It’s Outboard Motor Tune-up Time, Part I

evinrude-oil1In order to keep your marine motor running smoothly and efficiently, it’s essential to perform a full-scale tune up at least once a year. This guide to annual tune ups is not intended to be an absolute authority on how to do your maintenance work but rather as a series of suggestions. As previously discussed, each individual outboard comes with a specialized maintenance schedule courtesy of the manufacturer. Adhere to that schedule first and foremost.

Just as you would with your daily or weekly maintenance routine, begin this one with a visual inspection – and not just a simple once-over, either. By scoping out potential motor issues and stumbling blocks ahead of time, you ensure that repairs can be made in a timely manner. Turn the motor off before commencing the inspection. Then remove the cowling so that the power head is visible.

Scanning from the propeller upward, check the motor’s vicinity for signs of leakage. If your boat has been in storage for any significant period of time, it’s possible that a leak exists without any visual clues; for example, the leaking fluids may have drained out of the motor and evaporated over that extended time. Remember that a bit of oil around the propeller and on the side of the gear housing is normal. Anything more than that – e.g. a large, dark slick of Evinrude oil running down the propeller, it could be time to consult a professional mechanic.

We’ll continue our visual inspection and begin to get our hands dirty in the next installment.

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Performing Pre-operational Checks

evinrude-oilIf you’re anything like me, your outboard-powered boat is your true pride and joy; it’s your portal to a quiet, early morning fishing session or to an adventure in uncharted waters. Since I don’t have much spare cash to spend on costly repairs and replacement parts, I make sure to put in the routine maintenance work when it really matters. If you take a few minutes to perform some checks before leaving the dock, you’ll thank yourself later.

Begin by systematically checking the fuel system. For starters, top off your gas tank and check the fuel lines for leaks. You’ll also need to poke around among the line connections to ensure they’re good and tight. Next, shift your attention to the oil level. Replenish your supply of Evinrude oil in the fuel tank. Yesterday we discussed the benefits and detriments of trimming your outboard; start with it in vertical position so it’s not tilted back or forward.

Last but not least, test out the steering controls. If you notice any sticking or looseness as you turn the wheel, it might be cause for concern. Likewise, the throttle and shifter should move with only slight resistance. Seek mechanical assistance if they catch or feel too mushy. Now that you’ve done the work, it’s time to have some fun out on the water.

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Why Apply Antifouling Paint?

antifouling-paintIf you’ve ever taken a look at a tall ship or even a cruise liner, you may have noticed an element that most of those enormous boats have in common. Along the bow, the stern and the underside of the boat you’ll find barnacles and other saltwater mainstays. A shipwrecked vessel will attract even more barnacles than an active one. Needless to say, these crusty objects clinging to the underside of the craft do much to slow things down.

The hull of a boat running in saltwater might also acquire a collection of weeds and slime over time – something that must be avoided in order to maximize engine efficiency. The idea is to reduce drag, and that means dropping the dead weight. If the barnacles, seaweed and other assorted gunk have already taken hold, you’ll have no choice but to hose and scrape the hull.

Otherwise, simply apply some antifouling paint to the underside of the boat. The paint dries to form a smooth, hard surface that’s resistant to vegetable growth and clinging barnacles. The paint will thin out through the course of use, so it simply needs to be replenished at the beginning of each boating season. By keeping your boat running slick through the water, you can save money on other vital supplies – especially Evinrude oil.

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Even the Most Advanced Motors Need Maintenance

maintenaceBy now you’re probably familiar with the big three names in outboard motors: Evinrude, Yamaha and Mercury. In recent years, the Environmental Protection Agency has tightened its restrictions on engine efficiency and marine pollution. This just makes sense as the American public becomes more sensitive to ecological issues and biofuels are made a viable alternative to fossil fuels in automobiles.

Unfortunately, with all of the technological and environmental upgrades made to outboards in the last year or so, it’s easy for boat owners to get complacent with their routine maintenance. For whatever reason, people believe these admittedly formidable machines can take care of themselves. Of course those beliefs are shattered the second something goes wrong on the mechanical end.

As always, the first step is to consult the owner’s manual for maintenance tips that are specific to each outboard model. Generally speaking, though, boat owners should adhere rigidly to the engine’s maintenance schedule. This schedule dictates when various services should be performed after however many hours of use. Some matters of routine upkeep – such as replenishing the engine with Evinrude outboard oil – are universal and should be done without fail. Other maintenance procedures should be completed according to the outboard’s age and the extent it’s used each year.

