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Outboard flushing solutions


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Hi all  just started my annual outboard maintenance for my 40hp Yamaha. Took the thermostat out to find it covered in salt (has been in 2 years ).I flush the motor after every use. This started me thinking how much salt build up is there in water jacket etc. Had a look on the net, came across a few flushing liquids that are to connect to flushing unit that claim to get rid of salt in motor. Q has anyone used these products and are they worth the($150 aprox)? Thanks 

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Yes and no, they certainly can help as routine maintenance, but warm water will dissolve salt just as good as anything, do you use ear muffs or the hose on the motor attachment? How long do you flush for?

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+1 for salt away.

I put my 2004’ yammie in for a full service in January and when I picked it up a was chatting to the owner of the workshop about flushing and the reason behind it needing a new water pump housing . I mentioned the Saltaway and he said he feels it does help but immediately asked me how long I flush for which is usually long enough to run the carbies dry - about two or three  minutes ,  he said at least 10 min is what he recommends .

I needed a pump housing as mine had some heat damage ( plastic garbage ) which is caused by the water not getting forced into the pump when flushing , he said there is a small hole above the water intake that must have water dribbling out of it before starting the engine. I wasn’t checking this and later found that if I didn’t have the ears or muffs on exactly right the water was not getting into the pump .

Can’t complain though - only ever had to replace the thermostat in 17 yrs of service .

Hole can be seen above and the left of pick up in photo .image.thumb.jpg.66d2e963d9c236461dec487b4993d0c5.jpg

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Hi I use ears on the intake sounds like I am not running the motor long enough when flushing. Water at tell tail & exhaust warm, thermo does not open fully but water does come out.

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most outboard manufacturers recommend 15mins for flushing, I doubt any one does that to be fair.

 

I use salt away or desalt, so far so good.

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I have always flushed my motor in a cut down bin and was very surprised how much build up there was in the water jacket when replacing the anodes at the 200 hrs service.

So now I flush in the bin and then use saltaway via the ear muffs so will be interested next time I change the anodes.

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Hi All

I use Salt Away every 2nd or 3rd time to flush my motor after i had two seized thermostats.

I flush for 5 / 8 mins then turn on the salt away to run through for the final 2 mins.

The Salt away hose attachment is SHit, the Salt Captain one looks better

 

Also i am about to swap to the dual feed ear muffs as i feel they push the water into the motor better than the single sided ear muffs.

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dont get me wrong i think saltaway works to some extend ,but will never get all the salt out of the block ,i have seen a saltaway cleaned motor every outing blow a hole in bottom cylinder  head and this guy was meticulios but still the salt ate it, only my opinon but if you want to extend the life of your engine you need to pull the head off at least every  5 years and clean the salt shells etc out of the galleries  if you want to pro long your engine life cheers dunc333

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I once read an article by an outboard mechanic that reconds that a couple of minutes was sufficient if you flushed immediately after taking boat out of water because thermostat was still hot and open.  Let motor cool off and its a different story and I flush for about 10 minutes.  Ron 

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17 hours ago, noelm said:

What's the ingredients of salt away?

Seems either no one knows or doesn't care, but....the "active ingredient" is Sulfamic acid, which is good for hard water and neutralising some minerals, I can't see how it will dissolve salt any better than plain warm water. But, there is more to build up in your engine than plain salt, there is all sorts of minerals that set very hard, and over time, will build up, propriety products might help remove these deposits with regular use, a one off use will do nothing, Sulfamic acid is good for cleaning iron surfaces, some products are good for cleaning exterior surfaces, because they limit "spotting" when plain water dries. I guess to summarise, with regular long term use, it's probably a good thing, but, flushing for a decent length of time with proper fitting flushers (not the hose connection on the motor) will be good too, a quick flush is a waste of time. The guy who said to flush it when it's warm because the thermostat is open is wrong, the second the cold tap water hits it, the thermostat will close straight away.

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6 hours ago, Bloggsy said:

You could also go down the path of using vinegar. Do a google search there are lots of sites in regard to using this method. 

Vinegar is not the same as salt away, completely different acid, vinegar is not good for aluminium either, using vinegar is like putting Metho in your fuel tank to get rid of water, it's often done, but it's a waste of time.

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Yep, I know lots of people use vinegar, and it's often used to try to clean out blocked cooling passages, but in reality, it doesn't work all that well, and any exposed alloy will get "cleaned" real good.

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Because it just keeps getting spoken about (just like now) I personally don't care what people use in their fuel, flushing motors, their car radiator or anywhere else, I just agree that science doesn't back up the old wives tales/internet myths.

