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Author Topic:   Winterizing Outboard Engine
jimh posted 10-06-2001 12:16 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
Here is a general procedure I plan to follow when winterizing my outboard engines. I would like to hear comments or suggestions of things I forgot. I think this is fairly comprehensive.

Material Needed:

--gasoline additive
--fogging oil
--marine grease for lower unit and pump with proper fitting
--grease gun with marine grease
--Boeshield T-9 preservative spray
--miscellaneous lubricants as specified in owners manual
--primer paint; OEM touch up paint
--cleaner/polish/wax for cowling

Winterization procedure:

1. Add additive to fuel in recommended ratio to preserve fuel.

Note: It is often recommended that the gas tank be completely full. This reduces the surface area and volume of entrapped air. Moisture may form as water precipitates out of the air as the temperature drops. The downside to this is it increases the weight on the trailer (by perhaps as much as 1,000 pounds in the case of large tanks!).

Conversely, some believe the way to go is to reduce the fuel level to a minimum, let whatever moisture that does forms accumulate in the tank, then add as much fresh fuel as possible in the spring to dilute the old fuel and any moisture it contains. The downside is the water in the fuel tank drops to the bottom of the tank and may accellerate rust or corrosion of the tank.

2. Remove the engine cowling. Remove the air silencer from the carburetors so you can see the carb throats. If you have EFI, consult your manual.

3. Start engine and run for 15 minutes to insure that fuel+preservative has circulated into the engine. (Of course, you are either running on a hose, in a barrel, or still in the lake.)

4. With engine at fast idle, spray fogging oil into the throats of the carburetors, giving it a heavy dose of fogging oil, say 10-15 seconds each carb, until engine almost dies. A great deal of smoke will come out exhaust during this process.

Note: One alternate suggestion is to remove fuel line from the engine so the engine drains as much fuel as possible from the fuel bowls of the carburetors. This means you need to have a sense of how long the engine will run before the carbs run dry and time your fogging oil to match.

4. Engine eventually dies from heavy fogging and/or lack of fuel. This will be the last time it runs until spring. Disconnect fuel lines so no strange siphoning of gas into engine can occur over the winter.

5. Remove spark plugs. Spray heavy dose of fogging oil into each cylinder. Turn engine over by hand several rotations to spread oil. [Removed suggestion to crank engine--jimh.] Replace plugs. Replace air silencer.

6. Get boat out of water, or remove hose, or remove barrel. Let water drain from lower unit. To drain all water, tilt the lower unit to the fully down trim position and let water drain. Raise engine to full up and let water drain. Return to fully down and let drain. Remove upper vent screw from lower unit. Remove lower drain screw and drain oil/grease from lower unit.

Note: Oil should not have a milky color. A milky appearance indicates the presense of emulsified water in oi, which indicates a leaking lower unit. This is a serious problem which can cause expensive damage to lower unit and should be repaired. Replacement of seals may be beyond the do-it-yourself outboard mechanic. See a good mechanic if you have a leak. The best time to fix it is over the winter when he is not busy. A lower unit can be resealed for about $250.

If unsure of the water content of the oil, collect drain oil in a clear container and store it for a few days. Water will separate from the oil and be visible.

After oil has thoroughly drained, refill lower unit with new oil/grease. Replace vent screw. Disconnect fill fitting, quickly replacing with drain filler screw.

7. Attach grease gun to fittings at engine pivot tube. Add grease until old grease is displaced at top and bottom of tube. The goal is to displace some old grease and all water.

8. Grease linkages in engine as recommended by engine maintenance manual.

9. Carefully clean engine powerhead and inside of lower cowling of any dirt and oil.

10. Spray light coating of T-9 on powerhead and other aluminum or metal components, and on plug wires and other wiring.

11. Replace cowling. Clean, polish, and wax cowling.

12. Clean lower unit of water spots and stains using household bathroom product like LIME-AWAY to help remove water spots. Inspect lower unit for areas where paint has worn away and bare metal is showing. Repaint as necessary to protect raw aluminum from corrosion. Polish and wax lower unit.