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Evinrude Announces Fall Deal on E-TECs

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Yesterday we discussed the fuel efficiency standards that were introduced to the outboard motor industry. Prior to that landmark moment, 2-stroke motors were simple and reliable but caused too much pollution to be viable from an economic standpoint. As we alluded to previously, it took a coordinated effort from the Environmental Protection Agency along with motor manufacturers to create any leeway.

Evinrude stepped up in a big way with its E-TEC engine, which was specifically designed to compete with dominant 4-stroke engines of the time. The E-TEC had the advantage of fuel injectors that work to remove water and vapor from the internal parts. The engine was an instant hit, and Evinrude has been touting this flagship model, along with the boat motor oil it uses sparingly, ever since.

In recent days, Evinrude announced its “Best Deal on the Water” fall promotion, offering boaters a five-year, factory-backed warranty on new E-TECs with 40 or more horsepower. The deal lasts through December 22. According to a press release from Evinrude, the E-TEC is the only marine engine on the market with no dealer-scheduled maintenance for the first three years.

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E-TEC Engine: Let’s Get Specific

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Yesterday we talked generally about the Evinrude E-TEC engine and its environmental benefits over the 2-stroke outboards that came before. Today we’ll focus our attention on the inner workings of the E-TEC injector. As most boaters know, air is the enemy of lubrication. Well aware that a well-lubricated engine runs longer and smoother, the makers of the E-TEC designed the engine to recirculate fuel through the injector while also keeping air out.

Obviously, machines that feature fewer moving parts pose a smaller threat of breaking down. Compared to other models, the E-TEC has one-fourth the number of total parts. The oil reservoir marked another crucial improvement. The automatic oiling system feeds a 1.8 liter tan, which stores enough oil to last 40 hours of routine recreational use. It’s imperative, however, that the E-TEC is fed a steady diet of Evinrude oil or some other quality TC-W3. Even though these engines boast a large fuel tank and a recirculation system, that’s no excuse to skimp on all-important lubrication.

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Back to Basics

Back to Basics

August is a month tailor-made for dreaming. There are no holidays in sight until Labor Day, so we’re left to spend these muggy days sitting in office buildings, thinking about where we’d rather be. For most red-blooded Americans, that place is the middle of a lake, fishing and basking in the sun. If you’re planning on taking the plunge and purchasing a small boat, there are a few things you should know about outboard motors.

The good news is that outboards are relatively simple engines. This makes them easy to troubleshoot and repair, although in many cases you’ll still want a professional to handle the more intricate work. The anatomy of an outboard consists of a simple engine, a cooling system, some wiring, a gearbox, propeller and driveshaft. All of these elements are contained in one package that is hung securely from the stern of a boat.

Speed control on a small boat could be likened to that of a lawnmower. In both cases, a throttle controls the flow of gas to the engine. The boat’s steering can either be done electronically or manually by moving a tiller, which points the propeller in different directions. Outboard motors should be kept well lubricated with Evinrude XD100 oil or an oil of comparable quality.

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Getting the Most out of Your Engine

Getting the Most out of Your Engine

For boaters on a budget, extending the life of an outboard motor becomes a top priority. Brand-new outboards can be expensive, so it’s important to care for them with proper maintenance and storage techniques. Whether you take your craft out on the lake every day or only take her for a spin a few times a year, constant upkeep is the key to engine longevity.

Certain tasks should be completed every time you hit the water. First of all, make sure the oil tank is topped off with Evinrude XD100 oil or some other quality lubricant. You’ll also want to check the area surrounding the propeller for excess oil buildup – a textbook sign of inadequate sealing. If your lower gear case has sprung a leak, take the outboard motor to a repair shop; it should be salvageable, but the job might not come cheap.

Some boat owners prefer to detach their outboards once the boat is out of the water. In that case, an outboard motor stand might be of some use. These items keep the motor upright and secure during storage. They are also potentially useful during the process of transporting your motor from place to place. Once you’ve learned to approach engine maintenance and storage in a serious manner, you’re well on your way to extending the life of your outboard motor.

