Yes, Winter is right around the corner, and no, and it’s not too late to winterize that outboard on your own. But first, here are 5 often overlooked steps that that will help keep your outboard running long and strong:
1. Spline Grease: Remove your prop and re-coat your prop spline in marine grease twice a season. Once before she goes in and again before you pack up for the winter.
2. Lower Unit Oil: Change it every season.
3. Gas Filters: There’s a tiny filter inside the upper unit and -ideally- often a larger fuel/water separator somewhere between the main fuel tank and the ball pump running to your main gas line. It’s not a bad idea to change both once a year, because the two most common Outboard Engine issues are fuel systems and flushing.
4. Old Gas and Gas Lines: Whether you fill your tank to the brim or try and run it dry, make sure to pour an appropriate amount of fuel stabilizer in the tank if you’re dealing with an internal setup. If you have external tanks, dry store them for the season and make sure that your fuel lines are sealed off. This is why a high quality fuel-water separator has become a must for anyone with an outboard. Ethanol in gas leads to water in the tank. Water in the tank guarantees a bad day.
5. Marine Antifreeze – At the end you’re going to flush your engine with fresh water. If you’re storing in freezing temps, anti-freeze is very cheap insurance and also lubricates the pump and internals to help prevent corrosion.
Make sure you’ve read your operators manual for specific instructions. You can also try Googling a YouTube video of the winterizing specifics for your exact make/model.
And finally, here’s a video on winterizing a 4-Stroke Outboard. Good luck!