Outboard Maintenance – Lower Unit Service

Outboard Maintenance Lower Unit Service

This is the second article in a series on servicing your outboard motor at home. If you missed the first one, you can read about performing a 100 hour service here. Servicing your motor is easy and contrary to the rumors floating around “authorized” service centers, doing so will not void your warranty. Here are the basic tools you’ll need to get started.

You’re going to also need some lower unit oil, new gaskets for your lower unit oil drain screws and a water pump impeller kit for your motor. Another worthwhile but not necessary investment would be in a workbench that will hold your lower unit while you work on it. This Black and Decker Workmate 225 works really well and folds up for easy storage.

If you’re planning to work on your outboard on a regular basis, I’d also recommend picking up a service manual for your motor. These manuals are pretty expensive if you buy them from the manufacturer, but you can pick them up cheap on eBay if you look around. I picked up a used one for my motor there and it only cost $20.

Outboard Maintenance lower unit serviceThe nicest thing about having the service manual is that it not only shows you which part goes where but it also indicates the types of lubricants or sealers that each part should get during assembly. Also knowing the actual name of any parts you need makes them a lot easier to order. No more, “I need one of those rod type things that sticks up out of that hole by that thingy next to the water pump”.

I made this video showing how to perform a lower unit service. It ended up being a little long because I decided not to cut out any of the steps. If you want a glossy video making everything look easy, there are plenty of them already available on YouTube. If you’re reluctant to take on this project, I say go for it and remind you that if I can do it, you can do it. Just take it slow and try not to make as big of a mess as I did…

Get lots more how to from Erik Landesfeind on BD.

Erik Landesfeind is BD's Southern California Editor and has over 30 years of experience saltwater fishing for a range of species in both California and Mexican waters. Erik is also an active freelance writer and the author of the weekly column So Cal Scene, which BD publishes every Friday. In So Cal...