How to Clean a Lower Unit

An outboard plays the integral role of taking in the energy from the engine and rotating the boat’s propellers. The lower unit houses the propellers; it is equally important to care for long smooth life. So, how to clean a lower unit effectively?

There are straightforward and effective ways to clean a lower unit. Oxi Clean, vinegar solution, and even muriatic acid can give you the most effective clean to your boat’s lower unit. However, you need to ensure that you are consistent with cleaning and properly maintaining the boat. You can also use recommended cleaning solutions to make your cleaning more convenient.

This article speaks about keeping the lower unit clean for safety measures and long shelf life. A clean lower unit also ensures that you won’t be getting stranded on the beach, ocean, or the sea when you take it for a spin.

How Do You Clean a Lower Unit?

Several different things could cause your lower unit to fail and need replacing. Low maintenance, corrosion, too long between oil changes, overloading lower units, and grinding gears are just a few of the causes of damage to lower units. Chronic failures from everyday use could cause damage to it over the years.

Clean Existing Debris

Clean Existing Debris of Lower Unit

Different people come up with their concoction to keep it nice, clean, and free of any gunk. This debris could potentially cost you your lower unit, which could cost you your outboard motor, which could cost you your engine like a domino effect.

Use Expert Recommended Cleaner

Kaboom cleaner

Among the lot, a product in a purple bottle called “Kaboom” is said to get the job done with cleaning the lower unit just fine without any odor, while others have found success using regular car wash and spraying down with boeshield.

Others have claimed products such as Wonderfoam, toilet bowl cleaner, Limeaway, Oxy Clean, and a little scrub down with vinegar and a soft-bristle toothbrush to be helpful to clean lower units on their boats.

How Do You Clean an Outdrive?

Clean an Outdrive

“Get an outdrive water intake cover with a hose connection (if you don’t already have one) that fits/closes around the drive’s water…..” says John Jones in a Quora answer.

You must keep your outdrive clean to keep it functioning and for durability. You need to know how to keep your outdrive clean to do this. Below our experts have made a detailed explanation of how you can do it.

Use Muriatic Acid

Using Muriatic Acid to clean down your outdrive is one way to go if the calcium deposits are overgrown. Starting with a 14% solution and then diluting it with a 4:1 with water has been claimed to be highly effective.

Spraying down the surface of your outdrive with the solution and letting it sit for 30 seconds, and then hosing it down, causes no damage leaving behind a nice clean and safe outdrive for you to take on a test ride.

Wiping the Remainings With Baking Soda

To avoid chipping or rusting away from the paint, you should neutralize the acidity from the Muriatic acid by wiping it down with a baking soda solution everywhere the acid has come in contact.

Dishwashing Tablet

Boat users have also shared their concoctions, such as a dishwashing tablet added to 5 gallons of water, 3 cups of Simple Green, and a quart of Lobgreece to clean away the built-up dirt, debris, and grime on the outdrive.

Slimy Grimy and Zing, a Muriatic acid that foams away the algae and hoses it down, is also recommended, along with lots of elbow grease.

How Do You Clean the Inside of an Outboard Motor?

Clean the Inside of an Outboard Motor

For carbon build-up on outboard motors, you can use a wooden scraper and be careful not to scrape into the aluminum and scrape away the carbon out of the head of the cylinder.

If the deposits are stubborn, you can opt for a wire brush, steel woods, or any putty knife to scrape away the residue or the excess leftover.

Use a plastic and aluminum-friendly solvent afterward to clean away remaining carbon while using a ball of steel wool to buff down rough patches, and you should be good to go with your freshly cleaned and cleared outboard motor.

Below are some of the tips that you can follow to clean the inside of an outboard motor:

Check the Water Pump

You need to make sure that your water pump flows easily and smoothly. However, if the water pump is not operating right, it can create issues with your boat motor. So, in such cases, you need some kind of wire-based cleaning device that can clear out all the debris from your outboard motor.

Maintain the Motor

Sometimes the cleaning is not a significant issue; you also need to maintain the motor. For instance, during wintertime, store your boat in such a place where the motor doesn’t get winter frost. During wintertime, it’s likely for your motor to get jammed, and this can cause damage to the inside of your outboard motor.

How Do I Know If My Lower Unit is Good?

If you are experiencing shifting issues as the operator, there is something wrong with your lower unit. The presence of metal particles afloat on the drain screw, gear lube consisting of water, and shifting causing sounds like a clunk are signs of a bad lower unit.

The gear lube change should be at the top of your list with your boat for safety. Putting in fresh lube every 100 hours after being used can save you your boat and your lower unit. Once you find the presence of water in your gear lube, something has already gone wrong here for you.

Necessity Of Oil Change

Most importantly, if you are not changing the oil in your lower unit, it is already in shambles. You must keep up to date with the lubes and the oil in your lower unit for safety measures for you and the boat itself.

For the very first oil change, it is recommended to replace the existing oil in the outboard motor with a new one about 20 hours after being operational as it is a break-in phase. After the first change, each batch of oil should last you anywhere, starting from 50-100 operational hours. This can also turn into changing out once a year.

The type of engine used on the boat is also an important one. Diesel engines don’t do well running on oil compared to gasoline engines. This gives you more of a reason to change out the oil more frequently if yours is a diesel engine.

Bottom Line

Provide you with peace and calmness. Your boat should serve as an escape from the chaos. If your boat is not up to date with a thorough check-up with every tidbit, it will give you everything except for the peace and tranquility you need.

You don’t have to worry about being stranded in the middle of nowhere and have an opportunity to be proud of yourself for keeping up with the high maintenance of the boat.

It is simply much easier to keep up with the changes in the fluid and the tiny minor parts of your boat. This way, you will know your boat is a safe place to be in.

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