How to Test an Outboard Motor Out of Water

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A set of outboard rabbit ears is used to bring water to the intake from your hose to test an outboard while it is out of the water. An outboard motor needs water running through it when running. When the boat is on the water, the engine draws water into the outboard using intake holes. These holes are located on both sides of the outboard behind the prop blade.

Items you will need

  • Outboard rabbit ears

  • Hose

Thread the rabbit ears onto the end of your hose.

Place the rabbit ears over the outboard's intake holes from behind the prop. If you attempt to put them on in front of the prop, the blade will be in your way and will cause damage to the rabbit ears and possibly yourself.

Turn on your hose to begin feeding water to the outboard's intake.

Test your outboard by starting the engine or pulling the engine's starter cord. When the outboard turns on, the water pump inside the outboard will begin to suck in the water from the rabbit ears.


  • Do not shift the outboard into gear while operating out of the water.


About the Author

Jonathan Shaffer has been a freelance writer and blogger since 1999. He has written concert reviews for prominent music blogs and magazines, including "Connections Magazine" in Orlando, Fla. Shaffer holds an Associate of Science in the recording arts from Full Sail University and is working on a Bachelor of Business from Valencia College.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images