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Winterizing Your Boat

Winterizing Your Boat

In most parts of America, small boat owners should expect to get a few more good months out of their vessels before it’s time to look into winter storage options. And of course there are those who live in temperate climates where one can enjoy boating all year round. For those who need to close down shop for the winter, however, there are a number of crucial maintenance measures that need to be put into place.

Assuming that the boat’s outboard motor has been kept in tip-top shape with Evinrude XD100 oil or some similar product, the following steps should be simple and painless. The first point to address is condensation that can build up in fuel lines during the winter. In order to prevent this from occurring, fill the gas tank completely and add a fuel stabilizer. Then start the motor and allow it to run for a few minutes so that the fuel and stabilizer can filter through the system.

Next, you’ll need to apply fogging oil to the carburetor. Just before the boat is put into storage, spray the fogging oil into the cylinders. Take the opportunity to scour the housing and then apply anti-corrosion spray to the electrical wires and connections. Once this is done you can focus on traditional methods of cleaning – spraying your boat down and waxing the exterior if desired. Don’t forget to disconnect the battery as well. If you don’t recharge it every month or so during the winter you’ll need a new battery by springtime.

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Evinrude through the Ages

Evinrude through the Ages

Yesterday’s post highlighted the inventive nature of outboard motor innovator Ole Evinrude. Today, let’s take a look at a few trials and tribulations the Evinrude company has faced throughout its long and storied history. The company’s first major competitor, Johnson Motors, got its start in a Terre Haute, Ind., garage. Johnson focused its attention on planes and boats, releasing the world’s first heavy outboard engine in 1926. The stock market crash hit Johnson especially hard, and Evinrude managed to buy up controlling shares of the company. The Outboard Marine and Manufacturing Corporation, or OMC, was born.

Business boomed during most of the rest of the 20th century, but things took a turn for the worse in 2000. With flagging sales and an inability to cope with increasingly strict environmental standards, OMC announced bankruptcy. That’s where Bombardier Recreational Products came in. The Canadian company purchased the Evinrude and Johnson brands and strove to uphold their proud tradition. The company has continued to produce high-quality Evinrude XD100 oil among many other products for boating enthusiasts.

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Spirit of Invention

Spirit of Invention

Innovation is almost always born out of necessity. History’s great tinkerers and inventors used the limited knowledge at their disposal to solve modern problems. And we in turn reap the benefits of those breakthroughs. The work of boat engine mogul Ole Evinrude is a perfect example. One hundred years ago this month, Evinrude changed the American boating landscape by inventing what is now called the outboard motor.

In August of 1909, Ole Evinrude wasn’t exactly a household name. He had distinguished himself as a machinist while employed for a number of machine tool companies in the Midwest, but he probably would have never dreamed of attaining fame in the boating world. On a fateful August day, Evinrude was enjoying a picnic with his girlfriend on a small island in the middle of a lake. The girl suddenly mentioned her hankering for ice cream, and Evinrude was eager to please. He rowed across the lake to an ice cream shop, bought the confection and turned back.

Before he reached the island, however, the ice cream had melted in the sun. This gave him an idea: Why not attach a motor that would propel his boat without the need for rowing? From there, Evinrude began to tinker until he came up with a workable model. He wouldn’t approve an engine design unless it worked perfectly. This attitude has remained an integral part of the company a century later. The Evinrude brand has expanded to include a variety of specialized engines, tools, and high-quality 2-cycle oil such as Evinrude XD100 oil. There’s no telling what innovations the next 100 years will bring.

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Evinrude Anglers Excel at Fishing Tournament

Evinrude Anglers Excel at Fishing Tournament

It’s not an uncommon sight when the Evinrude professional anglers sweep a fishing tournament or manage to take more than half of the top spots. Evinrude professional anglers are assisted in all their fishing endeavors by the amazing Evinrude E-TEC outboard engines, which are supported by certified Evinrude mechanics and Evinrude outboard oil.

The Evinrude E-TEC engine has several benefits over the standard outboard motor. For one, the E-TEC is a great deal quieter than other outboard motors, allowing fisherman to sneak up on fish without alerting of their presence. The E-TEC engines are also cleaner engines that keep lakes, oceans, and rivers free from pollutants. The E-TEC engine is also resilient to weather and atmospheric conditions, boasting top performance in both biting cold and blazing heat. E-TEC outboard engines are often amongst the most popular used in fishing tournaments around the world, and with good reason.

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