As a surrogate for being able to sail, I have serviced the outboard. Up to now, I have paid someone else to service Henry Honda (BF-5A), but I wanted to know more about outboards. I used to service my car engine, so I thought a four-stroke outboard should not be beyond my capacities. The owners manual is not much cop, so I got hold of a copy of the service manual (Google is your friend). I post this as an aide memoire, so that I will remember what I did, when it comes time next year to do it again. Assuming the outboard survives my attentions… ;>
0. Make a cup of tea and contemplate the task. The first crucial step in any engineering process.
1. Run the outboard up in fresh water and rinse everything thoroughly in water. Leave running for 10 mins to get everything warm.
2. Stop the engine and dry it.
3. Drain the engine and gearbox oil whilst warm and leave to drain out for a while. Engine drain plug was very tight indeed. I’ll try to get a new copper washer next time.
4. I bought a replacement spark plug, but the one in place looked fine, so I gave the electrode gap a bit of a sanding, checked the gap and put it back. I sealed the new one in a plastic bag and will leave it aboard in case of need.
5. Replace fuel filter.
6. Lubricate as required using a combination of spray lube and thicker grease (depending on the location).
7. Put the oil sump plug back in and fill the engine with oil.
8. Squirt gearbox oil in from the bottom until it dribbles from the top plug, then put the top plug back in (easier said than done).
9. Give the engine head a quick spray with WD-40.
10. Run the engine up for a while to check all is well (started first time!)
I tried to get the prop off to check and grease the spline, but I could not get it off at all. It may well have to go to an agent for them to use a puller. I tried tapping it with a piece of wood, but I was worried about bending the shaft or one of the prop blades.
As a result of this service, I feel a bit more confident about the layout of the outboard and the condition of it (which looks good; it’s ten years old this season). Henry has not had to work terribly hard, but should he get tired or poorly when we’re on the water, I now feel that I would be more likely to be able to work out what’s wrong. Oh, and I saved a trip to the (not especially) local dealer and a bit of cash too.