The advice given on this site is based upon individual or quoted experience, yours may differ.
The Officers, Staff and members of this site only provide information based upon the concept that anyone utilizing this information does so at their own risk and holds harmless all contributors to this site.
Some of us live in a moisture laden climate where temperatures often hover around the freezing point with more than occasional dips on either side, how do you prepare the outboard to survive the winter well...
1) Change the oil including the leg before winter or leave until the spring 2) Drain all fuel from lines and tank or just leave it 3) Run the engine dry with no fuel left in lines or carburetor 4) Fog the cylinders through the carburetor just before it runs out of fuel 5) Fog the cylinders by removing the spark-plugs 6) Store the engine upright or flat in a dry place or heated location 7) Keep it covered by tarps on the stern of the boat
Henk & Johanna "Floating", a few off your "barnacles". "Someday Lady" '95 C250WB #151 ('03 - 2016) "Sea ye" 30ft Bayliner (04-2018 - 09-2018) "Mariah" '96 C250WB #191 (2019... "Lady J" '00 C250WK #499 (05-2021 - 09-2022)
Henk...I am no mechanic but this is what I've done for years without issues (so far).
#1 - Yes. I prefer changing both the engine and lower unit oil in the fall but on occasion I run out of time and do it in the spring. #2 - Plastic tanks - I drain them as best I can and use the gas in my car...I try to drain the gas line to the Racor filter using a wooden chopstick to depress the ball valve on the end of the line. I drain the filter itself in the spring...usually because I'm scrambling to get the boat covered. #3 - Yes. I usually pull the fuel line while backing down the channel to the lift. #4 - I try to add a little Seafoam to the fuel tank and run the motor a few minutes before heading to the marina for haul out but don't always come prepared. #5 - Yes. #6 - Upright, covered, unheated workshop. #7 - That 100+ lbs to lift on and off is getting harder every year but I just don't trust the storage yard....lighted but no security camera and winter contract states marina assumes no responsibility. If the boat were in my back yard, I would be tempted to leave it on if secured (locked and bolted) and covered.
I would suggest one more checklist item depending on one's situation. My mooring ball sat just outside of a 5-6' ledge and fishermen would often troll through the mooring field in the evenings. As such I typically pull my propeller. Most years there was no issue but on occasion I've found considerable nylon fishing line wound behind the prop, i.e. not visible until the prop was removed. Fortunately it never cut through the seal.
Many, many years ago, I used to store an outboard at home. I do not think it really matters when you do an oil change (Fall or Spring)....The fact is that there is still oil coating the insides. I never removed the spark plugs and fogged the inside - Certainly seems like a good idea to ensure insides in the spark chamber have a coating inside to ward off corrosion...just that I never did that. Same goes for every lawn mower/riding mower I have owned - Never removed spark plugs and fogged insides. But for the most part, I do perform annual outboard and mower maintenance - Oil & oil filter changes, fuel filter changes, spark plug changes.
There used to be a debate regarding fuel lines and the draining of gas in outboards. The debate was more about what to do for boats left year-round in a finger slip and occasionally used throughout the winter. Outboards in storage, fully drain the fuel - The last time it is used in the water, let it run until dry after the fuel line is disconnected from the outboard. Also, I almost always add Stabil or Startron to my portable gas tank and especially toward the end of season when I tend to sail less frequently.
The debate, however, is what to do if you continue to sail (though less often) thru the winter months. Times that this was debated on the forum in the past, the debate centered on the issue if the gas line/outboard internals would be better off dry or with gas. The thought was that if left dry, the gas line and outboard may be more subject to condensation. If not dry of gas, then if outboard not regularly started up, then more chance of gas turning to shellac, etc and clogging issues resulting. What I have been doing for many, many years, is that I never run dry. I always use Stabil/Startron and if I do not get a decent day to go sailing for a few weeks, I will go down and run the outboard for awhile (ie. 5-10 min). The other thing I do now that temps will drop overnight below freezing - Whenever I run the outboard, after done running it, I will stop it, raise the outboard vertically, wait for the water to fully drain and then I manually start it for just a couple of seconds. I do that to fling any remaining water off the water impeller to ensure that water does not freeze on the impeller. Main concern is if I go sailing the next day or so that the impeller will be free to turn.
By the way, winter storage running the gas out approach never worked out well for me regarding riding mowers/tractors mainly because I run it dry in front of my shed and then after the engine konked out, it was always a bear and sometimes not possible to then push the mower up the ramp into the shed. But I read somewhere that successful storage can also be to add Stabil to the gas tank and ensure the gas tank is filled to the top of the tank. Then store it that way. I have done it that way for over 30 years and never had problems restarting in the Spring. But storing an outboard. - run it dry and put it in a dry area.
Couple of other things: 1) Those that regularly sail in saltwater, rcmd before storing for the winter, perform a freshwater flush. This oftentimes can be done at home utilizing a big rubber trash can filled with freshwater and run the engine in it for a short time. Sometimes calcium crust and/or corrosion can form and a freshwater flush may help.
2) Before taking the outboard off the boat for the winter, check your outboard and/or owners manual if there is a preferred side to lay down the outboard for transporting it home and also at home, if not storing vertically but on it's side. My Honda outboard has two flat spots on one side which are indicators that is the side that the outboard should be laid down on. I believe some manufacturers have a preferred side so that oil stays in it's reservoir and not moving elsewhere (ie. in the cylinders, etc).
Notice: The advice given on this site is based upon individual or quoted experience, yours may differ. The Officers, Staff and members of this site only provide information based upon the concept that anyone utilizing this information does so at their own risk and holds harmless all contributors to this site.