JoAnna's blog

Clean Boating Tips: Petroleum Control

Petroleum in or on the water is harmful and, in some cases, fatal to aquatic life.  Floating petroleum is particularly bad because it reduces light penetration and the exchange of oxygen at the water's surface.  Floating oil also contaminates the microlayer.  The microlayer refers to the uppermost portion of the water column.  It is home to thousands of species of plants, animals, and microbes.  Ninety-nine percent of the Chesapeake Bay's blue crab larvae feed in the microlayer which also serves as a nursery ground for rockfish.  The abundance of life i

How do I install a portable outboard?

Important installation guidelines:

Make sure you are not overpowering your boat,  Never install an outboard with more horsepower than the maximum rating on the boat's capacity plate.  Otherwise, it could cause severe instability.  If a boat doesn't have a capacity plate, consult the boat manufacturer.

How should I transport my small outboard in a vehicle?

Two stroke motors can be set on either side but you want to make sure that when you carry or set it down the powerhead stays up higher than the lower unit so if there is any water in the exhaust it will not run back into the cylinder. Four stroke motors should also keep the powerhead higher but you want to check your owners manual for which side to lay the motor on. Yamaha recommends to lay the motor so the tiller handle side is down. This is to keep the oil from leaking out of the crankcase.

Ethanol fuel, what should I do?

Ethanol is basically alcohol added to fuel to help boost the octane. Engine manufacturers have designed their motors to run on up to 10% ethanol safely. Although better for the environment ethanol blended fuels do have some drawbacks: Shorter shelf life, more corrosive than regular gas and it is hydroscopic (which means it can draw water right from the air). If you find that the gas in your boat is lasting a couple months or more between fill ups you should be using a good stabilizer made for ethanol. I prefer the Yamaha brand Fuel Stabilizer & Conditioner Plus.

Why does my outboard or outdrive have corrosion?

There are basically two types of corrosion, the first being stray current and the other galvanic.  Galvanic corrosion occurs when there is an exchange of electrons from dissimilar metals.  Stray current corrosion happens when electrical current flows through water in search of ground.

To help combat these problems, engine manufacturers have installed sacrificial anodes on various components of the engine/outdrive.  The anodes need to be inspected regularly and replaced as needed.

Why is my boat accellerating slowly?

Stalling, slow accelleration, no power or bogging out when trying to plane off are common complaints in the boating world.  Although not always, but very often, it ends up being a fuel related problem.  Possible problems could be a tank full of bad gas, cracked or leaking fuel lines, restricted fuel primer bulb, plugged fuel pick ups, clogged filters, bad fuel pumps, dirty carburetors/fuel injectors, or all of the above.

Why would you do a leakdown test vs. a compression test?

Doing a compression test may be necessary on some motors, but if possible I would recommend doing a leakdown test. 

To do a leakdown test, you need a leakdown tester and an air compressor.  To perform a leakdown test, follow manufacturers guidelines.  Keep in mind that with different leakdown testers, procedures and percentages may vary.

What does FC-W Mean?

FC-W means Four-stroke Cycle - Water cooled motor oil.  With the ever increasing number of four stroke powered boats and water craft, the industry saw the need for motor oils to meet the requirements placed on marine engines, which are vastly different than the engines in automotive applications.  New standards were developed for viscosity and corrosion resistance, along with improved resistance to filter plugging, foaming, and aeration encountered with high load, high rpm marine motors.

Off-Season Battery Maintenance

Prior to off season storage, clean batteries of dirt, saltwater residue and corrosion build up.  Yamalube Battery Cleaner & Protector is a great neutralizer for the white battery acid corrosion residue on the terminals and cables, plus it leaves a protective coating on the terminals when you're done.  In a pinch you can also use baking soda and water.  Wire brush the cable ends and replace any ring terminals that appear to have some wear.  Check the electrolyte levels in all cells; it should be to the bottom of the ring in the case.  Distilled water or water

My boat won't plane off

The first thing I do is check to see if it's an issue with the prop.  This is almost always the case, and if so, its an easy fix.

When customers call with this problem, I ask them, "is the engine RPMS reving up but the boat not going any faster?"  If the answer is yes, it is most likely a spun prop hub wich means that the rubber that connects the inner or splined part of the prop to the outer, blade part of the prop is slipping.  If that is the case the prop can be re-hubed or replaced.

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