For some of us, the end of the boating season is the time to turn our attention to the maintenance of our small outboard motors. In our fleet, we have three motors ranging from 2-1/2 to 25 hp, and with the coming of winter we need to make sure they will run properly next year after sitting idle for several months.

SBM photographs

A bucket full of fresh water is sufficient for flushing the cooling system without the need for hose-fed muffs clamped over the motor's intake.

Putting the outboard away for the winter begins with some basic maintenance. Flush the cooling system as you normally would by running the motor with either the lower unit in a bucket of fresh water or muffs clamped on the lower unit’s water intake with a hose supplying fresh water. Flush the motor long enough to ensure that water circulates through the entire cooling system. Running the motor will also warm the oil, making it easier to drain the oil for the change that will follow. Our 25-hp motor has a thermostat, so we have to run the motor long enough for the thermostat to open to let warm water flow out of the discharge port. Once finished with a flush, keep the outboard vertical for a bit and let the water completely drain out of the port, so that there is no water left inside to freeze over the winter.

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