Practical workshop on small outboard motors


Last fall, Yachting attended a practical workshop on the small outboard motors of the six hours given by Richard Paquette at the School of navigation of the lifesaving Society.

You have an outboard motor, and you always bring in a professional at the slightest problem as well as for its maintenance? This workshop will allow you to acquire knowledge of mechanics and you will valuable advice on how to maintain it yourself. You will now be able to measure the rate of compression of the cylinder and to interpret the results in order to know the degree of wear, do an oil change as well as to find, disassemble and reassemble the major parts of your engine, including the thermostat, the fuel pump and the turbine of the water pump.

Compression Test of a cylinder.

Disassemble the fuel pump.

Reassemble the fuel pump.

A few tips

You are considering the purchase of a motor used? Do a compression test. If the engine has been little used, the rate will be very close to what is stated in the manufacturer’s manual. The rate of compression between cylinders should not differ more than 15 pounds. The higher the figure will be lower, the more it will be operating for a long time, which means that the segment (ring) in the cylinders will be worn.

– Make sure you have a torque wrench to tighten bolts to avoid an over-tightening so as not to damage them or even break them.

– If you have an aluminum engine, in which the bolts are steel, buy the Anti-Sixteen to remove the bolts. It is a good grease that will prevent corrosion from developing, thereby preventing items from breaking. It is very important not to use WD-40 on stainless steel or steel. This product contains acid, which causes a chemical reaction that breaks down the parts, or increases the oxidation. Opt for any body fat, such as vaseline.

– Prior to your last outing on the water for the season, add an additive for the winter in your gas tank filled to full capacity. Subsequently, put your engine on a stand and place a container under it, disconnect the fuel pump and start your engine until it turns itself off in order to empty the carburetor. Some models are equipped with a plug that allows you to drain the fuel from the carburetor automatically.

– Once a year, remove your propeller on the foot to check that the o-ring is not damaged, for example, by a fishing line. Take the opportunity to clean it, sand it, and before you replace it, coat the shaft with a thin layer of marine grease.

– You do your oil change? Verify that you can use synthetic oil before making the purchase. The cold makes the oil standard viscous as molasses, your engine will have difficulty starting, but this will not happen if you use synthetic oil (valid for an outboard motor four-stroke).

– To measure your oil level, check three or four minutes after stopping the engine.

– You are thinking of storing your engine for more than two years? It is advisable to remove the spark plugs and spray the inside of the engine a specialized product for winter engines (available at Canadian Tire).

Change engine oil.

How do I change oil in foot

1. Each fall, it is best to perform an oil change. This will allow you to detect if there has been water infiltration and empty at the same time, which will prevent freezing or damage. This is why it is necessary to specifically proceed to the fall and not the spring. To do this, unclip the two plugs of the foot.

2. Let the oil drain completely into a clean container in order to analyse the state of the foot (example : water in the oil, excess carbon, metal shavings, etc). Do not dispose of it. Take it to a drop point. You can consult the website of the management Company, waste oils (SOGHU) as at to find one near you.

3. Defeats the foot.

* If necessary, recommended every five years.

4. Check the water pump.

* If necessary, recommended every five years.

5. Check the turbine, ensuring that it is not crooked or damaged.

* It is recommended that the change to five years.

Manufacture of a sealing gasket.

Here are some common problems and their solutions

Be aware that your best reference in case of trouble is the owner’s manual of your motor. Make sure you have a copy on board your boat.

Your engine is not running? Start by checking the ignition system. Is the fuel travels to the carburetor? Is it that you have water in your gasoline? Is your fuel pump working well? Its diaphragm can dry and crack with time. These are only a few examples of what prevents a motor from starting. This may also happen if it was not anchored. It is possible that the varnish, which is found in gasoline, has clogged sewage pipes in the interior of the carburetor, which will prevent it from functioning well.

– You have a loss of power? Check your fuel filter it could be clogged.

– You have a petrol leak inside the carburetor of your engine? This may be caused by the needle. In such a case, a refurbishment of the carburettor is necessary.

You will learn in the course, among other things, to manufacture a seal for you to troubleshoot if you are unable to find one.

Before you travel, Mr. Paquette recommends that you buy at Canadian Tire or at Napa auto Parts a set of gaskets, which will allow you to have different sizes and thicknesses on hand in case of need.


Joani Hotte-Jean during the practical Workshop on small outboard motors.

Thank you to the School of boating from the lifesaving Society for having allowed me to attend free of charge, in September last, to a practical workshop on small outboard motors. The topic you are interested in? There is a course in maintenance of marine engines (diesel or gasoline) to 33 hours, as well as a practical workshop on the gasoline engines. I invite you to see the full schedule of courses and conferences at the


Who is Richard Paquette?

Teacher of auto mechanics at the secondary level since 1985 and for the Rescue Society for almost 20 years, he loves boating for 40 years. He loves to help people so that they are able to get by in case of failure, but above all to acquire the knowledge necessary to avoid the mechanical problems related to the navigation by carrying out a good preventive maintenance.

By Joani Hotte-Jean

*This article was published in the magazine Fall 2019 of Yachting. Subscribe now! It’s free!

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