Boat Maintenance

We at Sonny's Marine is totally committed to your satisfaction. We have all the latest tools to get the job done right the first time by offering a Dyno and a test tank on location. We also offer open water testing when needed.

Outboard engine technology is changing at an amazing pace. From two stroke, four stroke, fuel injection, to computerized control and monitoring. We now have the ability to hook some outboard motors to a computer for diagnostics, analysis and to change operating parameters. Outboards can store fault conditions in memory so when the boat comes into the shop we can download the information to facilitate repairs. This system also allows operating software upgrades for your outboard.

Owning a boat is usually the second largest investment people make after buying property. This investment requires care and attention in order to maintain its value as opposed to spending most of its life tied to a marina or sitting in boat storage deteriorating. Here are a few things that you, as a boat owner, can do to protect your investment.

Summerize Your Investment
Are you ready for the spring and summer boating season? Is it time to get your boat ready to go back into the water? Here is a checklist for you to follow while getting ready to launch your boat; or you could have Sonny's Marine do it for you. Get a free complete engine and safety checkup while we summerize your boat for you.
  1. Check Navigational lights
  2. Check anchor light (if equipped)
  3. Check all console switches for operation
  4. Service all batteries
  5. Check bilge pumps, bait pump, wash down pumps.
  6. Check water pump
  7. Check trim tabs & reservoir
  8. Check steering, top off hydraulic steering reservoir
  9. Check central box for stiffness
  10. Check wires, clamps at fuel tank sending unit, vent and fill
  11. Change water separating fuel filter , check contents
  12. Check power tilt & trim, fill reservoir
  13. Clean power head fuel strainer, check contents
  14. Inspect all electronics
  15. Compression Check
  16. Ignition Component Check
  17. Set idle & wide open throttle timing
  18. Synchronize carburetor linkage
  19. Check oil pump link rod adjustment (if equipped)
  20. Replace or tighten all fuel & oil line clamps
  21. Drain and clean water trap on main oil reservoir
  22. Adjust carburetor pilot screws
  23. Adjust idle
  24. Change spark plugs
  25. Lube starter drive
  26. Check throttle & shift cable adjustment
  27. Lube cowl latches, shift rail & linkages
  28. Grease tilt & swivel tubs
  29. Drain and refill lower unit, pressure/ vacuum check
  30. Remove propeller grease prop shaft
  31. Inspect trailer lights
  32. Inspect bearings
  33. Add grease to bearing buddies if equipped
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Winterize Your Investment
The importance of winterizing your boat! Neglecting this service as the engine gets older causes it to wear out prematurely. Unless it is winterized properly, moisture, acids and corrosion will continue unabated. Winterizing the engine is one job that is truly critical. Winterizing your boat even for those living in temperate climates like Texas and Louisiana is especially important if you are planning on putting your boat up during the winter months. The vast majority of claims in temperate states involved boats that were being stored ashore. Boats taken out of the water and surrounded by air are more vulnerable to sudden freezes than boats still in the water. Even a brief cold spell that lasts only a night or two can do considerable damage. Along the Gulf Coast and the inland waterways of South and East Texas we recommend boat owners winterize engines and freshwater systems, especially when boats are stored ashore.

Here is a combined checklist for inboard and outboard motors you can follow when getting ready to put your boat up for the winter. For boaters who aren't comfortable doing their own maintenance, all the procedures may be performed by a Sonny's Marine marine technician. Get a free complete engine and safety checkup while we winterize your boat. We include the manufacturer's recommended annual service work on outdrives and lower units in our winterizing procedures.

Take these protective measures to assure your boat will greet you with a happy face when warm weather welcomes you again in a few months. Taking a little time in the fall to get your boat and motor ready for winter means that you can be one of the first boaters out on the water next spring.
  1. Run a fogging solution through the boat engine while it is running to protect internal parts. Fogging fluid is the best way to ensure your engine stays in shape during storage periods. It protects outboard motors, marine engines, and other internal combustion engines by keeping pistons, rings, and cylinder walls corrosion free.
  2. Spray a protective anti-corrosion film on the external parts of engine. A good heavy duty corrosion inhibitor provides virtually perfect corrosion protection in both fresh and salt water environments.
  3. Check fuel line condition.
  4. Check all hose conditions.
  5. Check all belt tensions & conditions.
  6. Change oil and oil filters.
  7. Remove spark plugs and spray oil on cylinders, then replace spark plugs.
  8. Run carburetor dry of fuel.
  9. Clean flame arrestor on carburetor.
  10. Grease steering linkage and all fittings.
  11. Winterize fresh water system. Spin water pump housing dry. Where applicable drain the engine block and manifolds, elbows, transmission and coolers.
  12. Add antifreeze to block & manifolds. Antifreeze inhibits fouling and corrosion while preventing algae growth.
  13. Change water/gas separator filter.
  14. Drain the lower unit gear oil and refill with fresh oil (stern drives only) Grease all external fillings on stern drives.
  15. Remove outdrive, grease U-joints, gimbal bearing, splines and check elbows.
  16. Remove prop, grease spline, check and remove any lime.
  17. Add fuel stabilizer to prevent condensation in gas tank (run engine briefly to flush stabilized gas through fuel injectors and/or carburetors). After running your boat with the fuel stabilizer added, top off each tank with additional fuel and stabilizer. Leaving the tanks full will minimize condensation in the fuel system. Fuel stabilizer keeps fuel refinery-fresh and prevents octane loss over storage periods like winter lay-up. Left untreated over the winter, gasoline deteriorates into varnish and gum, clogging the system and making starting difficult.
  18. Disconnect the battery / batteries and store somewhere warm.
  19. Cover your boat.
Like boats, trailers need some attention in the fall so they'll still be rolling in the spring. Hubs that have been immersed in water during the season must be cleaned thoroughly with kerosene and then butyl alcohol before being repacked with grease. Rusted areas on the frame should be sanded, primed, and repainted. Tires should be inspected, especially the sidewalls, which tend to crack and wear out before the treads. Finally, removing the wheels and adding support at the blocks under the frame rails will prolong the life of the tires, minimize sagging on the springs, and discourage theft.

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