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Old 06-09-2009, 20:05   #16
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I doubt it was your vent, but that's just my opinion. You had opened the tank to add fuel and it would have allowed enough air in to run for quite some time, especially when mostly empty. Did you have a solid stream of water coming out of the back side of the motor when running? Did in always conk out in forward but not reverse? Would it idle but die as soon as you gave it some gas?

If all else fails, get a Honda 4 stroke. Mine has started every year on the second pull. It even survived a day at the bottom of my lake.

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Old 06-09-2009, 22:46   #17
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I agree with Rigamarole. If you had just open the tank should have enough air to run for longer than a few minutes. I would suspect it might be a bit of water on the fuel filter. This suspicion comes from the fact it seemed to die under load and you didn't have much fuel when you started two things that point to water. Wash out the filter with clean petrol and run it for a while at the dock under load with your lines tied off to make sure it keeps running. Oh and by the way do not forget to open the vent.

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Old 06-09-2009, 23:05   #18
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Another tip: since power failures do happen (whether or not you've got your fuel tank vent open ), and following Mr. Murphy this will always happen at the worst possible time, be ready to raise sail to manuever out of a situation like that, using your boat's other motive system. Drifting onto rocks and pushing off by hand is not recommended procedure. A little more wind or a little bigger boat and that wouldn't have worked.

On diesel powered boats, power failures happen at the worst possible time sometimes because heavy weather stirs up muck in the diesel tank, clogging the filter.
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Old 06-09-2009, 23:10   #19
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When the tank starts to become convex, then you know it's time time to open the vent!
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Old 06-09-2009, 23:51   #20
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I agree it sounds like the fuel tank vent may have caused your problem.

Another tip. I always run the fuel out when finished with the motor. Diconnect the fuel line at the motor and let it idle til it runns out of fuel and stops. This has the effect of cleaning the plug as the fuel runs out.

Letting the fuel mixture sit in the carby for a length of time will allow petrol vapours to evaporate off, leaving an oil rich mixture in the carby. This will foul the plug on the next start making for difficult starting and rough running until the plug cleans off with faster running.
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Old 07-09-2009, 00:13   #21
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Originally Posted by sarafina View Post
sigh.. yeah I did notice the ball seemed soft...

and I was disappointed... big time... but now that I have a handle on what was going on I feel gobs better.
As you know it was labor day this weekend and there were two similar incidents at my marina. DO NOT FEEL BAD. Everyone without exception has had a bad embarrassing boat moment. The last time something like this happened to me (we won't tell the story here) I went for a stroll down the dock and noticed that 2 out of 3 boats had that signature ding on their bows that showed they had had a run in with the dock. Everyone that was watching should have come running to try and improve their Karma.
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Old 07-09-2009, 04:38   #22

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sailor critique area

You're fortunate to have understanding folks in the marina.

email me for high quality version of this file ... LOL
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Old 07-09-2009, 05:12   #23
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I'd say you came out unscathed and learned a few things. Next step is to achieve the magazine cover day of sailing and you will have a great "sea story" to tell when you are expert sailors.

We had a marina neighbor who we called "Crash" who wasn't so fortunate. The first time he brought his 42' Chris Craft cabin cruiser back to the dock he had a little problem. He started approaching his dock too fast so he jammed it in reverse and started backing up fast to avoid a collision. Now he was about to collide going backwards so jammed the throttles forward and picked up speed going the other way. His oscillations became faster and more frantic and he ended up colliding with 5 different boats using his bow and his stern. His insurance adjuster was very busy and Crash remained tied to the dock for the duration.
Greg, SV Cat Tales
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Old 07-09-2009, 05:35   #24
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Why I have nothing to add to this discussion it sure brings to mind the first time we moved our E40, and found that even in full reverse we wouldn't go anywhere!! Except into the nice shannon 38 parked conviently next to us, ripping up some lifelines and bending a stacion or two while wife cried on the fordeck and I was totally at a loss of what was wrong until my 13 year old son said "hey dad is this line supposed to be tied still"....... ouch. The bigger the boat the more things to miss I guess. But we have developed a system now, at least we think we have...
and of course even the pelicans know by now that old sarah clairs keel touched bottom and needs a new engine.... and new insurance... oh what a great quarter of a year that has been...
I would say your little adventure is the same, only costs you a lot less.
Pelicans still get a good laugh out of it, no?
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Old 07-09-2009, 06:57   #25
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HaHaHA Gosh that brings back memories, almost done a circumnavigation on my 12 meter, and still there are the occasional hiccups.I lifted anchor in Suriname where there was a bout a 4 knot tidal current, engine worked great but transmission did not, managed to drift down on a Dutch boat, and wrap my skep around their anchor chain and snubber, we managed to have some laughs and beers later, but it was not fun for the next hour and a half until the tide went slack! Then about two months later, coming into a slip, I did not have the stern lines tied off (silly me but more than a bit out of practice) coming into a slip in Trinidad, so it was bump and grind several times against the finger with the bow, ruining my brand new paint job, then into a dingy to try to get the line onto a piling that was available, with me trying to climb the piling while the dingy is trying to drift away. After Juno was safely tied up I took my stage bows for all the people who had been in their boats laughing, I was glad of course to be the life of the party!