13. Remove Propeller. Lightly grease prop shaft with appropriate lubricant (see owner's manual or use Mercury Teflon Marine Grease).

14. Inspect propeller for damage. Send to prop-shop for repairs if needed. If no damage, polish propeller (Stainless Steel) or repaint (Aluminum) as necessary.

You can reinstall the propeller, although if there is any risk of theft it might be a good idea to keep the propeller off for the winter. When reinstalling, use new cotterpins or tab washers as appropriate.


There is the procedure! Any comments, suggestions, corrections, or other advice welcomed. After a few go-rounds on this, I will add it as a permanent article.


SuburbanBoy posted 10-08-2001 12:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
I am not familiar with the Boeshield T-9 preservative spray. But, if it works, why not use it instead of the grease on the prop shaft?

What is fogging oil, and what is used to spray it into the engine?

PS, If you had not started this thread, I would have asked for advise. Thanks,


SuburbanBoy posted 10-08-2001 12:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
I almost forgot, Tohatsu has pretty nice winterizing article as well. They seem to use the web to communicate much better than any of their competitors, as they even post their owners manuals, list price, etc prominently on their website. Not bad for such a small company. Wish Honda, Mercury and others followed their excellent example.

Tohatsu Web Article


RWM posted 10-08-2001 01:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for RWM  Send Email to RWM     
Thanks Jim for your list. I have printed it out to give me a checklist when I winterize my engine in a few weeks.
I have a 70 HP 4-stroke Evinrude so will be changing the oil and filter as a first step in the process.
One thing I'm still not sure about is fogging an engine with fuel injection. I always did this with carburetored engines, but with EFI I'm concerned about maybe clogging something up. Does anybody know if fogging is still recommended with EFI? My manual just says to use fuel stabilizer and run the engine for a few minutes. I am thinking about doing that then disconnecting the fuel line and running the engine out of fuel. I would then pull the plugs and fog the cylinders but not sure yet...Bob M.
Taylor posted 10-08-2001 01:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
SuburbanBoy - Fogging oil comes in a spray can. You should be able to find at at any reasonable marine store. For instance: Hyperlink to WestMarine

Jimh - thanks for this list. I like the fact that you do more than just the stuff you *have* to do to keep the engine from rusting, you polish it and touch it up and make it look good so in the spring when you are ready to go.

jimh posted 10-08-2001 07:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Good pointer to the Tohastsu link!

There does seem to be some variation in what is recommended regarding fuel left in the carburetor and fuel system.

I would invite comments on this. Do you try to drain all fuel from the engine before storage for the winter (6-months) layup?

Dick posted 10-08-2001 07:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
With my older engines I added fuel stabalizer and sprayed fogging oil into the carbs untill it died.
With my Merc 4 stroke the service manager where I worked said to drain the carbs and don't spray fogging oil in them. I add the stabalizer and run the engine fo 10 minutes or so, disconnect the fuel line and let it run dry. Take out the plugs and spray the fogging oil into the cylinders, turn the engine over a couple times and put the plugs back in. I have had no spring start up problems.
jimh posted 10-08-2001 08:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
One thing I noticed with my winterization of my Sport-15 last Sunday:

The fuel line from the tank to the primer bulb to the engine was very stiff. The gas had drained back into the tank, and the line was dry. When I pumped up the primer bulb, all the connections in the line leaked! I had gas dripping out around the primer bulb connections.

I think the type of rubber material used in some of these components does not like to dry out--it gets stiff and may crack.

I have noticed that the primer bulbs are much stiffer when they are dry and have no gasoline in them than when they are wet.

This may also apply to some of the rubber components in the engine fuel system. Perhaps it is not a good idea to store the engine fuel system entirely dry. It may be better to leave it wet with gasoline to keep the flexibility in the rubber lines and seals.


Dr T posted 10-08-2001 09:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dr T  Send Email to Dr T     
Comments: What a great list. I hope I won't have to use it on the 13 for a couple of more weeks.

