Outboard Motor Not Peeing

Why Is My Outboard Motor Not Peeing?

Hello there, fellow boaters!

Ever find yourself asking, “Why is my outboard motor not peeing?” It might sound like a sailor’s tall tale, but it’s a real concern.

Most outboard motors have a cooling system that uses seawater routed through cooling tunnels and expelled through what we affectionately call the “pee hole.” This process keeps the motor from overheating, much like a good sea breeze on a hot day.

This post is all about exploring the mystery of a non-peeing motor and my experience with it. I’ll tell you about the possible reasons behind this issue, how to diagnose it, and most importantly, how to fix it.

It’s not just about troubleshooting; it’s about understanding your boat better and keeping it shipshape.

So, let’s dive in. 

The Importance of a Boat Motor “Peeing”

So, why is it a concern if the motor stops “peeing”? Simply put, this could lead to your outboard motor overheating and grinding to a halt.

When the motor stops this water expulsion, it’s a sign that the cooling mechanism might be compromised. Without this cooling process, the motor can overheat, potentially causing damage and leaving you stuck in the middle of the water.

So, it’s a situation we want to avoid…

Boat Motor Not Peeing

My Personal Experience with a Non-Peeing Motor

Now, here’s my story from the water.

A couple of months ago, I took my boat out into saltwater. When I moored back, the starting motor had given up the ghost.

Because I wasn’t able to do a pull-start, it went without a freshwater flush for a good two months. Aye, that’s how long it took to find the issue and replace the starter. And ​​I must admit I have always been pretty excellent at flushing after usage up to this point.

Diagnosing the Problem

One fine night, I clapped on the earmuffs and hooked up the hose. Wasn’t paying much attention, had a lot on my mind. I kicked the engine into life but didn’t think to check if it was peeing. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t.

I decided to put my skills to the test on WOT (Wide Open Throttle). I did so, turned my head, and saw no water flowing out.

The WOT appears to have caused the hose to slip off the engine. It is conceivable I ran it at WOT for 10 to 15 seconds with no water.

I turned it off and waited a few minutes. Again, I did not detect any fragrances or smoke.

Got me thinking:

  1. Is it possible that it never peed because of blocked lines? Perhaps from not flushing for two months.
  2. Did I burn up the propeller in those 10 to 15 seconds?

Looking for a Solutions

I decided to give it another shot the next day. I figured I would run the engine for just a few seconds to see if the water flow issue was just a one-time fluke. Maybe letting it sit for a full day would help.

If it still didn’t pee, my next step was to look for blockages in the lines. My go-to technique here is to take a piece of wire and run it about 15 inches up the exit pipe. This can often dislodge any potential blockages.

Finally, if none of the above worked, I planned to remove the bottom unit and inspect it for any damage to the propeller. It’s a bit more work, but it’s worth it to ensure everything is functioning as it should.

Thoughts on What Might Have Happened

Here’s the puzzling part: If the pipes were blocked, I would have expected to see at least a small leak or spray after I reinserted the pipe post-WOT. For a complete clog to occur, the salt accumulation would have to be rather severe. But in this case, it was only a single instance of not flushing. Could it be debris trapped in there? But I’m not sure how that could be unless the propeller blades have broken off.

Here’s another thought: What if it’s a burnt-out propeller? After running the engine for 2-4 minutes, it became too hot to touch. This makes me wonder if the propeller had burned out due to a lack of water flow.

And here’s the kicker: if it was never peeing in the first place, that means I ran the engine on idle for around 4 minutes, then at half throttle for 2 minutes, then WOT for 15 seconds – all without any cooling water flow. That seems like an excessively long time for the engine not to have overheated and caused damage. Yet, when the motor restarts, it sounds normal. If there was truly no water for the whole 6+ minutes, I wouldn’t expect the engine to sound or function normally.

Fixing a Motor That’s Not Peeing

So, when it comes to fixing not peeing motor, there are typically two main issues to address:

  • Clearing the water intake
  • Cleaning the “pee hole”

Related How to Clean Outboard Carburetor Without Removing It

Clearing the Water Intake

The first one, cleaning the water intake, is often a simple task:

  • First, trim up the motor to give yourself easy access to the intake.
  • Next, examine the intake carefully. Look for any debris, grass, or dirt that could be clogging its performance.
  • Once identified, remove the clog. Often, this can be done with your hand.

Remember, running through tall grass or shallow areas with heavy sediment is a surefire way to jam the water inlet on your bottom unit. If your motor isn’t peeing, this could be all it needs to get back in action.

Clearing The Motor Boat Water Intake

Cleaning the “Pee Hole”

If clearing the intake doesn’t solve the issue, the next step is to clean the “pee hole.” Sometimes, all she needs is a good clean.

  • To do this, you’ll need a thin piece of wire or a small pipe cleaner.
  • Carefully insert it into the “pee hole” and wiggle it around a bit to dislodge any potential blockages. Be careful not to push too hard.
  • Once you’ve done that, try running the motor again to see if the water flow has been restored.

These two steps should hopefully solve most cases of an outboard motor not peeing.

The Simple (and Maybe Not-So-Practical) Solution: Avoid Dense Grass!

Now, here’s a thought:

Want to avoid a motor that’s not peeing?
Simple – just stay clear of shallow areas and dense grass!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that sounds like a fisher’s joke.

See, most of Mississippi’s marsh is a paradise for inshore fishing, and let me tell you, some of the best spots are right near those thick aquatic grass mats.

This grass, it’s more than just a nuisance for your motor; it’s a five-star restaurant for small fish, crabs, and other bait species. It provides food sources, protection – everything a growing fish needs. And where you find these little guys, you’ll find my personal favorite, the mighty redfish, pulling at your line like there’s no tomorrow.

So, while steering clear of dense grass might save your motor some trouble, you’d be missing out on some prime fishing.

But hey, I thought I’d mention it, just for a laugh!


So, why did my boat motor stop peeing?

  • It could be blocked tubes and pipes,
  • a clogged cooling water pilot hole,
  • a burned-out propeller,
  • or severe salt accumulation.

Remember, when you’re off for a fishing trip in the marsh, you take your risks. One of them is having an outboard motor that’s not peeing.

But with a little planning and preparation, you can avoid these troubles and have a jolly good time. Just keep your outboard in shipshape, and you’ll be ready to face whatever the sea throws at you.

Tight lines, folks!


All product names, logos, and brands are property of their respective owners. All company, product and service names used in this website are for identification purposes only. Use of these names, logos, and brands does not imply endorsement.

It is our policy to make every effort to respect the copyrights of outside parties. If you believe that your copyright has been misused, please provide us with a message stating your position and we will endeavor to correct any misuse immediately.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we may receive an affiliate commission, at no extra cost to you. This helps us keep this website alive. Learn more here.

igor desperatesailors

Hi, I’m Igor, Skipper of S/Y "The Hooker". A decade ago, I conquered my childhood dream: to be a sailing skipper, own a sailing yacht. Yes, it knocked dullness out of my urban life — Read more →

Articles: 78

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Amazon Disclosure

DesperateSailors.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc., or its affiliates.

Please refer to our Privacy & Affiliate policy for more details.