nicks and bends
- Change/fill gear lube
- Inspect fuel lines, primer bulb and tank for leaks
- Lubricate and spray moveable parts
- Inspect rubber outdrive bellows for cracked, dried and/or deteriorated spots (look especially in the folds), and replace if suspect
- Check power steering and power trim oil levels. Replace worn-out zincs.
- Inspect outer jacket of control cables. Cracks or swelling indicate corrosion and mean that the cable has to be replaced.
General Engines and Fuel Systems
- Inspect fuel lines, including fill and vent hoses, for softness, brittleness or cracking
- Check all joints for leaks and make sure all lines are well supported with non-combustible clips or straps with smooth edges
- Inspect fuel tanks, fuel pumps and filters for leaks. Clamps should be snug and free of rust. Clean fuel filters.
- Inspect cooling hoses and fittings for stiffness, rot, leaks and/or cracking. Make sure they fit snugly and are double-clamped.
- Every few years, remove and inspect exhaust manifold for corrosion.
- Clean and tighten electrical connections, especially both ends of battery cables. Wire-brush battery terminals and fill cells with distilled water.
- Inspect bilge blower hose for leaks.
- Check for current registration
- Check rollers and pads
- Check and lubricate wheel bearings
- Clean and lubricate winch
- Lubricate tongue jack and wheel
- Test lights and electrical connections
- Check tire pressure and condition (remember the spare!)
- Check brakes (if equipped)
- Check safety chains
- Check tongue lock
- Inspect frame for rust and sand/paint as required
After Every Trip
- After every outing, flush out the engine. This doesn’t just apply to salt water adventures, but to fresh water outings as well.
- Buy a set of “rabbit ears”: two flexible rubber seals connected with a metal clamp. Slip the apparatus onto the lower unit where the water is picked up and attach a garden hose.
- Start up the engine and let the water pump do the rest. (Practice safe boating and remember to stay clear of the prop and make sure no one tries to shift the motor into gear.)
- While you’re flushing the motor, check the water pump to make sure it has good water flow. Carefully put your finger through the stream of water. It may be warm, but it shouldn’t be hot. If the output is not strong, you may have some debris stuck in the outflow tube. Immediately shut down the engine to prevent overheating and damage.
- Insert a small piece of wire into the flow tube and work it back and forth. Start the engine again and check the output. If that doesn’t solve the problem, you may need a new water pump.
- After flushing the engine, disconnect the fuel line and allow the engine to burn all the fuel in the carburetor.
- Once you’ve finished the flushing and run the engine out of fuel, be sure to turn off the key and, if you have a battery switch, turn it off.
- Take the engine cowling off and check for fuel or water leaks. If you find leaks, consult your safe boating mechanic.
- Wipe everything down and spray with an anti-corrosive like WD 40 or Quick-lube. Be sure to lubricate all the moving parts such as the shift and throttle cables, carburetor valves, etc.
- Replace the cowling and wipe it down. Keep a canvas or plastic cover on the engine between trips.
- Always use fresh fuel. At the end of the season, boat motor maintenance should include draining your tanks and taking the fuel to the proper recycling authority.
- Periodically check the fuel line for cracks and worn spots.
- Make sure the fuel primer bulb is not cracked and is pliable.
- Make sure the fuel-line fittings seat properly and don’t leak.
- Check the clamps on the fuel line for rust or corrosion.
- Check the fuel tanks for damage and corrosion.
- Check the tank vent to make sure it aspirates properly.
- Check regularly for water in the fuel.