Recreational boaters with outboard motors may want to begin winterizing their powertrains
As we’re now in October with dipping temperatures, the recreational boating season is about over for the year. Only avid boating anglers can be seen on local lakes and the Delaware and Lehigh rivers.
If you’re not among the latter, this may be a good time to winterize your boats’ outboard motor. According to BoatUS, when freezing temperatures prevail, and if there is water inside your engine or gear case, the result can be a cracked block or housing. This could cost you a repair bill that could run into four figures.
BoatUS recommends following the owner’s manual for winterizing, but in the absence of one, the organization recommends the following.
*Freshwater flush: Using a flushing attachment run your outboard in a tank filled with clean water.
*Empty fuel lines and carburetors: While the engine is still running, disconnect the fuel line from the engine and when it dies, the fuel delivery components will be empty which prevents gums from forming in the stagnant gas and clogging lines, jets or injectors.
*Fog the carburetor intake(s): Before the engine runs out of fuel, spray fogging oil into the carburetor(s). It acts as an anticorrosive to protect the carb and cylinders.
*Drain cooling passages: Disconnect the flush attachment or remove the motor from the flush tank. With the motor upright, let all water drain out of the pick-up. Open the drain plugs. Crank the motor a couple times by hand or “bump” it with the starter to empty the water pump. Remove the spark plugs and spray fogging oil into the holes to coat the interior of the cylinders. While the plugs are out, check and regap or replace them.
*Drain and refill gearcase: This will prevent condensation from forming inside the tank.
*Drain fuel tank and supply lines: Drain the fuel that remains and use it in your car or snow blower, but leave the tanks empty. If emptying tanks is not practical, top it off to 95 percent full. Gasoline with ethanol is subject to phase separation if water gets into the fuel which will happen with a half-empty tank over the winter. Filling the tank limits the air space inside the tank and reduces the potential for internal condensation.
*Stabilize the fuel: If leaving the tank full, dose it with an appropriate amount of gasoline stabilizer to combat the formation of passage-clogging gums.
*Clean and lubricate propeller shaft: The off-season is perfect to have the prop(s) serviced. If storing your craft at home, leave it off to discourage theft.
*Store upright: Laying the engine down risks water draining where it shouldn’t. An engine stand is easy enough to cobble together.
These suggested BoatUS maintenance items will go a long way for trouble-free spring-time boating.
The Lehigh County Fish & Game Protective Association stocked a portion of the Little Lehigh yesterday (Oct. 1) with trout from the Lil Le Hi Trout Nursery. Stream reporters say the fish, however, were far and few between, But the PF&BC will stock the Little Lehigh on Oct. 18. Over in Northampton County, Lake Minsi gets stocked Oct. 14.
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Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.