1. If you enjoy the forum please consider supporting it by signing up for a NES Membership  The benefits pay for the membership many times over.

  2. Dismiss Notice

Boat motors - are they really this much of a PITA

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Dennis in MA, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. Dennis in MA

    Dennis in MA NES Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Messages:
    13,943
    Likes Received:
    5,966
    So my 9.9 Merc 4-stroke is BACK in the shop. I think it "might" be bad gas. It'll start, but won't stay running. Like an old motor with a bad carb. If you pump the ball, it'll keep running. But obviously that's not a smart strategy.

    I've had this thing for 9 years now. It's a 2007 IIRC. I got it new off the shelf.

    Worst was - I was about 1/2mi from home fishing. It wouldn't start. Had to trolling-motor home against an ever-increasing wind. (And usually wind is the exact OPPOSITE direction - that would normally just drift me home.)

    Every year, it's in for something. If it's not starting for one reason, it's not starting for another. Or the water pump is clogged. Or something.

    Is it just me? Or the motor? Or is this normal??? I have this irrational fear of going anywhere in teh boat b/c it might not work. I just wanna put gas in the can, open the throttle and chug across the lake and back.

    I skipped service last year - I knew the water pump was somehow clogged - thought I toasted it. Turned out I didn't. So I had the shop clear it (I was convinced it was chewed up or I'd have cleared it myself) and replace the filters/plugs/whatever while they were at it.

    The motor sees, maybe 20 hours a year. Most of my fishing is spitting-distance to my place so I'm not traveling far. I'll go cross-lake a couple of times a year.



    What my fear is is that this is normal. What I want is to get a 16' pontoon. If I get that, my wife is CERTAINLY going to be looking for sunset cruises at least a couple of times a week. I'll put double the hours on that motor because of it.

    Forget diagnosing my current motor. Is this normal? Or is this a fluke? Or am I just being paranoid? (Or did I really just miss something mega easy that could have been fixed in a jiffy?)
     
    AHM likes this.

  2. George D

    George D NES Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2008
    Messages:
    5,843
    Likes Received:
    1,873
    Location:
    Milford, MA
    The modern gas is hell on outboard carbs. I have a $$$$ 2006 Honda 30hp 4 stroke and I have to rebuild the carbs every year. I also have a 6hp 1993 Johnson 2 stroke that never seems to have issues. I sometimes wonder if the oil in the mix helps pickle the carb a bit. Everyone in my marina has issues with their dinghy motors, which are generally 5-15 hp 4 strokes, the newer ones seem to fare worse than the old ones. The passages in the carbs are so tiny that when the ethanol fuel turns to tan dust as it always does, it clogs the carb. I have been using a cheap jewelry ultrasonic cleaner to soak my carbs every year. Some people disconnect their fule line and run the carb out after each use, I haven't found that to make a difference. The new fuel injected motors are light years ahead in terms of reliability and I never have issues with my injected motors. If you are going for a bigger motor, look into FI.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
    Shark_Cage and radioman like this.
  3. xjma99

    xjma99 NES Member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2011
    Messages:
    4,690
    Likes Received:
    2,646
    Location:
    WMU K, NH
    Sounds like the fuel pump. Run Stratton in the fuel.

    My 05 tohatsu 9.8 is a tank. Brothers 20hp Honda 06ish was pretty good until it needed a cdi, but it still goes on a friends boat. He switched to efi Suzuki and it’s a champ!

    We also have an old Johnson 28 special 2 stroke. Needs plugs and carb rebuild every few years but runs like a top as long as you measure the ratio correctly (I recommend a ratio-rite or similar).

    Break Out Another Thousand, bro!
     
  4. Tooth

    Tooth NES Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Messages:
    869
    Likes Received:
    126
    Location:
    North Shore
    The new fuel is kaka. I just sold two small outboards and had to clean out the carbs before I sold them. Feel like I'm always cleaning out the carb in some small piece of equipment around the house this year. Just had to do the power washer, and the weed wacker.
     
  5. George D

    George D NES Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2008
    Messages:
    5,843
    Likes Received:
    1,873
    Location:
    Milford, MA
    As far as your motor, as mentioned, fuel pump could be bad, or it could be a bad filter, a clogged vent in the tank, a bad fuel line bulb, a carb issue, or a bad fuel line connector. I have had the spring valve in the qick disconnect go bad on them.
     
