It doesn't matter if you have
an inboard or out board engine, the basics are the same. If you didn't change the engine oil before
parking the boat, now is the time to do it.
Oil is the life blood of an engine and needs to be able to efficiently
lubricate and cool the engine. Oil is
also cheap when compared to an engine over haul. Reference your engine service
manual for recommendations as to the recommended oil change intervals.
If your engine was winterized
and treated for storage, you will need to clean or replace the spark plugs and
change the fuel filters. It is easiest
to just replace the old spark plugs with new ones. But if you are saving a few bucks, you can
also clean and re-gap the old ones. All
you need is a small stiff bristled wire brush and gapping tool.
Don’t forget to change the
fuel filter before you head out on the water.
Also make sure you have the tools and extra fuel filters on board before
you go out for your first run. Many a boater has made it out on the water just
far enough not to get back and had crud plug the filter stopping the engine.
Cooling systems should be
checked and the fluid replaced or added to as necessary. All hoses, wires and belts should be
inspected and replaced if dry or cracked. It is a good idea to carry an extra
belt or two with you along with the appropriate tools to change the belt. Belt tension should be adjusted per the
factory service manuals recommendations.
Transmission fluid, hydraulic
fluids (power steering, power tilt) and oil injection tanks should all be
inspected and refilled. While you are at
it, check the bellows on the stern drive, packing or stuffing boxes hinge points,
U joints etc. Fittings, cables and connections should be lubricated. Many of
the components will have grease fitting so that they can be lubricated using a
The lower unit, drive shafts
and propellers should be inspected for nicks and damage. Basic aluminum
propellers (especially on lower horsepower engines) can have minor nicks filed
by hand. Paint can be touched up with a spray can of paint from a home supply
or auto parts store.
But if you have
brass, stainless, adjustable blades or any other type of high performance
propeller, don’t take the chance of trying to fix it your self. Take the
propeller to a good prop shop and have it repaired and balanced.
Make sure that
when you remove the propeller that you lubricate the shaft to prevent corrosion
and assist in removal in the future. It
is always a good idea to have a back up prop on hand along with the appropriate
nut or cotter keys.