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Old 04 April 2009, 15:31   #1
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Outboard engine maintenance questions

Hi - Some of you will have clocked my name & be expecting more somewhat ignorant questions. Well - not to disappoint you here they are :-

My 50hp Yamaha outboard was new last Sept & has done just 23 hrs. Oil level seems hardly to have fallen at all - is this normal & how soon should I change the oil ? - is this easy to do oneself ? I remember being told at the start to check for droplets of water somewhere in the
engine. Is this important, how should I check this & when should I get a proper service done?

Throttle has always been slightly stiff & steering seems to have got slightly loose now - are these things a standard service would address? Should I just ring a chandlery place?

Thanks in advance, Ivan
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Old 05 April 2009, 05:06   #2
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My 50hp Yamaha outboard was new last Sept & has done just 23 hrs....... how soon should I change the oil ?
You should have got an owners manual with the engine which will stipulate the service intervals. New engines often get an oil change (including gearbox) and quick checkover at 10 hours - was this done? Normally after that you are probably looking at once a year or every 100 hours whichever comes first. But the manual will confirm for your brand/model. It will also list the tasks to be done / things to be checked.

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Oil level seems hardly to have fallen at all - is this normal & - is this easy to do oneself ?
thats a good sign assuming of course it is a 4 stroke. changing oil not difficult google or a search on here will bring up instructions, its a bit messy.

Gearbox oil will need changed too. Various other things will need checked/tightened/adjusted. Spark plugs will need checked/gapped/changed. Filters (fuel/oil/air) will need changing when due. At some point the impellor will be due for replacement - this can be a DIY job but its a bit more involved than changing say a spark plug.

I'm guessing you didn't winterise the engine to store it during the "off" season? I think given this, plus it being relatively new and so under warranty I would shell out for a service by a marine engineer when its due. It would be worth saying to them you're new to owning outboards and get them to spend 15 mins showing you what basic things you can check yourself. Both for "preventative" maintainence and for "oh shit I'm in the sea and the engines just conked out problems"
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I remember being told at the start to check for droplets of water somewhere in the engine. Is this important, how should I check this
I would say water anywhere in the engine (except the cooling) is bad. Was this to check for water in the gearbox or sump oil (both very bad) or possible in the fuel bowl (not good - but easily resolved).
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Throttle has always been slightly stiff & steering seems to have got slightly loose now - are these things a standard service would address?
depends what you ask them to do! Slightly stiff and slightly loose may be normal, may not even be noticed by the engineer (he doesn't know how tight/loose it used to be on your particular boat) - but if you are concerned then say when you stick it in.
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Old 05 April 2009, 05:14   #3
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Some throttle have a tension/friction screw you can tighten or slacken on the hand throttle itself.
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Old 05 April 2009, 05:17   #4
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new and so under warranty I would shell out for a service by a marine engineer when its due.
This is the key part. It's new and under warranty. Don't touch it yourself apart from checking the oil and spraying the powerhead with corrosion guard or the Yamaha equivalent-anything else you do under the cowling will invalidate your warranty and could cost you a LOT of money. Get it in to a dealer.
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Old 05 April 2009, 15:59   #5
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You 'may' have screwed the warranty already by not getting the 10 hour done. I'd do as suggested & get it given a once over by someone who has been recommended to you or you know. Maybe call the dealer to explain the fact you missed the 10hour service & will this affect the warranty ? Based on that either back to them to maintain it , or get anyone to look at it.

My Yam has not used any noticable oil in 2 years/ 100 hours which is good & its still a 'nice' oil colour - you can tell alot form the colour etc of the oil - pull the dipstick from the stb side of the engine & you'll see ( just like the car) - I assume you've done this to tell its not used much ?

I'd also expect there to be a throttle friction on top of the control box - try & unscrew it abit & see if it helps - if not tell the person servicing it & let them have a look.

I also write my initials on the oil filter in black marker - that way you know it has been changed when they say it has - ( i have had to pick up people on this before now ) & when changed I write the date of the change on so I dont get confused !
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Old 05 April 2009, 16:19   #6
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You 'may' have screwed the warranty already by not getting the 10 hour done. I'd do as suggested & get it given a once over by someone who has been recommended to you or you know. Maybe call the dealer to explain the fact you missed the 10hour service & will this affect the warranty ?
You need to check your owners manual - I think that my 10hr service didn't require a dealer to do it - but it was a few years back, and it was a 2 stroke (so other than checking nothing had fallen off it seemed to be just a gear oil change - still cost 80 though!).
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Old 06 April 2009, 12:45   #7
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Yam 10 hr service does not have to be done by a dealer (caveat: in the US, anyway.) Dealer I spoke to said anywhere in the 10 to 25 hr range is fine (this is not Yamaha talking, but a servicing dealer.) In general, 10 hr service involves: changing engine lube oil, changing gearbox oil, changing oil filter(s) and, optionally, fuel filters, and inspection of spark plugs (look for consistency across all the plugs, clean, or a light brown or tan color is best.)

The droplets of water the OP referred to is, I believe, water ingress into the cowling (you're most likely not going see water droplets in lube oils; rather you'll see a milky goop that used to be oil.) Spraying the exposed metals and all fasteners on the powerhead is good preventative maintenance, especially if used in salt water.

If it's a new boat (or was a new boat last September), you should have gotten all manuals with the paperwork package. The binnacle manual should show where the friction adjustment is for the throttle. On mine, I had to really crank it down to keep the throttle from slipping back (top mount single engine control.)

You can get the owners manual on-line here

If you haven't, you should read the literature that came with the boat. There's actually useful info in there (usually.)

jky
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Old 07 April 2009, 04:36   #8
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Thanks a lot all of you - really useful info !

Ivan
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Old 07 April 2009, 15:08   #9
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I'm glad there's somebody else out there with a similiar level of knowledge to mine re outboards. Great thread with learning for those that don't know. Thanks from me to!
I have a new (to me) 30HP 4st Mercury EFI - any tips on "Oh shit - the engine has stopped/won't restart and I'm offshore". Also any advice of what spares to carry in an emergency?
Thanks,
GerryP
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Old 07 April 2009, 15:20   #10
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Hi Gerry - I'd try & avoid the engine stopping by getting it serviced regularly - something like preventative maintainance - I suspect a lot of people on here do that without realising they do.

As for spares - where do you start !
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