Tip of the month: Preparing your outboard for winter

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Winter may have past but the crisp, cold days aren’t over yet! This easy-to-follow guide will show you what to do to look after each one of those sweet stallions during the cold months.

Your outboard engine, specifically your Honda 4-stroke, will form a major investment component on any boat package that you purchase, therefore, if you’re not going to be using her over the winter, it’s essential that you take a few easy-to-follow steps to ensure that your outboard will always operate at its optimum level.

Exterior Clean

The first thing to do is to thoroughly clean and wash down the exterior of your engine with an appropriate cleaning solvent mixed with water, in order to remove saltwater and any grime deposits which may have settled on the cowlings and cover during your usage.

Full Engine Flush

It’s then crucial that you give your outboard a full flush through proper muffs covering either side of the gear casing flush points. The specific Honda hose flush mount connection (ideal for flushing your Honda outboard when at a mooring on the water) should not be used in this particular instance, as this will flush the cylinder head only, whereas for longer term non-usage you must flush the whole engine. Once you’ve done this, remove the engine cover and spray the engine down with anti-moisture repellent oil spray.

Fuel Systems

Whether you run a portable tank or a built-in tank, it’s very important that you run them as near to empty as possible. If you were to leave your tanks with any amount of fuel still sitting there, you firstly run the risk of condensation building up inside your tank leading to water getting into the fuel; and secondly, if unleaded fuel sits for too long, sediment can form in the bottom of you tank which, when you start up again, can get sucked into the filters and consequently block the fuel flow.

On the smaller Honda carburettor engines (2.3 HP to 30 HP), you should also disconnect the fuel line running from the fuel tank to the engine and run the fuel in the engine carburettor float dry. All the larger capacity Honda engines (40 HP to 225 HP) come with Programmed Electronic Fuel Injection (PGM-FI), so you don’t need to disconnect the fuel line.


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