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Maintaining Your Outboard Engine

Posted by Schaefers Canal House on 9/9/2014 to Marina

We know that the boating season is winding down in many parts of the country, but it never hurts to give a reminder about the importance of keeping your outboard boat engine in great shape - even when you are storing it away for the winter.

We trust that many of our loyal readers have a reliable mechanic who gives your engine a tune-up every spring as you pull the boat out for a new season. But as we know many of our readers know, an annual tune-up is rarely enough to keep problems from occurring on the water during the season. Regular maintenance should be performed; the good news is, though, that most of the maintenance items do not need a mechanic.

Here are some steps to take care of your engine during the boating season: Every time you return to dock or shore, flush the engine. Not only does it help the engine run better in general, you can use the flush as an opportunity to check for other things that might affect performance. Check the water flow during the flush. If the flow is weak, there could be debris stuck in the tube. Shut off the engine and use a small wie in the tube and move it around to clear out the tube. Restart the flush; if the flow does not improve, you could have a bad water pump.

After the flush, keep the engine running, unplug the fuel line and let the engine expend all the fuel. It is always best to use fresh fuel with your engine; fuel should not sit for very long, and certainly no more than two months without use.

Check the fuel line for cracks or other signs of wear.

The fuel primer bulb should still be pliable and not cracked.

Check the fittings for proper seating, and check fuel line clamps fr any signs of rust or corrosion.

Check for the obvious water in the fuel, but also the not-so-obvious - the tank vent. A blocked vent can often be a key factor in breakdowns and it is often overlooked.

Once you are done with all that, turn off the engine and the battery switch (if you hve one), and open the engine cover to check for leaks or cracks around the engine. Wipe everything down, lubricate moving parts and replace the engine over. Then wipe down the cover itself with a clean cloth.

Taking a few minutes at th end of each boating trip to do this maintenance may eliminate 95 percent of all possible breakdowns, which means you should have a tow-free boating season. And isn't that what we all want?

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