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Old 03-18-2015, 06:22 AM
Gerry Zagorski Gerry Zagorski is offline
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Default Spring Boat Provisioning

It’s the time of year to start getting the boat ready to launch. Thought it might help some others to give some tips on provisioning outboards and I/O boats for a spring launch.

First thing I like to do is to change the fluid in the lower unit. Be sure to do this in daylight because you’re going to want to inspect the fluid. If it's milky or has and metal filings in it this is trouble. It should be black like used car oil. If it's milky you have a leaky seal and you should have the unit pressure tested to find the leak. If there are metal filings in it it could mean you have a problem as well so have it checked. If everything is OK the refill the drive with the recommended fluid. Best way to so this is to remove the upper fluid screw and the bottom fluid screw and fill the unit through the bottom screw hole until the fluid comes out the top. The reason you fill from the bottom is because if you were to fill it from the top you can get air pockets in the unit and you won't have enough fluid in there once that air pocket collapses. Filling it from the bottom pushes all the air out the top screw as the fluid displaces it.

OK next is the engine. If you have an I/O first thing you do is change the oil. Change it before you start the engine. The reason is that there’s likely to be some condensation and sediments in the old oil from winter lay up and you don't want that oil trying to lube your engine. While you’re at it change the oil filter too. I like to use synthetic oil in my boat for 2 reasons. 1, you can go longer between oil changes and 2, boat engines typically work much harder then car engines and synthetics help protect the engine better and it prolongs engine life. Not all engine manufactures recommend running full synthetics, some suggest synthetic blends so check your owners manual first. Also, once you run full synthetics it is not recommended to switch back to regular oils. So if you decide to use synthetic you will need to always use them.

Next thing on and I/O or an outboard is to change the fuel filer/water separator. If you don't have one of theses I would recommend you get one. Racor makes great after market filter. If you get water in your fuel it separates the water before it gets to the engine and collects it in a small bowl on the filter which can be drained by opening up the petcock on the bottom of the filter. If the water gets into your engine it can a) cause big trouble or b) cause the boat to run rough or not at all. Fuel separators are one of the best yet least expensive insurance policies for your engine. If you get caught with fuel in your tanks off shore you can just keep opening the petcock and remove the water so you can at least make it home…

Now I usually get the engine running. Make sure you don't run your engine dry because it will cause your water pump to fail prematurely. Run the boat on the hose or get it into the water. Allow the engine to get up to operating temperature and burn off all the fogging spray you should have put in it before you stored it for the winter.

Now shut the boat down and let the motor cool so you can change the spark plugs since they are likely to be fouled from burning off all that fogging spray. On 2 stroke outboards I would change the plugs every year since they are more susceptible to fouling. On I/Os and 4 stroke outboards I would change every other season.

One other thing I would recommend… You should change your water pump at least every other year. If you were frequently running in mud or sand then I’d do it every year. Water pump impellers are usually made of a soft rubber compound. Once it starts to dry out or stiffen up it will disintegrate and loose it’s ability to pump water. This usually happens over the winter lay up and it can cause serous overheating issues particularly on outboards because the power heads are made of aluminum which does not stand up to or dissipate heat as well as cast iron blocks. If you have an I/O it’s easy to do. You just remove the back place of the raw water pump and install the new impeller. Outboards are best left to mechanics unless you’re really handy.

One last thing for older 2 stroke outboard owners. You should de-carbon your engine at least once a season. Carbon is the number one enemy of 2 strokes. Carbon build up reduces the rings and pistons ability to dissipate heat. If they can’t dissipate it can and will cause premature power head failure. I’d say this is one of the most common but avoidable problems with outboards. Most outboard manufacturers have their own de-carbon sprays. Follow the instructions on the can. In general you spray this stuff in the carbs until you choke the engine with it. You then let it sit for a few hours then take the boat out and run it at wide open throttle for a few minutes. The motor will smoke like one of those old mosquito trucks for a few minutes but I guarantee you will have an appreciable difference in engine performance before and after.

I’m sure I forgot something here. Anyone care to add to the list?

Gerry
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Old 03-28-2015, 03:34 PM
Capt. Bob Capt. Bob is offline
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Gerry did a great job on the pre season maintenance list. Always a good idea to perform spring maintenance on the trailer or in your slip prior to your 1st trip( Shakedown cruise ).

I will add:
1) Charge your battery prior to hooking up. Also, clean the terminals and connections with a wire brush to insure a clean connection.
P.S. When I store the battery in the fall on a shelf in my garage, I give it a full charge and top off the cells with distilled water.

2) I like to spray the electronic connectors to my electronics with QD electronic cleaner as well as the trailer connections. I also use dielectric grease on the more troublesome connections.

3) I have a 4' removable anchor light that I coat with dielectric grease after the cleaning with the QD cleaner. Also the pins in the receptacle. Electrical Gremlins seem to show up in the spring or mid season , usually at a bad time. Try to stay ahead of them. I will test all my electronics, radio, running lights, horn, bilge pump and wipers prior to taking my 1st trip.
It's a good idea to power on these accessories weekly to insure they are working properly and have a good clean connection. I don't like surprises.

4) The steering cable through the outboard motor. I remove the cable and clean the steering tube twice a year with a shotgun cleaning kit. The old grease tends to turn black and harden. Recoat with fresh marine grease. Also, grease the steering tube and any other fittings on the motor. A fresh thin coat of grease on moving parts connected to the shifter cables.

5) Remove the prop, inspect and recoat the prop shaft with fresh grease. A seized prop is not a good thing.

6) The trailer tires tread will usually still be good. The tires will crack from dry rot on the sidewalks or start to buckle or distort from age. Maintain proper pressure throughout the season and spray the outside with armor all or another product to prevent dry rot.

7) Trailer wheel bearings, should be inspected every year or every other if you use bearing buddies on a regular basis.

8) A thorough cleaning followed by a fresh coat of wax and you are good to go.
Happy Boating !
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Old 04-06-2015, 09:46 AM
Mark Steiner Mark Steiner is offline
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Captain Bob and Gerry - that was great!!! I don't know how many times boaters (including myself) go out on an important day on the water only to find out that something is wrong despite their best efforts.

MAKE SURE you take a test voyage on the water prior to a schedules fishing day. There might be a gear or prop slipping that you just can't tell when using ear -muffs. Electronics might malfunction right off the bat only to realize more troubled shooting is required.

Other than that....I'm bringing my boat your HOUSE Capt Bob to make sure I did all the important pre-work!!!!

Looking forward to a great season!!!!! Get out there!!!!!!
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