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Protect your engine investment

November 15, 2013
By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Looked at the price of a new outboard motor lately? Thinking about repowering an older hull? Talk about sticker shock!

These days a spanking new outboard is a major investment for most working families and all the more reason to take care of what you already have till you are ready to purchase on your terms, not because you have to. Made worse if the failure was caused by your own negligence.

Know boaters that don't flush their motors after using them in saltwater or just flush for a minute or two? Most manufacturers recommend a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes, but is that enough?

Article Photos

Capt. George Tunison

Pull your boat out of the brine and hose it off with fresh water and let dry. If you didn't use a brush when hosing, after drying the hull typically has a salt residue left behind even though it looks clean. These dried salt crystals magnify the sun's rays and cause premature oxidation of the hull's surface, slowly giving your beautiful, colorful, bright finish a faded chalky look

These same salt crystals coat the interior of your engine, especially the cooling chambers or passages, building up, reducing heat transfer, and eventually causing premature motor failure. Flushing after every use is vital to the long term health of your investment, but like a newly rinsed, un-brushed hull are you still leaving a salt residue inside your motor?

Many techs say that simple flushing is not enough and recommend desalting products that chemically eliminate salt and leave a protective barrier behind. The most well known of these is Salt-Away which comes in 32 and 128 ounce sizes as well as 55 gallon drums for commercial use in marinas.

Try buying the Salt-Away Concentrate Kit. It comes with the 32 ounce bottle and a mixing unit that attaches to your hose for dispensing. While flushing the motor turn on the mixer to add the product for 20-30 seconds, then off which the manufacturer says only consumes about a half ounce of the product. During the flushing process you will see foam exit the motor so don't panic.

Not only does this product remove salt, but continued use helps break down build-up salt films inside your engine. Any corrosion damage already present won't be reversed, but further damage will stop.

After flushing away all the interior salt the product leaves behind a protective corrosion inhibiting film that remains till water once again is pumped through the system.

Salt-Away is not just for interior engine flushing. Use it to wash the boat and trailer, dive equipment, fishing gear, outdoor products, air conditioners, anywhere salt is to be removed and a barrier left behind.

What's the biggest rust magnet in your outfit? Trailer brakes and running gear. Liberal use of Salt-Away will greatly prolong the life of these items as well as lights, connections, and wiring.

Pull your boat out and flush half the hull with plain water. The other half spray off with water mixed with the product and let dry. You can easily see and feel the salt film, but it's gone on the other side which tells the whole story.

Treating my fuel with ethanol managing products and using Salt-Away to protect the motor as well as my hull and trailer is now routine maintenance on my boats.

The product is non toxic, biodegradable, and worth every penny. I've seen it for $38 to $45 for a 32-oz. bottle with included mixing valve for your hose. The mixing valve is semifragile, be warned.

Cooling waters are turning on gator trout. My reported 27-inch fish last week validates that. This time of year it's not just a predawn game for trophy trout. This big guy hit at two in the afternoon. If it's overcast think topwaters. Bright clear skies, go subsurface.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or, or



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