Preparing the Dinghy for the Season

Before each season it is important to have a list of maintenance items that need to be done to prepare for it. We certainly have a list for Dream Chaser, but one of them for each season will be to ensure that the outboard motor is ready for a good year of usage. Since we are at a marina and have access to the trailer for the dinghy, we are doing this the easy way and using the trailer to gain access to the areas to be worked on. If we were out cruising we would utilize the lanyard to pull the dinghy up over the lifelines and go about this same exercise on the fore deck. If doing this on the foredeck, I would encourage the dink to be tied between the shrouds to reduce any swing or movement to avoid any possible drips or spills on the deck.

One of the first things that we typically do is gather the supplies were are going to need before e get started to make the job quick and painless. With a Mercury 9.9 horsepower outboard, the parts/tools list is pretty small and simple.

  • Need a large flat blade screwdriver
  • Gear Oil for a lower unit
  • Gear oil pump (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Additional washers for the drain and vent plugs
  • Small pan to collect the oil when draining
The process for doing this is pretty simple. It starts with putting the small pan just under the lower unit and opening up the drain plug on the bottom of the unit.

 It is important to be sure the small copper washer comes out of the seat for the plug.

After you remove the drain plug you will notice the oil actually comes out very slowly because the vent is still not open. To get the oil to flow out and completely drain, remove the vent plug as well. Just like the drain plug, be sure the small washer does out of the seat as well. These washers should be replaced and can be purchased at your local Chandlery for a very inexpensive price. I picked mine up at West Marine. (Click here to see part)

Once the oil is drained out, insert the pump in the oil can and connect it to the drain plug opening. The pump insert threads right into the lower unit where the drain plug was removed from. Using the hand pump, continue to pump the gear oil into the lower unit until you se the oil start to slowly come out of the vent opening indicating that the lower unit is now full. Once full, reinstall the vent plug (with a new washer).

The next step is to remove the pump insert from the lower unit drain plug. Because the vent plug has been reinserted, the oil will drain very slowly when the pump insert is removed, but it is best to be prepared and have the new drain plug ready to insert quickly upon the removal of the pump insert. Once out and the drain plug (with new washer) is installed and tightened, the job is complete.

In the end, this is a fairly simple process to follow and is something that should be done at the begining of every season. If you use your dinghy and outboard heavily than follow manufacturers instructions on the interval for changing the gear oil.

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I encourage you to check out our youtube channel as well (See links below the video)

Below is a video of how I did it, but I apologize up front for the less than stellar sound in it.



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