  6. Stape

    Stape

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2013
    Messages:
    1,970
    Likes Received:
    504
    Location:
    Mexico.....Missouri
    My experience is that running good fuel with a conditioner can save you a ton of heartache. I'm pretty meticulous in regards to maintenance on anything with a motor, tools etc....I'm doubly so with boat motors. If my car breaks down I can call a friend or catch a ride, but places I fish, usually there's no cell service and I'd be relying on buddy who know the waters and hope their boat is up and running to come get me.

    General rules (that I go by anyway) Don't let them sit too long. Use premium ethanol free high octane fuel and mix in marine fuel conditioner. When you run it, make sure you give it a good run and let her stretch her legs and breath a little and don't neglect maintenance. Always flush the motor after use also.
     
    Jason Flare likes this.
  7. BBQ.Uncle

    BBQ.Uncle NES Life Member NES Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Messages:
    5,219
    Likes Received:
    3,311
    Location:
    Live Free or Die
  8. robjax

    robjax

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2014
    Messages:
    12,836
    Likes Received:
    5,013
  9. edmxz2002

    edmxz2002 NES Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2013
    Messages:
    899
    Likes Received:
    236
    Location:
    North East MA
    B-reak
    O-ut
    A-nother
    T-housand $

    Learned this over the years.
     
  10. George D

    George D NES Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2008
    Messages:
    5,843
    Likes Received:
    1,873
    Location:
    Milford, MA
    I do like the Star Tron, I use it in my cruiser over the winter. Will start using it in the outboards too.
     
  11. Obie1

    Obie1 NES Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    7,108
    Likes Received:
    4,906
    Location:
    WMass
    Your problem sounds like old gas with ethanol in it that eats away the fuel hose. Drain any old fuel. Spray Seafoam into the carb, let it sit overnight. And then run a mixture of a lot of Seafoam, new gas (if you can get ethanol free, great). Sometimes the carb adjustments get out of whack--you can probably find a Youtube video on adjusting them. I just run the engine on the earmuffs for a while and turn the screws until it sounds happy, but my merc 20 and 25 are both 2-stroke, and after 20 years they still run like champs. My 225 on the bass boat rarely runs at WOT any more, but small boat engines almost always run at top RPM. The water pump, or at least the impeller, should be changed out every few years, even if the engine doesn't run much, because they get stiff and brittle and a failure will total your engine, but that shouldn't have anything to do with whether the engine will start. And run synthetic oil--every little bit helps.
     
  12. one-eyed Jack

    one-eyed Jack Manufacturer Dealer NES Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    7,762
    Likes Received:
    6,451
    Location:
    Eastern Mass and southern NH
    After running outboards for 65-70 years, I've come to realize that the ones 10 hp or smaller need to be 2 stroke. Jack.
     
    Shark_Cage, mibro and Jason Flare like this.
  13. Noreaster

    Noreaster NES Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Messages:
    2,565
    Likes Received:
    1,356
    Location:
    Sudbury, MA Surrounded by snowflakes.
    Yes, the 2-stroke oil has stabilizers and conditioners in it, so that helps a lot.
    Also older motors run richer - thus they have slightly larger orifices than then newer motors that run crap ass lean to confirm with EPA regs, thus have smaller orifices that clog that much easier. The ethanol in modern gas just attracts moisture just to add to the turd sandwich.
     
  14. Asaltweapon

    Asaltweapon NES Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2008
    Messages:
    10,974
    Likes Received:
    3,802
    Location:
    Northern Mass
    I have a pair of 2003 200HP outboards that have never hiccuped once with the computer read outs to prove it. Never seen a drop of the E-10 crap.

    It's your gasoline.
     
    Jason Flare and MarlboroughMan like this.
  15. RapidTransit

    RapidTransit NES Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2018
    Messages:
    273
    Likes Received:
    117
    Would putting Marvel Mystery Oil on each fill up, help?
     
  16. teaser452

    teaser452

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    3,163
    Likes Received:
    1,739
    Location:
    NC defending a beach
    Echoing the gasoline thing. Here in NC, ethanol free gas is pretty easy to find. So, absolutely no reason to run any other type of gas.

    But, for example, I have friend on the cape who fish commercially. They’re running their boats so much during fishing season that it doesn’t matter.

    But they do seem to have a problem waking their boats up each year. No matter how meticulously they care for the engine.

    Lucky for me down here in NC, fishing season never ends. So the boat runs all year.
     
    Jason Flare and xjma99 like this.
  17. BrianWilson

    BrianWilson NES Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,488
    Likes Received:
    1,105
    Most of the small outboards the carbs are pretty cheap. Cheap enough to just consider it a yearly maintenance item. Cheaper than overhauling yours, which might not work.
    A small 4 stroke requires very little fuel, so the passages inside the carb are very small, i.e. very easily plugged up, and then very difficult to clear.
     
