Talking about Packing Up for A Move

3 Tasks To Perform Before Starting Up Your Outboard Motor After The Storage Season

As the sun starts to peek out from behind the clouds, you may be eager to go grab your boat out of storage and hit the water. Unfortunately, heading out onto the water without taking the time to perform some maintenance can spell trouble. As a beginner boating enthusiast, it pays to put your all into the preparation process to ready your boat for months of summer time fun. After all, the precautions you take before putting your boat into the water can save you from having to swallow your pride and call for help. The first thing to focus on after pulling your boat out of storage at a place like is the four-stroke outboard motor. Read on for three maintenance tasks to perform before starting up your engine.

Change the Oil

Unlike the two stroke variants that require an oil and fuel mixture, your four-stroke setup uses straight oil that runs through a filter, much like the ones commonly found on automobiles. Just like cars, you need to change the oil used for your boat motor on a regular schedule. For gas-powered boats, the interval generally sits around every 100 hours, but diesel motors can go for 200 before needing an oil change. Furthermore, you must change the oil at the beginning of each season to ready your boat for the water.

 To perform this task, you will need to grab the appropriate filter, drain plug and oil formula for your outboard engine. You will need to decide between mineral and semi-synthetic oil for your boat. Natural oil works well for leisure boating and fishing, while semi-synthetic supports heavy load activities, like pulling people on inner tubes or wakeboards.

Replace the Thermostat

The thermostat is a vital piece of equipment that precisely controls the operating temperature of your engine. Unfortunately, the thermostat easily sticks shut after sitting for a prolonged period of time. If the thermostat stays closed, the engine could overheat since cold water cannot enter the coolant passages through that line. When the engine overheats, the cylinder walls could crack as the metal piston material expands in its narrow channel.

Luckily, the thermostat is an incredibly cheap part that is fairly easy to replace. You can simply swap out the old thermostat for a new one to ensure your engine will cool properly. While you are replacing the thermostat, clear dirt, debris and sludge out of the inlet and outlet ports near the propeller.

Prepare the Fuel

The fuel stabilizers you poured into the engine at the beginning of the storage season keep moisture out of your gas or diesel tank. As a result, the stabilizers protect your fuel tank and lines from corroding while the motor sits. If you go to start the engine with just the stabilized mixture as a fuel source, however, you might notice it does not run as well as you remember.

Luckily, you can dilute the stabilizers with more fuel and add an octane booster to improve your idle and restore power. After running the octane booster through the engine, you can simply refill with regular fuel each time the tank runs low.

Starting Up For The First Time

After performing the above maintenance tasks, you are ready to test out your outboard motor. You do not need to plunk your entire boat into the drink to test out your outboard motor. You will need an adequate amount of water, however, to keep the impeller pulling water into the engine cooling purposes.

To create an ideal testing setup, you will need to keep the engine on the stand and place the tail section in a 30-gallon garbage can full of water. You can simulate the power system by running jumper cables from your car to the positive and negative connections on the outboard's starter. If the outboard fires up and stays running, you are ready to go.