Winterizing the outboard


An efficient and reliable outboard motor is a good friend. We’ll reveal what needs to be done to keep it that way next season.

A well-functioning outboard is an important friend, but you have to do something to protect yourself against any problems and engine breakdowns. The best thing to do, of course, is to get used to doing the regular work at the end of the season so that you can enjoy your hard-earned free time on the water carefree the following year.

At the beginning there is always a stable locking, without which an effective and relaxed work on the outboard is hardly possible. There are separate stands for this, or you can leave the engine screwed to the rear and let it hibernate there. Once this is done, the first thing to do is clean. While this is of little entertainment value, it is an opportunity to inspect the outside of the engine for scratches and leaks. The dirty water that arises from the external washing must not be drained into the sewer system, but must be directed into a separate collecting container or tank.

The essential points:

  • Rinsing the cooling water circuit
  • Clean or replace spark plugs and fuel filter
  • Check the propeller for damage, inspect, clean and grease the drive shaft, cables, throttle and clamping screws
  • Check sacrificial anodes for loss, check fuel line and rubber parts for wear and – very important –
  • Change transmission oil
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One of the autumn rituals is the flushing of the cooling water circuit (not only applies to engines that are used in salt water!), Which is done using a hose and cooling water connection or, in an emergency and with smaller engines, could also be carried out in a rain barrel that is sufficiently deep and well filled with water . Optionally, engine manufacturers also offer so-called “cooling shells”, which are placed over the cooling water openings and fed through a hose. Safety conscious people remove the propeller before this procedure. Before the engine is switched off, it is advisable to spray anti-corrosion oil into the carburetor. But be careful: as good as the mixture of corrosion protection and water may be for the engine, it has no place in the water pump. Therefore start the engine by hand (with electric starters pull the ignition breaker and then start) to drain the water pump.

Then come the spark plugs, which you unscrew to check for corrosion and, if necessary, remove them with a wire brush. The next item on the work list is the fuel filter, the sieve of which should be cleaned or the paper insert replaced. Special attention is also paid to the propeller, which at the end of the season for damage such as Bent blades should be examined (do not forget the split pin, castle nut and shear pin), preferably when it is removed to clean the cooling water system, or at the latest when it is removed to clean and re-grease the drive shaft. The sacrificial anodes, which protect the engine from corrosion and are usually mounted on or under the cavitation plate on outboards, are often overlooked.
Also important is the smooth functioning of the moving parts such as the throttle, cables and the clamping screws of the engine mounting, which should be inspected, cleaned and re-greased before wintering. You can find information on additional lubrication points, the recommended oil or grease, or information about the mounting points of the sacrificial anodes and their care or replacement in the manual for your outboard motor.

Now to perhaps the most important part of winterizing your boat engine, changing the gear oil: To do this, two screws are opened, the drain screw at the bottom of the gear housing and the control screw further up on the motor shaft, above the cavitation surface. (On this occasion, the seals on both screws should also be checked or replaced. Collect the drained oil in a suitable container and inspect it for the color. If it is milky-light, this indicates water, it is silvery or gray , there may be a mechanical problem. In both cases, a service technician should be consulted to investigate the matter. If no irregularities are found, the new lubricant is pressed from its tube through the drain plug into the housing until the excess flows through the control screw comes out again, close the control and drainage screws again at the end
Finally, rubber parts such as Check the condition of the fuel line, which is affected by UV radiation and heat. If you discover kinks, indurations or porous areas, it is time to replace the affected part. Also pay attention to the hose clamps, which should not be rusted and must be tight, but must not be overtightened.

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