How to Hook Up an Outboard Boat Motor

Written by will charpentier
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How to Hook Up an Outboard Boat Motor
Mounting it is the easy part. (toy outboard motor image by pearlguy from

It sounds like the opening of a low-budget horror movie: You hear your boat -- and your outboard motor -- are calling you. Whether you have a 300-horsepower monster that weighs in at more than 272 Kilogram, or a 10-horsepower outboard that weighs a tenth that much, hooking up your outboard goes beyond just moving it from its storage stand. Hooking your motor up properly means preparation and making minor adjustments.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Shop crane (optional)
  • Torque wrench

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  1. 1

    Set the motor mounting bracket over the rear of the boat -- the transom -- so that the holes in the bracket line up with the holes in the transom. If your motor is too large to move by hand, a shop crane is an essential piece of equipment. Take the cover off the motor to expose the lifting ring, hook the crane to the lifting ring and move the motor into place.

  2. 2

    Push the motor's mounting bolts through the holes in the transom, thread the nuts onto the bolts and tighten the nuts to the torque recommended by the manufacturer listed in the motor operator's guide, using a torque wrench. Smaller motors may have a self-mounting bracket -- no holes, just large screw clamps to lock the mounting bracket to the boat hull's "back wall." Unhook the shop crane, if you used one to move the motor.

  3. 3

    Take the cover off the motor, unless you've taken the cover off to move it with a shop crane. You may have to use the motor operator's guide to find out where to connect the fuel hose on your particular motor but, once you find the fuel connection point, connect the hose from the fuel tank to the motor.

  4. 4

    Connect the steering link rod to the cable, using the special nut and washers provided by the manufacturer, if your boat is equipped with a steering wheel and a hydraulic system or steering cables. Attach the steering link rod to the engine using the manufacturer-provided hardware. Torque the connections as specified by the engine manufacturer.

  5. 5

    After all necessary connections are completed, place the cover back on the motor.

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