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E-TEC Maintenance Schedule For Saltwater Use
|Author||Topic: E-TEC Maintenance Schedule For Saltwater Use|
posted 09-10-2015 06:26 PM ET (US)
I use my Guardian 17 with E-TEC 90 almost exclusively in the ocean for getting to scuba diving sites. I launch fairly close to the sites, so on a typical dive trip I only log one or two hours of engine time, which is split up between five to eight shorter runs. I use the boat about once a month like this.
I don't do anything special between uses, that is, no lay-up procedure. I just rinse things down well each time, and run the motor at home for about 20-minutes after about a month of storage, if the interval between uses is going to be more than six or seven weeks. The boat is stored in a dry climate (in northern California) and at an inland location (so there is no salty air).
I suspect my runs are shorter than a typical user.
Is there any certain maintenance that I should do more frequently given my usage pattern? Despite the low hours each year, I was just planning to take the boat into the local shop every 12 to 18-months, let them look for codes, and do any routine maintenance that they recommend. Is this a reasonable approach?
I'm new to outboard motors and still trying to get a feel for how to take care of mine properly. Thanks--Gavin
posted 09-11-2015 08:47 AM ET (US)
Running it in the driveway is good, but if you had a freshwater lake close by, launching and running for a couple of hours between dive trips can do wonders keeping all things on the boat in good condition. Purging saltwater from the bilge, hull, fittings, etc., will extend the life of all things connected to your boat, including the E-TEC engine. I think your trailer will benefit from the freshwater rinse as well.
posted 09-11-2015 09:03 AM ET (US)
Hi Gavin. Your routine sounds good, but your owner's manual is the best guide for the maintenance steps required. A good soaking rinse of the boat and especially the trailer will help keep things in good shape.
The only thing I would add is that if you are storing the boat for the winter in a place that gets below freezing, you should change out the lower unit oil before putting it away. Otherwise any water that has gotten into the oil can freeze and cause damage.
posted 09-11-2015 10:44 AM ET (US)
The E-TEC operating guide should give you two sets of maintenance intervals, one for freshwater and another for saltwater. Typically for use in saltwater the maintenance intervals are shortened to one year intervals from three year intervals.
Flushing the engine after use in saltwater is a good procedure.
The E-TEC is probably better adapted to saltwater use than the typical boat trailer. I am not a saltwater boater. When I was in a boat dealership in the Carolinas a few years ago, I was amazed by the extensive inventory of boat trailer parts that dealer had on hand and on display. I realized that boat trailers used in saltwater will require much more attention than if used in freshwater.
It has been several years now since my boat and trailer were last in saltwater. I have used the method of stopping at a fresh water lake boat ramp to immerse the whole trailer rig. If your boat trailer has brakes, it is often seen that a flushing system is added to the brakes so they can be thoroughly flushed with freshwater from a hose fitting on the trailer. My PACIFIC brand trailer had such a fitting for flushing the brakes.
posted 09-11-2015 01:20 PM ET (US)
For what it's work regarding trailer maintenance.
I have the original trailer for my 1988 Boston Whaler 15. When I was restoring the boat, I priced new aluminum trailers. They were very expensive out here on the West Coast.
I found a place that would sand blast and powder coat my trailer very reasonably. So I completely disassembled the trailer, purchased all the new parts I could, like fenders lights, bunks, winch, wheels, tires, springs, etc. etc. After re-assembly it looked like new.
My routine now is to launch my trailer (in the salt water), then before i park it, I rinse the trailer with fresh water. Some launch ramps here don't have running water, so when that happens i use a portable 'Bug Sprayer' (the pump type) filled with water and a light dilution of Salt Away.
After almost 2 years of use, the trailer looks like new. Zero rust, except on the leaf springs, where there is a little surface rust. I did not disassemble the springs before powder coating, and I knew this was going to happen.
If the trailer repeatedly sits in the parking lot for a day, or longer with the salt water drying on it, Im sure the corrosion would occur much faster.
posted 09-11-2015 01:45 PM ET (US)
Thanks for the comments everybody.
I agree that the trailer needs the same type of attention as the boat. I always put a fair amount of effort into rinsing the trailer in addition to the boat, but it's true that the trailer sits in the lot all day with salt water drying on it.
Thanks again for the feedback.
posted 09-11-2015 04:49 PM ET (US)
With the usage of only once a month, doesn't it make sense to run the winterization program when your done with your fresh water flush? The process is so easy and would add that an additional piece of mind.
posted 09-11-2015 08:52 PM ET (US)
I use permatex anti-seize on any bolts, before putting the nut on. I also use it on the back side of the bolt holes on the wheels and around the circle where the hub meets the wheel. It keeps the wheel from rusting to the hub (do the same on my cars). I also use a spray can of Rust Chek or Fluid Film on everything on the trailer after pulling it from the ocean. You can also spray the Rust Chek on electrical connections, battery posts, etc.
I only use my boat in salt water and keep it on a mooring, so no flushing all summer.
posted 09-14-2015 03:43 PM ET (US)
Having worked at a sailing place with relatively poor outboard maintenance procedures, I wouldn't be overly worried. Just follow the instructions in the manual.
We did buy the hose adapter for our E-TEC outboard engine, though, and I try to flush it after every time we use the boat. I don't do it 100-percent of the time, but most times I do. It's just a part of the usual procedure of hosing off the boat and trailer now. Not the end of the world if you don't get to it, but certainly helps.
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