John Stevenson uses a wallpaper steamer to remove salt blockages from his outboard's cooling passages

I own a 4hp Suzuki outboard, of some 15 or so summers. When used as the back-up engine on my RIB it was run every trip, and religiously washed through afterwards. However, when it was used
as the motor for the tender to my cruiser, it could only be washed through with fresh at the end of the season.
Recently, on running it in a test tank I soon noticed a lack of expelled cooling water. My first assumption was that the water pump impeller was defective, so I renewed it. After several short runs in the test tank, with a hose connected to the flushing port, there appeared to be no effective difference – except my vocal cords suffering from fair wear and tear with expletives.

My conclusion was that the waterways were blocked with salt. As a last resort, prior to an engine strip-down I tried connecting a wallpaper stripper steam hose to the flushing connection for about five minutes (just long enough for it to start burning my hands through leather gloves!) On the next pull she was away, and lo! Cooling water issued forth. Similar expletives rent the air, but in a different tone of voice.

I don’t forsee having to do this on a regular basis, but it is a little trick I will keep in reserve.

John Stevenson


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