How to Make the Most of Your Outboards Power

All the power from your outboard motor travels through the lower unit to the water. Without it, your boat doesnt have a leg to stand on.

What Makes Up an Outboard Motor?

Most boat motors can divide into three parts:

  • Powerhead: This contains the engine itself. These are usually two and four-stroke internal combustion units that resemble those in your car. Suzuki outboards run from as small as 4.1 cubic inch single-cylinder 2.5 HP portables at to 268 cubic inch 350 HP V6 models for maximum ocean performance.
  • Midsection: This section contains the shaft and the exhaust system for your unit.
  • Lower Unit: Down here, you have the gear box, the propeller, and the water pump for the cooling system. Most models use open cycle cooling where the cooling water draws in from the surroundings through an impeller system. The propeller is particularly important as it transfers all those 200 or more HP into the water.

How Do You Maintain a Lower Unit?

The effort required for maintaining a Suzuki lower unit depends on the usage of your boat. In general, you have much easier time if you stick to freshwater lakes than if you venture out into the saltwater. Still there are some tips to help ensure the lower unit components stay in good shape:

  • Flushing: Always flush the water pump and entire cooling system with freshwater after every saltwater excursion. Saltwater is extremely corrosive and if you leave it in the engine you will find yourself buying more than just a water pump kit to put it right.
  • Lubrication: From the impeller to the drive shaft, you need to be sure all the components are lubricated, especially the gear case. The impeller and water pump also need checking, as you do not want them to freeze, especially when you are running over three hundred HP down the shaft. Make sure your seals are good, and replace them as necessary.
  • Inspection: Remove and inspect the propeller regularly. Its easier to replace it than to deal with the vibrations it can cause in your unit gear case.

The Outboard Experience

The better care you take of your outboard the more time that you can spend boating and the less time sourcing parts like a replacement impeller or water pump. Parts cost money and take time to install, and thats time and money that takes away from your marine experience. A new water pump impeller is just that much less exciting than a day spent enjoying the Sun on the lake or the wind off the ocean. Make maintenance a part of your routine and you may not need that water pump repair kit or drive gear.

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