6 Workshop Tools You Must Have

Author: Stuart Buckingham   Date Posted:28 March 2018 

Blog 6 Workshop Tools You Must Have

They say a bad tradesman always blames his tools however, you can only blame yourself if you don't have the right tools! Working on outboards can be challenging at the best of times and these challenges can be amplified if you don't have the right tools for the job. Below are a few of the tools I believe are a must have, for any marine technician working on customer outboards or the DIY'er working on their own or their mate's outboards.


Compression Gauge: Allowing you to get an idea of the health of your engine bores, a compression testing tool is simple and easy to use. It can assist in the diagnosis of running issues and can save you valuable time in diagnosing leaking head gaskets, scored engine bores, damaged piston rings, etc.


Gearbox Pressure and Vacuum Gauge: Have you ever had water in your gearbox oil and wondered how it got in there? A gearbox pressure and vacuum testing pump/gauge will help you find the answer of how it got there. Once the oil is drained from the gearbox it allows you to test the gearbox seals under pressure and vacuum to see which seals need replacing. It's really worth checking gearboxes with this tool annually once the engine is starting to get a few years on, this way any potential leakages may be avoided.


Outboard Lifting Tool or Ring: Whether it is lifting the outboard off or onto the boat, removing powerheads to rebuild them or changing mounts, this tool is a must have for any DIY or marine technician.


Digital Multimeter with DVA Adapter: Let's face it, there's still a heck of a lot of 2 stroke engines being used today and without a Digital Multimeter with a DVA adapter you may as well be trying to diagnose ignition problems blindfolded. A DVA (Direct Voltage Adapter) allows you to measure peak AC Voltage which is essential when trying to diagnose tricky ignition problems such as a faulty stator, for example.


Spark Tester: One of the easiest tools to use, the spark tester allows you to see which cylinders have voltage to the coil leads and which cylinders don't. It's as easy as unplugging the leads from your spark plugs, connecting the leads to your spark tester and turning the ignition.


Gear Oil Pump: Filling a gearbox with oil is done from the bottom plug, so it's near impossible to fill properly without some form of gear oil pump. I'm sure many of us have experienced the pain and frustration of trying to squeeze tubes of gear oil into a gearbox only to find that gravity is constantly working against you and you're left standing in a pool of gear oil with a gearbox that's only half full. A pump makes the job of filling a gearbox that much easier, without the wasted oil.


While there are loads of other tools that I could list, I have tried to go with what I think are the most helpful and cost-effective. Obviously, with modern day 4 Stroke and Direct Injected engines, plug-in computer diagnostic software is essential however, it's not very cost-effective for the average boat owner to fork out thousands of dollars to invest in this technology. Hopefully, I've given you some ideas on what may become the next Father's Day present from the kids or a birthday present to yourself to help beef up your toolbox.


To shop our range of workshop tools, click here.


Comments (6)


By: on 19 August 2018
What type of fluke tester do i need 112 113 114 115 116 117 to work on my 1985 gt150 johnson out borad im having no spark on port side

Outboard Spares Response
Good Day and thanks for your question. No spark on one bank on this model would generally be one of 2 things and possibly a third. Power-pack would be my first guess as these engines run a power-pack on each bank. They're also prone to failing, especially as they age. Easy way of checking is to swap the power-packs over and see if the problem shifts. If it does shift you'll know it is a faulty power-pack. An alternative way is to swap the stator wire pairs over from one side to the other. If the problem moves then you'll know the stator is bad. The other cause could be a faulty stop circuit. Just remove the stop wires (black with yellow wire) from both power-packs and retest. If the spark comes back then swap over the power-packs, reconnect the stop wires and test again. If it is still faulty on that bank then it's likely you've got a problem in the stop circuit somewhere. As for Fluke Testers. A digital multimeter with a DVA adapter is what many technicians use. CDI Electronics have one in their range 518-114A which you may be able to find online. Hope this helps! Cheers


By: on 5 April 2018
<p>interesting subject Stu. & how true it is that working on some older outboards can present a few challenges, more so the salty ones, this is where the good ol " HOT SPANNER" & a can of " Loctite Freeze & release can be a huge investment & time saver. i love the smell & sound of a big old V6 carburettored 2 stroke,there is still a few screaming around out there, but unfortunately their days on this planet are numbered & quite often once these engines need some form of major disassembly for extensive repairs , the question of whether it is cost effective will be raised. working on many modern DFI 2 strokes & EFI 4 strokes, having even some form of basic diagnostic equipment now a days as an addition to your tool collection is an absolute necessity & a small fortune can be spent purchasing these items & then having the correct training to fully understand & use the equipment to its full potential is another subject on its own , having said that , trouble shooting some problems with this type of equipment is still not the be all & end all & the best place to start any type of trouble shooting is with the basics & check the three usual suspects , spark , fuel & compression. the best three tools in any workshop are Brains, patience & perseverance , unfortunately for some, you cannot buy these.</p>

diagnostic tools

By: on 30 March 2018
do you sell marine diagnostic tools

Outboard Spares Response
We have some tools available via the 'Workshop Tools' page (www.outboardspares.com.au/workshop-tools/).

great reading

By: on 29 March 2018
Hi, I need a fuel filter and bowl for a 1987 mariner out board the bowl has small split in it.it only leaks when you prime motor.

Outboard Spares Response
We have them arriving next month!

Gear Oil Pump

By: on 28 March 2018
Yes I do have difficulty using old m,ethod of filling a gearbox by squeezinf tubes. I find by putting the tube in some hot water helps. Can you please give me a price for the Pump.

Outboard Spares Response
We don't have any pumps available yet, unfortunately. But they are coming soon!

Outboard tools

By: on 28 March 2018
The biggest problems are: 1 how desperate do you need these specialized tools. 2. Will the chairman of the board approve purchase, i.e. she with the tight purse strings. 3. How often will you use the tools. 4. Why can’t you hire them if needed. 5. Google the problem for another way to fix. 6. Last, bugger it all, give it to an outboard shop to fix and pay for it out of your secret stash.

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