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Trouble starting an outboard



H-E-L-P !!!

Every year I fire up my outboards in the Spring to make sure they are in working condition IN CASE I might want to use them. Haven't had to in about 4-5 yrs or so.

This year my 9.2hp Ward's Sea King (about 30 yrs old) would not turn over. I tried waiting (in case it was flooded), new plugs, and the plugs from my 15hp that did start and all I got for about 1 1/2 hrs of pulling the starting rope was a blister. It never seemed to be getting gas but I could see the gas spurt into the choke area so I know that wasn't it. Possibly it was bad gas? But I switched to the tank that started the 15 and still no luck.

Any ideas on what it could be? My buddy says maybe it's the "points". Anybody else got any bright ideas why it won't turnover?


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Does it even sound like it wants to start?

Others may not like this, but this is what I would do. Shoot a quick shot of ether into the carb and try to start it. If it spits and sputters and sounds like it's wanting to start then you have a fuel problem. If it doesn't sound like it wants to start I'd check for spark cuz it prolly doesn't have any.

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I assume you mean it will not fire. First, check all switches (on and off/safety) to make sure they are on. If this is ok, check for spark. This can be done by removing spark plug wire and inserting another spark plug in socket and holding to ground or block area. If there is spark, try squirting a little starting fluid in carb. to see if you get anything to fire. Another note, check for fuel shut off switch. It has been awhile since you have used it, may you shut off last time you prepped for long sitting time. Another thing, check for low oil cut off. Maybe you are equipped for something like this. Most likely, you mix oil and gas and this is not a concern. Good luck!

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No, it does not sound like it wants to start....I am leaning toward no spark but I will have to test that.

As far as spraying ether into the spark plug place, I have also been told to use gasoline instead of ether.

It uses 50:1 pre-mix oil and gas so no low-oil problem.

It is so old, I don't think it has any kind of safety/shutoff switch.

And I don't think it was in gear while I was trying to start it (I know some motors only start in nuetral).

I am no mechanic so I must ask: what is a ground or block? Can I hold the wire while checking for spark or will that shock me?

Thanks guys.

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Any metal surface that is attached to motor. The same area were the spark plug screws in is a good place. Try to set on metal surface, but holding rubber boot for plug is fine (unless splits or cracks are in it). If you get shocked, it only a little jolt. I think every one should feel the jolt of eng. spark one time or another in their life. I makes you feel alive, unless you are wearing a pacemaker. Their is no shut off switch?

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