Boat Prepping Starts Here and Now
A few simple maintenance steps can help ensure a great boating season.
Spring has arrived and we’re all eager to get on the water. The weather’s improving – in some locations it’s already spectacular – and the fish are biting.
But before you jump in the boat and crank up your outboard, there are a few basic but important maintenance items to review to ensure a great season and long life for your outboard. These recommendations are common for most outboards, but you should reference your maintenance manual or authorized service center.
For starters, let’s tackle the most obvious step: checking the engine oil. Oil and filter changes are typically recommended annually or every 100 hours, so if you’re taking the boat out for its inaugural run of 2020, it’s probably due for an oil change. Quicksilver’s Synthetic Blend handles our demanding, high performance needs.
Gearcase lube can’t be overlooked. Always check for leaks or puddling on the floor beneath the outboard when you first pull out your boat. Changes are easy and should be accomplished annually at a minimum. Replace with proper gearcase lubricant as dictated by your service manual; high-performance gearcases often require matching oils.
Moving on, serpentine or V-belts should be visually inspected regularly. If excessive wear is noted, most are best serviced or changed by an authorized service center. Though not overly complicated, these belts sometimes need a special tool to loosen. It’s a quick, inexpensive change for a skilled hand with the right gear. Quicksilver produces a quality belt for just about every boat motor out there.
Thermostats sit atop most modern outboards and should be checked each spring. It’s a good idea to remove the housing and give the inside a visual inspection to ensure there’s no debris that could cause a clog. Like many engine parts, “When in doubt, change it out.” Thermostats are typically easy to replace with the removal of just a couple bolts. Quicksilver’s replacement comes as an easy one-piece kit.
Moving inside the engine, most four-stroke outboards have an internal fuel / water separation filter. Servicing is simply a matter of disconnecting the water sensor and removing the filter. Any water can be dumped out, or the part can be replaced quickly.
Next up: spark plugs. It’s rather common for plugs to foul in many two-stroke outboards, however, newer four-stroke engines rarely have such problems. Still, all plugs should be inspected and changed if questionable. A special deep-well socket (maybe with an extension) might be necessary on larger outboards.
Fuel care is an often-overlooked maintenance item that affects more of today’s outboards than just about anything. With ethanol levels continuing to rise, fuel separation and related outboard damage is a real concern. In order to combat potential issues, it’s important to service and maintain the fuel itself. Quicksilver’s 1-2-3 fuel-care system handles this for the life of your outboard.
Quicksilver’s stage 1 “Quickare” should be used at every fuel fill-up and helps control fuel tank moisture, gumming and corrosion. “Quickleen” is stage 2 of the system and should be used every few trips to remove carbon buildup and extend spark plug life. At the end of each season, stage 3 “Quickstor” is used to stabilize fuel and keep internal parts lubricated. Be sure to run a bit through your outboard before winterization.
For many boaters, it’s time to get out and enjoy the water. But don’t skimp on preparation in all the excitement – a few hours of attention to your engine prior to your first run will ensure a great season ahead, and memories that will last a lifetime.