Preventing Oil Leaks

Outboard motors power watercrafts ranging from small pontoons to large fishing boats. Regardless of size, using the best outboard motor oil is a priority. What do you do then if your motor begins to leak? This can be detrimental to the motor’s performance and to the environment.

To prevent an oil leak, examine the fuel lines for cracks or breaks prior to heading out on the water. Also look over the oil tank for any cracks or holes. In both cases, replacing damaged parts is a must. Finally, check the engine block for corrosion and have trouble spots fixed by a professional.

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How to Choose Your Outboard Motor Oil: Flash and Pour Point

Now that we’ve covered the basics of oil viscosity, it is time to look at some of the other main specifications for your outboard motor oil. The flash point represents the temperature that the oil will be ignited at if exposed to an open flame. At this temperature, the oil will emit flammable vapors. Generally, the higher the flash point, the better the quality of the oil.

Like all liquids, oil can be chilled to a temperature where it is stagnate. The pour point is five degrees above this point and is particularly important for vehicles that are used in the winter. As you can probably ascertain, the lower the pour point is, the better. The flash point and the pour point represent the two extreme temperature limits of the oil, and aside from the viscosity, are the most important specs to consider.

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Time to Inspect for Oil Leaks?

Time to Inspect for Oil Leaks?

Most outboard motor manufacturers recommend that boat owners inspect their engines once a year – if not more often – and perform some routine maintenance as needed. If your outboard has seen a lot of action this summer, take some time to ensure that it continues to operate smoothly. To begin this process, grab a screwdriver, an adjustable wrench, an industrial container, pliers, a hammer, some two cycle outboard oil and your owner’s manual.

The first step is to make sure you don’t void your warranty by mistake. Scour the manual for tips on which lubricants and replacement parts to use. Next, study the motor for signs of lubricant leaks. Don’t be alarmed if you spot a bit of oil below the fill screws, but a large running stain is cause for concern. In the case of excess oil leakage, set up an appointment with an outboard mechanic. At least you caught the problem early instead of finding out about it when your engine shuts down in the middle of the lake.

Consult your manual again to see if lubricant changes are recommended for the engine’s lower unit. If so, drain the old lubricant into the industrial container and replace it with a recommended brand. Squirt some lubricant into the gear case with the applicator until the oil starts to come out of the top fill hole. Put the top plug back on and wipe away leftover lubricant with a cloth.

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Marine Engine Overheating Facts

Marine Engine Overheating Facts

Overheating is a common problem amongst marine engines, and most overheating problems can be attributed to the water pump. There are three main problems which tend to be the reason the water pump isn’t functional, those being lack of raw water flow, lack of fresh water, and defective heat exchanger. You can check for a lack of raw water flow by noting the temperature of the outlet side of the raw water system; if the water is hot, in excess of 130 degrees, it could indicate a water flow problem. Lack of fresh water will manifest as an increase in temperature difference between in and outlet of the heat exchanger. Noticing a defective heat exchanger is a bit more difficult, in general the easiest way to identify this is by process of elimination from performing the above two checks.

It’s also a good idea to check on essential fluids like marine engine oil. If the oil hasn’t been changed in some time, it could be causing the engine to overheat because the pistons aren’t receiving adequate lubrication.

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Checking Boat Engine Oil

boat motor oil

Checking the oil level in your outboard motor is a simple process, but it can nonetheless be confusing if you’ve never done it before. In addition to having the proper amount of oil in your motor, it’s also important to check the quality of the oil. Begin by pulling out the oil dipstick, and wipe off the engine oil with a light colored rag. Put the dipstick back in, then immediately pull it out. Compare the oil on the end of the dipstick with that against the rag, noting the quality and if there are any particles of dirt or grit. You want your boat motor oil to be a caramel color; if it is black it might require changing.

To check the oil level in the engine, simply note the place on your dipstick that indicates ‘full’ or ‘low’ and the oil line in relation to this spot. Be sure to pull the dipstick out and wipe it back off before putting it back in; this will give you an accurate reading.

