My Motor Failed!!!

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Chris Snider

Well-Known Member
Apr 10, 2001
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I'm looking for some advice... My family and I went to the lake this past Saturday. We put the boat in the water, started the engine right up, moved down the lake around 1/2 mile and shut her down to start fishing... Well, the waves in Carlyle Lake (Illinois) get HUGE in a VERY small amount of wind... I bet the wind was no more than 10-15 mph and big 'ole waves were knocking us around. I decided to seek out an area that was a little more calm so I didn't have to fight the boat all day... I went to start up the 'ole 1994 Mercury 200hp engine, but she wouldn't start. It would turn over, but would never start! I ended up running the cranking battery out of juice! I was hot by now... This was a very, very bad thing with the waves being like they were...

Anyway, I had to use the trolling motor to travel 1/2 mile back to the dock in rough water. Yep, it was a horrible experience. This was only my 5th or 6th time out, which obviously made it worse. THANK GOD that I didn't go farther than 1/2 mile before stopping to fish. The strange thing is, I normally drive to the other end of the lake and fish back to the ramp (roughly 5-8 miles). For some reason, I decided to stop early this day. Hmmmm... Talk amongst yourselves about that!

My question is this... I am not a mechanic and don't work on cars or any other engines. I also don't have tons of money at this point to take the boat to the shop for a "professional inspection"... Do you guys think replacing the spark plugs would be a good place to start (or am I missing the point entirely)? I'm sure I can do something that simple and it probably needs to be done anyway... I'll take her to the shop if I have to, but I would like to try a few simple things first...

All ideas are welcome!!! HELP!!! ...---... ...---...
Sarge - I know this sound basic but I had the family out last Friday and my wife was driving as we went into a cove to fish. We spend a while in the cove (no fish) and went to head out. Beka was driving again and she could not get the motor to turn over. I had her choke it, even showed her how to put it in neutral and rev the throttle but nothing happended. I finally (frustrated) told her to get up and let me try. That was when I saw it...

There it was the RED kill-switch still clipped to her life jacket dangling down.

Explained the function of the Kill-switch again and the need to unclip it when she shuts the big motor down, and off we went.

So when you get home tonite, if you have not already, check the kill-switch first. If that's not it then i'd check the gas tank and fuel line (primer buld too for cracks).

Thats' my basic checklist from a techie (that's computer not mechanic) - TrepMan
Thumper -

We ALL forget the kill switch...... Rich and I did it at the tournament.

Thanks everyone! I did actually check the kill switch on a few occassions during that outing (believe it or not)! I'm really surprised I thought of it, but I did (as I sit up proudly in my office chair)!

That does bring up a good point, though. What's the chances of a kill switch going bad? I'll play with it a little more when I get home... Maybe I'll notice something new, since I won't be under alot of stress like I was on Saturday! What a HORRIBLE feeling with your family (wife and 3 year-old)! I thought we'd be stranded and not make it back!
Sarge,...if it's not the kill switch, then make sure your fuel bulb didn't collapse and your motor was starved for gas. That bulb should be full and firm to the touch.......if you have a vacuum leak the bulb will collape and you wont get gas to the motor. I'd say the kill switch would be the logical choice, and if that's not it, then make sure you're getting gas. If neither of those are the problem, then I'd schedule an appt with the dealer.
Good luck and keep us posted.....thanks!
Mine, also a 1994,did something similar, and after checking the kill switch, it turned out to be that the stator was bad. No warning at all. Dealer fixed it and she runs great again. Hope that helps.
Sarge, sorry to hear you had a problem. Hopefully, it's something small, simple, and low $.

Since you are on a boating budget and don't have motor experience to draw on, you might want to educate yourself on the basics of how an outboard, 2 stroke motor works. It will allow you to troubleshoot the simple stuff and not have to sweat going to a marine mechanic every time something needs tweaking. Check out the boating section of your local bookstore or library. $20 on books might save you $65 in diagnostic charges.

Speaking of expensive repairs: Anybody ever hear this old acronym? The word BOAT stands for...

"B"reak "O"ut "A"nother "T"housand!
Thanks guys! You're right Rich (about the books)... Looks like I'll have to invest a few dollars!
Well... I was proud of myself for remembering the kill switch, but I still did something just as dumb! It looks like I flooded the engine or something... I hooked the muffs up last night and she started right up. I guess I'm not starting the engine properly... I think I'll make a post about that...

Thanks to everyone for their help and I'm sorry for wasting your time!
Whadaya mean? Wasting time? Heck, Thumppy, we're glad ta have ya! You keep doin' stupid things....... And you keep postin' them........ Makes old farts like me feel really smart!

Your new Delta Tau name is "Forrest....Forrest Thump!"..LOL
Just kiddin' dude,.....glad it was nothing major!! :eek:)

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