FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ANSWERS TO YOUR COMMON QUESTIONS
Off season is warm
here. Do I need to winterize ?
What ratio of oil
do I mix with the gas?
My manufacturer recommends
100:1 mix. Is that enough oil?
My motor runs rough.
Should I add an additive to the gas to clean the carburetor?
What can I do to make
this outfit a little faster?
My motor "clunks" when
I am going ahead at higher speeds. Acts just like I hit something
in the water!
My motor fouls the recommended
spark plugs constantly. What do I do?
Black oil is leaking out of my lower unit
by the propeller and dripping off. Do I need a gear case reseal?
I moor my boat in the water.
I notice that its way slower now than it was when launched. I
need a tune-up!
I have great spark at the
plugs, but I have a bad miss.
I have great spark cranking
my motor with the plugs out, but it goes away when they are installed.
I get a shock from my
How often should I replace
my water pump?
I have a lot of gas left
over from last season. Is it OK to use it this year?
I have a 2 cylinder OMC
outboard with externally mounted coils and breaker points. I have
weird spark problems. What can I do?
Where can I get a copy
of a service manual for my motor?
I don't know what year
outboard motor I have. Can you tell me how to find out?
I have an older outboard
with higher compression. Should I burn PREMIUM gas?
1. Off season
is warm here. Do I need to winterize?
You certainly do! Off-season storage
in a warm, and possibly resultant humid climate is especially
hard on unused equipment. Hawaii is the worst! See my
for details on how to
store your rig for the off-season.
2. What ratio
of oil do I mix with the gas?
If you have an owners manual, look there
to see what the manufacturer recommends. If you have no clue, almost
any motor will perform just fine on a 24:1 ratio. Any motor built
after around 1965 will run just fine on 50:1 mix. For this ratio,
I strongly recommend a MAJOR MOTOR MANUFACTURER TCW 3 lubricant.
Don't use aftermarket oils. EXCEPTION! 100:1. See question 3 below.
3. My manufacturer
recommends 100:1 mix. Is that enough oil?
Absolutely NOT! DON'T DO IT! That's
plenty to lubricate the motor under IDEAL conditions with a
HIGH QUALITY 2 cycle lubricant. The problem comes after use
- the lack of adequate oil for storage on the internal bearings,
rings, and cylinder walls leaves your motor wide open to IMMEDIATE
internal damage, and shortened service life.
4. My motor runs
rough. Should I add an additive to the gas to clean the carburetor?
Only BOMBARDIER (Evinrude/Johnson)'s "Fuel System Cleaner" is specifically made to do this safely (this presumes the passages & jets
are not totally clogged). There is no other known additive
that you can add to the gas mix that will clean an outboard
carburetor. Automotive-type panaceas contain strong solvents
and cleaners that will damage or destroy the components of
the outboard fuel system. BOMBARDIER (Evinrude/Johnson) also
makes a product that will keep a clean system
clean - "2+4" fuel conditioner.
I am certain there are equivalent products from the other motor manufacturers
as well. If you do have a "dirty" carburetor, the
only sure cure is to disassemble it and use approved cleaners
to de-scrozz it.
5. What can I do
to make this outfit a little faster?
That opens a can of very large worms!
The best way to go faster is to get a bigger motor. As to increasing
the performance of any given rig, it is essential that you
a consultation, as every girl's different.
6. My motor "clunks" when I am going ahead at higher speeds. Acts just like I hit something
in the water!
This is a shifter engagement
problem caused by various maladies on different makes and models.
If an adjustment of the linkages to favor forward doesn't help,
it will require a trip to the motor doctor.
7. My motor fouls the
recommended spark plugs constantly. What do I do?
First thing to do is make sure
the thermostat is working and the motor is running at the
correct temperature. If your motor is cool or just warm to
the touch, it is too cold and will foul plugs. If the cooling
system is all in order, try the next hotter plug. The manufacturer's
recommendation is usually to the conservative side and takes
into consideration the extended WOT use and abuse some put
their motors through.
8. Black oil is leaking
out of my lower unit by the propeller and dripping off. Do I need
a gear case reseal?
Probably not. What you are
seeing is residual oil draining down out of the exhaust
system. Especially noticeable if you ran the motor for
awhile at lower speeds in colder water before you removed
it from the water. It is a good idea to check the gear
case fluid after you use the motor to see what the oil
looks like. It should be from the color of honey to weak coffee.
If it is creamy white and foamy, there is water in it.
(Some murkiness is normal over time.) Worse is black, foul
smelling and/or under pressure. This is dirty, burned lube
and should be changed immediately. If you see any metallic
colors floating around in the oil, you got troubles, Bunky!
9. I moor my boat in
the water. I notice that its way slower now than it was when launched.
I need a tune-up!
Before you drag it to the
shop, check several things. First, does the bottom of
your boat look like a Caesar salad? Marine growth can
be prolific, and will cost you a large percentage. In
saltwater, the buggies will start growing in 3 - 4 days!
Second - is the inner hull of your boat full of water?
if the flotation area under the flat floor is loaded,
the extra ton of water will slow ya down. Third - how's
the propeller? A couple of dingies in the wrong place
will cost miles per hour! The outer 10% of the blades
does 90% of the work.
