Boat Maintenance for Outboard Motors

    July 1, 2014

Summer is upon us here in the Northeast, and many of us are pulling our boats out of storage and firing them up for the first time in six to eight months. As we open them up, sometimes we find that nothing is different from when we stored them — but more often than not, we are quite surprised to find things aren’t what they were when we put them away at the end of the season.

A little routine engine maintenance goes a long way toward keeping your outboard motor shipshape for the season. I thought that I would take a couple of minutes to highlight a few quick boat maintenance tips that may help you get your boats out of storage and into the water.

 outboard motor

Protect electrical connections

As we all know, the saltwater environment is brutal on mechanical and electrical. I make it a habit each spring to remove the cowl from my motor and check all of my electrical connections. Anything that looks suspect (possible corrosion), I disconnect, clean well with an appropriate tool (wire brush, file, sandpaper), then coat with Loctite® LB 8423™ Dielectric Grease to insulate and protect the connection in the future.

It is not necessary, but I usually throw a wrap of Loctite® Insulating & Sealing Wrap around the connections as well, for extra insurance. This protects from moisture (corrosion) and keeps the connections tight under the high vibration of an outboard motor.  

Protect the entire engine compartment

When I am through checking everything in the engine compartment, I will spray a film (thin coating) of Loctite® Silicone Lubricant (most general-purpose silicone sprays will work) over the inside of the entire engine compartment. This protects and seals against corrosion and displaces water, forcing it to run off and dry faster, reducing the chances of electrical issues (shorts).  

Seal out moisture

The last thing I do before replacing the cowl or cover is to inspect the seal and apply a coating of silicone grease to the seal between the lower and upper motor enclosure. I use Loctite® LB 8423™ Dielectric Grease, which is silicone-based and does not attack the rubber seal. This allows the covers to assemble easier, seals any imperfections between the covers, and helps in sealing out moisture.

Over to you

Was this helpful? Share some of your own boat maintenance tips below. Or check out my most recent vehicle maintenance post on Installing a Transmission Pan.

About the Author, Loren Nauss

Loren Nauss is currently Business Development Manager for maintenance chemicals at Henkel. In his 24 years of experience, Loren brings expertise in everything mechanical to his personal and work-related projects. Loren's built, assembled and fabricated American and foreign cars, trucks, motorcycles, manufacturing, processing, and pumping equipment. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Business from Eastern Connecticut State University.

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5 responses to “Boat Maintenance for Outboard Motors”

  1. Sam Peeter says:

    Nice Article! thanks for sharing, the information you provide it is very beneficial.

  2. Riki Milton says:

    Informative post! thanks for sharing, the information you provide it is very beneficial.

  3. Baxter Abel says:

    Wow, thanks for the tip to spray a thin coating of silicone lubricant inside the engine compartment to protect the motor seals against corrosion. I didn’t realize there was a spray you could apply that enabled you to protect the inside of the motor! Would you also recommend doing this with the outboard motor?

  4. Larry Weaver says:

    I like the suggestion to protect the engine compartment by spraying it with a film of silicone lubricant. Boating is one of my hobbies, but my boat has been sitting in the garage for a few years because of some damages it has received from past voyages. Perhaps it’s time I look into getting a boat repair specialist to take a look at my boat.

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