Gone Outdoors

How to Fix the Powerhead on an Outboard Motor

by Nathaniel Miller

The powerhead on an outboard motor is similar to the heads of a car motor. It is the top of the motor onto which the other components of the motor bolt onto and it provides protection to the pistons and other internal engine components. Sometimes powerheads can wear out or become warped due to engine heat or damage. Other times it is due to faulty mechanic work, resulting in a cracked head or broken head gasket. This can affect performance and cause internal engine damage that may lead to costly repairs. In most instances, it will be cheaper to replace a broken head before any of the aforementioned problems creep up. This article will teach you how to fix the powerhead on an outboard motor by replacing it with a new aftermarket head.

1. Begin by purchasing the aftermarket head for your motor type. Many manufacturers can provide aftermarket or replacement heads or at least provide a company that they recommend as a good alternative to the OEM head. Also purchase the head gasket for your particular model.

2. Disconnect the lower engine housing by removing the four bolts that surround the shroud and sliding the housing down the gear shaft. Remove the four bolts on top of the head assembly and either have a volunteer help your or attach the engine puller to the engine and lift the head off of the motor.

3. Loosen and remove the bolts holding the manifold to the head and unscrew the spark plugs from their holes. Attach the manifold to your new head and screw in the sparkplugs. Align the new head gasket with the correct holes on the lower surface of the head. Slide the new head onto the lower engine housing and tighten down according to the manufacturer's guidelines. Reinstall the upper engine shroud onto the lower shroud and replace all of the bolts.

Items you will need
  • Ratchet set
  • Screwdriver
  • New sparkplugs
  • Replacement head
  • Helper
  • Engine puller
  • Open working space

Tip

  • While you are replacing the powerhead, it is often a good idea to replace the pistons or at least the piston rings as you do not have the head off very often.

Warning

  • Be careful not to overtighten the head bolts when you are putting the new head back on. You could crack the head and be right back where you started from if not worse off.

Photo Credits

  • toy outboard motor image by pearlguy from Fotolia.com