Outboard repair forum?

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Oct 15, 2007
Vessel Make
Ocean Alexander 38'
Having some problems with my late model Johnson 15hp.* Any outboard repair forums to recommend?
Don't know about forums but Jacobsen Marine, formerly located in Ballard but now on Harbor Drive in West Seattle, has been a Johnson dealer forever and probably knows as much about outboards as any shop around. They kept our ancient 6hp Evninrude trolling motor running until we finally bit the bullet this year and replaced it with a Yamaha (purchased from Jacobsen).
Max,Go to:


Click on "Outboard" under "Propulsion".

Don't you think we've got enough talent here to solve the problem?

Eric Henning
You might try Google. I needed to replace the impeller on my 15 Yamaha and found a video from Jamestown Distributors that gave step by step instructions.

Or...if your problem is ethanol related...well, good luck.
nomadwilly wrote:


Don't you think we've got enough talent here to solve the problem?

Eric Henning

Love ya Eric!!!!

Well John,I didn't know.

It looks like no one else thinks so either.

We don't know the problem?
Since the problem in question has not been described, and since it's anyone's guess as to whether or not anyone on this or any other forum will have a clue about the solution when and if the problem is described, and since the poster lives in this part of the world, knowing the name of an experienced and reputable Johnson dealer/repair facility is probably good information to have.

I had the name of the dealer wrong, by the way. It's Jacobsen's Marine and their website is http://www.fishingworld.com/vDealers/WA/JacobsensMarine/Default.tmpl Good folks, been in business forever, and know outboards like the backs of their hands. Given that the Everett marina is the largest marina on the west coast, I suspect there is at least one excellent outboard shop up there, too, but I don't know who they would be.

Regarding Eric's question, and strictly in my opinion, life's too short to be spent chasing "I think...," "It might be..." and "You can make the part out of a rocker arm from a Chrysler Slant-Six engine" advice from a forum.* For the tricky or un-obvious mechanical, electronic, or electrical issues that have come up occasionally on our own boat, we always go straight to the pros where the fix will be right the first time, and if it isn't, the work is backed up by a warranty, written or understood.

-- Edited by Marin on Tuesday 13th of July 2010 03:05:24 AM
For the tricky or un-obvious mechanical, electronic, or electrical issues that have come up occasionally on our own boat, we always go straight to the pros where the fix will be right the first time, and if it isn't, the work is backed up by a warranty, written or understood.

Nice concept , but for anything more than mere PM service , most dealers wont pay for wrenches with experience.

I just get DA Book , and fix it.

Seldom does an engine or have a once on the planet problem.
Sounds like you're not very independent Marin. Max asked for a forum not dealer names. He should be able to get that from the phone book. Jacobsen was a good shop in the 50s and probably still (especially since we know Marin has had recent and good experience there) but one should'nt run off to a $100 an hour dealer because his fuel tank vent is closed. If Max has even a small bit of mechanical ability, and if the problem is simple (we don't even know if the engine is a 4 stroke or a 2 stroke) we have a good chance of helping the guy out. But we may have put more effort into solving the problem here than Max himself. But Marin I don't mean to put you're response down too far as I have always said that the most important thing to know about mechanical and technological problems in life is to know when to go to professionals and know when to do it yourself. Hindsight is always way ahead on this one. But before we run off for help it would nice to kick it around a bit as that's what we do here on Trawler Forum.

Max I believe is moored in Everett and there is service/parts.* I am having trouble with all 3 of my Merc out boards which is ethanol/fuel related. They all start to bog down after a while.* I found if I run the fuel out of the engine and clean blow out the filter they word find again.
Phil....generally what is happening that is ethanol related is the float gets stuck. You are running along fine and healthy on plane and then you come off throttle and.....whaaa....whaaa...whump....she dies. Because she just flooded due to too much fuel(float stuck). Now you jack around with it and while you are jacking around with it it finally becomes "unflooded and off you go...at least that is what was happening with my Merc before it got stolen. Gotta shiny new Yamaha 2 stroke now....last of the Mohicans!!!
nomadwilly wrote:

Sounds like you're not very independent Marin.....But before we run off for help it would nice to kick it around a bit as that's what we do here on Trawler Forum.
Depends on your concept of time.* I used to do all my own work on all my cars--- Land Rover, Ford F250, BMW, Range Rover,* Austin-Healey, etc.* I enjoyed it, I have all the shop manuals, it was a learning experience, and I had the time.* I don't have the time anymore and I don't really have the interest anymore either.* Today I just want the damn thing running again so I can use it.* So I don't work on any of my vehicles anymore (except the Land Rover).* In terms of my time, my schedule, and my priorities it is FAR more valuable to me to take them to good shops and let them deal with it.

Same with the boat.* We like working on things like rebuilding windows and painting and doing brightwork and I don't mind the not-so-cheerful things that come up from time to time like rebuilding a toilet or installing a new fresh water pump (as I did on Sunday).* But these jobs are all dirt-simple and are no-brainers to do.* In fact doing most of them is quite relaxing because I can think about other stuff as I'm doing them.

