Transporting an Outboard Motor

Today we’re going to touch on proper transportation. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by the number of boat owners who cause damage to their outboard motors by not transporting them correctly. Driving with the outboard motor loaded to the transom is fine, but if the outboard is in the “up” position with an unsupported lower unit, every bump in the road is concentrated on the bolts of the fiberglass transom.

Now you may be thinking to yourself, “I always transport my motorboat the way you described. If I don’t, the motor will scrape the lake bottom when landing.” True, a tilt may be necessary, but there is no good reason to not right the motor once the boat has been loaded onto the trailer. Once the boat has been loaded, the motor lowered, and the hull cleaned, take the opportunity to check to see if the motor needs to be topped off with the best outboard motor oil.

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Spring Checklist Item 3

Our next item on the checklist is something we should probably be doing everytime wwe take the boat out, but sometimes we all forget. Fluids, props and hulls need to be checked thoroughly before heading out on the water this spring. It’s easy to check fluid levels like oil, steering, power trim reservoirs and coolant. And if you didn’t change your oil prior to winterizing you’ll want to change it before heading out. Many Yamaha 2 cycle engines run better and more efficiently with Yamalube 2W oil, for example.

Propellers and hulls should be checked for nicks and dings that may be unsafe or cause the motor to operate at less than optimum efficiency. You’ll also want to ensure the prop is seated securely. When inspecting the hull keep an eye out for any cracking or blistering that may indicate a larger problem. A little preparedness goes a long way when getting ready for the next boating season.

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Environmentally Friendly Boating Tip 5

Our fourth installment of eco-friendly boating tips ties closely into one of last week’s tips for saving money at the pump. A lot of people are so excited to get out on the water that they forget to take the time to get to know their waterways. This year, take the extra time and experience the satisfaction of responsible navigation. Know where you’re going, how to get there and even the best time to head out. Proper navigation saves you time on the water and ultimately money in the bank.

You can avoid excess fuel consumption by being patient and planning your trip well in advance. Avoid this common mistake. Everyone can’t wait to get out on the water every year so don’t fall victim to impatience. Save yourself time, money and wear and tear on your boat by thinking ahead and having a solid route planned out. The best part is you can help the environment at the same time! Also, try buying bulk motor oil to save money on all of your boat trips.

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Boat Engine Maintenance 101: Making a Plan

Every boat owner—without exception—needs to know the fundamentals of engine maintenance in order to prevent long-term damage and have the ability to make adjustments when they’re on the water. Before we delve into the specifics, it’s crucial to get an understanding of the end goal of engine maintenance. Not only do you want to prevent long-term corrosion and wear, you also want to ensure that your boat is performing at its maximum capacity.

The biggest catch-22 about engine maintenance is that although your vessel is constantly in the water, water—and salt water in particular—is the engine’s worst enemy. Water is corrosive in and of itself, but it also facilitates the growth of fungus and other microbes. To that end, it’s imperative that you maintenance plan includes measures to prevent corrosion and protect against water damage. Over the next couple of days, we’ll be covering everything from how to mix your gasoline and outboard motor oil, to basic steps you can take to maintain your cooling system.

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How to Operate a Boat: The Basics

Whether you just bought your first boat or just plan to ride along as a passenger, learning the boating basics is a good idea for anyone who is going to be out on the water. Even if you aren’t planning to drive, you never know when an emergency will arise—or the skipper will want to take a turn being towed.

If you’re not riding in your own vessel, be sure to learn the basics of the craft when you get on. This should include locating the fire extinguisher and emergency supplies and learning how to start it up—although you should be able to do that after our crash course. Over the next few days we’ll be covering the essentials of boating—from how to properly check outboard motor oil and gasoline, to basic driving operations.

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Motor Oil: Mineral or Synthetic?

There are three basic categories when it comes to outboard motor oil: mineral, synthetic and semi-synthetic. Mineral oil is the traditional stuff that is drilled and refined straight from the earth. Synthetic oil is comprised entirely of manmade chemical compounds. Semi-synthetic, as you can probably ascertain, is a combination of the two aforementioned types.

So which is the best type? Synthetic oils have the upper hand because scientists have the capability to design the oil to their exact specifications. This allows them to create oil that works well in virtually any conditions and runs cleaner than mineral oil. There used to be the notion that switching from mineral to synthetic or vice-versa was detrimental to your engine, but current research has shown that you can switch back and forth without causing any damage.

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Winterizing Your ATV: Part One

Now that we’ve got the boat stowed away for the winter and have dealt with all of the necessary fuel and outboard motor oil chores, it’s time to start thinking about getting your winter vehicles out of storage. My family has an assortment of vehicles for soggy, cold conditions, but my favorite has to be our fleet of ATVs. Of course, you can’t simply take these vehicles out of storage and begin tackling the terrain immediately.

Just as you have to winterize a boat for storage, you also need to go through a winterization process before exposing ATVs to frigid climates. Over the next few days, we’ll be covering some of the basics of this winterization process to ensure your engine doesn’t seize up. We’ll also touch on some of the basic maintenance procedures that should be performed regularly, especially when starting up your machine for the first time since it’s been in storage.

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The Anatomy of the Two-Stroke Engine: Part One

Four-stroke engines are ubiquitous in automobile manufacturing and while you may consider the two-stroke engine an antiquated instrument, it still has myriad uses. From yard tools and dirt bikes to RC toys and outboard motors, the two-stroke engine is still utilized in many smaller vehicles and implements. Before we start to overview the inner workings of the two-stroke engine, let’s highlight a few of its main advantages over its four-stroke counterpart:

~Simple construction: the absence of valves lowers the unit’s weight and minimizes the opportunity for breakdowns.

~More power: since two-stroke engines for every revolution, as opposed to every other revolution, they can generate more power than a four-stroke engine.

~Work in any direction: if you try to operate a four-stroke engine upside-down or sideways, you may encounter problems with oil flow. The gasoline and outboard motor oil are combined in a two-stroke engine, eliminating this problem.

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The History of Synthetic Oil

Yesterday we discussed why using premium oil is so important for boaters, but what I failed to mention was that most premium bulk oil on the market today is synthetic. And while we may think that synthetics are relatively new, their origins date back many decades. During the 1930s and 1940s, Dr. Hermann Zorn began to research new engine lubricant which wouldn’t coagulate or become sticky like the oils of his day. His research led him to the conclusion that esters held the answer. At the same time as Zorn’s research, the US was in the process of synthesizing esters for use in oils.

Synthetic oils were first used in WWII by both Germany and the United States. It wasn’t until the 1960s however until Chevron released the first synthetic for commercial use. The quality of synthetics has continually improved, with new esters and methods constantly being utilized. Today, synthetic oils are the gold standard of the industry.

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