SERVICE TIME– By Wayne Comben

Modern outboards are for the best part pretty reliable pieces of kit – provided you flush them through with fresh water after each trip and service them at regular intervals then you will give yourself the best chance of trouble free boating. At the best of times being a boat owner can test your finances, so if you can save the labour costs on a service then all the better, and its a job that should be well within the capabilities of anyone with a basic grasp of an average toolkit. If you intend doing your own work  i would recommend you invest in a service manual for your particular engine, they provide detailed information and are invaluable for the DIY mechanic.

The following info and photos are a guide to a basic service, the engine in question is a 2004 Johnson 4 Stroke outboard – incidentally the badging may be Johnson but the engine itself is actually a Suzuki DF 60.

1)- Firstly with the muffs on the engine it is run in an upright position for 5 minutes to warm the oil:

Engine jet running












2)-Switch the engine off and remove the cowling: 

Take the cowling off











3.) Remove the oil filler cap:

Engine oil cap










4.) Place a pan under the oil drain plug and remove the plug being careful not to lose the gasket that sits behind it.
As the oil drains out and slows it can be a little messy so have plenty of old rags to hand.

5)-At this stage I remove the port side cover which allows easy access to the oil filter and spark plugs. To do this take off the rubber seal rubber seal around edge:

Remove rubber seal











6.) Next remove the two clips that hold the cowling on, they are held with a pin, a split ring, and a washer.There are five bolts that hold the covers together and once these are removed the side cover can be taken off: 

Remove clips











7.) Next the oil filter is unscrewed, if it has been fitted correctly this should be easy to do by hand but you may need a filter wrench if its really tight.

8)-Install the new oil filter, apply a little clean oil to the o-ring on the filter as this will help with the removal next time, and screw it on hand tight only.
Install the oil drain plug not forgetting the gasket and tighten it up. On my engine this gasket is re-useable but if damaged or made of plastic/rubber then replace it for a new one.

9)-Next pour in the recommended oil for your engine, you need to be aware of the amount required, too little or too much will damage the engine so check the dipstick.

10)-The next job is replacing the spark plugs. It’s a good idea to do these one at a time so you don’t mix up the leads. Pull the lead off the spark plug and remove the plug using the correct socket. The old plug should be dry, there is usually a brown tinge and occasionally a little carbon deposit but there should not be any oil on it.
Install the new plug, it’s a good idea to start by hand so as not to cross thread and then tighten the last few turns with the socket but do not over tighten. Replace the lead and move on to the next plug:

Remove spark plug










11.) The next job is replacing the gear oil. Place a tray under the gear oil drain plugs and remove the bottom plug first: next remove the top drain plug and allow the oil to drain down. Some plugs are magnetic so check for any metal fillings, hopefully you won’t find any.
Once the oil has drained out you need to fill the gearbox with the new oil. The easiest way to do this is with a hand pump. They are not expensive and they make the job simple:








The pump screws directly to the top of the new oil bottle – the fitting is then placed into the bottom drain plug and the new oil is pumped in till it just starts to appear out of the top gear plug: 

Hand pump









Replace the top drain plug and use a new gasket, the photo shows the old one on the left which has been compressed and may not give a decent seal:

Old and new washer










Remove the pump hose fitting and quickly replace the bottom plug and new gasket, do this as swiftly as you can so as not to lose too much oil, a little loss is to be expected but make sure its just a dribble:

Wipe off excess










At this stage I fire up the engine and let it run on idle for a few minutes – then its switched off and I give it ten minutes then I check the engine oil level again and also check for leaks.  If all is well its a case of replacing the side cover, catches, rubber and cowling – a word of warning on the side cover bolts, do not over tighten them or you will crack the plastic cover.

My next job is replacing the impeller so keep an eye on the site for that. GOOD BOATING!

COPYRIGHT: Wayne Comben. All right reserved.