Views:106 Author:Site Editor Publish Time: 2019-11-29 Origin:Site
Compared to the outboard motors of years ago, today's outboards are very reliable; however they still require some maintenance to keep them running at their best. A few simple procedures using a handful of tools will keep that motor humming, whether it is on your dinghy or your sailboat's transom.
Outboard motors have gone through a quiet revolution over the last decade. The smoky, poor running two-strokes of the past have been replaced by smooth running, quiet four-strokes. These motors are more expensive and heavier, but it's worth it because they run so nicely.
A great place to start your maintenance program is by reading the manual from the manufacturer. All motors are a little different, but the general themes are the same, and the maintenance manual will point out details specific to each engine.
Be sure to review the oil change procedures; in most engines you can drain the waste oil through a drain port instead of pumping it out with an oil change pump via the dipstick port. You should also periodically check the oil level. Most engines have a dipstick just like your car but be sure that the engine is level when checking the oil level.
Lubrication maintenance extends to the lower unit-the transmission and gearing of the engine-this should be done once a year as well. If you don't use the engine much, you can extend this maintenance to every other, but no longer. There are typically two plugs on a lower unit, one on the bottom to drain the oil and another on the top to act as a vent and level indicator. The procedure here is pretty easy, mount the engine somewhere that you can get a pan or bucket under the engine and remove both plugs from the lower unit. Once the oil is drained, you refill the lower unit from the bottom, you pump in gear oil until it comes out the upper hole. You put the upper plug in before you remove the pump, closing off the top plug will hold the oil in the lower unit until you replace the lower plug.
There are a few manual lubrication points in outboards too, usually in the control linkage. Check your user manual for details and use the recommended lubricant.
Spark plugs should be changed once a year, and it's a good idea to keep a spare on hand. Use a high-quality, name brand plug. Dirty or fouled spark plugs can be a problem. You typically won't have a spare, but you may be able to clean up the one you have. You'll need a plug wrench to remove the plug and something to clean them with. You can clean them but if you have nothing else Vodka is an option. Straight vodka is fairly pure alcohol, and this will clean up a plug pretty well.
Do your best to keep the fuel tank clean and dry-water or dirt are big enemies. Close the vent when you are not using the engine.
Be prepared to jury rig the emergency stop lanyard; they do get lost. A bit of wire or a wire zip tie can be handy.
Study the engine in the light and memorize where the controls are, I guarantee you will find yourself on a dark dinghy dock, maybe in the rain, and you'll need to start the engine.