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post #1 of 39 Old 07-05-2016 Thread Starter
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Small Outboard Care

So I just dropped a a pretty penny on a 2005 15HP Mercury 2-stroke outboard and I want to make sure I am keeping it in ship shape for as long as possible and thus I wanted to compile a little list of the care and maintenance these guys need.

I would really appreciate any more thoughts. Here is what I have so far:
  • Make sure there is a fuel filter in the supply line
  • Always use Ethanol free fuel and filter or strain fuel before putting it into the tank if it is questionable
  • Replace spark plugs every year or two
  • Clean the carb every year or two
  • Flush motor every time after saltwater use and after every 10 times of brackish water use
  • Lubricate every 2-3 months depending on use

Questions:
  • What do you lubricate and how often?
  • How often do you change the fuel filter?
  • What sort of care do you give for the water impeller? I've mostly seen change every 200 hours in fresh and 100 hours in salt.
  • How often do you drain and refill the gearcase?
  • I've seen people suggesting that take off the engine cowling and wipe down and spray all accessible mechanical components and moving parts with an anti-corrosive like WD-40. Do any of y'all actually do that?
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post #2 of 39 Old 07-05-2016
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Re: Small Outboard Care

Other than using Ethanol Free and a double dose of BLUE Stabil in the gas, most maintenance is done at the end of the season, which for us in around October 1.

I defer to my mechanic as to when he wants to do things by keeping careful records of use. BTW, I have 6 hp 4 stroke Tohatsu that I am still breaking in after its predecessor, a 5HP Honda blew a head gasket.

Since you have an older model, you carb jets are much wider in diameter especially since there is oil in your gas, and you will probably have less problems with ethanol than we do. However, remember than ethanol is a very powerful solvent(like the blood in the Alien Movie creature) and it will dissolve all plastics like seals and gas tanks, and that it will collect water and add it to your gas right out of the air. We used to have additives using it to absorb water in the gas line of cars.

Last edited by Zarathu; 07-05-2016 at 02:11 PM.
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post #3 of 39 Old 07-05-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Small Outboard Care

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Originally Posted by Zarathu View Post
Other than using Ethanol Free and a double dose of BLUE Stabil in the gas, most maintenance is done at the end of the season, which for us in around October 1.

I defer to my mechanic as to when he wants to do things by keeping careful records of use. BTW, I have 6 hp 4 stroke Tohatsu that I am still breaking in after its predecessor, a 5HP Honda blew a head gasket.

Since you have an older model, you carb jets are much wider in diameter especially since there is oil in your gas, and you will probably have less problems with ethanol than we do. However, remember than ethanol is a very powerful solvent(like the blood in the Alien Movie creature) and it will dissolve all plastics like seals and gas tanks, and that it will collect water and add it to your gas right out of the air. We used to have additives using it to absorb water in the gas line of cars.
Do you put BLUE Stabil in with every tank?

And when getting your mechanic to work on your outboard do you have him/her come to your boat or do you pull off the motor every year?
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Re: Small Outboard Care

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Originally Posted by clifgray View Post
Do you put BLUE Stabil in with every tank?

And when getting your mechanic to work on your outboard do you have him/her come to your boat or do you pull off the motor every year?
Well... for me in a small sailboat a three gallon tank is overkill. In my engine, I get 75 mpg. I'm lucky if I get 25 miles in in the entire season. I also have an electric torqeedo, since in my maiden voyage, I lost the engine due to ethanol and had no back up, and without wind ended up drifting toward the rocks on the tide(about 3 knots by the way).

So every time I fill up the tank I put in Blue Stabil....yes.

The OB only weighs 60 lb. I take it off and deliver it to him. He only lives 3 miles away. I live on Mount Desert Island, ME(home of Acadia National Park).

You need to understand that the end of the season means I go to the ramp, take the boat off the mooring, and bring it into the trailer to spend the winter in my front yard. Right now that still where it is since we had a very very cold spring, and I had now way to work on it in 40 degree day time temps.

People with bigger boats often have him get their boat for them and store it in his lot for dry dock.
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post #5 of 39 Old 07-05-2016
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Re: Small Outboard Care

The better way is to go cruising in the tropics, or maybe anywhere, don't come back. You will use the outboard nearly every day. The gas will not go bad. It will start on the first pull nearly all the time. The only spares you will need is a pull rope and a prop. Plugs do not go bad. You will never flush the engine. It will simply wear out, or become disgracefully ugly, in seven or ten years.
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Re: Small Outboard Care

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The better way is to go cruising in the tropics, or maybe anywhere, don't come back. You will use the outboard nearly every day. The gas will not go bad. It will start on the first pull nearly all the time. The only spares you will need is a pull rope and a prop. Plugs do not go bad. You will never flush the engine. It will simply wear out, or become disgracefully ugly, in seven or ten years.
And other than use, and ethanol free, why would that be?
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Re: Small Outboard Care

@Zarathu sounds like we'll be have some quite different usage profiles! I'll actually be living aboard and doing a number of trips from Chattanooga to Nashville and popping out to sail once a week or so. So at least running it for ~45 minutes every week and then every month or two running it for a solid 5-10 hours. And I'll be living on it year round so it won't ever really be in dry storage. At least for the next year or two.

@aloof that does sound pretty ideal... now to just find a job that allows that
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Re: Small Outboard Care

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And other than use, and ethanol free, why would that be?
Outboards just like the tropics, simple really. Don't see a lot of outboards fleeing to Maine for the winter do you?
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Re: Small Outboard Care

aloo that does sound pretty ideal... now to just find a job that allows that [/QUOTE]

No job except, independently wealthy or retired on pensions and savings, allows that. People who do that sail, and then find menial jobs in port to do so that they can sail some more. Or, they hire themselves out for others, and then you become the owner of a bed and breakfast on the water.
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Re: Small Outboard Care

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Originally Posted by Zarathu View Post
And other than use, and ethanol free, why would that be?
I don't know what you are questioning...but my seven ? year old Mercury 2-stroke dinghy motor runs fine. Looks like hell. A year ago it could barely be steered because the nylon bearings swelled up...or something. But then the swelling cracked the casting and all was good...steering returned. Heh. The external rubber bits dissolve in the sunlight. The prop and lower bits try, but fail, to cleave rocks. The clamp handles break off. The fuel tank caps quietly split, let in rain water, then the engine quits. A few minutes of bleeding cures that. The fuel fitting fails in the remotest of places and gets routed around with diesel hose. Salt and rust slowly take their toll. Eventually it is just so ugly it gets replaced.

Some people might replace and rebuild. It might last decades. Some even invest is cute canvas covers for everything. But for me it is better to just let it age into retirement. Which is coming soon.

Never replaced a spark plug, filter or anything like that. Just the pull rope. I recall buying a new recoil spring from an Ace hardware somewhere in Micronesia, too.

I think the engine blocks are designed by real engineers that went to real schools. All the external crap is created by the the children in marketing.

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