On a more constructive note: Item 5 could be reworded. I re-insert the plugs and pull the deadman cord from the control box. It will get no spark. I can't imagine how the engine could run with no plugs (no compression).

On filling the tank: In this area (Front Range Colorado) this issue is quite problematic. It is virtually impossible to get pure gasoline (with no alcohol) in this area because of emission requirements. Since alcohol will tend to absorb the water, most mechanics recommend a minimum amount of fuel. I am going to burn the tanks dry as much as feasible and still get back to the dock. (BUT, I only have two 6 gal portable plastic OMC tanks, and one has been emptied). I will then use the leftover fuel in the snowblower. By the way, I put stabilizer in the tank this last week, so it has been running on a mixture for at least a little bit.

One final note, alcohol in the fuel will tend to eat some of the older rubber fuel lines. Could that have contributed to the fittings problem?

Thanks again for the list.

Ray posted 10-08-2001 10:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Ray  Send Email to Ray     
Be careful of this one. I did a dumb thing and it's beginning to cost. I was spraying the fogging oil into my cylinders on my 225 Johnson and the red nozzle tube that directs the spray let loose and shot into the cylinder head. I have had my mechanic friend and even a surgeon with his hemostats trying to pick that piece of plastic out of the sparkplug hole. I finally pulled the head tonite and plucked it out with my fingers. I'm playing it smarter next time.
jimh posted 10-09-2001 12:22 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Unfortunately Ray reminded us of an important caution--don't let that fogging oil spray tube get loose! Good point, I'll add that to the final list.

Re: the leaking lines/primer bulb--this was on a TEMPO brand plastic tank that is only a year or two old. Ironic that the 20-year old ATTWOOD tank and its lines/primer bulb are much more supple and don't leak a drop. I was not too impressed with TEMPO fuel tanks after this. It seems that the lack of gas in the lines is what contributed to this, not the presence of gasoline/alcohol softening the lines excessively.


jimh posted 10-09-2001 12:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
More about the gas tank storage situation:

If your tanks are portable type tanks, probably plastic molded tanks, I would probably opt for trying to run the dry and store them empty over the layup period.

Generally you can tip these tanks over and drain the remaining fuel in them out for use in your lawn mower or snow blower, or maybe even your car if not pre-mixed.

If you have larger internal tanks built into the hull, the choice is harder to make.

Filling the tank:
--generally recommended
--reduces volume of entrapped air
--gives you a full tank next spring, so you are ready to go
--can add large weight load to hull which is supported on trailer-only for long period
--risk having large volume of stale fuel after layup if there is any deterioration of the gasoline
--adds expense to layup which won't be recovered for a while, i.e., buying all the gas and the stabilizer, which can add up for larger tanks.

Emptying the tank:
--no gas to worry about stabilizing,
going bad, leaking, etc.
--hard to get all the gas out
--more risk of fumes in tank
--possible water condensation in empty tank causing corrosion
--may need to pump out gas to get tank empty

lhg posted 10-09-2001 02:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Regarding BUILT-IN ALUMINUM tanks and any fuel lines: Our 10% alchohol laden fuel, that most of HAVE to buy, is the problem!

Like mentioned, it destroys older pre 1988 fuel lines not designed to be alcohol resistant. This is why they get hard when not in use, and "mushy" when in use. It leaches out the agents keeping them pliable causing them to harden and leak.

In tanks, it's the achohol-water phase seperation that causes incredibly corrosive action in an ALUMINUM tank. They then corrode and leak from the inside out. This is why virtually ALL of the boat manufacturers recommend a full tank over the lay-up period, or even extended summer non-use, unless you are in heated storage. This will prevent the internal condensation, which will drip into the partially full tank, combine with the alcohol, settle to the bottom of your tank and corrode it. Remember water in your fuel is not the issue as far as engine combustion. Any half-decent water separating fuel filter will remove it if it's not combined with the alcohol. It's the water-alcohol phase separation that is the enemy, and this occurs as the boat sits unmoved for long periods.

