How to Prep an Outboard for Storage Removal

When boating season comes back and you’re ready to take your boat out of storage, you need to prepare the outboard for its return to the water.

Hopefully you prepared (or winterized) your outboard before storing it for an extended period of time, so getting it ready to come out of storage (de-winterization) should be pretty quick. 

NOTE: If you didn’t winterize your boat, the spring maintenance will take a little longer.

Outboard motor de-winterize maintenance

Follow these steps if your outboard was properly winterized before storage.

De-Winterizing Outboard Motors

Step 1. Remove the top cowling and look for signs of animal infestation. Shredded paper and other nesting material are clear signs that a critter has set up shop in your outboard during storage. Also check for signs of gnawing, particularly on wiring and hoses. 

How to dewinterize an outboard

Step 2. Check the wiring and hoses for wear and tear. Look for damaged wire coatings, exposed bar wires and any cracked or split hoses. Replace any wires, cables or hoses that are worn.

Outboard spring maintenance inspection

Step 3. Check all connections to make sure all the wire and electrical connectors are secure and that all hose clamps are tight. Tighten any connectors that are loose, or replace them completely.

Follow these steps if your outboard was not winterized before storage. 

Preparing 4-Stroke Outboards for Boating 

Step 1-3. See De-Winterizing an Outboard above.

Step 4. Clean the fuel/water separator by removing it and dumping out any old fuel and water, then thoroughly cleaning the fuel/water separator and reinstalling it. Replace the fuel/water separator filter element if it’s dirty or hasn’t been changed in a while.

Outboard dewinterization fuel/water separator

Step 5. Empty the VST tank by removing the drain screw from the VST tank cover and draining out the old fuel. Any fuel left in the VST tank during storage will have gone stale. 

Dewinterize an outboard VST tank

Step 6. Change the engine oil and the oil filter. Old oil has contaminants that can damage an engine, so you don’t want to try running your outboard with old engine oil in it.

Step 7. Replace the lower unit oil (gearcase lube).

Step 8. Replace the spark plugs.

Step 9. Inspect the timing belt for cracks or broken teeth and replace it if necessary.

Outboard dewinterize timing belt inspection

Follow these steps if your outboard was not winterized before storage. 

Preparing 2-Stroke Outboards for Boating 

Step 1-3. See De-Winterizing an Outboard above.

Step 4. Clean the fuel/water separator if the outboard has one.

Outboard storage removal prep for boating

Step 5. Replace the lower unit oil. Old oil contains contaminants that can damage a lower unit, so you don’t want to run your outboard with old gearcase oil in it. 

Step 6. Replace the spark plugs.

Outboard dewinterize spark plugs change

Step 7. Remove the drain screw from the float chamber and drain out the old fuel, as any fuel left in the carb during storage will have gone stale. 

Dewinterize outboard carb cleaning

If your outboard fails to run when you come to start it, you may have to dismantle the carb and flush the jets with carb cleaner to remove any old fuel deposits.

 

 

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