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Boat Repairs - Maintaining the Cooling System

Updated on August 4, 2011

Impeller Change


One of the most important items for the longevity of your engine is proper repair work including maintaining the cooling system. If you replace the water pump impeller in a timely fashion all should go well. Weighing your budget and applying a little know how can lengthen the life of your outboard motor.

A good starting point is to consider how often repair work is necessary. The interval between changes varies depending on the conditions used but in most part should be changed once per season at a minimum. If your using a smaller portable type outboard it would be a good idea to change it more often as the smaller ones are usually subjected to shallow water at times allowing debris to enter the impeller intake. Boats that run in shallow water are more susceptible to increased wear as sand and debris will enter the intake at times. Although the minimum recommendation is once per season, the harshness of the environment should be considered to keep your outboard cooling system in good working order.

The total cost is always a good consideration when doing a any repairs. Be aware the price of doing nothing at all will be expensive in the long run here. Outboard parts are usually constructed well however, some parts including the pump impeller are designed to wear over time. The cost of the impeller is relatively inexpensive and can be purchased online or in a local marina. When you do purchase the parts expect to spend the minimum for at least the impeller itself. It is always recommended to purchase an entire kit but if cost is a concern then just the impeller will most likely do fine.

When buying, keep in mind price should not be the only consideration. Generally, the aftermarket parts are comparable and the service life will meet expectations. The factory parts are generally much higher priced and one should weigh their options to determine the best route. The preferred method would be to purchase online at a discount and maybe even purchase a few extra. Many outboard parts retailers are available and navigating the internet can show a quick cost comparison even between dealer parts and aftermarket parts. Most parts are available for common manufacturers such as Johnson, Evinrude, Suzuki, Honda, and even some Yamaha outboards. Understand the aftermarket outboard parts are most likely made by the same manufacturers such as Sierra Marine, or Mallory Marine even when buying from different sources or online stores.

Always obtain the proper outboard repair manual for a successful job. I can’t stress this enough as simply diving in here can be a big mistake. A good source for a manual would be a Seloc outboard repair manual which is usually available for most applications. The value of this is high and the simple nature of an impeller change can be misleading for even those who repair cars or other machinery. Each outboard manufacturer will have different repair procedures and much frustration can be avoided by obtaining the correct service manual for the job.

Here are a few pointers can help here. Keep a spare impeller just in case. Nothing can ruin a great day fishing when no fishing can be done at all. Starting it up at the boat ramp to find a bad impeller will keep many hungry fish waiting. Use a good lubricant before starting the motor after installation.  If the motor turns over with no lubrication damage can result to the new impeller. The idea here is to keep the new impeller in good working order all the time including right after the repair.

So all in all the work can be done given the correct tools and information. The repair can be very affordable and a little education goes a long way here. A reliable running motor depends on performing good repair work and you are one step ahead of the game.


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      Richard20101 4 years ago

      Hi, This cooling system is good for balancing the engine temperature. There is lots of cooling system also available , The new engine cooling system is very cheap price and user comfortable.

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      Sherry 5 years ago

      I have a 2002 tohatsu 18 horse power 4 stroke engine that when in nutral has power but when in gear has no power only about 1/7 of the power it should have...any idea??