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Old 28-09-2019, 12:57   #1
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Honda BF20D outboard help

I would like to ask for advice on how to troubleshoot my 3 year old Honda BF20D, remote control (console version) outboard motor.

The motor has become increasingly hard to start, and will die after running for 15 seconds or so. I'll retry several times and eventually it starts and continues to run. I get the best success by hitting the accelerator lever a few times. Once I get it going it runs. After running for a while, if I hit the accelerator hard, it dies.

I have replaced the fuel filter. I have replace the spark plugs, but they are were only a year old. I am in the process of installing an external Racor water separator/ fuel filter.

After all those changes this morning, it ran better, but not great. I am still worried that I will have a tough time getting it started at the dinghy dock.

Any ideas of what to do next?

I can replace/clean the carb - lots of effort. But, I've ordered the shop manuals and that should make it easier.

I can replace the fuel. I have been using Stabil, fuel is a couple of months old.

Any seasoned outboard people out there who can suggest a 'next step'?

Thanks!
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Old 28-09-2019, 14:14   #2
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Re: Honda BF20D outboard help

My next step would be fresh gas then clean the carb. It takes me way less than an hour to clean the carb, not difficult, just requires careful actions.
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Old 28-09-2019, 15:54   #3
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Re: Honda BF20D outboard help

I have the same outboard.

If your gas might be old (more than a couple of months) or bad, dump it and replace with “small engine gas” available at most Honda lawn care dealers or VP small engine fuel from Home Depot in quarts. Run a few quarts through and see if things improve. https://www.homedepot.com/p/VP-Small...6208/203528942

Next thing I’d try is to replace the hose to the tank. I had a hose fail with similar symptoms as you describe. It doesn't make sense but it’s a cheap and quick experiment. Might work...

Next, if it has seen gas with ethanol, it’s most likely a fouled carb. Ethanol fouling can not be cleaned with regular carb cleaners. The only way to clean it is by taking the carbto a shop to be disassembled and ultrasonically cleaned. That costs $100+ and not all shops do a good job. . Or, a new carb is about $180 (Boats.net) and takes 20 minutes to swap yourself. I went with new and now also carry a spare carb aboard.
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Old 28-09-2019, 15:59   #4
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Re: Honda BF20D outboard help

Jist noticed you are in the Bahamas. That means no ethanol but every once in a while you can get bad fuel. Dump what you have and get fresh from a well regarded source. Ask around.
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Old 28-09-2019, 18:34   #5
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Re: Honda BF20D outboard help

Thanks for the replyís. We are in Annapolis for the next few weeks; classes an boat show.

Iíll chase down some ethanol free gas tomorrow. Iíve used Sta-bil, so hopefully that prevented any ethanol based damage.

Does water in the fuel cause similar symptoms? Most people I know have put a filter/separator between the tank and engine. Mine arrives Monday.

An hour to clean the carburetor? Does it involve removal, or just spraying cleaner into the intake?
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Old 29-09-2019, 04:03   #6
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Re: Honda BF20D outboard help

My experience, 90% of the time it's the jets or the air passage holes in the carb. Disassemble, spray each part with carb cleaner. Avoid the rubber bits as cleaner will dry them out. Pull a thin wire off of a wire brush and use it to make sure holes in jets completely open. Make sure float needle and seat good. You can buy a carb repair kit if you want but most times just good cleaning required. And fully disassemble. Spraying cleaner in it while still on motor rarely if ever works.
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Old 29-09-2019, 04:36   #7
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Re: Honda BF20D outboard help

Also, how do people just dump their old fuel? Do marinas usually have a collection facility?
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Old 29-09-2019, 04:49   #8
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Re: Honda BF20D outboard help

Agree that it sounds like a carb issue, but before you go through the hassle of removing it first try just draining it to remove any water. There should be a screw at the bottom of the carb bowl. Loosen it and drain off the fuel. Re-tighten. See if she runs better. Often you can access this screw without having to remove any cowlings, but I can't be sure on your engine.
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Old 29-09-2019, 04:51   #9
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Re: Honda BF20D outboard help

Quote:
Originally Posted by geekoman View Post
Also, how do people just dump their old fuel? Do marinas usually have a collection facility?
Two-month-old fuel? With no ethanol and with stabilizer? It's not old fuel I think.
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Old 29-09-2019, 05:26   #10
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Re: Honda BF20D outboard help

Iím sure it has ethanol. Picked it up in the US, but I did use Sta-bil, albeit, not the marine version.

