A video presentation on how to check your outboard oil on a Yamaha Outboard, presented by Yamaha Outboards Online
Although your four-stroke outboard has much in common with an automobile engine, they are also significant differences. Differences that affect the way you check its oil level. An outboard motor literally stands a typical car motor configuration on end with a vertical crank shaft and horizontal cylinders. That means oil can pool behind the horizontal pistons and in a variety of casting surfaces inside the block after the engine is shutdown, rather than draining into the crank case like your car's engine.
Also outboard motor operation is usually much different from most cars. It is common to expect extended high RPM operation at a set throttle position. These factors mean that it is normal to see some oil consumption with the four-stroke outboard. There is however no specification for how much oil consumption is normal. So proper oil level checking at regular intervals is extremely important. And fortunately it's not difficult to do.
In this example we will be checking the oil level on a F150 TXR. Before checking the oil level, tilt the engine up to at least half of its total tilt range. Tilting the engine like this prior to checking the oil level is the only way you can be sure you get a true measure of the oil level.
Let the engine sit tilted up like this for at least five minutes. Now trim the engine down until it is level and proceed to check the oil. Remove the dipstick and wipe it off with a clean dry towel. Reinsert the dipstick all the way. Remove it again and inspect the oil level on the dipstick.
Dipsticks have markings to indicate the low and high levels. In this example the dipstick has a checkered area to indicate the low and high levels. The oil levels located anywhere on the checkered area of this dipstick, it means the engine has enough oil. It is not necessary to add oil to bring it up to the upper level.
Please note that there are different styles of dipsticks. Some have this checkered area and others have drilled check holes indicating low and high. Regardless of the style of dipstick, your outboard's oil level needs to be between the low and high level on the dipstick.
The oil level below the L or low level, add some oil. If the oil level is above the H or high level, you will need to drain or evacuate some oil. For steps on adding or removing oil, consult your owner's manual or contact your local authorized Yamaha dealer.
Ask the Experts | Four Cycle Oil Improvements
With the takeover of four cycle/four stroke outboards the use of top quality oil to lubricate and protect your engine is more important than ever.
Stern drive powered boats have used modified (gasoline or diesel automotive engines, gasoline engines being four cycle) since their inception. Stern drives dominated the family bowrider and recreational boating market for decades. With the introduction of four cycle outboards recreational boating power changed forever and many say, for the better. Stern drive power preference will continue for many but outboards are far outpacing stern drive sales for now.
As was learned with stern drive powered boats, the engine must have good lubrication to keep running efficiently and simply to keep running.
Any marine engine experiences the same operational stresses. Unlike the automotive application, marine engines never get to coast along the waterway. They always are pushing, even when at idle for trolling or slow cruising.
Over the decades, marine engine manufacturers have marketed what they felt were the best lubricants for their engines. That's great for the boater and in all honesty, self-serving for the manufacturer. Once an engine leaves the factory, the manufacturer really never wants to see it again. And, other than for periodic maintenance, the local dealer doesn?t want to see that engine back in their shop, in particular, for warranty work. Engine failure and possible warranty claims cost the dealer and engine manufacturer a lot of money.
Mercury Marine offers 4-stroke lubricants under their Mercury and Quicksilver brands while Yamaha has Yamalube, Bombardier (SeaDoo) has the XPS line and other engine manufacturers offer premium quality oils.
Each "marine grade" engine oil must pass National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) requirements. For two-cycle oils that now is TC-W3 (two-cycle, water-cooled, version #3). For the four-cycle engines the most recent update is FC-W Catalyst Compatible "FC-W" (Four Cycle, Water-cooled). Make sure to look for the NMMA "bug" on the bottle.
Those standards require:
Shear stability testing including High Temperature-High Shear tests
Outboard engine test to ensure overall performance, no scuffing, spalling, scoring or wear combined with reduced carbon deposits, varnish, sludge or other "distress".
Intended for all gasoline-powered marine applications.
Low phosphorus levels.
Filter plugging testing to ensure flow.
Your engine oil needs to lubricate and protect the engine from corrosion. It needs to be slippery yet be able to stick or adhere to the internal engine surfaces to help protect them from corrosion in our very water friendly environment.
Mercury Marine has offered premium 4-stroke engine oils under both the Quicksilver and Mercury brands since they introduced the MerCruiser Stern Drive. Those products have undergone improvements over time. As Mercury introduced their 4-stroke outboards they created both mineral based and synthetic lubricants to best provide necessary performance for those engines. At one time, Mercury offered up to six different 4-stroke engine oils, being marketed under both the Mercury and Quicksilver brand.
Now, after investing five years in development, Mercury has just formulated the two families of mineral base and synthetic blend into new 4-stroke engine oils to replace all previous lines. They offer a mineral and synthetic blend 4-stroke oil. The 10W-30 weight oil is mineral base and recommended for manual start and colder weather applications. The 25W-40 mineral base oil is for use in outboards or stern drives. They recommend using the 25W-40 synthetic blend for either outboards or stern drives.
Enjoy your summer of boating. Use the best products to protect your investment and your boating fun.