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All New Engines Need to Break-in

  1. On all 4 stroke engines, it is imperative that you cycle the engines through full warm up and load for about 30 minutes. A load consists of you driving the watercraft at varying throttle speeds in long durations and positions. I would not run wide open immediately to allow the rings to seat properly. Working the throttle up to full throttle is fine. 
  2. Check the oil level immediately and fill up to the upper level if needed. 30 weight oil works great in the warmer climates. Adjust weight if necessary depending on season. It is common for a bit of oil to be burnt as it will bypass the rings as it breaks-in.
  3. Once you have a few hours on the engine, I normally fully drain all 4 strokes and refill them with new oil. Fresh oil is the key to engine longevity. Never run the engines on the low mark on the dipstick. Engine damage and seizing will occur. Protect the investment. Always check oil levels before and after every trip to maximize life on all size power heads. Don't void warranties by being careless. No low oil shut-off switches are found on these small 4 strokes. The larger 5 hp and up vertical engines commonly have this feature and a much larger oil sump. The safe zone for all Honda and non-branded small 4 strokes is to check your oil every trip, and top off after a day of hard run time. 

Maintenance for all Kayak Buddy vertical engine systems

Outlined below is the general schedule for maintenance of the leg and engine.

1. Keep the kayak engine leg clean and lubricated

Each time the leg is used it is wise to wipe and oil down all surfaces with a CRC Marine or WD-40 to prevent any unnecessary salt and corrosion issues.

2. Check the oil on the 4 stroke after each use and mix the oil on 2 strokes to manufacturer specs.

No matter what type of engine you are using, check the oil regularly in the 4 strokes as sometimes oil will slip past the rings if the engine lays down for to long period of time. I always keep my engines vertical. For a short period of time it is fine. The 4 stroke Honda usually a small amount of 30 weight oil in the crankcase, but check the reference material that comes with the engine. 2 Strokes use 32:1 and 25:1 or higher mixing ratios. Do not over oil, as this will foul the plugs and make restarting harder. Use a non-synthetic oil and change your plugs yearly.

3. Power head and clutch maintenance.

All models of the vertical engines comes with centrifugal clutches that operate on variable RPM levels . It is important that once and a while under hard use, you unbolt the power head and clean the clutch bell of dust and any rust occurring from salt spray. When I build my engines, there is no gasket between the engine and clutch housing, so I press marine bearing grease in the seam around the housing , so no water enters. Wipe off all excess. This holds up for many trips and keeps any salt spray out. The bottom of the housing that bolts to the drive line vents the heat downward, so do not fill or close this area.

4. Lower unit gearbox.

The lower drive gear box should have the oil changed once every 30 hours. It comes pre-filled, so no immediate maintenance is needed.

5. Nuts and bolts.

Do a visual inspection on all bolts, since these engines get abused and run hard, vibration can loosen bolts with they were not snugged properly. Thread lock medium works great and can be cleaned from the threads as the maintenance is completed.

6. If the engine falls in the water.

Why write about this you may ask. Well, it has happened to me. Depending how long it is submerged and the depth of the water, all hope is not lost. When possible disconnect the power head, tilt the leg upside down and let the water exit, unbolt the clutch housing and spray all of the bearings, shaft, etc. with WD-40 as such once it is right side up. Let it soak for a few minutes and let it drip out and dry. Clean and spray the clutch housing and bearing and let it dry. Wipe the bell where the clutch sits, so it is dry and will not contaminate the clutch itself. Otherwise, a new clutch will be needed. As far as the engine, pull the plug, carburetor, and gas tank and spray it thoroughly and let it soak and then dry. Check for oil contamination in 4 strokes and replace as needed. Don’t risk a locked up motor and do not try to start the engine if water has made it to the piston.

7. Part(s) replacement.

If a part is needed, because of damage as such, feel free to call and find out the availability of the part. Control arms, mounts, kill switch covers, and props are usually always in stock. There is not too much that will go wrong with these units, but life happens.

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