10. I have great spark
at the plugs, but I have a bad miss.
Here I usually find a
case of a weak coil or dirty breaker points, leaky
condensers, etc. What looks good on a set of plugs
laid on the block is not indicative of a healthy ignition
system. The spark from a modern electronic system should
consistently jump a 3/8ths to 1/2" gap. The older
Battery CD motors are especially hard on coils, so
much so that you should gap the plugs down to .030
or less and replace the coil whenever there is the
11. I have great spark
cranking my motor with the plugs out, but it goes away when they
are installed. What's wrong?
The first question,
is the motor cranking fast enough to properly energize
the ignition system? The average magneto energized
CD ignition needs at least 600 rpm cranking to work.
Check the BATTERY, the CABLES, the SOLENOID, the
STARTER. If they are all OK, look at the ignition
STATOR, SENSOR and the COIL(S) OMC V4 motors from
1973 thru 1977 have a problem with weak sensor coils.
New ones are EX-PENSIVE! Look around at the local
O/B junk shop for used ones, old 1.5 volt coils are
white,the improved 3 volt ones are reddish in color.
12. I get a shock from
my control box!
You have a leak in
the high voltage leads in your wiring system, allowing
the primary ignition voltage to leak to ground (you,
in this case). These systems can create over
300 Volts AC, more than your house wiring. Disconnect
the shorting lead(s) at the powerpack, and if the
shock disappears, identify the bad wiring or switch,
and replace. This can also cause the problems in
Qs #10 & 11.
13. How often should
I replace my water pump?
The modern outboard's
water pump housings are stainless steel, impellers
are of compounds that do not rot or deteriorate
in salt water. With care will last a long time.
There ARE 2 enemies. first - NEVER Start the
motor dry - not even for a "couple of seconds".
Water lubricates the pump, and a dry impeller
is like a locked up set of tires in a panic stop!
The pump will self-destruct. Second - abrasion
- does the water you boat in have a lot of silt
of murk in it? Do you hit a lot of muddy bars
and sandy beaches? Ask around to see how frequently
this environment in your area eats pumps and
act accordingly. You should replace this impeller
every couple of years in any case and definitely
in an engine that has seen extended storage.
14. I have a lot of gas
left over from last season. Is it OK to use it This year?
IF you added a fuel
stabilizer and IF you filled the tank up
when you put away the boat, it should be
OK. If you have a high performance ski or
Bass boat, I would advise at least half
the old gas be siphoned out and used in your
tow vehicle, replace it with mid-grade fuel.
In fact, use mid-grade in any motor over
50 HP and NEVER use 87 octane, its not fit
for your lawn mower, let alone a $10,000.00
outboard. Also see question 19. A relevant
article on fuel can be found
15. I have a 2 cylinder
OMC outboard with externally mounted coils and breaker points. I
have weird spark problems. What can I do?
Make sure the stator plate (Where
the points and condensers are mounted) is not wobbly on the
top of the block. Excessive sideplay will make it impossible
for the point gap to be properly adjusted. Do a continuity
test on the 2 blue wires that connect to the coils to make
sure they do not have a wire break inside the insulation. (Stretch
'em!) I've seen numerous instances of this failure. The points
in This system must be SCRUPULOUSLY clean. The voltage through
these is so low, they tend to get dirty and malfunction. The
problem is made worse in that the charge coil grounds through
the opposite set of points to the cylinder being triggered.
A weak spark on #1 is often caused by defective points on #2!
16. Where can I get
a copy of a service manual for my motor?
17. I don't know what
year outboard motor I have. Can you tell me how to find out?
Many local libraries carry these.
OMC has model-specific factory manuals by year available
through MASTERTECH that are excellent. ALL OMC service, owners
manuals and parts lists are available thru MASTERTECH,
to order these on line. We also
have old MERCURY manuals, 3 different ones
that cover models thru 1978. For later Merc,
Force and Chrysler literature
. For the new SELOC aftermarket manuals
on HONDA, SUZUKI and YAMAHA
will take you there. If you want a comprehensive
manual, or just have interest in reading about boats and motors
check out my
and order them right here,
Get the model # from the little plate
on the motor's mounting bracket or; on earlier models stamped on
the crankcase. Here is a link to the "OMC" model-year
guide thru 1999
EVINRUDE JOHNSON OMC MODEL YEAR GUIDE
Evinrude, Johnson, Gale and other OMC outboard derivatives,
OMC stern drive listings!.
AND US BUILT MARINER OVER 40 HP
18. I have an older
outboard with higher compression. Should I burn PREMIUM gas?
For motors from early 60's thru 1999.
why. The octane ratings are composed of 2 components, research
octane and motor octane (RXM/2) divided by 2. The RESEARCH octane
is the quality of the base stock, the MOTOR octane is derived from
additives. The oil company will never tell you the ratios. Problem
is the highest octanes are achieved by MOTOR octane additives,
which will just gum up the pistons in a 2 cycle engine. Base stock
is generally the same. The MID-GRADE gas has the detergent additives
needed to clean your motor and sufficient octane for MOST motors.
If you have a MERCURY, FORCE or OMC motor from the early 70's thru
mid-80's refer to technical bulletins from the manufacturers for
timing changes and replacement head gaskets to lower compression
to use today's gasolines.