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Troubleshooting a Honda Outboard

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Honda outboard motors are among the finest on the market. Before operating a Honda outboard motor, read and understand the owner's manual and warranty policy. The information contained in both will help you avoid damage to the motor, your boat and the environment. Honda outboard motors require regular maintenance and should be taken to a Honda marine dealer for scheduled appointments. However, if a warning light comes on, there are things you can do on your own to address the problem.


If the overheat system activates and the light comes on or the buzzer sounds, your engine might lose speed if the boat is moving. Another symptom of an overheated engine is that engine speed will not increase when you open the throttle. One possible cause of an overheated engine is a clogged water intake port. This can be remedied simply by cleaning the water intake port, which is located slightly above the propeller. An overheated engine can also be caused by a spark plug that has an improper heat range. Before attempting to change a spark plug, you must allow the engine to cool; at that point you can remove the engine cover, take a spark plug wrench and 17 millimeter wrench from your tool kit and remove and inspect the spark plugs. Replace any spark plugs with noticeable wear or cracks. Your outboard motor might also be overheating because of a faulty water pump, clogged thermostat or water line or a problem with the exhaust system. All of these problems will require professional knowledge, and you should not attempt to fix them on your own unless you are confident of your engine knowledge.

Oil Pressure

If the oil pressure warning system activates, this indicates a problem with the oil in your outboard motor. Oil pressure problems will cause the same symptoms as overheating: decreased speed and no increase when you open the throttle. An oil pressure problem can be caused by a shortage of oil or the use of improper engine oil. If the problem is a shortage of oil, add oil to the specified level, which is 33.8 fluid ounces. If you used the wrong kind of oil, you will have to drain all of the engine oil and refill it with SAE 90 hypoid gear oil.

Other Problems

If the programmed fuel injection light or buzzer comes on, your outboard motor has a faulty system and requires professional maintenance. If the alternating current generator light or buzzer sounds, you have a battery voltage problem or a faulty system. If the problem originates with the battery, you can jump-start the engine or replace the battery. If the system is faulty, the engine will have to be taken in for routine maintenance.

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