Most Common Problems With Yamaha VMAX SHO

The Yamaha new VMAX SHO series of outboard motors is the true definition of what people can expect from an outboard or boat motor to enjoy the competitive fishing experience on the water. Still, some common troubleshooting issues may occur with these series.

In today’s article, I will reveal and explain the most common problems that may arise while using any of the Yamaha VMAX SHO series motors.

Trouble In Getting The Outboard On A PlaneBad or damaged propellerMisfiring in cylinders
Fuel Pump May Turn BadBecause of another component failure.  
Experiencing Operator Shifting TroubleLower unit turns bad

1. Trouble In Getting The Outboard On A Plane:

Some of the Yamaha VMAX SHO users has mentioned their struggle to get their outboard on a plane.

According to those user’s experiences, sometimes the outboard either visibly struggles or takes more time than usual when they try to get it on the plane.

There can be various reason which may ultimately lead to this commotion, and it is one of the most common issue arise with most outboard or boats.

Possible Fix 

Outboard may fail to get on the plane because of a bad or damaged propeller.

Therefore, thoroughly check the propeller for any potential damage such as bends, nicks, cuts, or cracks. 

Sometimes, excess amounts of seaweed, fishing lines, or other corrosion material get tangled around the propeller engine and also can gradually damage the prop blades. 

So, use the Rough Cast Mag Wheel Cleaner, Hydrogen Peroxide, or Calcium Lime & Rust Remover for cleaning the existing debris, or spot on your prop.

However, if you notice that the prop is already severely damaged and after cleaning the problem will not solve, replace the propeller immediately.

Misfiring in cylinders can force your outboard motor to lose power, which can eventually lead to other problems such as this one.

But to fix the cylinder misfiring issue, you need to know what causes the misfiring like that. Mainly, it can arise because of damaged or broken spark plugs, ignition coils, and low compression.

First, check the ignition spark condition with a spark tester. If you cannot see enough spark in there, inspect whether spark plugs located inside the ignition system are damaged or broken.  

If plugs are broken or damaged, replace them. If the spark plugs are not severely damaged but dirty, clean them. After cleaning or replacing, check the ignition spark with the same tester once again to confirm your ignition system is getting enough spark. Remember to inspect all the wiring and replace wires or fix the connection. Also, check the ignition coil and replace it, if required.

Also, inspect and test your compression level and remember 120 PSI is considered very good. But if the reading is showing the compression level of 80 to 90 PSI, it is still not bad and acceptable. 

However, if the reading indicates lower PSI than mentioned or the compression seems cracked, either replace the damaged bearings, rings, rods, gasket head, and other related components or replace the compression.

2. Fuel Pump May Turn Bad:

Another common problem that few users have already encounter with Yamaha VMAX SHO motors is the bad fuel pump issue.

According to those users after using it for years sometimes they experience that the outboard engine starts sputtering or act like out of fuel, and does not run smoothly like before.

It often happens with outboards after several years of use and mainly due to any trouble or damage in the outboard motor’s fuel system or pump.

Possible Fix 

The most obvious reason the fuel pump turns bad is because of another component failure.

However, to verify the damage level and fix the problem permanently, you need to perform the fuel pump test first by following these simple steps:

Step:1 start the test process by turning off the electric cutoff switch. Then, remove the snaps located on the motor’s upper case and pull off the cowl cover as well. Next, you need to take off the spark plug boot from the plug tip and remove the plug with a socket wrench. If the plug is broken pr damaged, replace it.

Step:2 Next you need to screw the compression gauge hose to the spark plug hole and twist the throttle position wide open with one hand. Then, use your other hand to turn the starter over for turning your outboard motor at least four or five times. Now check the compression gauge reading whether it is within 80 to 120 PSI or less. If less change the gauge.

Step:3 Check the fuel tank to ensure you have enough fuel and an accurate fuel mixture. Also, do not forget to check the sump pickup screen because corrosion contaminates can clog the screen. So, make sure the screen is not clogged. Next, inspect the tank vent and if it is not flowing smoothly, use a sprayer or blow dryer to blow air into the tank vent to clear the path.

Step:4 Inspect the fuel primer bulb for any existing leaks or cracks and repair or replace, if required. Next, inspect all the internal and external fuel connectors, terminals, and hoses to ensure all the connection is on point. If the fuel filter hose clamps or any other connection seem loose, tighten or replace.

Step:5 If all other parts are working accurately or you have fixed them, and still, the fuel pump is not responding accurately, replace the pump.

3. Experiencing Operator Shifting Trouble:

A small group of Yamaha VMAX SHO outboard users has claimed that sometimes, they encounter operator shifting issues or notice water in the gear lube.

These are a clear indication of lower unit trouble.

However, your lower unit may turn bad after several years of use and especially when it lacks regular required maintenance.

Possible Fix 

When the outboard lower unit turns bad, you will encounter water getting into the gear lube or operator shifting problem.

Prevent experiencing this commotion by following these 3 techniques of keeping outboard lower unit fit.


Since outboard lower unit operates underwater and the gears are constantly in touch with water flows, you can only protect the gears by accurately lubricating them. 

But the chosen lubricant formula should be capable enough to maintain the necessary lubricity even when a notable amount of water exists. 

Therefore, use a high-quality marine-based formula, like Four-Stroke FC-W 5W-30 – Full Synthetic, Outboard Gear Oil & Gear Oil HD for the Yamaha V MAX SHO models.


You should also thoroughly check the entire lower unit’s external body part for any kinds of cracks, leaks, or damages before each outing.

Remember, if you use the outboard mainly for fishing, you should remove and inspect the propeller shaft after 50 hours of operation. 

Look for any sign of tangled fishing lines or other debris around the shaft and remove them to protect the prop shaft seals, gearcase. Also, check whether there is any hint of leaks on the prop shaft seals. Inspect the lower unit seals and replace them by a Yamaha Marine dealer, if required.

Next, crack the drain screw located on the bullet bottom and vent screw located on the lower unit’s side to check the lubricant’s color. If the lubricant color looks milky, that means water is in your lubricant.

Required Replacement:

For the new outboards Yamaha marine recommends replacing the lubricant after the first 20 hours of operation. After that, Yamaha marine suggests changing the lower unit lubricant after every 100 hours of use. 

To change the lubricant, set a container under the bottom drain screw. Now gradually disconnect and remove the screw, the upper vent screw. It will allow all the lubricant to drain into the container.  Also, check the removed drain screw for any metal particles or shavings present and remove them. 

The best idea is to let your authorized Yamaha Marine dealer do a thorough check-up on your entire lower unit and fix all the existing problems.

What The Majority of Users Feel About the Yamaha VMAX SHO?

Yamaha marine not only focuses on the brand’s reliability by maintaining the same level of quality in each new series, but they also highly acknowledge the majority of their consumers’ opinions.

According to the president of the Yamaha marine, they mainly focused on the theme “make it better, but do not change it too much” while manufacturing their new VMAX SHO® outboard series. That theme is mainly suggested and requested from customers who used the previous versions of the Yamaha VMAX series.


The Yamaha VMAX SHO outboard motor series offers full 40% more charging power, wrapped in a striking, new cowling design, and lets the users have a quiet, smooth operational experience. 

However, you may encounter some common issues with every motor from time to time, which is unavoidable, and the same may happen with the Yamaha VMAX SHO outboard series.

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