Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Marathon - Repaired outboard ran and then quit again

Somebody's been busy at the Marathon City Marina
I went into the marina around 4:00 and found that our motor was running in the tank, great news I thought. I asked the tech what he did for the repair and received the reply that he just cleaned the carburetor. So I didn't' get a carburetor rebuild for $300, just a cleaning. No worn parts were replaced (e.g., the needle valves, gaskets, etc.). At the time I was happy just to get a working engine. Before restarting the engine, I put new gasoline in a new tank with a new fuel line from the tank to the engine just to be sure everything started up without new contamination. There's no water in the fuel since the fuel is less than a day old.

I was very happy to have the motor working to return to Fleetwing with a 15 kt headwind and a knot or so of adverse current. I took Hoolie in for his evening outing and all was fine on the way back until I got within 100 ft of Fleetwing. Suddenly the motor sputtered and stopped. It would not restart after many pulls. It was the exact same symptom as the first time. I can only conclude that in cleaning the carburetor not all the debris was removed and the cleaning must have loosened dirt that eventually found its way to the needle valve and stopped fuel flow once again. The repair shop will certainly hear from me in the morning but now I have to decide on whether to trust this engine to take Hoolie ashore in 1 to 2 knots of current in inlets. If the engine quits under those conditions, I will find myself far from Fleetwing, either heading out to sea or into a bay, a major problem of the first magnitude.

At least we could see the sunset
So what to do? We need to start moving north, Saturday at the latest. We have a car reserved for Thursday and a quote on a new motor. We will probably take the quote in order to have a completely dependable motor for Hoolie relief. We just can't fool around anymore. I'll take the old motor home and personally rebuild the carburetor  with a proper rebuilding kit from Mercury and all the right cleaning chemicals like the tech should have done in the first place. Perhaps I can sell it over the summer to recoup some of the money from all this foolishness.

As if that wasn't enough, the new gas tank I bought last spring which I hadn't used yet leaked. The fuel port (where you put the nozzle in) leaks. The cap does not fit tight so now I have to also find a new tank which I'll look into on Thursday. Isn't boating exciting...


Anonymous said...


We're very sorry to learn that your "fix" wasn't. Unfortunately, having run ethanol through your system, your old hoses may have deteriorated and left minuscule deposits of debris in the fuel system between the fuel line connection plug, through the pump, and to the carburetor itself that, with the new fuel, loosened, washed through and blocked the needle valve assembly yet again. We had some difficulty with our engine when we first got it and our mechanic was quite specific about the damage that ethanol could/would do to our fuel lines and the diaphragm in our pump. Fortunately, cleaning the carb isn't that difficult (but not "on the fly" with an anxious dog desperate to get to shore bouncing around in the boat!). Hopefully you'll get it worked out well enough to make it home. For what its worth, you might want to try and find some StarTron fuel stabilizer to add to your gas. It is reportedly beneficial, particularly where ethanol might be involved. Hopefully too, you carry a small anchor and a hand held VHF to summon aid, just in case!

Good luck!

/s/ Scott
s/v HyLyte

Bob423 said...

Scott, all good advice! I'm ethanol only now.