I fill my tank, like BW recommends, adding the correct amount of MDR WaterZorb (contains no alcohol) and never have a problem in the Spring. Never use Dry-Gas in a boat tank unless you're going to burn it up in the next few hours. This stuff is basically PURE alcohol and only aggrevates the situation.

None of this discussion involves the plastic tanks. Alcohol phase separation will not corrode them, and major condensation is not an issue since they are not vented like a built-in tank is. Unless you are worried about "stale" gas, nothing needs to be done with them, except maybe close the cap vent.
They need to be neither filled or nor drained before layup. Just add some fresh gas in the Spring to whatever was remaining!

Incidentally, it is almost impossible to fully drain an internal tank. BW's ratings are for USEABLE gallonage, and you can never run them completely dry. On my 25, useable is 140 gallons, but it holds more like 145. So condensation will drip into the remaining fuel and still corrode the stern of your tank.

JFM posted 10-09-2001 04:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
Thanks Jim. I do everything you mention but I don't fog the cylinders after I stall the engine with fog. I didn't think you had to. Also, on the gas, I would always fill fixed tanks and use stabilizer. The one thing I always do is jack the trailer up and put it on blocks so you don't get a flat spot in your tires. Regards, Jay
jimh posted 10-10-2001 09:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Good comments from lhg on the issue of storing the tank full or empty. I'll be shopping for some MDR WaterZorb, too, when I fill up the tank (77 gals.) for the winter.

(Gas prices are currently a bargain. Compared to the $2.65/gal I had to pay at a marina this summer, at $1.29 on the highway they're practically giving it away now.)

Another area of the engine to check carefully is the power trim and tilt. Much of the mechanism involved in the trim pump and lift cylinder is steel and it runs in the water. Lack of paint protection here can lead to very rapid corrosion and rust. Look over all the steel components on the engine, remove any rust, and add touch-up paint as necessary to protect it. Thanks to bigz for mentioning this to me via email.

JFM suggests blocking up the trailer to lift the tires, a good idea if you can store the trailer that way, but I would add this caution: be sure you support the trailer on the blocks in such a way that the hull is not stressed. When the boat is on the trailer and the trailer is bearing weight on the wheels and suspension, the weight of the boat is distributed in a fairly balanced way across the trailer onto the axle or axles. If you radically change that load distribution when you jack up the trailer, you could put some stress into the hull.

For example, if you just jack up the two rear corners of the trailer, you will probably greatly increase the tongue weight of the trailer. You could even exceed the capacity of the tongue jack in extreme cases. You will also completely reverse the bending moment on the trailer frame, and be hanging the weight of the wheels, tires, axles, springs, and carriage from the trailer frame. This load will also be transmitted to the hull. It is probably best to use four lift points, just ahead and just behind the axles, as this would tend to keep the load distribution the same as normal.

Another point I want to mention: if the boat is not going to be moved, you may want to reduce some of the tension in the winch strap and rear tie-downs. No point leaving hundreds of pounds of tension in there all winter. Just remember to tighten them before moving the boat in the spring.

More suggestions I can offer after winterizing an engine last Sunday:

For filling the lower unit with oil, you will most likely be using a pump that fits on the oil bottle. Remove the pump from the bottle when finished and drain as much of the oil remaining in it as possible. Store the pump in a ZipLock bag. No matter how thoroughly you drain the pump, more oil eventually comes out. If you leave the pump on the bottle, it seems like it always drains the bottle from strange siphon action or pressure changes. I store the pump in a plastic bag, in a plastic container. It keeps the oil mess contained.

The standard pump fits most American outboards. You often have to buy an adapter to get the pump to fit the Japanese outboard drain and fill holes, which seem to be threaded with metric threads. Plan ahead for this.

When you drain the oil it is a good opportunity to replace the drain screw. The drain screw needs a very large screwdriver to fit properly in the screw slot, and these slots are often chewed up from using a blade that is too small. A new drain screw only costs a few dollars (at most!) and makes sure you don't have a problem removing it next time.