Iíll drain the bowl. Stabil says you can 4x the dose. Iíll hit the dinghy tank with a another dose before I crank it up this morning.

Great suggestions. Iíll start another thread on dinghy fuel system setup. From what Iíve learned in this project, fuel water separator is key, and stabilizer additive. Not really optional. Avoid ethanol, but that is increasingly difficult in the US.

By the way, Stabil marketing literature says it will dissolve the varnish buildup in the fuel system. True statement, or marketing? Experienced comments only please. Too easy to pick on the Marketing team!
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Old 29-09-2019, 08:26   #11
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Re: Honda BF20D outboard help

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Originally Posted by geekoman View Post
Also, how do people just dump their old fuel? Do marinas usually have a collection facility?
Put the old fuel in your car/truck.
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Old 29-09-2019, 09:10   #12
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Re: Honda BF20D outboard help

Hmmm,
"By the way, Stabil marketing literature says it will dissolve the varnish buildup in the fuel system. True statement, or marketing? Experienced comments only please. Too easy to pick on the Marketing team!"

I'd like some more discussion of this, I know a lot of people use additives, so do I, but their effectiveness is always in doubt, except for the carb & injector cleaners, I've used STP brand & Lucas, they really do work!

Any chemists or such have any insights?

Many thanks,
Wayne
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Old 29-09-2019, 11:24   #13
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Re: Honda BF20D outboard help

I have a BF15d, but it doesn't really matter. All modern outboards with a sealed idle adjustment screw are prone to the same issues. The idle screw and passage are the smallest holes/restrictions in the fuel system so that is where the dirt/gummy fuel/crap stop. All of the solvents are good, but often, "all" that is needed is to remove the anti-tamper plate, unscrew the idle adjustment screw, blast some carb cleaner thru the passage and re-install the screw and properly adjust it. Always screw the adjustment screw in first while counting the turns and then back it out and remove it, its spring and usually a sealing O-ring. When re-installing it leave it backed out about half a turn as an trial setting. You do not want to lose them. Usually, along with draining the float bowl completely and cleaning out the fuel hose, an outboard will run better than ever. They are usually set a little lean from the factory so they run better and start from cold much easier when properly adjusted.

The next most common problem is air leaks around the hose connections, be sure to really check those too.

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Old 29-09-2019, 13:02   #14
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Re: Honda BF20D outboard help

All above answers are correct. I've cleaned or replaced my Honda 20's carb 10 times in 5 years had different filters, hoses,tanks. Very finicky engine. Finally put an electric start and Honda transom mounted fuel/ water separator on it and walla... like magic starts 1st time no choke! In order I would install the racor, drain the gas from tank, pour slowly back into tank leaving the bottom quart behind, or replace with new gas, drain the float bowl, try again, next remove carb shoot carb cleaner thru the passages, especially the main passage from bowl straight up. Now it will run perfect. If not change the hose. Now it runs, sell it and get a Yahaha enduro. Best engine made.
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Old 29-09-2019, 17:05   #15
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Re: Honda BF20D outboard help

I have had similar problems with my Honda 10. Over the years I have learned how to swap out carbs in about 15/20 minutes just take care not to drop any thing in the water. I have had the choke stick. You can tell by by pushing it in and no change in rpms. The smallest thing will clog the jets. I find the ethanol causes gunk to accumulate and causes a lot of problems. If you take the time to to learn how to work on the motor,particularly the carbs you will see theyíre really easy to maintain.
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