But when it comes to dealing with the engines, our outboards (one of which currently has a problem I need to get fixed), electronics (other than installation or removal which is one of those dirt-simple projects), or the elecrical system, I don't want to take the time to deal with them myself anymore.* Far, far faster to pick up the phone and have someone deal with it during the week while I'm at work so we can use the boat again the following weekend.

If I was retired perhaps I'd be more inclined to kick an issue around on a forum and then tackle it myself.* But I suspect that even though I might have more time, after decades of trouble-shooting and fixing engines and whatnot myself, it's become a case of been there, done that, got the T-shirt.* I've reached the point where I'd rather be doing something else than delving into the guts of an engine or outboard or electrical panel.

BTW, a recommendation I got from the folks at Jacobsen's when we bought our new trolling motor from them earlier this year is to ALWAYS run an outboard--- 2-cycle, 4-cycle--- out of fuel when you're done using it.* They suggested doing this when doing the fresh-water flush.* The nature of today's gasoline, what with all the additives and other crap in it to meet emissions specs and other regulations, is such that its shelf life is now measured in weeks rather than in months or even years.* Gasoline starts to separate, create gummy deposits as John describes, in a big hurry.* Running the outboard out of fuel helps ensure that there's nothing in the engine to start getting gummy.* We've been doing this since getting this advice and it has made a significant difference in the ease of the next startup if the engine is going to sit for more than a few days before its next use.

This may be old news to most outboard operators but it was new info to us and it seems to be really paying off.

-- Edited by Marin on Tuesday 13th of July 2010 11:25:09 AM
It takes a lot less time to ask if the spark is good and if it has fuel than to post a manifesto.
RickB wrote:

It takes a lot less time to ask if the spark is good and if it has fuel than to post a manifesto.

You shouldn't even own a motor if you don't know to ask yourself those two questions and confirm the answers yourself.* I'm talking about the "my motor makes this funny noise and then starts to miss" problems that everybody on a forum speculates about, nobody actually has the right answer to, and the fellow ends up taking the motor to the shop anyway.* I say start with the pro and get back out onto the water.* Life's too short to be spent waiting for amateurs to hunt and peck for an answer.

-- Edited by Marin on Tuesday 13th of July 2010 11:37:57 AM
Marin wrote:You shouldn't even own a motor if you don't know to ask yourself those two questions and confirm the answers yourself.*

*Ouch, that's a bit elitist. What other ownership tests should we put on boaters?
Hey, that's how I feel. If a person isn't going to take the time to learn the basics of whatever it is they''re operating, be it a boat, a car, a plane, or a lawnmower, in MY opinion, they shouldn't be operating it.

But it's a good thing my attitude isn't law because if it wasn't for all those boaters running around without a clue as to why their engine starts when they push the button and why it stops if it gets a slug of air and why when they turn a tap no water comes out and all that, a lot of pros---from the towboat people to the engine mechanics to the marine plumbers--- would have to settle for driving KIAs instead of Porsches
Wow! I had not intended to start such a debate. Guess I should check in more often. I do believe in doing things myself, maybe too much at times.
O.K. Here's the problem:
The motor is a 2 stroke 15 HP, vintage 2002 (I think) low hours. I bought it used a few years back and have had good luck with it. If it has over 50 hours on it I'd be surprised.
The motor has always started right up, good water flow etc.
I had not touched it since last Sept. Yes, it sat all winter with fuel in it and no flush. My bad. I had intentions of winterizing, but soccer/basketball/volleyball/band concerts/travelling/running a business, etc. got in the way. It is mounted on our skiff, attached to a unihelm with Johnson controls so It is not an easy task of just removing and flushing at home. To drop it off the boat required that the boat would have to be moved out of the boathouse so it can davit over the side.
Anyway, we went to Roche Harbor on the 4th and of course anchored way the hell out there. I dropped the skiff over the side, filled the tank with fresh gas (100/1) and she started on second pull. Ran great that day.
Second day, hard to get started, but finally got her going. Ran around for a little bit and after returnig to the boat, would not start. I pulled off and on for 1/2 hour and nothing.
Pulled off the cowling, checked fuel screen and saw that it was getting fule, at least to that point. Removed plugs and they looked dry. I used a spray bottle and sprayed a little fuel into each cylinder, re-inserted plugs and yanked the cord. Turned over a bit and died. Repeated the process, a little more fuel, yanked and she started. Ran around for a while and came back to boat. Waited a while, gave it a yank and nothing. Pulled for 10 minutes and finally got it going again. Ran it for a while, shut it down. Tried to start later and nothing. Wife called the local boatshop and they could look at it that afternoon. Towed it over to the ramp and met their trailer and they hauled it to the shop. They had it back in an hour, replaced plugs and adjusted carb. Dropped it in the water and after 10 pulls got it going. As you can probably guess, we had the same issue the next day.
From what I can deduce:
It is more likely to start when cold.
When it is warm, the fast idle needs to be at it's limit to get it going.
It seems starved for fuel when it is warmed up. It will start when I add fuel directly to the cylinder.
I like these motors because of their simplicity. I have a mid 80's Evinrude 15HP that is essentially the same motor. We use it on an aluminum skiff on Whidbey Island that gets abused by all my nephews, but still starts right up.

