Summer Outboard Blues

Now it’s just sitting there; You drained the fuel from the outboard to store your boat over the winter, and it started like a champ and ran strong first trip out …for 30 minutes, but on the way back it started acting up, and it’s just getting to the start of the summer. What’s wrong with your motor and is there anything you can do about it?

First of all, you’re not the only one. This happens to a lot of boaters, and there could be several factors at cause for this but let’s start where you can. I spoke with my boat mechanic Chris at SunCoast Marine in LaMarque, Texas about the issue, what causes it, and if there is anything you can do on your own to get you back on the water.

“Tobin, there are a couple of culprits that are typically the source for this. No. 1 would be condensation in the fuel. If the motor was stored over the winter correctly, there probably won’t be any corrosion issues in the motor but that condensation in the fuel is going to make the outboard not perform well. It could cause corrosion if its not dealt with immediately and someone gets frustrated or mad and just lets the boat and motor sit the rest of the summer because they think something major is wrong. First, immediately empty the fuel tank, flush the fuel lines, and replace the water separator filter. Unhook the fuel line off the fuel filter on the outboard; Fill up with fresh fuel in the tank and pump the fresh fuel, unrestricted, until it reaches the the end of the hose and fresh fuel comes out. Make sure to properly capture and dispose of old fuel. This will get fresh fuel right to the motor.”

I asked Chris what else could someone do if that doesn’t solve the issue, here’s what he said. “…the next step is to change out the filters on the motor. Fuel filters are inexpensive and typically easy to replace. If ethanol sits in fuel lines that aren’t ethanol resistant for several months then it can extract impurities in the rubber and break down the line. All those contaminates and particles can foul the fuel filter and if it gets bad enough can foul ports, plugs, pumps, and injectors. The second step is replacing the filters that you can. Re-connect the line to the new fuel filter and push some fresh fuel until the bulb gets tight and tun the motor over to see if you can get back on the water”.

If that doesn’t solve the issues, you may be looking at cleaning ports, replacing the fuel pumps, and injectors. The main thing to do is to get the bad fuel and moisture out of the motor so it doesn’t cause a bigger issue, then go from there in short order.


My Story. Born right on the water in Southern Louisiana, I was fishing with a Snoopy pole while still in diapers. Fished Freshwater until the end of college catching large mouth bass in the 8, 9, and 10lb range. Decided to give the saltwater bays a try and my first attempts I got my 'butt' handed to me even though I was a good bass fisherman with numerous fish over 8lbs. That was 20 years ago. So to say that we understand your saltwater fishing frustration is to say the least. We've been there, and we've figured out what works and what doesn't. I started diving into the knowledge and using my skills from Ecology and testing those hypothesis to find what works and why as it pertained to where the fish actually were, and then also to find them the day of. I was lucky enough to find some great fishing guides along my journey... those that think fishing guides don't have your best interest in mind haven't fished with the guides I know and how quickly they forgot the guides and articles that they learned from. Guides are a valuable collective of people in our fishing community and I feel like finding a couple good ones after use the best learning resources will greatly shorten your learning curve. I know we all want to do it on our own, but there is also something to say for utilizing, and partnering with guys that are on the water everyday, to Maximize your putting that education into practice. With our DVDs you can do it on your own, but you can also learn to do it faster combining the resources of the community. Over the 20 years that I fished saltwater I have fished all Texas Bays and into Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina. Not only that but my understanding of how each estuary and bay system works, and how I can simply teach it to you is also something I've been very fortunate, and blessed to be able to deliver to you. I now mostly help you guys and develop new tools for you. I am forever indebted to my customers for the life and chance I've been given. It's something I don't overlook. I don't fish as much as everyone would like to believe, running and making sure you guys come first takes a lot of time and resources. But I still go when I can and when I do I like to go to different areas and fish new water every chance I get.