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Old 07-07-2010, 19:37   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Honolulu
Boat: Tartan 34c
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Troubleshooting a Mercury 2.2 Outboard

My boat came with a dinghy and a Mercury 2.2 outboard. The first time I hooked up the outboard and tested it (which was, according to the former owner, the first time it had been used in six years), it started on the second pull and I motored around the harbor without a problem.

The second time I tried to use it, after promising my wife a thrilling dinghy ride, it started, but would not stay running for longer than a minute. It appears to be leaking fuel from the exhaust pipe--when I pull the starter cord, little bubbles of fuel come up from under the water. In fact, after it sat on the dinghy for an hour while I was digging around for a manual, the cup or so of fuel in the internal gas tank was entirely gone, so it is possible that the leak is not related to yanking on the starter cord.

I have enough mechanical ability to fix most things that go wrong with a bicycle, but not much more than that. Do you think this is a problem I can fix myself, or do I need to take it to a shop?

Thanks so much for any input.
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Old 07-07-2010, 21:36   #2
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It sounds like you flooded it while trying to start it.

Also I presume there is a carb with a float bowl. To use that much fuel it is very possible the float stuck open and the fuel just siphoned through the carb.

Troubelshooting any small engine takes a logical sequence

1 - Spark - Remove the secondary lead from the spark plug, using insulated pliers hold the tip of the lead near a ground. Pull the cord and look for a nice bright blue spark. No spark requires repair. With spark, pull the spark plug and check the tip. should be fairly clean, not oily and gapped correctly. You can attach the secondary wire, use your insulated pliers, hold the wrenching part of the plug against a good ground. Pull the cord and there should be a spark across the gap.

2 - Fuel - Got any? There is usually an inline filter. It should be full of fuel. A friend had one that would slowly "drain" at higher power. Traced to a cracked tube on the inlet side of the filter allowing air to be sucked in.

3 - Air - Air is needed in the right mixture with fuel. Idle problems are usually traced to a blocked idle jet. Problems at power could be related to an inlet restriction (dirty air filter)

In your case I suspect a stuck float. The "right" way is to pull the carb and clean it. Or replace the carb with an overhauls unit. An alternative to try is to get a carb cleaner and spray it in the carb throat. There is usually a vent on the bowl. Carb cleaner liberally sprayed in the vent could remove the gumming I suspect is causing the float to stick.

Good luck.
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