Winterize Outboard Motor



How many of us just take the old outboard off the boat, (if it is small enough) and stick it in the boatshed or garage for the winter, not giving it another thought until spring…if you can count yourself in this group, you are probably also in another group.

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The folks who end up taking their outboard motor to the repair shop to get it going every spring. Trust me, the outboard motor repair shops and boat dealers love us.

Actually there are a few things you should be doing to your two stroke outboard every spring, and this applies regardless of the horsepower. It isn’t too difficult, and will save you oodles of frustration and possible expense come boating season.

The first thing to do is set your motor up either on an outboard stand, or while it is still on the boat, out of the water on a trailer. If you have a small outboard, but no motor stand, I have found clamping a strong board in the bench vice, and then clamping the motor to the board works great.

These directions are fairly generic, applying to most two stroke outboards. I apologize if I am a little vague as to what screws to remove, but c’mon folks, that depends on the motor, and you….

So here is what you need to do to winterize your outboard motor:

1) Remove the cover from the engine, and set it aside.

2) Remove the shield that covers the carbuerator so it is visible.

3) Hook a water hose to your muffs…those are the things that look like ear muffs that clamp to the lower unit water intake. I assume you have a set? If not, either buy a set or borrow from a friend, they are available at boat shops, hardware stores etc, and not very expensive. Cheaper than paying someone to do this, and you can use them year after year.

4)Turn the water supply on so the water is flowing through the hose, through the muffs and into the motor water intake.

5)With the motor in neutral, and your feet, fingers and other body parts away from the propellor. Gentlemen…start your engines…

6)Run the motor to a fast idle, for example, on my 15 hp, I turn the twist throttle to the start position, which is as far as it will go in neutral.

7)With the motor running, disconnect the fuel line, and spray a small amount of ‘fogging oil’into the carbuerator. The engine will sputter and die as it burns up the last of the gas.

8) After the motor has stalled, remove the spark plugs and spray a small amount of the ‘fogging oil’ into each cylinder. As you do this, turn the flywheel by hand a couple of times.

9) This is as good a time as any to check your spark plugs, re-gap them if necessary, (check the owners manual for correct gap). If they are worn out, very black or brown, replace them with new ones now…in fact, unless you just put them in within the last couple of weeks, put new ones in now,what the heck, they aren’t that expensive…it’s your boat….

10)This is also the time to drain the old oil out of the lower unit, and replace with fresh. Check your owners manual for specifications, but suffice to say, there are usually two plugs to unscrew. Once the old oil is drained, fill it up again, from the bottom plug, until oil comes out the top. Then replace the plugs.

11) Remove the prop, and lube the shaft. Inspect the propeller and if it is badly damaged, or bent, have it repaired by someone qualified, or get a new one…it’s your boat remember.

By the way, I should have told you this sooner…lol….if you are removing the prop, or even just looking at it, I always pull the plug boots off the spark plugs…I don’t want the motor starting while my fingers are anywhere near the propellor.

12)Using a grease gun, and marine grade grease, grease all the grease points on your motor…(I haven’t said grease so many times in one sentence since I saw the movie.

13) Put the cover back on you are done, or almost done. This one is optional, but I like to spray a little WD-40 on my outboard motors, around everything that moves or is made of metal. It’s up to you. Some folks prefer just to give the outboard a nice wax job using marine wax, or for that matter car wax.

14)Finally, or at least I think finally, fill up your gas tank, and drop a couple of cap fulls of gas stabilizer into the tank. (Of course you have been using gas stabilizer all year right…?? I do..it works for me.

Well, that is about all there is to it. Please refer to your individual owner’s manual for instructions specific to your outboard, they should be essentially the same as these.

One last point, store your motor on an outboard stand, or at least standing upright in a corner. Given the value of outboard motors these days, I always hide mine as well…it may not stop a thief but it will at least slow them down.

Thinking about putting the outboard motor and boat away got me thinking about the lake our cottage is on, and I had to dig out this photo, one of my favorites. This is two rainbows seen from the front lawn of the cottage this summer.

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