Tender Loving Care
Like most things mechanical
and electrical a little bit of timely TLC goes a long way. To ensure
is ready to
perform next season and that it keeps in top condition it’s very
important to ensure it goes into hibernation properly. Just a few hours
devotion is all that’s needed to ensure you protect your investment
and reap the rewards of a straight forward start up when next spring
There are just seven simple steps to take, a few items to buy and
a morning or afternoon to allocate! [ Caution: To
avoid injury through accidental starting, be sure to remove the propeller
from your outboard
1. Flush Engine
You should flush saltwater out of the engine after each use, but we
all know this often does not get done. Firstly you should thoroughly
flush your engine with clean, freshwater and let the water completely
drain from the engine. I prefer to purchase the optional ‘flushing
plug’ which can be attached to a garden hose. This hose can then
provide full water mains pressure for the flushing operation. Instead
you can use a set of ‘ear muffs’ which again attaches to
a garden hose and clamps on to the outboards lower unit covering the
water intake ports.
Turn the garden hose on full before starting your engine. If using ‘ear
muffs’ make sure that the water covers the inlet holes. Never
run an outboard without cooling water, even for a short time - you
can quickly ruin the water impeller and do serious damage to the engine.
Run your outboard at normal idle speed for 5-10 minutes to allow the
engine to warm up and to ensure your outboard is thoroughly flushed
with clean freshwater.
After flushing the outboard, allow the water
to completely drain from the engine. Your outboard should be in a
vertical position for the
water to completely drain. Shut off the engine by disconnecting the
fuel line, in a no smoking area of course (see step 2 below). While
you're waiting for your engine to drain, wash any dirt, grease, etc.
from the exterior of the engine.
2. Drain Fuel
When you have completed flushing the engine, in step 1, disconnect
the fuel line at the motor and continue running the engine until
it runs out of fuel. Drain all fuel from the fuel hoses, fuel pump
and carburetor. It is extremely important to ensure that all of
the fuel has been drained from the carburetor otherwise any fuel/oil
mixture remaining will evaporate and leave deposits (also called
varnish, gum, etc.), in the carburetor. To drain the fuel from the carburetor
you can use one of these techniques:
a) As the fuel begins to run out and the motor starts
choke the engine a little until the RPM picks back up. Continue choking
the engine as the engine starts to die out until the fuel supply is
finally exhausted. -or-
b) Remove the drain screw from the carburetor bowl and allow
all fuel to drain out. Replace the screw when finished. Although this technique
requires a bit
more effort than the first, it is recommended to use this procedure to fully
ensure that all fuel has been removed from the carburetor.
Important: The new generation of fuel injected engines
which have no carburetor should consider the use of putting fuel stabiliser
in the system as it's not possible to to
all the petrol from the system. The vapour separator should also be
drained as part of the winterising procedure.
If your outboard is not an oil-injected model (i.e. you mix your petrol/oil
manually), do not store the petrol for extended periods of time. Over
time, the petrol and oil will separate which will lead to a lack of
lubrication to your engine.
If you have fuel
left in your tank you may want to add some fuel stabilizer to it, so that
it can be used the following season. Fuel stabilizer
will also help prevent condensation from forming in your fuel tank.
3. Storage Fogging Oil
Treat your outboard with ‘marine storage fogging oil’ which
comes in an aerosol spray can and is used to prevent rust on the engine's
cylinder, crankshaft, bearings, pistons, etc. and can be purchased
at most local marine dealers. Follow the oil manufacturer's recommendation
on the amount of ‘marine storage fogging oil’ to use (generally
about 50ml for each cylinder).
First, remove the spark plug(s) and the stop switch lanyard cord from
your outboard. It is also a good idea to disconnect the spark plug
wires from the spark plugs to prevent accidental starting.
Slowly turn the engine over a few times using the pull cord
while spraying the storage oil into the spark plug holes.
Electric Start Outboards:
Be sure you have water hooked up to your
water intakes before turning over your outboard to prevent damage
to your water pump. While spraying the storage oil into the spark
plug holes, turn the engine over in 5 second bursts using your electric
starter. Do not over ‘crank’ your engine or you could
damage the electric starter.
At this time it would also be a good
idea to check your spark plugs. Check the condition of the electrodes
and the electrode gap. Personally
I would fit a complete set of new spark plugs if any of the remove
ones looked as if deposits were starting to build up.
4. Change Oils
Change the gear oil in the lower unit. Oil not only loses it’s
properties overtime but also collects minute particles during it’s
circulation around the engine parts. Just see the metallic debris on
those gear box plugs which use magnetic inserts. Also like fuel it
also accumulates some water through condensation. Follow the step-by-step
instructions in your outboard engines owners manual. Fresh oil to an
engine is like cream to a cat, it will purr along nicely when
changed. If you have a 4 stroke, change your engine oil and replace
the oil filter.
5. Grease Up
Apply water resistant grease to propeller shaft, using a wheel bearing
grease (or something similar), thoroughly grease the prop shaft and
prop shaft threads. Also apply water resistant grease to all moving
parts, joints, bolts, nuts, and plastic fittings.
6. Wax Up
To help keep your engine looking factory fresh, wax the exterior of
your outboard using a high grade automobile wax.
Store the engine vertically in a dry area. If you store your boat on
the water there are several schools of thoughts regarding whether you
should store your engine in or out of the water. There are advantages
and disadvantages of both ways and unfortunately there is no best way.
Factors such as temperature, salt/fresh water, algae growth, corrosion,
etc. must be taken into account when deciding whether to leave your
outboard in the water or tilt it up out of the water. To find out which
is the preferred way ask your local marina and fellow boaters in your
area, etc. how they store their boat/outboard during the off-season.
Factors to keep in mind:
- Storing in water allows algae and corrosion to affect
- Storing out of the water could cause damage if the
temperature reaches freezing and there
is water in your lower unit;
- Storing down in the salt water drastically increases
the potential for corrosion.
Battery condition is critical to the success of your first
start up after winterisation. It's extremely important for fuel
injected engines outboards which rely on constant
battery power for the engine to function. What this means is that
has to be continually functioning. You can't remove the battery
power like you can do for the 'old school' two-stroke'
i) Disconnect Battery
Disconnect the battery cables and clean the battery terminals using
a wire brush.
ii) Recharge Battery
Recharge the battery to full strength. You should also recharge the
battery once a month during the off-season to prevent electrical
discharge and degradation of the electrolytes. -or- Better
still consider the use of the latest Battery Float Charger systems.
iii) Clean Battery
Clean the exterior of the battery.
iv) Apply Grease
Apply grease (Vaseline works nicely) to the battery terminals.
v) Store Battery
Store your battery in a dry place.