Yamaha Outboard Service: Lessons and Tips

As a Yamaha package dealer for more than 10 years, selling and servicing the product, our technicians have exceptional opportunity to understand how these outboards are used in the construction industry, commercial crabbing and oystering and, of course, recreational fishing and pleasure boating.

Across this broad spectrum of usage, we see running time of fewer than 100 hours to more than 800 hours per year on these engines. Part of our internal record-keeping, we have made notes over the years as to key items to focus upon and inspect during the service visit, sometimes even beyond factory recommendations.

The engines we are going to discuss will be four-stroke models as this is where the lineup of Yamaha is today, from portable to high-horsepower. Yamaha also produces the twin-prop TRP lower unit gearcases, and though not offered as original equipment on new engines, we adapt many of these to the F150 up to the VF250 models with great success for ultra-shallow water operation. Installing a TRP (Twin Rotating Prop) gearcase on one of the models listed above to power a flats boat is akin to the capability of four-wheel-drive versus two-wheel-drive on land.

Changing oil seems like a basic task yet when the oil is drained from the gearcase or crankcase it can tell a story through its color, density and consistency – all of which can be critical in understanding the performance aspects of the engine. Oils have become increasingly better over the years and we primarily recommend Yamalube 10w30 for the crankcase in our climate. There are applications where the Yamaha full-synthetic lubes should be used based on model and conditions although the 10w30 is the most common for our customer’s needs. We carry two stroke and four stroke oils in bulk at our shop and a gallon of the Yamalube 2M for two-stroke models is $20.00 including tax, in your container.

Spark plugs on Yamaha’s are changed on the average of every 100 hours of operation in our shop, and when looking at a four-stroke spark plug, other than wear it is very hard to read too much. This is why they are changed every 100 hours. Yamaha spark plugs are affordable and prolonged low-rpm operation will generally work a spark plug harder than normal running.

Water pumps are serviced every year at 100 hours on bay boats; 200 hours is the norm for offshore rigs; bay boats that typically do not accumulate service time in these ranges are replaced at two year intervals. Very easy to tell who flushes adequately and who does not when pumps are examined during changing. Ditto when the thermostats are pulled for inspection.

Fuel filters are changed every 100 hours at our shop and we inspect the high-speed pump area, VST (Vapor Separator Tank) for debris in the filter at the base of the fuel pump and inspect or replace the pump grommet at the top of the pump.

The average annual service done effectively and correctly entails much more than is listed here with the full-service price currently running around $850.00 plus tax, but can vary based on parts requirements.

Service your four-stroke Yamaha regularly and it will last you a lifetime. We have seen as many as 6000 hours logged on commercial units. At an average usage of 100 hours per year for the recreational angler…this is truly a lifetime!

Have a great spring season!

Chris Mapp
Coastal Bend Marine | Port O’Connor, TX
361-983-4841 | coastalbendmarine.com