Page last updated July 17, 2008



Basic Advice for New Owners of Outboards

Before you run an outboard you just bought or one that you are thinking of buying, here are a few tips for new owners.

  1. 1. Never run the motor while in gear (FORWARD or REVERSE) higher than 1000 RPMs while using a flush device. The motor needs the resistance from the water to properly function. "Earmuffs" or flush hoses are for that, flushing out the motor after saltwater use or if you found yourself in muddy waters. If you do find yourself in saltwater, make sure you flush the motor out with those earmuffs to expel harmful saltwater. It will corrode your engine on the inside, you might not see it, but you will certainly pay a premium retapping bolt holes, replacing corroded parts, cylinder heads, etc. Attach earmuffs and run for about 10-15 minutes. It is probably best to run as soon as you are out of the water as thermostats are still warm and will open up much faster.
  2. Always cover your motor during storage. This will prevent uneeded moisture collecting in hidden corners, slowly corroding away at that precious metal.
  3. Check your charging system with your volt meter on dash panel or through the use of a simple multimeter, measuring the output of the charging system. You should ideally do this in the water prior to heading home. Just hook it up while in neutral and measure the reading on the battery and as the you increase the RPMs to 2000. The reading should increase from 12.5 Volts up to 13 or slightly higher. If you register an increase, but not much, further testing on the rectifier should be done when you get home, or it could be the stator brushes are getting worn and aren't sending much of a current. Either way, as long as you register an increase, the charging system is functioning, but you may need to look at it if it is only slight.
  4. Check the lower unit oil periodically for metal shavings and water mixture. When you first get it, change the oil and observe, if you have no shavings or you see a few, you may want to monitor. Try to get a plug that is magnetized so that it can keep those harmful shavings away from gears. They can only do more damage. If you find none after your initial change, then you should be fine. Check for leaks coming out of propeller. None should come out. If you see some fluid, it could be coming from the seal in the lower gear housing or from the water pump gaskets. Another reason you might have oil like might only be unspent fuel from running a rich mixture. You will need to do further testing to identify the source of the oily substance. If you observe a milky like substance, your lower unit gear seals may needs to be replaced as water is leaking in.
  5. Run new clean fuel when you receive a old engine. You don't know how long the previous owner may have let it sit. Try not to reuse their old old fuel. Always measure precisly the amount of oil you are putting into the fuel. Replace that old inline filter with a new one (the one that is attached to your tank). You don't know how long its been in place. While you are at it and if you have time, try to clean out the motor fuel filter (the one that is attached to the engine). It is usually very easy to remove / clean and usually does not require a new gasket as they have o-rings. Check filter housing for cracks, if exist, then you may be able to repair with some cheap aluminum rods and a propane torch or if plastic, some plastic welding formula. Do not over-torque this piece when installing, very easy to damage.
  6. Use fuel stabilizer - this is a fuel additive that will prevent the fuel from forming a varnish like substance on fuel filters and carburetors.... this happens if you leave your engine sitting for long periods of time without use. You need to use this prior to storing your engine away for the winter.
  7. Check all fuel lines, they usually have leaks where you cannot observe / hidden areas. Look for hoses that are not dry / have fuel residue. If they have a fuel residue, replace as cracks or leaks are present, but you may not see the hole. Take hose off and then take it to your local auto shop for proper sizing and application replacement (used for fuel, not water ,hehe)
  8. Ensure the Kill switch is operational and has not been disconnected. The kill switch allows you to attach a rope to your body and if for some reason you stray to far from the helm, you end up pulling the switch and it cuts power to the engine, killing it. This is useful in case you are thrown off the boat. If it is disconnected, take to a local marine dealer or you can reattach with some troubleshooting skills. That could save your life if you ever get tossed out of your boat. You will encounter rough waters or waves and you will see how easy it is to get thrown out. If you ever boat alone, make sure you always have the kill switch attached to you. If you ever boat with a partner, make sure they know how to operate the boat in case you are thrown out.




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