Cruising is great sport!
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Old 07-09-2009, 08:16   #26
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Originally Posted by SabreKai View Post
Was the vent open on the tank? .
On that aspect of the issue, a short tale.

After my Dad retired he built a boat, a 15-foot runabout with an outboard. One day, on Prospect Bay in Nova Scotia, he took me and my step-sister's son out for a spin, the first of the season. Nice sunny day, but a bit chilly, so we ran a couple of miles and started home.

Motor died. Would not start.

And -- ooops -- the tide was ebbing.

Luckily we had a couple of planks aboard and were able to paddle close to the shore and through a cut into the harbour of Prospect, where we tied up to the government wharf.

Dad called a friend to come and get us and the friend climbed down into the boat, tugged the ripcord a few times with no result, and turned his attention to the tank.


That simple.

Was Dad's face red when we got home and he had to explain.

But that has never happened to me, 'cause I -- like SabreKai -- have been there and done that even if it was by proxy.

FYI, I have an old two-stroke OMC saildrive, the so-called Zephyr, and I use a measuring cup for the oil. You figure out the size of the tank, calculate the amount of oil needed to get the correct mix, and write it down somewhere. Then measure that out, add the right amount of gas, and Bob's yer uncle.

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Old 07-09-2009, 08:53   #27
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I too second checking the fuel vent, having had the issue a number of times. Leaving the vent shut creates a vacuum as fuel is used since no air can get in to replace the volume being used up. Once the vacuum occurs the siphoning action does not function and the engine cannot get fuel and conks out. The fitful restarts and stalls are symptomatic of this issue.

You open the vent when you are going to start/run the engine and close it after use.

Most likely issue IMO.
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Old 07-09-2009, 09:17   #28
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If you inherited that fuel, I would find a way to get all fresh fuel and mix it properly. Then be sure the vent is open, I'd be surprised that the vent would cause problems in just a few seconds,...even in a minute. Open the top of your outboard, look for a small fuel filter and see if the fuel in it is clean. Better yet do this: get two new spark plugs, get a new fuel filter. Install both. Remove the carbureator bowl and clean it out. It's the little metal bowl at the base of the carbureator. You have now serviced your engine! and you learned where to look if you have trouble on the water. Start your engine in the slip with lines tied and run it a half hour in forward to make sure all is well. (make sure the water is spitting out the back of the engine) if not, most of the time it is not the impellor, but salt caked up in the little hose or out let. Look under the motor cover at the back for a little hose that goes to where the water is supposed to spit out. pull the hose and check it for clogs and use a coat hanger or etc to clean the hole in the engine casting out. It should spit a steady stream. You are now a certified dingy mechainic!
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Old 07-09-2009, 09:55   #29
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The only problem I see with the closed vent analysis is that Sara stated her outboard is:
...the 6 hp Johnson sailmaster outboard that ran like a TOP for 8 hours the day we brought her home...
If Sara is unaware of the vent, how did it get closed after she successfully ran the outboard for eight hours previously?

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Old 07-09-2009, 10:06   #30
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Originally Posted by TaoJones View Post
The only problem I see with the closed vent analysis is that Sara stated her outboard is: If Sara is unaware of the vent, how did it get closed after she successfully ran the outboard for eight hours previously?

Good observation, would suggest that her fuel level was more likely the cause. Knowledge of the vent is probably a good point to mention though.

A full tank with properly mixed fuel, with an open vent should help.

FWIW, I have found it is often helpful to keep the fuel tank full (or nearly full). Makes life easier on the fuel pump, minimizes condensation in the tank, and removes doubt about the pickup level. Get a smaller tank if you do not want that much fuel hanging around the boar.
The suggestion to disconnect the fuel hose and let the motor run out of gas at the end of the sailing day is an excellent one. I have been doing that for years.


The suggestion of an earlier poster to 'just get a new outboard' is probably a bit premature.

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