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Maintenance on an outboard motor should begin each year when the boating season ends. However, in most cases the motor is left attached to the boat and stored with a tarp over it for the winter months. Several years of this type of neglect will lead to the major expense of having to have your outboard motor repaired by a professional. These tips will help you learn the preventative measures that are needed to keep your outboard motor running smoothly all season year after year.

It is not necessary to remove your outboard motor from your boat at the end of each boating season. The motor can be maintenanced right on the boat. Once you have brought your boat home you should begin by cleaning the cooling system with a garden hose that is connected to an adapter on the motor's water intake. While doing this you will need to remove the propeller and run the engine at idle so the water will circulate through the passages. Continue doing this until the water coming out is clean. If you have had your boat in salty water, it might be necessary to touch your finger to the water and taste it to be sure there is no salt in the clean water. Flushing the cooling system will not only remove any salt, it will also remove any silt or dirt from running the motor in lakes. When this is finished, wash down the motor housing thoroughly to remove salt and debris. To grease your motor you will need a grease gun with a high quality, water resistant chassis grease, which can be purchased at most auto parts stores. Check your owners manual and grease all the linkage fittings as specified. Any linkages without fitting should have grease worked into them with your finger and the propeller shaft should be well greased as well.

The best way to tell if you have any leakage caused by the gear case seals or gasket is to drain all the oil from the gear case. If there is water in the oil have a marine engine mechanic pressure test the gear case to be sure and then replace the seals or gasket. Find the fuel line where it is connected at the carburetor fuel pump and disconnect it. Take out the filter screen and swish it in a pan of automotive solvent to clean it. Then run the engine to use up the fuel in the carburetor. Next you will need to drain the fuel tank and lines, then disconnect the fuel line gauge assembly from the top of the tank. Lift it free of the motor and pour gas in through a piece of cheesecloth to filter out any dirt. Refill the tank to about 1\4 full and swish it around to pick up any dirt residue and then empty it again. If you use an in tank filter it will need to be cleaned in a pan of solvent as well. When your fuel line has drain valves you should open them or if not, blow the fuel line out with compressed air. Take out the spark plugs and pour two tablespoons of two stroke engine oil in then start the engine for a minute to distribute the oil before reinstalling the spark plugs. Use concrete blocks under the motor to support it through the winter and then when spring arrives, while your tuning the motor for use, check for any chipped paint or areas that are rusted. If you find any use a wire brush to remove the rust and then apply two coats of primer before repainting with engine enamel. After you have reconnected all your wiring it is also a good idea to spray your motor with a good quality silicone spray to protect it from moisture.