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Where Is The Water Intake on A Mercury Outboard? – Prevent Engine Overheating

Mercury Outboard Water Intake

Mercury outboards are popular among boaters for their reliability and performance. However, like any other machinery, they require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance. One of the most critical components of a Mercury outboard is the water intake. The water intake system is responsible for cooling the engine, preventing it from overheating, and keeping it running smoothly. In this article, we’ll discuss what water intake is on a Mercury outboard and why it’s so important.

What is Water Intake on A Mercury Outboard?

mercury outboard motor

The water intake system on a Mercury outboard is a crucial component that ensures the engine stays cool and doesn’t overheat. The system draws water from the surrounding environment, whether it’s a lake, river, or ocean, and passes it through the engine’s cooling system. The water cools the engine by absorbing the heat produced during combustion and then discharging it back into the environment through the exhaust system.

Mercury outboard has been a popular one since its beginning. But it could be having issues if you don’t keep track of it. And water intake is one of the things that you need to look at. But a lot of people fail to locate the water intake!

So, where is the water intake on a mercury outboard?

The water intake hole on a Mercury outboard is at the lower portion of it. Basically, the outboard motor could be divided into 3 parts. And those are the top, mid, and lower portions. So, the water intake is in the middle of the mid and lower portions. This is something important to locate.

This gives you an idea of where you can find this. But you actually need to go deeper to locate it easily.

So, read along and get started now!

Where Do I Find The Water Intake on The Mercury Outboard?

Mercury Outboard

You know water intake of your Mercury outboard is really an important thing. In fact, you also need to look at it at times. You need to have a close look at it to make sure it is working well. So, that necessitates knowing the exact location of this. And a lot of users fail to reckon where it actually is located! So, where is the water intake on my Mercury outboard?

Well, you find this part at the lower portion of the Mercury board. You know the outboard can be divided into 3 basic parts. The first one would be the upper part. And the rest 2 would be the mid and lower parts respectively. So, you can find this in between the lower and the mid part of the motor. You would see the propeller of the motor at the lower portion. And if you go a bit higher, you would see a part like a drain.

You may need to move about 10 to 12 inches up for this. And you would find this. However, if you do not see anything like that, there could be issues. That means your water intake part might actually be clogged or something. And that is when you might be unable to locate your water intake drainage. Now, if you think your Mercury outboard water intake is clogged, get it fixed. That means you need to clean the water intake of your outboard motor.

So, jump on to the next segment to have a look at that. Although it might seem so easy, it may not be how you think it is. Remember you would come up with symptoms for this similar to bad outboard symptoms.

How Do I Clean The Water Intake Part of My Mercury Outboard?

Remember that cleaning the water intake hole of the Mercury outboard is important. Even if you think it is cleaned on its own, no, it is not!

You may not clean it every day even if you do at times. But you actually need to get this cleaned at a regular interval. Or else, your motor might be adversely affected.

So, how to clean the water intake hole of the Mercury outboard? Well, take a look here to get this idea in detail.

Step 1: Water The Intake Hole

The first thing to do for this is to reduce the speed gradually. And then you turn off the engine of your boat.

Now, take a hose or pipe to use for watering the part. Once you take it, turn on the water system and water the intake hole.

Make sure you use clean water at any cost. Because using any type of random-quality water would just deteriorate the condition.  And that could even lead to issues like a bad tachometer.

For that reason, it is even better to avoid using a pond or seawater. You can do it unless it is dirty. Once you do this, let it rest for a while.

Step 2: Connect The Water Hose to The Intake

Now, you would just repeat the process in a bit different way. That is, you would connect the hose to your water intake hole. Yes, you read that right!

You attach the hose tightly to make sure water passes properly with its force. Once you do it, turn on your faucet to get water running inside.

Now, keep the water running for about 2 to 3 minutes. This should clean anything that is clogged in it.

Step 3: Clean The Intake Holes

This time, you have to clean the intake holes. You need to pick up the outboard motor for this operation.

Then you just have to clean the intake holes. And that is at the lower side of the outboard. Once you clean this, you are done.

You can restart the engine to get started sailing. But do not forget to take off the attached hose though.

So, this is how you can clean the water intake of your Mercury outboard.

How Often to Clean The Water Intake of The Mercury Outboard?

cleaning motor

People often tend to forget to clean the water intake of the outboard. This mainly happens for two reasons.

Some people do not even know if one needs to do this. And even if some people know about it, they think it gets cleaned on its own.

So, that is the problem that keeps the water intake clogged for a long time. Now, you wonder, how often do I clean the water intake of the Mercury outboard?

Well, you may want to clean the water intake at least once a week. If you can do it twice, that would be fine. But try to do it at least once.

As a result, the water intake of your outboard would remain clean. And the efficiency of your boat remains good.

So, this is how you may consider cleaning the water intake of your outboard!

How Does the Water Intake System Work?

The water intake system on outboard works in the following steps:

  1. Water is drawn into the intake through a series of inlets located at the bottom of the boat.
  2. A water pump located inside the engine’s lower unit draws water into the engine’s cooling system.
  3. The water then circulates through the engine’s cooling system, absorbing the heat produced during combustion.
  4. The heated water is then discharged back into the environment through the exhaust system.

The water intake system on outboard is designed to operate continuously while the engine is running. The amount of water that is drawn into the engine depends on the speed of the boat, the load on the engine, and the depth of the water. If the engine is not receiving enough water, it can overheat, causing significant damage to the engine.

Why is Water Intake Important?


Water intake is essential for the proper functioning of a Mercury outboard engine. Without water intake, the engine can quickly overheat, leading to severe damage or even complete engine failure. Overheating can cause engine parts to warp or melt, leading to costly repairs or even the need for a new engine.

Additionally, the water intake system helps to remove impurities from the water, such as sand, dirt, and debris, which can damage the engine. The cooling water also lubricates the engine’s water pump, preventing it from overheating and wearing out prematurely.

Maintenance and Care

To keep your water intake system in good working condition, you should perform regular maintenance and care. Here are a few essential tips:

  1. Check your water intake regularly for debris and blockages.
  2. Inspect the water pump impeller for damage and wear.
  3. Flush your outboard with freshwater after each use to remove salt and other contaminants.
  4. Replace your water pump impeller every two to three years, depending on usage.
  5. Inspect the water intake hoses and clamps for cracks or leaks.


water intake does not work correctly 1

Do I need to replace the water intake if it does not work correctly?

Yes, you would definitely need to replace the water intake if it does not work correctly.

That is because it would cause problems with your outboard motor. Eventually, your boat’s condition would be adversely affected. Thus, you need to replace it when you can understand it is bad.

How do I know if my outboard motor water intake has issues?

There would actually be a number of symptoms for this. The first symptom that you might be coming across is your motor drowning. Like, you would see a place filled with water. Other than this, there would be symptoms too. Stalling or resisting to sail could be one of them.

Why does my outboard motor fail to pump water?

Your outboard motor may fail to pump water mainly for one reason. And that is, your water intake is clogged with something. To assess it, see if anything like grass, dirt, or even weed is blocking it. In case you find anything, take it off. And make sure you clean the place properly.

The Final Words

Now you know where the water intake on a mercury outboard is! We hope you have no more issues looking for it here and there.

But remember one thing. If you think your water intake does not seem to be alright, assess it. Look for any type of issue and fix it accordingly. Or else, the condition of your outboard would just deteriorate.

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