Out­board main­te­nance

Rob Melotti gets one-to-one tu­ition on car­ing for a 4-stroke at the Honda In­sti­tute

Practical Boat Owner - - Contents -

Back to ba­sics with tech­ni­cal trainer Rob Day from the Honda In­sti­tute

Wind, weather and the el­e­ments are the usual cul­prits when it comes to boat main­te­nance, how­ever one of the most com­mon causes of fail­ure for the 4-stroke out­board en­gine is from the fuel that we pour into it.

Petrol now con­tains up to 10% ethanol, which goes off in a sur­pris­ingly short pe­riod of time, gum­ming up the in­tri­cate in­nards of the all-im­por­tant car­bu­ret­tor. The smaller the vol­ume of fuel, the quicker it will go off, ac­cord­ing to tech­ni­cal trainer Rob Day, who works at the Honda In­sti­tute in Brack­nell, Berk­shire. On the Honda 6hp we used in this demo, the small pud­dle of fuel left in the car­bu­ret­tor when you stop the en­gine could go off in as lit­tle as three weeks. The 1.5lt in the fuel tank will keep for only a lit­tle longer. The sim­plest cure for carb prob­lems is to let your en­gine run dry by cut­ting the fuel sup­ply in­stead of stop­ping the motor us­ing the kill­cord. Ethanol is also hy­gro­scopic – it soaks up mois­ture lead­ing to cor­ro­sion in your en­gine. The ad­di­tion of fuel sta­biliser will go some way to­wards help­ing this. The fol­low­ing steps will guar­an­tee ex­tended life for your en­gine when stor­age for more than a week or two is even a re­mote pos­si­bil­ity.

ABOVE The pi­lot jet can suf­fer block­age from ethanol-based petrol in as lit­tle as three weeks. MAIN The lat­est model 6hp Honda 4-stroke

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