Tony’s Dos and Don’ts

Outboard Motor Tips From Tony Owen

Flushing The Cooling System

You have had a super time during the summer and you are going to put your outboard into winter storage, or if you are a saltwater sailor, you may want to keep the keep the rig in the ocean. Either way,  there are some vital parts of your trusty outboard that will need attention.

The first problem that saltwater sailors face is the crystallization of salt in those dark and damp places that are found in marine engines and equipment. The new four-stroke engines are very heavy and are not very portable for service work. An 8 HP four-stroke can weigh upwards of 100lbs, and usually requires the help of another strong back to remove the motor from the dinghy.

All that aside, flushing with fresh water when you are doing your yearly maintenance of the lower-end drive-gear is very important (another Tony tip will be coming about gear oil changing).You can use a simple earmuff device that fixes to the outboard’s lower end or a threaded hose connection available from your engine dealer.

Tony's collection of flushers for outboard motors.

Attach the flushing device, turn on the water and start the motor. Five minutes should do the trick if you have been flushing every year. If there is a problem with the water flow and the motor has been running hotter than usual then put the motor’s lower end in a tub of water containing some off-the-shelf salt deposit remover. Run the motor for 20 minutes so the water in the tub gets warm. This warmed water and salt remover helps to dissolve the salt. Leave overnight and restart in the morning with fresh water in the tub. If this does not help then a workshop manual and some tools may be required. If you don’t know a spanner from a wrench then take the motor to a service depot!

Here is a picture of a motor that had not been fresh water flushed in 5 years. Needless to say this customer’s lower end oil had not been changed either!

When your motor isn't regularly flushed, salt deposits can build up (seen here in the thermostat housing) and create cooling problems.

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