  18. BrianWilson

    BrianWilson NES Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,488
    Likes Received:
    1,105
    And typically it's the guys who run their outboards hard and a lot who don't have any problems.
     
    01906 and MarlboroughMan like this.
  19. MisterHappy

    MisterHappy NES Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2009
    Messages:
    19,609
    Likes Received:
    4,293
    Location:
    On the 16 yard line, shootin' for the Lewis!
    Short answer: yes.

    [laugh]

    Good luck
     
  20. StevieP

    StevieP NES Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    7,866
    Likes Received:
    2,943
    Location:
    Gone to Carolina in my mind...
    Have you replaced the ball? If you can squeeze it and it stays running, try one that stays hard without having to pump it. KISS
     
  21. Coyote33

    Coyote33

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Messages:
    23,296
    Likes Received:
    2,518
    That's what she said.

    My brother is having some trouble with a 90HP Honda with fuel injection, but it is last Fall's gas, with a bunch of additives. He is hoping a fresh tank will get it running smoother. Oh, and his gas gauge is off, even after having it serviced. Boats are "interesting".
     
  22. Greschner 4

    Greschner 4

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Messages:
    2,831
    Likes Received:
    500
    Flooded carb. All day, every day.
     
  23. evalance

    evalance NES Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2015
    Messages:
    854
    Likes Received:
    204
    Location:
    Under The Rocks
    i have the 9.8 too last time I ran it i saw yellow coming out of the prop i can only assume its the oil in the lower unit
     
  24. 42!

    42! NES Life Member NES Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Messages:
    5,246
    Likes Received:
    2,370
    I guess I'm not your typical boat owner, I never put a lot of money into it. But it wasn't an outboard so maybe that's part of it. Always ran good and reliable. My usage was light, a few day trips and a week on an island (reliability counts when there are no roads). Two things I stuck to, a heavy dose of gas stabilizer run into the carb before storage, and covered storage. Heck I didn't even put the battery on a charger. 10 years no engine issues (and only a steering cable and bilge pump for the boat), last I heard the next owner was still going strong. Oh, and buy quality, a cheap boat will cost you a lot more.
     
  25. M60

    M60 NES Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    Messages:
    4,533
    Likes Received:
    2,867
    Location:
    campdown racetrack
    \

    What are the rules regarding h.p. on the lake these days? Someone said 5 h.p. max. is this true?
     
  26. Mark from MA

    Mark from MA NES Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    Messages:
    4,574
    Likes Received:
    1,240
    Outboards are a PIA if you run ethanol gas and dont use them year round. In a moisture rich environment the ethanol is just a shit show.

    At the very least, on your last tank of gas prior to storage you should be running VP fuel or any high test ethanol free you can find. I would also start the boat off with the same ethanol free fuel as well after storage to at least get the carb jets flushed and moving. No matter what fuel you use a dose of seafoam or star tron is a good idea.


    Its not cheap up here or easy to get. They sell it at some dealers for upwards of 20 dollars a gallon. Ive found the VP stuff to be really nice and clean. It barely even smells like gas.

    Down in Virginia and the Carolinas I see it at regular gas stations for a few cents more. As usual we are retarded up here. I know the next time i drive to see my daughter im taking a few jerry cans with me for my small engine uses.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
    Jason Flare and whalerman69 like this.
  27. whalerman69

    whalerman69 NES Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2011
    Messages:
    1,205
    Likes Received:
    599
    9.9 is the max HP
     
  28. M60

    M60 NES Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    Messages:
    4,533
    Likes Received:
    2,867
    Location:
    campdown racetrack
    9.9.h.p.. Lol. When I was a kid, we use to race hydroplanes all over the lake and swim at the dikes/gates. White Banks parties were the best.
     
  29. appraiser

    appraiser NES Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    8,493
    Likes Received:
    1,709
    find marine fuel, the ethanol is 90% or more of your problem

    Know anyone at an airport? 100LL is alcohol free, but it is also 5 bucks a gallon

    When I had one of my carb'd rice bikes at the Florida house, I ran marine gas in it because it sat for so long between uses if I didn't I'd be FUBAR'd

    Plus I drained the carbs if the bike was going to sit for more than 2 weeks.

    Alcohol and carburetors do not get along
     
  30. whalerman69

    whalerman69 NES Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2011
    Messages:
    1,205
    Likes Received:
    599
    Link Max must have been involved ;)
     

Share This Page