Outboard motor care: a 7-step guide
Care and maintenance before each engine use
- Check engine for sufficient fuel and open the tank ventilator
- If engine has not been started for two weeks or more, replace petrol to avoid damage from oxidation and water deposits. A full tank and additional stabilizers minimize the risk of oxidation and condensation.
- Ensure that the oil tank is sufficiently filled.
- After a long period of engine stoppage, check engine oil for small drops of water and do not start the engine if any are found. Doing so may lead to serious damage to the outboard engine.
- Check that the clamps on the engine mount are securely fastened.
- Check that the water absorption point is clean and free of dirt and deposits.
- Inspect the propeller. Are there any fishing lines wrapped around the hub or irregularities that could cause the boat to be unbalanced and thus lead to expensive damage?
"Inadequate preservation can lead to a "poor start" in the upcoming boating season."
Cleaning and protecting the engine
- Wash engine out with a flusher. This should not only be done in salt water, but also in fresh water if the water contains sand, gravel or dirt.
- Attach the flusher to the lower part of the engine and connect a garden hose. To avoid damage to the engine, do not open the tap to more than about ¼ of the maximum possible water pressure.
- Start the engine and bring it up to approximately 2,000 rpm (or the speed recommended by the manufacturer). Allow the engine to warm to operating temperature so that the thermostat opens and water flushes the cooling system.
- As you flush the engine, check the water pump for sufficient water flow. Carefully hold a finger under the water flow. It may be warm, but should not be hot. If water flow is not strong, dirt may have collected in the drainage pipe. In this case, switch off the engine immediately to prevent overheating and damage.
- Try to loosen dirt by moving a piece of wire back and forth in the drainage pipe. Restart the engine and check the water flow. If the problem persists, a new water pump may be required.
- When flushing the engine, loosen the fuel connection so that the engine burns the remaining fuel in the carburettor.
- Wipe the engine and spray with corrosion protection.
- Protect engine with a tarpaulin or cover between uses.
"Even a little overheating can lead to long-term damage!"
Cleaning and protecting the engine
- Check the fuel line regularly for cracks and signs of wear.
- Make sure that the pump ball is free from cracks and movable.
- Make sure that the fuel connections to the lines are sitting correctly and do not leak.
- Check the hose clamps on the fuel line for rust or corrosion.
- Check the fuel tank for damage.
- Check the tank ventilation to ensure that it is working properly.
- Check the tank regularly for water in the fuel. This is particularly important for fuel containing ethanol. If the engine has a transparent fuel strainer, check if water has accumulated there. The water collects as a clear layer at the bottom of the strainer.
- Lubricate the movable parts of the trim system and lubrication points of the steering system every 100 hours or annually (whichever occurs first).
- Check the engine for corrosion and replace sacrificial anodes if they are more than 50% corroded.
- Change the engine oil and replace oil filter if present.
- Replace the water pump impeller after every 300 hours of use or every 3 years (more often if you use the engine in waters where sand can get into the cooling circuit).
- Check the outboard engine for minor paint damage. Remove any rust or blisters as quickly as possible to avoid major damage.
"Regular inspections can significantly extend the lifespan of outboard motors."
Gasoline filter reduces maintenance
To minimize maintenance, it is recommended to install an additional fuel filter between the engine and tank, even if your outboard engine already has an integrated fuel filter. In the fuel filter, contaminants from the tank and petrol are deposited, especially if petrol containing ethanol is used. Once the pores of the filter are clogged, it is no longer possible for sufficient petrol to flow through, which can lead to a loss of performance or, in worst case, a total failure. The petrol filter should therefore be replaced from time to time.
"Filters which become dirty or clogged can quickly wreck your fun out on the water."
During the warranty period, always have your outboard motor serviced by an authorised dealer, with entries in the service booklet. If any warranty claims are made, the specified inspection intervals must have been observed, otherwise warranty claim is invalid. After the warranty period has expired, you may also carry out repairs and inspections yourself using an inspection plan, which is usually supplied with the product. How to change filters, gear oil and engine oil of the outboard engine is usually explained in the manual. Often only cross-head and slotted screwdrivers are needed for this. To change the oil filter, in many cases the outboard engine housing must be removed. If in doubt and you are unsure about how to carry out the change, you may want to take the engine to your dealer. An impeller change, which should be carried out regularly every few years, is relatively complicated and should always be carried out by an expert dealer. The recommended replacement interval can be found in the inspection plan.
Protection against theft
Outboard engines can be easily protected against theft with special locks. In addition, a boat cover held by elastic cords makes it more difficult to access the boat and thus dismantle and steal the outboard engine.
It is advisable to register your outboard engine with the water police. If stolen, the code can be used to allocate your engine to your boat. In addition to coding, it is recommended to document and register permanent, unique features with pictures. Coded and registered engines are of little interest to thieves, as they can not make profit from them.