Downtime Is Not Your Outboard’s Friend

What time is to compound interest is what salt can be to an outboard motor. We are seeing many four-stroke outboards this season as they are now a more significant portion of the market.

The four-stroke outboard motor under the right conditions can last up to 6000 hours. This application would be primarily commercial, where the motor is run all day, every day, throughout its life.

The problem for recreational saltwater anglers is that their outboards are operated only 100 hours per year, on average. Many owners log about half this number. A four-stroke should be run at higher RPMs to achieve higher temperatures, and when completed, the engine should be flushed at least five minutes.

The time between outings is when salt does its nastiest work, causing deterioration of metal components and mineral buildup inside and outside the motor. This buildup is never completely removed from some areas and downtime is when aluminum oxidizes and steel components rust the most. The process never stops and a primary reason life expectancy can be shortened to eight, ten, or twelve years before replacement becomes necessary.

Periodic applications of CorrosionX Red will help stave off corrosion of external powerhead surfaces. CorrosionX Green is excellent for protecting trim and tilt components. Regular flushing of the outboard will help protect the cooling passages. Yet, time is more the decisionmaker when it comes to engine replacement than the consideration of operating hours.

A final note, I had a customer recently experiencing engine stumbling and surging. He argued, nicely, that he never had to squeeze the fuel primer bulb since the boat was new in 2003. Today he is the happiest angler on the water. Squeeze the primer bulb every morning until firm. And remember that ethanol is not your outboard’s friend.

Have a happy and safe summer season!

Chris Mapp

Coastalbend Marine – Port O’Connor, TX – – 361-983-4841