Seven Steps to Keep Your Outboard Kicking
A good flush and an annual application of grease and oil are just what the doctor ordered for small engines.
Finally, after I’ve attended to all of these tasks, every one of my engines gets a good wax job with a cleaner wax before I lay it up.
So there you have it. Follow these steps and recommendations so your kicker can rest comfortably over the winter months while you’re enjoying other
pastimes. It’ll be ready to run strong next spring when you’re back on the water.
Ed Sherman, a frequent CW contributor, develops curriculum for the American Boat & Yacht Council.
Four-Stroke Engine-Oil Maintenance
If you have a four-stroke engine, never leave old oil in the crankcase. One of the tasks that your engine oil performs is to help clean the inside of your engine and absorb by-products of combustion. These by-products can be quite corrosive and, if left sitting in an engine for extended periods, can actually induce corrosion and rusting of such things as crankshafts and cylinder walls. The best way to counter this is to leave an engine stored with fresh, clean oil in it and circulated through it.
When draining the oil, I’ve found that since the drain plug for the crankcase is typically located rather far up on the center section of the engine, tilting the engine to its uppermost position with an appropriately sized drain pan under the drain hole makes for the least amount of mess and catches all of the drain oil. Be sure to change the engine oil filter as well. When refilling, be sure to use the manufacturer’s recommended engine oil and be very careful not to overfill. These engines take relatively small amounts of oil to fill. Make sure the engine is in the vertical position when you’re refilling and when checking the level with the dipstick.
Next it’s time to start the engine up again and run it for a few more minutes to be sure the new engine oil thoroughly circulates. Shut the engine down and check the engine crankcase oil level a final time.
Paint Done Right
It’s hard to avoid an occasional grounding with a dinghy engine, and
eventually this will scrape the paint of its skeg. Over time, other areas of
the engine and mounting bracket will also get scraped down to bare metal. If
used in salt water, these surfaces must be salt neutralized before any new
primer or paint is applied to ensure proper adhesion of the new coating.
Most marine supply houses sell salt-neutralizers and these should be used to
properly wash the surface before sanding or painting the bare metal. Once
the salt is washed away and a light sanding to the surfaces is done, you can
wipe away any dust and prime with a primer recommended for aluminum. Then
pick the appropriate color and apply several coats of engine paint, which is
available at most marine stores.