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Old 14-08-2013, 14:35   #1
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Outboard help, what am I missing

Quick background: My normally reliable (first pull) 4 hp Merc outboard started to die after running for 10 - 15 minutes.

Took the cover off and discovered an insect had gotten inside an built a home inside the air intake (no filter). Cleaned unwelcomed visitor out, problem solved. NOT!

Then it took forever to get it to start. Then nothing. Put engine on stand, remove cover, check for spark, fuel filter, gas lines, vent. First pull. roars to life. Shut it off, first pull starts. Remove from stand, put on dink. Won't start. Try starting fluid, not even a pop. Too lazy to fool with it, leave it on dink, run (row) errand, leave boat for 10 - 15 minutes. Come back, jfsag, give it a few pulls.... starts running. Shut it off. Won't start.

The only thing I know it the friggin' thing is possessed. What am I missing (besides getting a new outboard with electric start)?
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Old 14-08-2013, 17:02   #2
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Re: Outboard help, what am I missing

Particulate matter in the carburetor?
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Old 14-08-2013, 17:07   #3
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Re: Outboard help, what am I missing

Particulate matter in the carburetor, that periodically blocks the jet?
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Old 14-08-2013, 17:11   #4
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Means you get to dismantle carb and and clean. Good fun and worth learning. Sometimes you need to do it twice. Also bag your fuel and start fresh it eliminates another possible issue.
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Old 14-08-2013, 17:12   #5
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Re: Outboard help, what am I missing

honey bee in fuel tank.........must be running on B.P(eee)
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Old 14-08-2013, 17:22   #6
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Like I said bag the fuel. Less your running on stuff from a bees atoll.
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Old 14-08-2013, 17:25   #7
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pirate Re: Outboard help, what am I missing

Check your diaphragm for pinholes...
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Old 15-08-2013, 11:22   #8
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Re: Outboard help, what am I missing

I used clean fuel after the first round. No Bee Pee fuel here.

I'll look into the carb jet. Inlet into the carb looked good, but didn't think about the jets.

I also checked the wiring and thought that was the problem, there were a couple of connectors that while sealed, looked like they might have been a tad loose.

Any how, THANKS! I'll let you know what I find.
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Old 15-08-2013, 11:42   #9
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Re: Outboard help, what am I missing

Before you start taking things a part. Change the spark plugs and clean the in line fuel filter/screen. Make sure you run the engine out of gas when you are not going to use it for more than a couple of days. and try to use/empty the fuel tank each year as ethenal does not last long.
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Old 15-08-2013, 11:45   #10
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Re: Outboard help, what am I missing

Might check the safety kill switch ground is not abraded somewhere.
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Old 15-08-2013, 12:12   #11
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Re: Outboard help, what am I missing

Fuel line from tank, vent cap, fuel shut off valve. Everything else has been mentioned.

Yes, run your carb dry if you are not going to use the engine for a couple of days.
Ethanol fuel is a killer for small engines.
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Old 15-08-2013, 12:21   #12
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Re: Outboard help, what am I missing

Try running it from the external tank and see what happens. I'm guessing you can run on the internal tank or an external tank. Mine always runs on the external tank after I pump up the bulb. Sometimes it takes a bit on the internal.

Is your internal/external switch in the correct position??

The cutoff switch is another good check as mentioned above. I lost the little hold it open thingy on the first day so I have a line holding it out. Usually if the engine won't so much as try to start, I have to reset/retighten the line.

My engine is the 5hp Merc 4 stroke same block etc as the 4hp.

Btw, I've never had to run the carb dry. Of course, this may be why I have to use the external tank and pump up bulb from time to time.
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Old 15-08-2013, 12:52   #13
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Re: Outboard help, what am I missing

Clean carb jets with carb cleaner and drain gas when not in use.


Watch this video on how to clean the jets
Good luck
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