The drain screw needs a washer to properly seal the hole. The washers are generally made from black fiber, and they can be hard to see. A very typical mistake is to overlook the washer that is currently in place in the hole. If two washers are used, the results are often not good--a leak. So carefully inspect the seat of the drain hole to see if there is a fiber washer in place.

If you do want to change the washer, you may have to scrape out the remains of the old washer. Carefully remove it, being sure to not damage or gouge the base of the drain hole relief where the washer sits. Get all of the old washer out, so there is a clean seat for the new one. My friendly professional Mercury outboard mechanic told me that the most common problem they see in lower units that have had Do-It-Yourself oil changes is the drain washer: there is either no washer in there or two washers. Either situation is likely to permit water to enter the lower unit.

Be sure you get the new drain screw and new washers before you start the project!

Another tip: when you get ready to drain the lower unit oil, first allow all the water to drain from the lower unit. Wipe off any surface water that is dripping down, too. This way, when you drain the oil, you won't have water dripping into it. You'll be able to check for water in the oil with more reliability.

Also, to drain all the oil from the gearcase you will probably need to raise the lower unit slightly. Once the screw is removed this can be messy, so tilt it up before you open the drain.

Outboards don't contain a huge amount of oil. My 50-HP Mercury seems to hold only about 8 ounces of oil. It does take a long time for the oil to drain, particularly if you have waited until the temperature is in the 40's to do this. Be patient.


Dr T posted 10-10-2001 11:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dr T  Send Email to Dr T     
Good point on jacking the trailer. On mine, I put a hydraulic jack under the axle and lift the axle just far enough for a jackstand to fit. (Since this is a 13 on a trailer with 4.80 x 12 tires, it is not very far). I then get a jackstand (in my case all the way down) and slip it under the axle). The result is a trailer that is supported at three points and will not move, and tires that are about 1/2" above the ground. I use the same setup when I pack the wheel bearings.
Aqcats posted 10-29-2001 01:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for Aqcats  Send Email to Aqcats     
I posted this on another thread but wanted to get a quick answer hope others are still reading these, rather than beginning a whole new post topic.

When running the engine for the last time, should the water hose be pulled at the same time that the gas line is to drain all the water out of the water pump? Will the water automatically drain with the motor in the vertical position? Living in NH, I don't want any water left behind to freeze. This is my first year of winterizing my Dad's boat and I want to make sure that it is done properly.

bigz posted 10-29-2001 01:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
The water will all drain out with the motor down --

Just to let you know there is no water hose on an outboard -- there is a tube from the internal water pump to the head --

Good luck --

Aqcats posted 10-29-2001 02:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Aqcats  Send Email to Aqcats     
Bigz, thanks for the info. On the hose, I was referring to the garden hose hooked up the flush adapter. I didn't want to take this off too soon after running the engine but also didn't want to leave water inside the water pump. Thanks again for the helping hand.
Highwater posted 10-29-2001 02:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Highwater    
If I planned on using my boat at least once a month, is it okay to not winterize it? North Carolina's winters can have some nights in the 20s or maybe even in the teens, but it is usually pretty mild.
bigz posted 10-29-2001 02:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Sorry, Aqcat misunderstood the water source!

Highlander -- if left in the water leave the lower unit/s down, and if not on a mooring and you have a place to plug in hook up a battery charger with auto level function or just a trickle charger -- might use some Carb Guard and Water Sorb in the gas -- certainly don't want to keep on winterizing her -- if monthly she'll get exercise


WantaWhale posted 10-29-2001 03:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for WantaWhale  Send Email to WantaWhale     
Trying to decide the same thing over the weekend. My dad and a good friend of mine both say not to winterize as its better to run the motor every 3 weeks to 2 months.
My dad says our uncle always winterized and still had to take boat to dealer every spring to get it running again. My friend says winterizing does not address the needs of the waterpump and its good to run it from time to time so It will not dry rot. He says that its also good to turn teleflex steering from left to right and back a few times so it will not freeze up.

anyway I was considering to winterize soon, now I am not sure.

