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Old 29-07-2018, 19:04   #1
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Tohatsu Outboard check oil light coming on

I have a new(ish) Tohatsu 6hp 4-stroke that has been having the check engine (oil pressure light) come on, only at idle throttle after running the engine at 1/2 throttle load or higher. It was bought at auction from a business closing down, and was a floor model, so yeah probably dumb move on my part in retrospect, but it was a new outboard for $900.

Like I said the check oil light comes on at idle, but the oil level is correct and I recently changed it, with Sierra 4-stroke 10-30 which meets spec. Usually the oil pressure light comes on when throttled down to idle after running for 10-15 minutes at load, but no other issues are exhibited most of the time. Occasionally, about 1 in 20 runs, the engine starts losing power in brief spurts - like the rpm is dropping for a second or two or almost like it's going into neutral and back into forward. Other than this 5% occurrence, it runs well, sounds good, cooling water is always flowing, and it's not smoking or showing other red flags.

Fuel is fresh and has fuel stabilizer. I've also changed the spark plug (properly measuring the gap) just for the heck of it, changed the fuel filter, and cleaned the carb, which looked nearly sparkling clean.

Are there any resources I can find on how to diagnose outboards? I read a couple books but they were pretty basic and the ones more than 10 years old talk about 4-strokes as pretty new technology (because they were), which they don't go into much depth on.

Does it sound self-serviceable? Outboard mechanics charge $190/hr in the Seattle area and they said min 2 hours to do anything, so it could be nearly half the cost of the engine to fix a mostly new engine. So I'd like to do it myself if possible, and I'm not really sure I have a problem big enough that it's worth spending $400-500 on.
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Old 29-07-2018, 19:43   #2
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Re: Tohatsu Outboard check oil light coming on

You certain it's an oil PSI ight?
My Suzuki has a check engine light, and when it's new the light will come on to tell you to change the oil, and later I assume if the engine has sensor issues, just like a car
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Old 29-07-2018, 20:22   #3
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Re: Tohatsu Outboard check oil light coming on

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
You certain it's an oil PSI ight?
My Suzuki has a check engine light, and when it's new the light will come on to tell you to change the oil, and later I assume if the engine has sensor issues, just like a car
Interesting idea, but as far as I can tell, reading from the manual, the Tohatsu 6 4-stroke warning lamp only comes on to indicate engine speed over max rpm (in which case the electronic safety governor would also be on limiting rpm), or to indicate low oil pressure.

I've emailed Tohatsu a couple times and they said it's designed to turn on with low oil psi, and that it could be an oil psi issue, cdi, or wire harness. CDI or wire harness doesn't sound user serviceable to me.

We're currently cruising for 6 months, near Nanaimo BC now. So it's hard to take it to a dealer because we're generally only in a marina for <24 hours, once every 10 days or so (and most outboard centers want you to drive the outboard to them with a car).
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