Outboard Motor Troubles

A couple of months ago I couldn’t get my normally trusty 9.9 Mercury outboard to start no matter what I did. Choked it. Squirted it full of starter fluid. Changed the plugs. Needed to, anyway, but nothing. I even went on a trek to Harbor Freight to buy a spark tester. Didn’t work. Or it was probably too light to see if the light was shining when I pulled the starter cord.

I decided the carb was probably clogged because I didn’t run it dry the last time I had it going and it’s common for the needle valve to gum up and stick as the volatile gas evaporates and leaves the two-stroke oil in the carb. So I ordered a rebuild kit from Sierra.

I read the repair manual and watched a few videos about that model motor on YouTube and then took the damned thing off the motor. It wasn’t hard at all. The carb was surprisingly clean inside. But I used carb cleaner anyway and replaced all the gaskets. Actually I took it apart a couple of times because I wasn’t really sure about the situation of the needle valve and the float.

As I was getting ready to put it back on the engine I was in my dinghy and noticed that the switch where the kill switch lanyard goes wasn’t in the “up” position where it’s supposed to be in order to run. At this point I’m 95% certain that’s why it wouldn’t start. Oh, well, new plugs won’t hurt. I just hope I didn’t mess up the carb by taking it apart.

I attached the fuel line and the linkages and let it sit. Truth be told I was scared to try it out and find out it wasn’t working. It has been sitting there for close to two months, I guess. On nice days I’d say “you really should try and see it the outboard will start. But fear overcame me.

Today I couldn’t hold off any longer. I hooked up the gas tank, pumped the fuel line bulb until it was solid and pulled on the starter cord. Nothing. Checked to see if the switch was properly set. It was. Gave it a squirt of starter fluid. Pulled the cord and BRRRRRROOOM we have lift off!!!


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