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How to Change Your Outboard Motor Oil and Filter, Part 2

How to Change Your Outboard Motor Oil and Filter, Part 2

The oil filter will need to be changed every time the outboard motor oil is changed. Be sure and place a couple of rags or absorbent pads under the filter cap to collect potential oil or debris. Try to loosen the cap, using the appropriate wrench. You may have to clean the filter cap with an absorbent pad; if this doesn’t work, get a screwdriver and hammer and tap the screwdriver tip down into the cap, rotating the existing oil filter until it loosens enough to be removed.
Before you replace the old oil filter with a new one, dip your finger into the old oil and rub a bead of oil around the edge of the new oil filter’s gasket o-ring, which will ease the future removal of the new filter when it needs to be replaced with the next oil change. If you will be boating in a hot climate that stays above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, use 25W-40 motor oil; in a cooler climate, use a 10W-30. Screw the new oil filter into position. Tighten the new oil filter by hand, ensuring it is snug with an additional ¾ to 1 full turn. Once the oil filter is in place and the drain plug is secured tightly, remove the plug for the fill and add the new oil using a funnel. Check your manufacturer’s manual for specifications regarding the amount of oil to use. Finally, check your dipstick to make sure there is enough oil. For environmental purposes, please dispose of discarded outboard engine oil at an approved hazardous materials collection center. Happy boating!

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How to Change Your Outboard Motor Oil and Filter, Part 1

How to Change Your Outboard Motor Oil and Filter, Part 1

With a four-stroke outboard motor, you will need to change the boat motor oil at frequent intervals. (A traditional two-stroke outboard motor doesn’t require engine oil because the oil and gasoline mix provides lubrication for the motor.) For a four-stroke outboard engine, it is generally recommended that the oil is changed once a year or every 100 hours of running time in fresh water, whichever comes sooner. For saltwater usage or if the four-stroke motor is run hard, the oil should be changed twice as often-for every 50 hours of running time and or twice a year if you are a frequent boater. A tip before you begin: have plenty of rags or absorbent pads ready to use during and after the oil change.

Pull the boat out of the water onto dry land and remove the engine cover (which usually is secured with one or two latches), setting it off to the side so that its surface does not become scratched. The top section of the outboard engine is called “the power head” and below it is the lower gearcase. Pull out the dip stick to assess the condition of the oil inside the crankcase. The drain plug is in the midsection of the outboard engine, and it will need to be loosened in order to drain the oil.

A table can be helpful to provide some leverage for the draining process. One technique is to turn the steering wheel so that the drain plug on the motor is facing inward, placing an oil pan on the table and under the drain plug to catch the existing oil. Back the drain plug out with the appropriate socket wrench, having a pan ready to catch the oil, because it will flow freely. Once all of the oil has drained, wipe up excess oil. Replace the drain plug, making sure it is secured.

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A Simple Task

A Simple TaskBefore taking your boat out on the water, you may want to go over the following checklist just to make sure that she will run as well as she should. These are relatively easy things to look over that should take no more than half-an-hour.

  • Sniff engine compartment for gasoline fumes
  • Check marine engine oil level
  • Check electrolyte level in batteries
  • Check power steering fluid
  • Check belts
  • Check hoses
  • Check trim/tilt fluid
  • Check propeller
  • Once started-check all gauges
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The Big Problem with Oil Leaks

boat motor oilJust like with your car, boat motor oil leaks can signal a problem. Find oil leakage can be indicated in several ways, whether it’s a pool in your garage or driveway or if it’s mixed with water when you remove the water plug. Here are some things you should look at to surmise a leakage problem:

  • Check your dipstick before and after you take your boat out. It’s also good practice to do this anyway.
  • Check if there’s oil in the oil pan.
  • Check the level in your tilt and trim reservoir.
  • Change your filter, if necessary.

If you’re still having issues, consult a professional boat mechanic to see if there are any other parts of the boat you may have glossed over. The main thing is to solve this problem immediately before it causes a great deal of damage to your boat.

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Saving Money on Gas

Saving Money on GasDon’t let the gloom and doom predictions of high gas prices keep you from your boating passion. Even with bulk oil costs soaring, it’s still possible to have some money in your pocket when you leave the fuel pier. By understanding your boat’s design – whether it has a displacement, semi-displacement, or planning hull – and doing some easy calculations, you will know the boat’s most economical cruising speed.

