Outboard Engine Maintenance – Part 2

Ongoing Maintenance

After every trip out on your RIB, flush out the engine. To flush the engine you will need a set of “muffs” (two flexible rubber seals connected with a metal clamp). Simply slip the muffs onto the lower unit where the water is picked up and attach a garden hose if at home or the hose on your marina berth. Start up the engine and let the water pump do the rest. (Be sure to stay clear of the prop and make sure no one tries to shift into gear)

While the motor is being flushed, check the water pump to make sure you have good water flow. Carefully put your finger through the stream of water. It may be warm, but it shouldn’t be hot. If the output is not strong, you may have some debris stuck in the outflow tube. You should immediately shut down the engine to prevent overheating and damage. A small piece of wire or similar object can be inserted up into the flow tube and worked back and forth. Start the engine again and check the output. If that doesn’t solve the problem you may need a new water pump.

After flushing the engine, you should disconnect the fuel line and allow the engine to burn all the fuel in the carburettor. It is also important to make sure you always use fresh fuel.. Other fuel related items you should check are:

•    Check the fuel line for cracks and worn spots
•    Make sure the fuel primer bulb is not cracked and is pliable
•    Make sure the fuel line fittings seat properly and don’t leak
•    Check the clamps on the fuel line for rust or corrosion
•    Check the fuel tanks for damage and corrosion
•    Check the tank vent to make sure it aspirates properly
•    Check for water in the fuel

Once you have finished the flushing and run the engine out of fuel,  turn off the key and, if you have a battery switch, turn it off. Open up the engine cover and check for fuel or water leaks. If you find leaks you should consult your mechanic. Be sure to wipe everything down and spray with a anti-corrosive like WD 40

Make sure you lubricate all the moving parts such as the shift and throttle cables, carburettor valves etc. Check your owner’s manual for details.
Once you have performed your post-trip preventative maintenance program, replace the engine cover and wipe the outside down. If you have a canvas or plastic cover for the engine you should keep it in place between trips.

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