Why No Liquid-Cooled Outboards?

By: Grid Michal

QuestionThey make motorcycles with liquid-cooled engines but not outboard motors. Why? I live in Florida, and I have a four-stroke Suzuki motor that I have had to have cleaned many times at great expense to me. A liquid-cooled engine would eliminate the need for water to be pumped up through the motor.

AnswerThat’s a good question, one that’s probably been asked a million times. In order for anything to be liquid cooled, there has to be a transfer of heat. A car, a motorcycle and a snowmobile that are liquid cooled have radiators — albeit tiny — to transfer the heat from the coolant to “outside” via cooling tubes and fins. Imagine trying to find a location for a radiator (or some sort of transfer mechanism) on, or in, an outboard. If you look at the system you have, you’ll see it meets a variety of requirements: easy to cast, easy to clean, easy to drain, easy to control temperatures and most of all, based on the above, inexpensive to offer the customer, regardless of brand.

I’m not sure what sort of cleaning processes you’re getting, but for the most part, if you’re in a seriously saline part of Florida, running your engine on fresh water for 15 minutes or so (using a flush attachment) after using it should clear out a majority of the salt residue. This is even more important if there is an extended layup (three or more weeks) between uses.


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