Recommissioning boats

Recommissioning boats in long term storage

by Conrad & Judy Kreuter

Q: Dear Boat Talk: I have just been given a boat that has been in storage for 4 years. It has an I/O engine and outdrive. The overall condition of the boat is good at least from appearances. Is there some procedure I need to follow to get the boat operating again? DN, Hicksville, NY.

A: Dear DN: Aside from a good general cleaning inside and out, you should have a professional mechanic inspect the entire engine, outdrive and fuel system.

Among the first items we would recommend the mechanic do is to properly dispose of all the gasoline in the tank, as it will be bad. Inspect and/or replace all gasoline hoses from the tank to the engine. These hoses may be cracked especially if they have been sitting for a long time. Replace the water separating fuel filter and the fuel filter at the carburetor. Drain and refill the oil and replace the oil filter. Purchase a new battery and attempt to turn the motor over. Assuming your mechanic can get this far without major expenditure, perform a general tune-up and attempt to start the engine. Once the engine is running, inspect for leaks and overheat conditions. Depending on the age and condition of the engine, the exhaust risers and manifolds may need to be changed as they might be clogged with accumulated salt and rust.

The mechanic should then remove the outdrive and thoroughly inspect the transom area. Replacement of universal and exhaust bellows is a good idea since they may be dry rotted. He should next inspect the shift cable assembly and replace it if worn or stiff. The lower unit should be drained and tested for pressure and vacuum. The water pump should be replaced and the lower unit filled with gear oil. Finally the mechanic should reinstall the drive and water test the boat.

Make sure the mechanic checks all the boat running gear, such as lights, blowers, horn etc., to bring the boat to complete operation condition.