||BoatUS Cruising - Tom Neale's Cruising For You: Tom's Tips - Outboards
The dead man’s switch generally works by connecting the ignition
circuitry to ground, thereby depriving the spark plug of the “spark.” When
the little tab on the end of the red cord isn’t in place on the
switch, the switch is on, closing contact internally, and establishing
the ground connection. Often these switches become corroded and short
out inside or become stuck in the on position. This may prevent the motor
from starting even though you’ve inserted the tab. Although
you should replace the switch as soon as possible (these switches
important for your safety), you can make an emergency get home
repair by simply disconnecting or cutting the wire running from
the switch to
the electrical component.
the good ol’ days,
outboards had shear pins which would break when the propeller hit
something. This protected the shaft and
gears, and you could easily replace a broken pin in just a few minutes.
A handful of pins cost a few dollars. Now, most manufacturers have
done us the favor of using a rubber insert in the outboard propeller,
of a shear pin. It binds the outer ring, to which the blades are
attached, to the hub. When you hit something the rubber tears.
They say that
this is better because of the shock absorbing function of the
because, unless you really cream your prop, there will be enough
friction between the torn rubber surfaces for you to get home---just
slowly. Never mind that when this happens you have to buy a whole
new prop instead of just a pin.
I’m going to do something, I like to do it well. This applies
to hitting the bottom and other things with my prop. When this happens,
you’re not going anywhere, unless you have a spare prop to put
on. BUT, in most cases you can make a temporary get-home repair to
beef up the torn slipping insert. Screw at least 3 screws into the
about half way between the inner and outer edges. Flat nails will also
work. The thickness of the screws or nails will depend upon the thickness
of the rubber insert. This will hopefully expand the rubber and usually
cause enough friction to decrease the slippage and allow you to get
of the first steps in making a diagnosis should your outboard crank
but not start,
is to pull the plugs and look at the tips to see
if they’re wet with gas and/or oil. If they are you probably don’t
have a spark, or there’s so much gas that it’s flooded. Dry
them off and let the engine sit a few minutes before reinstalling them,
and try again. If they’re still wet without starting, you’re
probably not getting the spark. If they’re dry, the problem
may be with your carburetor. If the plugs are greasy with a lot of
may have too much oil mixed in your gas.
you’ll see mechanics look for a spark by removing
the plug from the block, leaving the wire on, grounding the base of the
plug against the block, cranking the motor, and checking for the flash
at the electrode. If you do this in bright sunlight, you might not see
the spark unless there is a dark background. Often you have to put your
face close to the plug to see the spark. This can be a dangerous operation
because it could cause an explosion by igniting gas vapor coming from
the spark plug hole in the block. You’ll also feel a shock
if you hold the plug without insulation protection.
the best cure for outboards? TowBoatU.S. coverage.
Go to www.tomneale.com for
more tips about outboards and other subjects.
Copyright 2004-2010 Tom Neale