Displacement and Semi-Displacement Boats
Displacement hulls are designed to force their way through the water. A semi-displacement hull achieves a partial plane, which reduces drag and wave making. Both have a top speed that cannot be exceeded without increasing the power significantly. A large power increase also means greater fuel consumption.

To figure the maximum speed, multiply the square root of the waterline in feet times 1.34. Using this calculation for a 38 ft. displacement hull boat, the maximum speed is 9.2 knots. To save money on gas with a displacement or semi-displacement hull, do not try to increase your speed past the calculated maximum speed. In the case of the displacement hull, increasing power to go faster will use more fuel without a resulting speed gain. With a semi-displacement hull, your speed will increase, but there will be a corresponding fuel consumption increase.

Planing Boats
Pull back on the throttles with a true planing hull. Fuel consumption increases with every knot while the boat is on plane. A boat with a planing hull has the greatest fuel economy at the point when it first comes onto plane, or begins to skim the surface of the water.

Limiting the amount of time a planing boat displaces water before coming onto plane will also result in reduced fuel costs. This doesn’t mean slam the throttle downs to get up on plane faster. Instead, bring the boat up to speed at a moderately quick, steady pace.

If you are like me, you like to go fast quickly. But, if you follow these tips for reduced fuel consumption, you will finish at the end of the boating season having won the fuel marathon with a few extra dollars in your pocket.

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How to Change an Oil Filter on Your Boat

outboard oilPart of making your boat run well is to regularly change your oil filter. Ideally, you’ll want to change your outboard oil filter every 100 hours, or at the top of the season. Here’s a guide on how to do it yourself:

• Because you’ll have to drain and then refill the oil, you’ll need to pull the boat out of the water onto dry land.

• Remove the engine cover, which is usually held in place with the use of one or two latches. Simply pull down on it and lift it straight up. Let it set off to the side — being careful not to scratch its surface.

• Here are some key parts and elements on the engine:

• Dip Stick — Simply pull it out to examine the condition of the oil inside the crank case.

• Fill — The fill for the engine oil screws on and off.

• Drain Plug — The manufacturer installed the drain plug for the crank case oil in what’s called the “mid-section” of the outboard engine. You simply loosen it to drain the oil.

• Before getting into the oil change, bring in a table and turn the steering wheel so that the drain plug on the motor is facing inward. Then trim the engine all the way up and place an oil pan on the table and under the drain plug.

• Back the drain plug out with the socket wrench, and be sure to have the oil pan right under the plug because the oil will flow freely.

• Once all of the oil has drained, wipe up any excess oil with a rag or absorbent pad.

• Replace the drain plug and tighten it securely.

• To change the oil filter, which needs to be changed every time to change the oil, you won’t be able to use a traditional oil-filter wrench because they’re too large. What you’ll need is a strap wrench that slips right over the filter cap. Pull it tight and then try to loosen the cap. If the strap slips, you may have to clean the filter cap with an absorbent pad. If this doesn’t work, get a screwdriver and hammer and simply drive (by tapping) the screwdriver tip down into the cap, and then rotate the filter until it becomes loose enough to take off.

• Before you replace the old oil filter with the new one, dip your finger into the old oil and rub a bead of the oil around the edge of the new filter’s gasket o-ring. This will make the job of removing this filter that much easier when it’s time to replace it.

• Screw the new oil filter into position.

• Now that the oil filter is in place and the drain plug is secured tightly, it’s time to remove the plug for the fill and add the three quarts of oil using a funnel.
• Warning: Every engine is different so be sure to check with the manufacturer’s manual for how much oil to use.

• The last thing you need to complete the oil and filter change is to pull out the dip stick in order to make sure you have enough oil.

• Please always dispose of discarded engine oil at an approved collection center.

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Preventing Spills

Preventing SpillsPart of being a responsible boater is to ensure that your boat isn’t leaking outboard motor oil. Not only will leaks and spills be a detriment to the environment, but some states will fine you for leaving a trail of oil. Spills and leaks can be prevented by checking your motor before taking your boat out on the water. Also make sure that your motor is tuned and bilges have been checked for oil leaks.

Additionally, you should also check weather reports, as overturned and submerged boats can leak fuel and oil into the water, killing fish and other wildlife.

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