When you invest in a catfish boat you want it to last and be problem free. Whether it’s a new or used boat there’s nothing worse than having your day of fishing or tournament ruined by a mechanical failure or even worse being in an unsafe situation because of a breakdown.
if you’ve never learned how to break in an outboard motor keep reading because this can make a huge difference in the life and reliability of your motor.
There’s a lot of lady catter’s and I’m sure they all read all the instructions but the men, well I have to pick on the men for a minute (or at least most of them).
If you’re like most men you’re not one for directions or instructions. You just jump in and figure it out as you go and then if all else fails you resort to going back and reading the instructions. Often this leads to some time undoing what you’d completed prior.
It amazes me how many people with new boats don’t know about breaking in an outboard motor, what’s require or that it’s even required or what’s involved in the process. I can’t begin to attempt to count how many people I see and speak with that simply ignore the outboard motor “break in procedure” because they’re not aware.
Failure to follow the “break in procedure” for an outboard motor can result in mechanical failures, reduced life of the outboard and even a voided warranty!
Bottom line, if you’re investing in a new outboard motor you need to take some time to sit down and read the manual. At minimum take the time to read the break in procedures and make sure you follow them.
I just picked up the new SeaArk ProCat 240 from SeaArk boats (shown right) and will begin the process of rigging the new catfish boat, adding electronics, rod holders and the other catfishing gear needed to start slaying some monster blue catfish this fall.
Before I started rigging the boat or even thought about doing any fishing I spent some time checking everything out on the boat, reading up on the Suzuki break in procedure and took a trip to the lake for nothing more than spending time learning the boat and breaking in the outboard motor.
Why “Break In” An Outboard Motor
I’m no mechanic but I know my way around a boat motor for the most part.
Why do you need to break in an outboard motor?
It’s pretty simple:
- You’re checking out the motor to make sure there’s no issues
- Allowing the engine to lubricate
- Scrubbing off any machining grooves
- Allow internal parts to “seat”
If you ask ten people about breaking in an outboard motor you’ll find one or two “cowboys” who’ll tell you it’s not necessary. I’ve yet to meet a marine mechanic or expert that will tell you to disregard the break in procedure.
Just spend the time and do it the right way, you’ll be glad you did,
How To Break In An Outboard Motor
The break in process may vary slightly by manufacturer, be sure to reference the owners manual for your new motor before you put your boat in the water and begin the process.
Before I started the process outlined by Suzuki Marine in their owners manual I removed the cowl from the motor and spent some time going over everything. Not only familiarizing myself with the motor but checking fluids, wires and hoses to make sure there wasn’t any loose connections.
I had a high level of confidence that everything was 100% when I picked up the boat but after trailering it for a few hundred miles I wanted to double check and make sure no issues had developed in the process and that nothing had come loose.
Then I inspected:
- Battery connections
- Propellor nut
- Transom mount bolts
Again, I knew everything was 100% but wanted to assure nothing had happen after bouncing the boat down the road on a trailer. If you’ve got an issue to address it’s much easier to fix it on land with a full set of tools than floating around on the lake or river.
Then I went to the lake, backed the boat in the water and started the Suzuki Outboards break in process as outlined in the owners manual.
Again, most manufacturers processes will be very similar but make sure you refer to the owners manual for your own motor.
Suzuki DF225 Outboard Break In
The “break in” process for the Suzuki DF225 Four Stroke Outboard is outlined below:
For the initial 2 hours:
- Allow sufficient idling time for the engine to warm up after cold engine starting (about 5 minutes).
- After warming up, run the engine at idling speed or the lowest in gear speed for about 15 minutes.
- During the remaining 1 hour and 45 minutes operate the engine in gear at leass than half throttle (3000 r/min)
For the next 1 hour:
- Operate the engine in gear ar 4000 r/min or three quarter throttle. Avoid running the engine at full throttle.
Remaining 7 hours:
- Operate the engine in gear at desired engine speed. You may occasionally use full throttle but do not operate the engine continuously at full throttle for more than five minutes.
I put about four hours of time on the motor towards the break in process before I headed back home. When I pulled the boat from the water I did another quick “once over” of the outboard connections and fluids before I headed out just to triple check there were no issues (and there wasn’t).
During the process, spending time on the water learning the boat and breaking it in I focused on some other items as well including:
- Getting a good general feel for the boat and it’s operation.
- Filling livewells and bait wells to see how the added weight impacted the boat sitting in the water.
- Measuring the floatation pods and transom to determine where the water line hits with live wells empty and full and the boat loaded with people (for sonar installation).
Complete Rigging Of The SeaArk ProCat 240
Now that the initial part of the break in process is complete and I have a good feel for how the boat operates and how it rides on the water I’m moving on to the rest of the rigging so I can get started catching some catfish.
Next step is installation of:
- Rod holders
- Humminbird Onix 10 SI Sonar
- Humminbird 360 Sonar
- Minn Kota iPilot Link
- Upright rod storage holders and net holder
I’ll be back with more information on the SeaArk ProCat 240 catfish boat covering details about the actual boat as well as more information on rigging the boat. I’ll cover highlights of the rigging process and decisions to make when outfitting a catfish boat. I’ll also cover details on the equipment I’ll be using and why I’ve chosen it.
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