Boating - - FEATURES -

Hi Doc. I have a 1990 22 An­gler that I bought from the orig­i­nal owner. It’s pow­ered by a 200 hp Mer­cury Black Max out­board. The en­gine has good com­pres­sion in all cylin­ders, about 135 psi. My prob­lem is that, for the last two years, the en­gine has had a hard-start­ing prob­lem. I prime the bulb un­til it’s hard and push in the key to choke while the en­gine is crank­ing, and it will not start. The en­rich­ment so­le­noid is new, and the carbs have all been re­built. I have good spark, and the plugs are new. Af­ter a shot of ether, the en­gine fires right up. I use the boat all day fish­ing, and when it’s time to head home, it starts eas­ily. Af­ter it sits for the night, I have the same hard-start­ing prob­lem. When I first bought the boat, it started eas­ily. I only use marine-treated fuel. I’m an auto me­chanic and have no prob­lem with four-strokes, but have no ex­pe­ri­ence with two-stroke en­gines.

James Fitzsim­mons Yonkers, New York


If it starts up eas­ily af­ter a day of fish­ing but is tough af­ter sit­ting, I’ll ask how do you have the en­gine trimmed when try­ing to start it? Fuel does not flow up­hill eas­ily. Trim the mo­tor down to a typ­i­cal run­ning po­si­tion, and I bet that it turns over eas­ily. If not, have the carbs’ float set­tings checked. Also, in­spect the en­rich­ment valve that comes off the top of the car­bu­re­tors. There’s a small line run­ning from the float bowl on the top car­bu­re­tor down to the top of the mid­dle one. It sup­plies fuel to the mid­dle car­bu­re­tor’s throt­tle shut­tle. Dis­con­nect it at the mid­dle carb and make sure there is fuel com­ing out of it. Also, if it doesn’t start af­ter sit­ting all night, af­ter crank­ing it a few times with­out it start­ing, pull the top spark plugs. If they’re dry, there’s no fuel get­ting to the top cylin­ders.

If you have a tan­dem tor­sion-axle trailer, you don’t need a trailer jack to lift a bad tire from the road­way. Just put a 12-inch piece of two-by-four against the good tire, then back it with the four-by-four and pull your good tire onto the four-by-four. It will lift the flat tire high enough to re­place it. On soft ground, it can be help­ful to have an ex­tra one-by-six to set the four-by-four on to pre­vent it from sink­ing down. — Randy Vance


Pulling a spark plug can pro­vide clues to start­ing woes.

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