Water that is not flowing freely through an outboard motor is a sign that there is a problem and the water pump should be repaired immediately. Non-functioning outboard motor water pumps are typically caused by mud, sand, shells or other debris that have clogged the system. If left unrepaired, an outboard motor water pump may need to be replaced or the neglect could cause overheating damage to the entire outdrive unit. In fact, most manufacturers recommend replacing a water pump every year to avoid issues.
Steps to Repair an Outdrive Water Pump
The basic steps to repair or replace outdrive motor water pumps is relatively easy. Here is a quick overview of the repair process.
- Remove lower unit bolts. There should be six bolts to remove on the lower unit just below the anti-cavitation plate.
- Remove the trim tab. The trim tab, or anode, is located just above the propeller on the bottom of the anti-cavitation plate. There will be one last trim tab bolt holding the trim tab to the lower motor that needs to be removed.
- Remove the lower unit. Carefully remove the lower unit by sliding it out from the mid-section, using a rubber mallet to tap it evenly away from the anti-cavitation plate if necessary. A workbench or other support will be needed to support the lower unit, as it is still attached at the motor shaft and shift shaft.
- Remove the old water pump. Remove bolts and plastic cover of the old water pump, the water pump impeller, stainless steel plate and gasket. Take the stainless steel cup and o-ring out of the plastic casing and remove the key way from the motor shaft.
- Install the new water pump. Assemble the new water pump kit in the exact reverse order of the disassembly of the old water pump. Be sure to thoroughly grease the bolts, motor and shift shafts.
- Reinstall lower unit. Working in the reverse order of the disassembly, reinstall the lower unit and trim tab of the outboard motor.
Resources to Repair Outdrive Water Pumps
The do-it-yourself marine mechanic can repair outdrive motor water pumps with the proper resources. There are many online guides or books that offer detailed instructions on how to repair outdrive water pumps that can be used as reference. Outboard water pump repair kits can also be purchased from marine parts dealers that include an upper and lower housing, wear plate, impeller, o-rings and gaskets, tube and seals. For repair assistance, you can also request that your local marina service department help repair or replace outboard motor water pumps as part of an annual maintenance plan.
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