dauntlass 18 posted 11-02-2001 07:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for dauntlass 18  Send Email to dauntlass 18     
Can fogging engine for winter storage cause fuel injector fouling.I have talked to several people who say add stablizer to fuel tank and run engine for 10 to 15 mintues.The oil used to lube internal engine parts is synthetic and will protect against rust of rings etc. Any one have any thoughts on not fogging fuel injected engines.
Peter posted 11-02-2001 08:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I'm pretty sure that my Yamaha owner's manual for the 225 EFI instructs to fog the motor if it isn't going to be used for more than 30 days.
Mark Gallagher posted 11-02-2001 08:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Mark Gallagher  Send Email to Mark Gallagher     
I usually replace inline plastic fuel filter, under cowling on OMC V4 115, and replace the spin on water seperating fuel filter, prior to adding fuel stabilizer, then run engine to circulate treated fuel into filters and carbs. I also use OMC engine tuner, in injection can, prior to oil fogging. This cleans carbon from pistons/rings and chambers and if used in conjuction with carbon guard or similar fuel additive it should help to extend engine life. This would be a good time to replace spark plugs or any other maintenance items.I prefer to be ready to go in the Spring.
I'll probably take lower unit off and take it down my basement or in the garage to replace to water pump and clean it, paint it over the winter.
outboardwizard2 posted 10-23-2006 11:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for outboardwizard2  Send Email to outboardwizard2     
Thought you might be interested in article at website. I'll try to copy and paste, but probably easier reading from site.

How to Winterize your OMC Bombardier Outboard Engine.
Off-Season Storage

Simple Step-by-Step Instructions

Use the following procedure to properly prepare Johnson and Evinrude outboards for extended periods of non-use. These steps are intended to protect the engine during storage and simplify the pre-season servicing procedure. Note: Instructions also apply to many other outboard engine models. E.G. Mercury - Call The Outboard Wizard for more specific information or tips for other marine motors (Inboard, Yamaha, Mercruiser, I/O, Cobra, ETec, other Outboards.)

Step 1: Stabilize the engine’s fuel supply with OMC 2+4 fuel conditioner. Add one ounce (30 ml) of OMC 2+4 fuel conditioner for every gallon (3,8 litres) of gasoline.
NOTE: Use a flushing attachment if you operate the engine on a trailer or dolly to prevent engine or water pump damage...When using a flushing attachment, always remove engine’s propeller before starting engine to prevent accidental contact with moving propeller.

Step 2: Run the engine at approximately 1500 RPM for five minutes to ensure that the entire fuel supply system and the engine’s carburetors are full of stabilized fuel.
Note: DO NOT disconnect fuel line or VRO equipped engines out of fuel. Disconnecting fuel line while engine is running could cause excessive oil consumption and eventual hard starting.

Step 3: Stop engine and remove all spark plugs. Spray a liberal amount of OMC Storage Fogging Oil into the spark plug holes.

Step 4: Turn Flywheel in a clockwise direction to distribute the fogging oil throughout the cylinders. Install and torque the spark plugs.

Step 5: Caution: Prevent accidental starting during storage; leave spark plug leads off all of the spark plugs.
Step 6: If engine is equipped with a portable fuel tank, disconnect fuel hose from engine and tank. Caution: Avoid fire or explosion hazard; store all portable fuel tanks in a well ventilated area, away from any open flames.

Step 7: If the engine is removed from boat, carefully store the special locknuts and lock bolts used to attach the remote steering, shift, and throttle systems with the engine. These fasteners are made of special materials to resist weakening and rusting. Do not substitute these fasteners with nuts and bolts which look the same. Using the wrong nuts and bolts may result in sudden unexpected loss of engine control.

Step 8: Inspect the entire boat steering system for damage due to corrosion, aging, lack of maintenance, or abuse. Inspect mechanical steering cables for deterioration or cracks. Inspect hydraulic steering models for fluid leaks or other external signs of problems. Follows equipment manufacturer’s maintenance and lubrication recommendations when servicing the steering system.

Step 9: Remove battery and check its condition, water level, and charge. Store in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight. Check the water level and charge periodically during storage.

