What needs replacing on your outboard

Author: Stuart Buckingham   Date Posted:17 August 2017 

It's about this time of year, when Spring is just around the corner and the chill of Winter is subsiding, that most of us decide it's time to give our outboards a once over and make sure they're good to go for the upcoming season. It's at this stage that there's some contention on what to replace, why to replace it and when to replace it.

The following list is a guide on the major parts that need replacing on any outboard and explains the ā€˜3 Wā€™sā€™ā€¦ what, why and when:


What: Impeller

Why: Only a few things really kill two stroke outboards and one of them is overheating. Your impeller is the main cooling component for your engine so it makes sense to replace it. Also, you need to remove the gearbox to grease the driveshaft spline anyway, so kill two birds with one stone.

When: Every 12 months or every 250 hours (whichever comes first). Now, I've seen impellers that have been in engines for 3 or 4 years and have done massive hours and still seem to work ok BUT, it's a bit like playing Russian roulette and at some point your luck will run out.


What: Fuel Filter

Why: Cars, bikes and boats all need clean fresh fuel to help them run their best. Ensuring your outboard has new fuel filters will reduce the risk of any nasties getting through to your engine.

When: Annually, or if you have a clear glass bowl type filter system and you can see dirt or water then earlier.


What: Gear Oil

Why: It's inexpensive and keeps all your expensive lower unit components nicely lubed.

When: Annually.


What: Oil Filter (4 stroke outboards only)

Why: Because clean oil lubricates better than contaminated oil. Replacing the filter will assist in ensuring your oil stays clean.

When: Annually.


What: Engine Oil (4 stroke outboards only)

Why: Because your outboard can't run without it. New oil reduces engine wear and keeps you engines internal components in tip top shape.

When:  Annually.


These are the main parts I'd suggest replacing annually. There's obviously a whole lot of other parts you will need to check such as thermostats, anodes and steering (to name a few) but if you replace the above as suggested you'll be giving your outboard it's best chance of a long life.


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