Sierra Engine and Drive Parts FAQ’s

Sierra Engine and Drive Parts
How can I tell if I need to purchase a remanufactured carburetor vs. installing a rebuild kit?

Generally speaking, a rebuild kit is only good on a unit with minimal wear (low hours of operation) and no obvious sign of corrosion. If your unit exhibits either of these conditions, your better off purchasing or installing a quality remanufactured unit.

How can I prolong the usable life of my current or recently purchased remanufactured carburetor?

Proper fuel maintenance is the key to a long carburetor service life. Make sure all filters are changed at recommend service intervals, quality fuel is utilized and if the boat is to be stored for extended periods of time use a quality fuel stabilizer.

What information do I need to find the proper carburetor rebuild kit for my application?

Most carburetors have either a metal tag on the front of the carburetor or a manufacturer’s production stamp on the body of the carburetor. Either of these locations should provide the numbers needed to procure the correct rebuild kit. If these numbers cannot be located or the tag is missing, the Sierra catalog can cross most make and model information to the correct kit.

What is the difference between an automotive and marine carburetor?

Although physically similar both carburetors are designed specifically for their environment. In the case of the marine carburetor, special care is taken to make sure no fuel leaks into the bilge. Special overflow channels on the vent tube, channeling on the throttle shafts, and a fuel pump overflow are all important in the marinization of the marine carburetor.

My engine is still under the original factory warranty, will using Sierra oil or lubes void my factory warranty?

No, your factory warranty will still remain in effect. This is a common misconception that using non-engine manufacturer oils, lubes or other engine and drive parts will void the factory warranty. Sierra oils and lubricants meet or exceed the NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association) standards that all of the engine factory brand oils currently meet. Sierra oils meet the stringent TC-W3 and FC-W rating for 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines and Sierra offers an extensive selection of oils and lubes to exactly match the engine manufacturer’s lubrication requirements.

I want to “top off” my lower unit gear housing with Sierra Synthetic Blend Hi-Performance lubricant. Will it be compatible with the engine manufacturer lube currently in the housing?

It depends. Sierra blends all of their gear lubes to meet or exceed the engine manufacturer specification. However, you should never mix organic, semi-synthetic or full synthetic gear lubes. If you are 100% certain that the gear lube in the lower unit is also a semi-synthetic, then yes you can just “top off”. However, it is always best to drain and then replace the old gear lubricant with fresh lube. In most cases changing lower unit lube is easily done by the boat owner and Sierra also offers an assortment of gear lube pumps and adaptors to make the job easy and hassle free. Remember to replace the gaskets or o-rings on your drain and vent screws and inspect the old lubricant for metal chips and water (usually a milky or streaked appearance to the lube) that may indicate a problem in the lower unit. While you are down there, pull your prop and inspect the prop shaft for fishing line that can cut a seal and apply Sierra spline grease (18-9200) to the propshaft to prevent corrosion.

What is the Sierra Warranty?

Sierra warranties all their parts to be free of defects for the life of the part. If a Sierra product fails due to a manufacturing defect during the normal life of the part, Sierra will pay for replacement of the defective part, any incidental damage caused by the defective part, plus any haul out or towing involved. The warranty does not cover failures due to abuse, misuse or modifications to the part. Normal life of the part is considered standard accepted interval before replacement or inspection is required. Example, oil and fuel filters are to be changed at service hour intervals or yearly whichever comes first, so Sierra filters are warranted at these same intervals. You can’t just spin on a filter and never replace it again. Always follow the recommended maintenance and service intervals for your particular engine as laid out by the manufacturer.

Are Sierra parts as good as engine manufacturer parts?

Simply put, YES. Many Sierra parts are made in the same plants and from the same suppliers as the original engine manufacturers. Sierra engineers their parts to meet or exceed the factory original part and all Sierra parts are backed by the Sierra Limited Lifetime Product Warranty.

My dealer says he can not order Sierra parts and will only install engine manufacturer parts. Are Sierra parts hard to find? Do I have a choice?

Sierra parts can be ordered worldwide by virtually any service dealer. Sierra does not sell direct, but utilizes a worldwide network of marine distributors committed to stocking Sierra parts. Almost every dealer already purchases from these distributors for many of their non engine related marine parts and accessories (ski’s, life vests, boat cleaning supplies, etc.) so ordering Sierra parts in no more difficult for a dealer than their normal ordering procedure. Finally, yes you do have a choice. You can specify that if a Sierra Limited Lifetime Warranty replacement part is available for your engine that your servicing dealer utilizes those parts. Sierra also lists dealers across the North America who are part of the SeaStar Solutions Dealer Network just click the “find a dealer” link.

Who is Sierra? I have heard the name, but I am not overly familiar with what they do.

Sierra is the engine parts aftermarket division of SeaStar Solutions. Sierra has manufactured and distributed marine engine and drive parts for over 40 years. Many boaters are familiar with the name SeaStar Solutions and the many products from steering systems, remote controls and gauges that SeaStar Solutions produces. Sierra is located in Litchfield, Illinois just north of St. Louis and also has a European distribution center in Holland. Bottom line, Sierra is the largest supplier of aftermarket engine parts in the world, and Sierra parts are backed by the best warranty of any engine part, OEM or aftermarket in the world.

If I do have a problem, do I have to take my boat back to my original servicing dealer?

No, Sierra parts are available worldwide and dealers worldwide have access to the Sierra distribution system. If possible because of their familiarity with your boat you should always make your servicing dealer your first choice when any problems occur. However, if this is not possible you can take your boat to virtually any marine service center and have the work performed. The service center should contact our technical service department at (800) 648-3976 for the proper procedures and authorization in processing a warranty prior to starting the service. Sierra is committed to customer satisfaction and our top priority is keeping the boater on the water, however, Sierra has no control over service center repair backlogs and any repair is subject to the servicing centers normal turn around time for engine service.

