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Old 06-08-2010, 15:45   #1
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Long Distance Outboard Maintenance

we are currently acitvely cruising with an outboard as our primary means of propulsion and I am wondering if I need to take any special precautions when using it. It is a 5 horse 4 stroke mercury and we will probably be totalling 800 miles by the time we are done. I am changing oil more frequently etc. But I am wondering if we should be doing anything like cleaning the carb. Also should we be operating the motor at full throttle or does start throttle (which gives us just under hull speed) suffice? What about warm up cool down cycles?
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Old 06-08-2010, 15:56   #2
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IMO
You don't need to change the oil more frequently.
No need for "extra" cleaning either.
One minute of warm up should suffice.
Cool down about the same, but I don't know what your manual says.
If you don't need wide open then don't bother. It just works it harder and uses more fuel. Hull speed is hull speed.

All IMO.
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Old 06-08-2010, 16:49   #3
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Just keep an eye on the little zinc somewhere down on the lower unit. Good idea to have plenty of spares. They are sometimes difficult to find. With lots of time in the water the zinc will dissolve away and you need to replace it more often than if the motor was used infrequently.
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Old 06-08-2010, 18:20   #4
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Osirissail,
I didn't think about the zink.
About it; It can "skin over" with corrosion (or whatever it get covered with) and then is not sloughing. Then you begin to see paint bubbling and other things and wonder about them.

Scratch the zink up every so often.
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Old 06-08-2010, 18:34   #5
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OB tend to run better when they are used often. I agree with Therapy, no need for extra oil changes or cleaning.

On big problem people have with infrequently used outboards is old gas . Since you will be using your ob often this will not be a problem for you.
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Old 06-08-2010, 18:58   #6
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Anyone know where there are courses in outboard maintenance? I've been looking for ages with no success, lots of diesel but no OB ones. I'm in the Seattle area.

Cheers
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Old 06-08-2010, 20:07   #7
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My outboards have always done well without any significant maintenance. The big thing is to always make sure there is a stream of water coming out of the cooling system.

The only time I ever had to deal with taking the thing apart was after I flipped my dingy upside down in the surf in Phuket. I had to flush the water out of the engine and put lots of WD-40 in the cylinders and every other place I could think of. It ran great after the dunking.

The thing that kills my outboards is corrosion to the exterior metal. Keeping grease and lubrication on all the externals was always the hard part for me. They are continually exposed to salt water and sea spray and salty air. The external corrosion did 98 % of the damage to my outboards.

The throttle cable was also something that was a good spare to have because over time the cable wears out at the terminations where it attaches to the handle.
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:34   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxingout View Post
The throttle cable was also something that was a good spare to have because over time the cable wears out at the terminations where it attaches to the handle.
Excellent advice. Corrosion gets these too..
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Old 07-08-2010, 18:36   #9
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thanks for the info guys perfect. I will scratch up our anode in the am
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Old 07-08-2010, 18:53   #10
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Have fun.
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Old 08-08-2010, 05:30   #11
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thanks for the info guys perfect. I will scratch up our anode in the am
Buy about 6 spares and also buy a spare propeller. The propeller will be expensive. But after you have bought the spare propeller the original will last a lifetime It is just a thing with spare boat parts - once you have a spare the original works forever. But it is good insurance against getting stuck.
- - Additionally, the new propellers do not have a shear pin anymore. They have a rubber bushing between the hub which is attached to the motor and the blades. After a few years of normal use (probably much quicker if you are seriously running the engine for long periods) the rubber separates from the hub and the motor rotates the hub but the propeller blades slip (slow down or even stop). Then you have to put on the spare propeller.
- - Also get several cans of Boeing T-9 spray and every month or two open the cover and spray the insides paying particular attention to the unpainted parts like bolt heads, rods and linkages. Also the carbeurator and the throttle and choke rods.
- - Also get one of the mini grease guns from Pep Boys or any other discount auto parts store so you can shoot grease into the engine mount pivot grease fittings (zerks).
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