Engine Oil & Lube
Checking your oil level.
The oil level check procedure for your Yamaha four-stroke outboard is a bit different than the procedure for your car. It’s easy to get an accurate reading if you follow this procedure:
- Start and warm the outboard to normal operating temperature, then shut it off. Stop the outboard.
- Tilt engine up halfway and allow to rest for 5 minutes to thoroughly drain the oil back
into your outboard’s crankcase.
- Trim the outboard back down to level.
Tip: You can place a small level on top of the anti-ventilation plate to help you determine when to stop.
- Pull the dipstick, wipe the oil from it, and re-insert it in the crankcase. Then pull the stick again
and check the oil level. This helps ensure proper venting for accurate indication.
- At the proper oil level, the oil should be halfway up crosshatch pattern on the dipstick.
Tip: The top and bottom of the crosshatch pattern on the dipstick do not represent “high” and “low.” The correct oil level indication is at the mid-point of the pattern. Use caution when filling or adding oil. Yamaha four-stroke outboards have a tapered oil sump design (smaller at the top than the bottom), so the closer the oil level is to full, the faster it fills. Therefore, add oil slowly and in small amounts, and do not attempt to “top off.” Do not allow the oil level to surpass the upper portion of the crosshatch pattern. Doing so may result in aeration of the oil, reducing lubricity and oil pressure, and may cause eventual engine damage.
What oil should I use?
Your Yamaha outboard is vastly different from your automotive engine; so avoid regular automotive engine oils. Use a motor oil specifically formulated for the rigors of the marine environment, like Yamalube® 4M for four-stroke outboards, and Yamalube® 2M for two-stroke outboards.
Let’s look at a few reasons why:
- Engine load. The typical loads placed on your outboard are much heavier than on your automobile, having to overcome a much greater amount of drag to create performance. This means your outboard is working much harder than your automobile’s engine. Yamalube 4M and 2M marine engine oils contain specific anti-wear additives to account for this.
- Engine speed. Your outboard operates at a much higher RPM than your automobile’s engine. It must rev higher to create higher speeds, rather than just changing gears like your car. That means your outboard may run all day long at 4500-6000 RPM, rather than the 2500 RPM your car reaches at highway speeds. That’s tough on your oil, and can literally shear (or split) the molecules in ordinary automotive oil, reducing lubricity. Yamalube 4M and 2M have special shear-stable polymers to combat this and provide superior lubrication at all times.
- Operating temperature. Outboards are cooled using raw water, which is often cool to very cold. On the other hand, saltwater will begin to crystallize if its temperature is raised above 170° F, potentially causing blockage in the cooling passages and leading to engine overheat and possible damage. Because of these two factors, your outboard operates full-time at a temperature much lower that your automobile, and requires very different qualities in its lubricating oil. Yamalube marine oils have detergents, dispersants and viscosity index improvers to meet these marine-specific challenges head-on.
Operating environment. Your outboard is constantly near water, sucking in very humid air directly off the water’s surface in order to operate. This humid air also gets inside combustion chambers through open valves when it’s not in use. And in a saltwater environment, that air is even more corrosive. It’s one of the harshest environments imaginable for an engine. Yamalube 4M and 2M are purposely formulated with special anti-corrosion agents to help combat and prevent the corrosive effects of this environment.
Yamalube outboard engine oils provide specific protection other oils don’t, using a proprietary blend of marine-specific anti-wear additives, shear-stable polymers, corrosion inhibitors, detergents, dispersants and viscosity index improvers. In short, they’re far superior to automotive engine oils in their strength of protection, durability and corrosion resistance.
Marine engine oils are so different in their requirements that special levels of certification exist: FC-W® (four stroke) and TC-W3® (two stroke). These represent the minimum standards of the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA®) for marine engines. With their high quality and advanced formulations, all Yamalube 4M and 2M oils meet or surpass all of these requirements. Using Yamalube is best for your Yamaha outboard, but whatever oil you choose, make sure it is the correct type and viscosity and that it carries either the NMMA® FC-W® or TC-W3® label.
Aren’t all oil filters pretty much the same?
Outwardly, perhaps. But it’s what’s on the inside that counts most. Yamaha oil filters are manufactured specifically to protect Yamaha engines, using only the finest components and construction methods available. This includes a special filter media and metal filter media bases (instead of cardboard), to help them achieve a level of durability and filtration far superior than most “off-the-shelf” oil filters. From the quality of the materials used to their high-quality construction, they simply outperform and out-protect most aftermarket alternatives.
What Yamalube oils are right for my outboard?
Yamalube 4M FC-W® Reformulated to better protect your investment from the harsh effects of cold starts, hours of trolling and high-load, high-speed operation, its special anti-corrosive additives are particularly suited for the harsh marine environment.
- 5W-30 Full-Synthetic—great for high-performance outboards like our V MAX SHO® model
- 10W-30 Mineral Base (conventional)—ideal for all Yamaha outboards and environments
- 20W-40 Mineral Base (conventional)—suited for large outboards in consistently warm climates
Tip: 20W-40 weight is not for use in 4.2L V MAX SHO models.
Tip: Your Owner’s Manual is the best place to look for your recommended viscosity.
Yamalube 2M TC-W3® Yamaha-formulated and NMMA®-approved, it provides outstanding protection for two-stroke, water-cooled outboards, with its special blend of additives that help combat ring stick, corrosion, varnish and wear. It’s a standard by which other two-stroke oils are judged.
Tip: Can I change my own oil? Absolutely, but you don’t have to. If you’d rather leave it to your Yamaha Marine dealer, they will be happy to take care of it for you in their specially trained and properly equipped service department. That also means you won’t have to dispose of the used oil yourself. But if you prefer to do it yourself, your Yamaha Marine dealer can set you up with a Genuine Yamalube Oil Change Kit, specific to your Yamaha outboard. It includes the right type and amount of Yamalube marine oil, a Genuine Yamaha oil filter and a drain gasket. Everything you’ll need to do the job right. Kits are available in Yamalube 4M 10W-30 and 20W-40 weights.