I have an older boat. The marina where I fill up now sells fuel with 10% ethanol. Will this cause any problems with my fuel lines?

Ethanol can cause many problems with fuel tanks and filters. The good news is if your boat was built after 1984 it is most likely okay. In 1984, the marine industry started using hoses built to SAE J1527 specifications. The hoses will be labeled with the SAE J1527 brand. Ethanol enhanced fuel will not cause premature failure. If the fuel line is not SAE J1527 you should replace the fuel lines as soon as possible with Shields hose.

I have to replace the sanitation hose from my head to my holding tank, which hose should I use?

That all depends on how your boats’ plumbing is set up and what type of head you are using. If your discharge hose is short, less than 8-10’ and self-draining the Shieldsvac XHD Series 148 hose will work well. For added protection you can upgrade to the Shields Super PVC sanitation hose Series 144. The Series 144 contains a chemical that inhibits the growth of odor causing bacteria and algae.
If the discharge hose is longer or has some areas where it is not self-draining we suggest you use a rubber sanitation hose like our Series 101. Care should be taken to make sure the hose is periodically flushed to prevent waste from accumulating and building up odors.
The ultimate marine sanitation hose is Shields Poly X Series 105 sanitation hose. The Poly X features a polyurethane cover to create an impenetrable barrier to waste odors.

I am repowering my boat and will need new wet exhaust hoses. What hose should I use?

It is important in marine wet exhaust application that you look for SAE J2006 rated hose. That means the hose is specifically designed for marine wet exhaust. In most boats, black high temperature exhaust works well. Some boats, particularly high performance or large diesel boats will require blue silicone exhaust very high temperature wet exhaust hose.
If the sections you need are short (less than 3x the hose ID) and straight, the best hose to use is a softwall hose Shields Marine Exhaust Series 200 (high temp), or Shields Nautiflex Series 202 (very high temp).
For longer lengths or lengths that require a bend use Shieldsflex II wire reinforced wet exhaust Series 250 (high temp). If the bend is more severe use Shieldsaust C corrugated wet exhaust Series 252 (high temp). Nautiflex corrugated wet exhaust Series 262 (very high temp) is also available for high temperature applications.

Sierra Switches
The console on my boat gets very wet when running in rough water. Even though I have a rubber boot nut, water has intruded and corroded my terminals. Does Sierra have a solution?

Yes, Sierra now offers many switches with a potted waterproof body and tinned copper wire leads.  Connect the wire leads to your ignition wires using a waterproof butt connector.

I have a boat with several Sierra RotoSwitches installed in the panel. The switches still work, but the lights no longer function. Do I have to replace the entire switch?

No, the light module can be replaced without replacing the switch. The switch has to be removed from the panel. Remove the old module and replace it with a new one. Retail price for the module is only $7.99. Call Sierra Technical Service at 800-648-3976 for more information.

I lost my keys to the ignition on my boat. What can I do?

Sierra offers replacement keys for as little as $5.00 per set. At the top of the switch on the face you will see a letter printed. If your switch has a rubber boot nut you will need to remove it to see the letter. Call Sierra Technical Service at 800-648-3976 with that letter code and we can send you a brand new set of keys.

Shields Hose
I am repowering my boat and will need new wet exhaust hoses. What hose should I use?

It is important in marine wet exhaust application that you look for SAE J2006 rated hose. That means the hose is specifically designed for marine wet exhaust. In most boats, black high temperature exhaust works well. Some boats, particularly high performance or large diesel boats will require blue silicone exhaust very high temperature wet exhaust hose.
If the sections you need are short (less than 3x the hose ID) and straight, the best hose to use is a softwall hose Shields Marine Exhaust Series 200 (high temp), or Shields Nautiflex Series 202 (very high temp).
For longer lengths or lengths that require a bend use Shieldsflex II wire reinforced wet exhaust Series 250 (high temp). If the bend is more severe use Shieldsaust C corrugated wet exhaust Series 252 (high temp). Nautiflex corrugated wet exhaust Series 262 (very high temp) is also available for high temperature applications.

I have to replace the sanitation hose from my head to my holding tank, which hose should I use?

That all depends on how your boats’ plumbing is set up and what type of head you are using. If your discharge hose is short, less than 8-10’ and self-draining the Shieldsvac XHD Series 148 hose will work well. For added protection you can upgrade to the Shields Super PVC sanitation hose Series 144. The Series 144 contains a chemical that inhibits the growth of odor causing bacteria and algae.
If the discharge hose is longer or has some areas where it is not self-draining we suggest you use a rubber sanitation hose like our Series 101. Care should be taken to make sure the hose is periodically flushed to prevent waste from accumulating and building up odors.
The ultimate marine sanitation hose is Shields Poly X Series 105 sanitation hose. The Poly X features a polyurethane cover to create an impenetrable barrier to waste odors.

I have an older boat. The marina where I fill up now sells fuel with 10% ethanol. Will this cause any problems with my fuel lines?

Ethanol can cause many problems with fuel tanks and filters. The good news is if your boat was built after 1984 it is most likely okay. In 1984, the marine industry started using hoses built to SAE J1527 specifications. The hoses will be labeled with the SAE J1527 brand. Ethanol enhanced fuel will not cause premature failure. If the fuel line is not SAE J1527 you should replace the fuel lines as soon as possible with Shields hose.