What a Busy Spring!

What a Busy Spring!
Note the witness of new grease at pivot point.
We have seen a recent rash of problems where boat owners could have eliminated downtime and prevented costly repairs with a simple preventive maintenance remedy that usually requires only minutes to apply. Outboard motor manufacturers place grease fittings at key points on the motor and hitting them with a few shots of grease periodically is critically important to avoiding problems stemming from lack of lubrication.

There are generally five grease fittings on outboards; two on the engine tilt tube (not to be confused with the hydraulic steering bleeder fittings); two on the steering shaft/tiller handle that runs vertical with the engine between the powerhead and the gear case. An additional fifth grease fitting is located behind the prop on some models for lubricating the bearing carrier assembly.

On the first four fittings mentioned, a witness of new grease should flow out the top and bottom of bushings being lubricated and this is often easier to say than accomplish as old, hardened grease can sometimes be difficult to displace. Anytime a witness of new grease is not clearly visible at top and bottom of bushings when grease is applied I highly recommend taking the boat to your dealer or local service center for assistance.

Another area that should be addressed in regular preventive maintenance is the prop shaft. The prop shaft should be wiped clean and a generous coating of grease should be applied every time the prop is removed or at least once annually. Don't forget to check for fishing line wrapped on the shaft behind the thrust washer when changing props or PM'ing the shaft. Fishing line can be quick death to prop shaft seals.

All grease becomes hard over time and applications of fresh grease on a regular basis can stave off undo wear and tear. Waterproof marine grease is my first choice; please note that all grease is not waterproof. The label will clearly read waterproof if it is. This is not the same as wheel bearing grease but, in a pinch, use what you have on hand...any grease is better than none!

Have a safe and happy boating and fishing experience!

Chris Mapp
Coastal Bend Marine
Port O'Connor, TX