Sorry for the long winded description, but any advice?
I just re-read Marin's post. Is there a carb cleaner that you can use to clean out deposits, or do you just rebuild it? I am starting to think it is an old gummy fuel issue. I need to fix it fast since crabbing starts in a few days! (the boat's in Anacortes for the summer months)
That is exactly what was going on with mine. You see not getting enough fuel....I say it is getting too much fuel(float sticking). That is why it starts when it is cold. Has nothing to do with temperature and everything to do with the carb not being full of fuel. I am thinking a carb rebuild is your best bet. I was battling this problem and tried to avoid the rebuild and was getting ready to when the motor got stolen. I sure hope those thieves are having a hard time with it!!!
Since you say it runs fine when it's running, it could be a fuel problem or it could be an ignition problem. You shut it down, an ignition module heats up and a connection gets broken. But from your description I would suspect a fuel problem.

There are so-called carb cleaners on the market. I have no idea if they're any good or not. Once something gets gummed up good it seems to take an overhaul to clear it properly, but perhaps someone has had good luck with an off-the-shelf carb cleaner to remove long-set varnish and gum.

John's earlier suggestion of a stuck carburetor float is as valid a suggestion as any. We had that problem on our little Yamaha 4-stroke that's on our Livingston dinghy. If it sat for a few weeks it wouldn't start until I whacked the carburetor with the handle of a screwdriver at which point it would start right up. Since the only moving parts in there are the float and the float valve, I figured one or the other or both was the problem. Eventually got tired of doing the screwdriver whack and took the carburetor apart and replaced the float assembly and float valve. That cured that problem. And we now run the motor out of fuel every time we come home from a cruise and this seems to have helped a lot with respect to the next startup.

Based on your description it sounds like it needs more than a carb adjustment and new plugs. If it was me I'd take it to a shop that knows what they're doing and make sure they understand that a carb adjustment and new plugs ain't gonna do it. But if you're adept with tools and know how to take the thing apart and put it back together or have the shop manual and you feel like messing with it yourself I'd say take the carb apart and clean it and the jets and the float mechanism and float valve thoroughly (I assume 2-cycles have carb floats and valves) as a first step.

This suggestion is based purely on speculation. The problem could be any one of a bunch of things.
The dealer should sell a carb rebuild kit.
Which is probably the best idea.

Considering it sat for a couple of years with gas in it, there are fuel deposits on everything exposed to liquid fuel. The refill with ethanol* blended fuel did a great job of loosening all those deposits and delivering them to the tiny little passages in your carburetor.

If you are handy, flush the fuel system as much as possible, pull the carb and clean it as best you can and see how it goes. Once you get past the solvent stage of the new fuel, life will improve. Make sure you run the carb dry from now on and don't leave fuel sitting anywhere in the system for longer than a few weeks.
It actually only sat for the winter with fuel in it, not a couple years.
I typically flush it and run it dry after each use in the salt.
I brought my merc 6 HP to the dealer. they cleaned the carb the tech said if I was to leave it for a while to not only run it dry but to loosen the screw on the carb bowl and drain whatever remained after running it "dry". I haven't done so yet.
Steve W

-- Edited by Steve on Tuesday 13th of July 2010 08:12:46 PM
My OB guy here says just take it apart and clean it set the float ect and reassemble w old gaskets.

nomadwilly wrote:

My OB guy here says just take it apart and clean it set the float ect and reassemble w old gaskets.
I'd be curious to know his reasoning.* I mean, you have the thing apart so why use the old gaskets and run the risk of a poor fit and having fuel leak into some part of the carburetor it's not suppose to leak into?* Why not install new gaskets?* It's not like they cost and arm and a leg.

Strikes me that it's a bit like changing the oil in your engine but leaving the old oil filter in place to dump a quart or more of dirty oil into your new oil.

It actually only sat for the winter with fuel in it, not a couple years.
I typically flush it and run it dry after each use in the salt.

But the passages in a tiny engine are smaller and take far less to plug.

Out method is to take the carb apart , put the plastic stuff aside and plunk all the meatal parts in lacker thginner.

An hour or two and most times simply blowing thru and eyeballing that the passages are open does the trick.

Modern gas is pure garbage , but there are simple workarounds.

Use Av gas , even the low lead may foul the plugs , but plug cleaning is usually far easier than carb rebuilding. Use a tiny remote tank not a big 6 gal , and mix the oil in as its needed.

Fuel over 1 month can probably be dumped thru your car gas tank, instead of on the ground.

You must empty the fuel system , beat is too yank the carb , blow it clear and reassemble before storage.
As with other posters, I habitually ran my Yammy 2 cycle out of fuel after every use. It was always 10 pulls to start, but this winter I took it in and the mechanic changed the plugs, gear oil and impeller, said it should be ready to go, but when he started it, 10 pulls, it idled rough, so he pulled the carbs, soaked them to get all those little passages clear, kitted them and after that it was a two pull start and idled well.
I also habitually put fuel stabilizer in the tank, just to avoid those problems.
get the carbs cleaned and kitted!
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