Fresh water flush out of outboard cooling system during saltwater cruise? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-13-2013 Thread Starter
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Fresh water flush out of outboard cooling system during saltwater cruise?

Yet another outboard motor question:

My manual advises to flush the cooling intake with fresh water after using the motor in salt or "dirty" water. Apparently there is special tubing/tool for doing this with a mercury motor. Do most people do this at night in the midst of a multiday saltwater cruise? Or just when they get back?

Does one really need the special tubing or can you just use a turkey baster or some other low tech solution?
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post #2 of 10 Old 05-13-2013
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Re: Fresh water flush out of outboard cooling system during saltwater cruise?

When I had my Catalina 25 I figured that daily use in salt water, plus a return to the fresh water of Lake Union was good enough. The longest that my boat spent in salt water was 12 or 13 days, but the motor was used for all but one of those.

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post #3 of 10 Old 05-13-2013
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Re: Fresh water flush out of outboard cooling system during saltwater cruise?

Stick the bottom end of the motor in a bucket of fresh water. Start and run for a few minutes.


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post #4 of 10 Old 05-13-2013
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Re: Fresh water flush out of outboard cooling system during saltwater cruise?

I used bunny ears and a water hose on my fishing boat outboards
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-13-2013
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Re: Fresh water flush out of outboard cooling system during saltwater cruise?

Enjoy your cruise and don't give this another thought. Constant use is good for your outboard and daily use will keep it flushed enough. When you get back, rinse it as you see fit. If you have the adapter, you just lift the motor, hook it up to a fresh water hose and run it for a minute or two. I've often wondered how the flush water gets past the impeller, without the motor running.

Personally, I think its more important for those that will let their outboard sit idle for days or weeks at a time. I flush my 18hp dinghy motor at the end of each season and never in-between.
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Re: Fresh water flush out of outboard cooling system during saltwater cruise?

^^ What he said...

You are taking this manual way too seriously. Flush it at the end of the season or if you have time back at the dock with a bucket of fresh water or rabbit ears. It is your time so if you want to make maintenance a priority you do what you like, but something else will end up breaking anyway.

I had a friend that I went fishing with once that insisted on washing his boat for an hour when we got back to the dock...needless to say, I only went fishing with him once.
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Re: Fresh water flush out of outboard cooling system during saltwater cruise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewwhill View Post
Yet another outboard motor question:

My manual advises to flush the cooling intake with fresh water after using the motor in salt or "dirty" water. Apparently there is special tubing/tool for doing this with a mercury motor. Do most people do this at night in the midst of a multiday saltwater cruise? Or just when they get back?

Does one really need the special tubing or can you just use a turkey baster or some other low tech solution?
As noted by others, periodic flushing by immersing the bottom end of the engine in a large bucket with fresh water is adequate. To improve your results, add some SaltAway to the fresh water. It will make a major difference in the life of the engine. We also use a mild solution of this material in the heads on our boat and have eliminated the problem of buildup in the discharge lines that are commonplace on many boats.

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post #8 of 10 Old 05-13-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Fresh water flush out of outboard cooling system during saltwater cruise?

Thanks!
What are rabbit ears?
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Re: Fresh water flush out of outboard cooling system during saltwater cruise?

I assume they meant these, which are clamped over the raw water intake when the boat is out of the water. Although, I would caution that they will do no good in the water, unless you can lift the outboard straight up. The motor needs to be running to pump the fresh water through, which you wouldn't want to do while tilted, unlike if you attach an adapter directly to a fresh water flush port.

Amazon.com: Ear Muff Motor Flusher: Sports & Outdoors Amazon.com: Ear Muff Motor Flusher: Sports & Outdoors




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post #10 of 10 Old 05-15-2013
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Re: Fresh water flush out of outboard cooling system during saltwater cruise?

I have been wondering this myself. I like to take proper care of everything. But if I go use the moor tomorrow and then anchor. There's no practical way or me to flush.

Mine had an attachment to hook a freshwater hose to and let it flush. I think the saltwater circulated almost daily is ok and the freshwater is mainly to avoid long term bullies from sitting. I do flush it every few days when I am at dock an am washing the rest of the boat down.

So I agree with above posters, not to worry, but when you can, do.

I don't know how you would hold a freshwater bucket over the side at anchor after a day of saltwater sailing. Sounds like a horrific pain and where would you get that much freshwater anyways?
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