Step 10: If equipped, service the boat fuel filter following instructions on canister. Clean and inspect VRO oil reservoir and VRO pickup filter. Replace filter if it is damaged or contaminated.

Step 11: Remove propeller and check for damage. A slightly bent propeller blade can hardly be noticed but will affect the performance of the engine. Clean and lubricate the propeller shaft with OMC Triple-Guard grease.

Step 12: Drain and refill gearcase. Lubricate engine.

Step 13: Check engine carefully. Make sure screws and nuts are tight. Replace damaged or worn parts.

Note: Make sure electrical and fuel system fasteners and clamps are tight and in good condition. Failure to do so may cause electrical sparks and fuel leakage under the engine cover. Fire and explosion could occur.

Step 14: Replace engine cover. Use touch-up paint where needed. Coat all outside painted surfaces of engine with automotive wax.

Roarque posted 10-24-2006 01:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for Roarque  Send Email to Roarque     
Tell me more about this winter thing that you are izing. Is winter that thing that happens in Michigan and the temperature drops below freezing and the rain turns white? So that would mean that you don't go boating when this winter thing starts to happen? Am I right in these assumptions?

jimh posted 10-24-2006 08:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There is a detailed article in the REFERENCE section which presents a winterizing procedure. Please see

Winterizing Older OMC Two-Stroke Outboards

outboardwizard2 posted 10-24-2006 10:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for outboardwizard2  Send Email to outboardwizard2     
Hi Jim,

Didn't realize this thread started so long ago (2001) when I posted yesterday.
Your Winterizing article is great (2005).

How's the weather today in Michigan? I'm actually in Cocoa Beach, Florida - today's the first day we've gone below 80 degrees in about 6 months.
Ralph, The Outboard Wizard is in Long Island New York - I think it's starting to get cold there. Florida's great but I miss the snow.
Great surfing here in Cocoa Beach- We worry about hurricanes here in FL, not snow, damaging our boats/engines.

Have a nice day.

Gail, Assistant to the Outboard Wizard

jimh posted 10-25-2006 01:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If tonight is an augury of winter, we are in for a rough one. The low overnight is forecast to be 30-degrees. We also has the earliest snowfall ever recorded this October. I winterized ten days ago--and I haven't missed any decent weather since.
blackdog54 posted 10-25-2006 09:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog54  Send Email to blackdog54     

Is winterizing needed in CA, where the boat will be used infrequently during the winter but no other real changes to its environment/covered storage?

I guess my question is do you perform some maintenance in preparation for decreased usage in a gentle climate?


Buckda posted 10-25-2006 01:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
I think the term "Winterization" came about because both outboard manufacturers that were around at the dawn of outboard motors (Evinrude and Mercury) are/were located in the North, where "winterization" was necessary.

The more appropriate term, as JimH has pointed out before, would be "Storagerization & Annual Maintenance"

If your boat will be used more than once every couple of weeks in the "off season", you don't necessarily need to fog the cylinders, which is the chief component of "storagerizing" your engine.

The remaining things (checking/changing gear lube, lubricating zerk fittings, steering shaft, hydraulics, prop shafts, etc) are all annual maintenance items - and in particularly sunny climates with a lot of UV exposure (So. Cal and Florida, for example), you should be waxing the motor cowling twice a year.

If I were in a climate where occasional use was planned throughout the off season, I'd use fuel conditioner/stablilizer religiously, and also crank the engine (once) when out of the water to fully expel water from the water pump/impeller. I would also be sure to raise and then fully lower the motor when on the trailer to completely drain the lower unit, in case of freezing weather conditions.

Other than that, I'd do the annual maintenance items (new fuel filter, lubrications, etc) and be done with it.

Remember, however, if you PLANNED on using the boat, but CAN'T - you should at least run out to the storage yard and shoot fogging oil in the cylinders, turn it over by hand and shoot again to ensure that the cylinder walls are coated with a protective film. This is something that your 12 year old kid can do (if you first show him how) in case your work or your life interfere with your winter boating plans.


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