Edited by noelm
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I'm a kayak fisherman who has finally bit the bullet and bought a 4.5 Polycraft with a 60HP Yamaha high-thrust on the back - my very first time owning an outboard despite my (ahem) advanced years. I've been looking at assorted videos, and everyone seems to have varying opinions about outboard flushing. I've also noticed that there are collapsible flushing buckets available that you stick under the motor in your driveway or wherever, fill with water and flush the motor that way, rather than using the earmuffs method. Can anyone tell me if immersing the motor in a bucket after fishing is better or the same as flushing with the muffs (bucket method sounds slightly more foolproof to me), and also, when doing either, do you run the engine in neutral or at a low idle (700 revs or so). Total newbie question, I know, but I'd love to hear from the experts. I'd hate to blow up a brand new Yammie or do something equally embarrassing :).

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There's a few methods to flush an outboard, a bucket/container works OK, but, modern motors pump quite a bit of water, so keep the hose in the bucket to ensure it stays full. Good fitting muffs (not cheap rubbish ones) with plenty of hose pressure, or double sided muffs are just as good. The screw on hose connector on the motor is OK for late night flushing where you don't want to start the motor, but, it's not as good as actually running the motor to warm it up and open the thermostat. Propriety products are fine for routine preventative maintenance, but whatever system you use, run the motor for a decent time, and keep an eye on the water supply. My method is, as soon as I get home, I connect the flushers and run the motor while unpacking all the gear, this takes a reasonable time for the motor to warm up, it also allows the motor to drain before the boat is put away if you store it with the motor tilted up.

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I run my motor for a bout 5 mins at home, on the muffs and hose, before i leave, just to make sure it all runs. Then when I get home, I run it again for about 5 mins or so to flush it. I also give it a rev during flushing.

if I do get home late, I dont start it to flush, but give it a 10 min or so run the next available day. 

It seems to help, mind you, Ive not had an issue.

 

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I always flush for 15-30min on fresh water. There's a lot of unpacking/cleanup that can be done in that period so I overlap flushing time with other activities.

If the motor is still warm its a 15min flush, if I have had to leave it overnight then it gets a good 30min the next day. 

I ran a Merc 200HP EFI 2st from new 1999 for 21 years and a Mariner 15HP 4st from 1998 for 22yrs. Thermostats were changed every 2-3yrs, impellers 18months, poppet valve on 200HP 5-7yrs. There was only minor build up of scale/salt around the thermostats. Both motors were in excellent condition and after inspection sold at about half of their original purchase price.

The 200 was always flushed with double-sided muffs and the 15HP with its proprietary attachment (underside of ventilation plate). 

I am not a fan of flushing in a bucket or container unless there is a constant feed of fresh water to the lower leg... not just toping up the bucket.

Salts and minerals dissolve into water until the water reaches a saturation level (the max amount of dissolved material it can hold)....as the water becomes  progressively saltier it takes longer and longer for any remaining salt to dissolve into it. So you best bet is to always have fresh water contacting any remaining salt. If you arr re-using the same water from a bucket you will ALWAYS leave some salt behind.

I have not used any aftermarket flushing solutions or vinegar mix on any of my outboards. While compounds like sulfamic acid are great for removing hard water scale (usually a calcium deposit) from metal (ie its used to remove scale in hot water jugs, steam irons etc) I just don't know what effect the sulfamic acid or other compounds have on the rubber seals and other components inside the engine. The manufacturers recommend a clean water flush. That's what I do and its worked for me.

The 200HP was very loud and I was VERY self conscious of the noise when I flushed it for 15+minutes so I made this silencer/muffler which reduced it to the same level as an idling car. Noisy long flush problem solved. It fed water to the double muffs and also into the muffler to act as a sound baffle.

image.png.ea62c979f6e3560cf8b7ac51b6a9b123.png

Video link is in the old post.

The 4strokes are quieter than a lawnmower so don't have this issue. 

Salt flushing - copious fresh water is your best friend.

Cheers Zoran

Edited by zmk1962
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21 hours ago, noelm said:

There's a few methods to flush an outboard, a bucket/container works OK, but, modern motors pump quite a bit of water, so keep the hose in the bucket to ensure it stays full. Good fitting muffs (not cheap rubbish ones) with plenty of hose pressure, or double sided muffs are just as good. The screw on hose connector on the motor is OK for late night flushing where you don't want to start the motor, but, it's not as good as actually running the motor to warm it up and open the thermostat. Propriety products are fine for routine preventative maintenance, but whatever system you use, run the motor for a decent time, and keep an eye on the water supply. My method is, as soon as I get home, I connect the flushers and run the motor while unpacking all the gear, this takes a reasonable time for the motor to warm up, it also allows the motor to drain before the boat is put away if you store it with the motor tilted up.

Noel. One point I must disagree with you about is the pressure of the water from the hose, you don't use high pressure when flushing an outboard motor, all that is needed is volume, not pressure of water, a steady flow of low pressure going into the impeller/water pump is all it needs, high pressure could warp the impeller so that it doesn't carry the water to the engine. 

Frank

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