Spark plugs - change every year?

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jhnmdahl
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Spark plugs - change every year?

Post by jhnmdahl » Mon Apr 06, 2015 12:55 pm

The owner's manual for most marine engines recommends winterizing the engine by fogging with oil before storing the boat for the winter, and replacing the spark plugs after a certain number of hours or years. Many people (and marinas) have adopted the habit of changing spark plugs early each spring, replacing the fogged (oily) spark plugs with fresh ones for the new boating season.

Others replace plugs only "as needed," such as when the engine doesn't run as smoothly anymore, top RPM drops, or the lugs appear to be fouled. A few hints to make plugs last longer:

Use ethanol-free gasoline if you can
Always use anti-seize to keep plugs from sticking in the engine
Change the oil at recommended intervals (e.g. 50 hours) and don't overfill with oil
Standard plugs are OK if you change every year; iridium or other premium plugs may last longer if you change every 2-3 years (i.e. if you boat fewer than 100 hours/year)

John
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Re: Spark plugs - change every year?

Post by TwoBurgers » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:32 pm

Timely topic as my 232 has passed 260 hours this summer. I have not noticed an idle issue (rough or low) as my boats idle speed is electronically controlled. As I am also due for an impeller (changed at shop two years ago at close to 150 hours), I thought I would let my mechanic change out the plugs and lube the B3 outdrive components as well. I will add a comment regarding fogging, as my mechanic said since my engine has cats, I should not fog because it could clog up the cats which are very expensive to replace. I will have my mechanic work on the boat in the early spring when he is less busy.
Chris
'13 Cobalt 232 - Merc 350 Mag MPI - B3 w/ Simrek drive shower
'17 Yamaha GP 1800 - Riva S/C Intake and Stage 1 plus re-flash
'07 Honda F-12X GPScape - MACSBoost module and IC
'13 Toyota 4Runner Limited - AirLift air bags

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Re: Spark plugs - change every year?

Post by AsLan7 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:37 pm

TwoBurgers wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:32 pm
Timely topic as my 232 has passed 260 hours this summer. I have not noticed an idle issue (rough or low) as my boats idle speed is electronically controlled. As I am also due for an impeller (changed at shop two years ago at close to 150 hours), I thought I would let my mechanic change out the plugs and lube the B3 outdrive components as well. I will add a comment regarding fogging, as my mechanic said since my engine has cats, I should not fog because it could clog up the cats which are very expensive to replace. I will have my mechanic work on the boat in the early spring when he is less busy.
Chris

.
Nice Chris. Any recent pics of your 232?
2005 Cobalt 263
425 HP Merc MagHO
will fly for food

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Re: Spark plugs - change every year?

Post by TwoBurgers » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:43 pm

Photo bucket is holding my pics ransom... so my links are gone. I do have some great pics. She is a 13 232 with the dark navy sides and a citron yellow boot stripe. I enjoy keeping her looking nice - part pride and part OC behavior. :).
'13 Cobalt 232 - Merc 350 Mag MPI - B3 w/ Simrek drive shower
'17 Yamaha GP 1800 - Riva S/C Intake and Stage 1 plus re-flash
'07 Honda F-12X GPScape - MACSBoost module and IC
'13 Toyota 4Runner Limited - AirLift air bags

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Re: Spark plugs - change every year?

Post by AsLan7 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:51 pm

TwoBurgers wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:43 pm
Photo bucket is holding my pics ransom... so my links are gone. I do have some great pics. She is a 13 232 with the dark navy sides and a citron yellow boot stripe. I enjoy keeping her looking nice - part pride and part OC behavior. :).
Sounds like a beauty!

Never been a fan of photo bucket or online hosting for a number of reasons. That being a major one.

Plus, we use Open DNS to protect our family and anything posted there is blocked.
2005 Cobalt 263
425 HP Merc MagHO
will fly for food

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Re: Spark plugs - change every year?

Post by ajcampen » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:31 pm

TwoBurgers wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:32 pm
Timely topic as my 232 has passed 260 hours this summer. I have not noticed an idle issue (rough or low) as my boats idle speed is electronically controlled. As I am also due for an impeller (changed at shop two years ago at close to 150 hours), I thought I would let my mechanic change out the plugs and lube the B3 outdrive components as well. I will add a comment regarding fogging, as my mechanic said since my engine has cats, I should not fog because it could clog up the cats which are very expensive to replace. I will have my mechanic work on the boat in the early spring when he is less busy.
Chris
This is the weird part about fogging a merc conversations (running gas/oil mix through engine in a 50:1 ratio NOT fogging oil in air intake). Half the mechanics say don't do it, other half say if they don't do it they r just being lazy. I have called merc several times and the customer support guys say do it and that the merc products are safe for the mpi engines and cats. Makes u wonder what really to do. Last customer support guy named Patric says he was a tech in field for 15 years and he always fogged with gas oil mix.
2014 220S with 5.0L Merc 260 HP
1) Columbus, OH
1a) Chautauqua, NY

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Re: Spark plugs - change every year?

Post by AsLan7 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:51 pm

ajcampen wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:31 pm
TwoBurgers wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:32 pm
Timely topic as my 232 has passed 260 hours this summer. I have not noticed an idle issue (rough or low) as my boats idle speed is electronically controlled. As I am also due for an impeller (changed at shop two years ago at close to 150 hours), I thought I would let my mechanic change out the plugs and lube the B3 outdrive components as well. I will add a comment regarding fogging, as my mechanic said since my engine has cats, I should not fog because it could clog up the cats which are very expensive to replace. I will have my mechanic work on the boat in the early spring when he is less busy.
Chris
This is the weird part about fogging a merc conversations (running gas/oil mix through engine in a 50:1 ratio NOT fogging oil in air intake). Half the mechanics say don't do it, other half say if they don't do it they r just being lazy. I have called merc several times and the customer support guys say do it and that the merc products are safe for the mpi engines and cats. Makes u wonder what really to do. Last customer support guy named Patric says he was a tech in field for 15 years and he always fogged with gas oil mix.
I'm glad I don't own an engine with Catalytic exhausts.
I believe after about 2010 the fed mandated them. Heavy (100 pounds?) and expensive.
2005 Cobalt 263
425 HP Merc MagHO
will fly for food

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Re: Spark plugs - change every year?

Post by Big Block Power » Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:54 pm

Yep I checked for AJ also with my brother at merc and I think I posted the bulletin somewhere on the procedure and Mix. But yes you can fog a cat engine. I pulled a plug this year on mine and it looked brand new so there good for awhile.
2003 Cobalt 220 8.1gxi
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AsLan7
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Re: Spark plugs - change every year?

Post by AsLan7 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:23 am

Big Block Power wrote:
Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:54 pm
Yep I checked for AJ also with my brother at merc and I think I posted the bulletin somewhere on the procedure and Mix. But yes you can fog a cat engine. I pulled a plug this year on mine and it looked brand new so there good for awhile.
I'd be more concerned about the MAF sensors on the Cat's than the plugs (unless u meant to have a new paragraph there BBP as a separate thought).

Hopefully the EPA won't mandate conversions.

Btw, changing spark plugs every year is overkill imho. I tend to balance judgment with what the manufacturers "recommend ". Companies have an interest in selling all kinds of "maintenance " to folks in order to help their bottom line.

Still find it amusing some cars will have an oil reminder light that goes on and stays on at the antiquated 3,000 miles so the dealer can reset it. Thank goodness for YouTube.

...and my favorite word with anything in life--balance.

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2005 Cobalt 263
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