Outboard Motor 12 Month Service

Every 12 months or 100 hours you should give your outboard motor a service. Here are 12 points to follow:-

  • Clean or replace spark plugs.
  • Check and clean all electrical contacts.
  • Check condition of recoil start cord for wear.
  • Replace the fuel filters and check the entire fuel system for leaks etc.
  • Change engine oil and filters (4 strokes).
  • Empty fuel/oil tank and replace with new mixture(2 strokes).
  • Check gearbox oil and top up if needed.
  • Replace cooling system anodes.
  • Replace water pump impellor.
  • Check steering system and lubricate moving parts.
  • Lubricate gear shift and  throttle control linkages.
  • Check operation of tilt mechanism (power tilt if fitted).

Once you have completed all of the above you will be confident using your outboard engine during this coming season.

Some of the most common problems occur because one or more of the 12 checks mentioned have been overlooked. If you can spare a few hours to do these 12 checks every 12 months your outboard will certainly run a lot smoother with less worry on your part. One of the times your outboard is likely to show you that it is not running well is when you return from a long run at cruising throttle and slow it down to idle while you manouevre into your mooring. This sudden change from getting loads of fuel and air into the engine while you were at cruising speed, to tick over speed can upset the running of the engine if it has not been serviced each 12 months.

Therefore for peace of mind and a trouble free season, spend a few hours doing the above 12 checks. To help you further I am writing a guide to outboard maintenance which will be free to download for you. I had hoped to have it ready by now but I keep adding more and more information to it! Watch this space as they say! In other words please come back and check to see if I have the free guide ready for you to download.

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Winterising an inboard diesel engine.

Winterising your inboard diesel engine can be completed in 12 easy steps!

1. If you have a diesel inboard engine and it has been running well all season, then the first thing to do is to fill the fuel tank right up to the top. This should be done carefully so you can see the fuel come up the filler tube. There is a good reason for doing this practice. If the tank is not completely full there will be an air gap between the fuel and the top of the tank. This will lead to condensation caused by the cold weather during the winter. Diesel bug thrives in these conditions. Add a small amount of biocide (fuel additive),such as Racor Diesel, or Marine 16, to kill the bug.

2.  Next ensure the fuel cap seals properly by smearing the thread with either grease or petroleum jelly (Vaseline). This will stop moisture entering the tank as well as making the cap easier to open in March.

3.  Locate the fuel filter and drain into a clear plastic bottle. If you use a fairly large bottle you will also capture the filter making it less messy to clean up later! Refit the new filter and bleed the fuel system to ensure there are no air bubbles in it. However, if your engine has not been running well all season then do not top up the fuel tank to full. Instead, drain the remainder of the tank and flush it out. Once cleaned, the tank can be filled with fresh new diesel right to the top of the tank.

4.  This stage involves a bit of work. Changing the engine oil. If you run the engine until it reaches its normal temperature, the oil will flow easier. Next remove the dip stick and insert Vacuum pump down it. Pump continually to suck up the oil from the sump – this is the cleanest way to remove the old oil but requires energy on your part to do it! When you are sure it is all out ( measure the quantity removed). Replace with new fresh clean oil.
5.  If you did not get messy changing the oil, you will be after you change the oil filter! Use a special tool for undoing the filter. A Filter wrench will do the job. Try to get a basin or tray under the filter to catch the oil as you undo it.It is important to change the oil filter each season as impurities such as carbon build up and restrict the flow of oil.

6.  Most marine diesel engines are fresh water cooled using a heat exchanger. Just like in a car, it needs anti-freeze added each winter. This needs to be the correct mixture. So drain off the old water and refill with the recommended levels of water and anti-freeze. This will prevent corrosion in the water ways of the engine and the water freezing!

7.  The salt water cooling also needs attention. Locate the salt water intake pump and open it up. Remove the impeller. Just before you are ready to put the boat back in the water, install a new impeller into the pump. Do this each season because it wears easily and becomes less effective as the season goes by.

8.  Loosen the rubber drive belts from the flywheel or alternator etc. Keeping the tension on these belts while in a stationary position all winter is not good for them. They may start to crack. If they look as if cracks are there, then wait until the launch date and replace them.

9.  Block off the water inlet with a wooden plug, to prevent moisture entering the engine. Then use a rag to block off the exhaust pipe. Again to prevent moisture.

10. Disconnect the battery. Take it home and put in a dry place, like the garage. Clean the battery casing and then put it on charge. Once fully charged keep the cell levels topped up and charge each 4 weeks during the winter. Write on the calendar – charge boat battery. So you will remember! If your boat battery is over 5 years old, I would recommend you replace it with a new one.

11.  Once you have done all of the above you should thoroughly clean the engine. Remove all small pieces of debris that might have collected on it. Use a lubricating spray oil to provide a barrier for moisture and prevent corrosion.

12.  Finally, clean around the engine, in the bilges and either side. Use a good cleaning liquid to remove oil stains etc. You will feel you have done a great job when it is all finished and looking good!

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End of Season Outboard Maintenance.

It is now the end of the season for most of us and thoughts turn to outboard motor maintenance. Lets face it, if we do nothing to our outboard all winter by the time we look at it next spring it will probably be corroded up inside. So we need to consider what needs to be done to maintain it. Firstly, the outboard motor needs to be flushed with clean fresh water – not sea water!  Then the petrol tank needs to be empty.  Spark plugs cleaned or replaced. Oil changed. WD40 or similar sprayed on all moving parts. Lubricating oil on any bearing that you can gain access to within the engine or moving parts. Finally, store the outboard in a dry cool place away from any excessive heat or dampness.

If you are happy with the way your outboard behaved during the summer then keep it. If you are not happy, then consider replacing it with another model – perhaps newer. Why not look on our store listings to view other outboards that maybe of interest?

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Mercury outboards.

Whether you have or want to have a lightweight 2.5 hp 0r 3.5 hp four stroke outboard motor, you could consider buying a Mercury outboard. These are ideal for pushing your tender along to and from the shore. As with all Mercury outboards they are renown for their smooth running and fuel efficiency. They seem to last for a very long time because durability is one of their main features.

Larger outboards in the Mercury range are called the Optimax. Again they are well known for their fuel efficiency and are packed with additional features. Quietness is also a quality these Mercury outboards have as an advantage over rival outboards.

Larger still is the Verado supercharged Mercury outboards with superb power, smooth running and quietness combined with fuel efficiency. All Mercury outboards are tested extremely well in their Quality Assurance programme and are often offered with a 5 year warranty as an option.

To find out if new and nearly new Mercury outboards are for sale in our auction follow this link.

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Outboard motor control cables.

My previous post mentioned the difficulty of approaching a mooring buoy. One of the easier ways to do this procedure is to use remote controls. Outboard motor control cables fitted near the helm will aid this process considerably. If you have an outboard engine fitted to the stern of you boat, you would benefit from remote controls.

Outboard motor control cables can be bought either new or second hand in our store. Every manufacturer has their own design of cable controls. So it is important that you buy the correct version for your outboard. Once fitted to your vessel, they are fairly easy to maintain. Light oiling or application of grease with make the controls move smoothly.

Being able to control your boat from one position makes life a lot easier, especially approaching a mooring. Having been in the position of not having remote controls, I have found myself facing the opposite direction while adjusting the controls on the outboard. I know it is a difficult and even dangerous activity. So why not fit remote controls to your outboard?

A great place to find outboard motor control cables for a good price, is ebay. Check out what’s on sale here.

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