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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 02-03-2003
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Small engine repair

Someone heard the prices that the local marine stores wanted per hour and wondered why a small engine repair shop couldn''t do the work on small outboards. Any thoughts?
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Old 02-03-2003
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Small engine repair

I do small outboard repair and tune-up work as part of my "Mr. Fix-It" business, and I charge one heck of a lot less then the outboard repair shop next door. The shops are full of older engines that people have brought in to have repaired but were talked into buying a new motor instead. The shops actually make more money selling new stuff. Most won''t work on anything over ten years old anyway. So long as I can get the parts, I plan to keep fix''en ''em.

I''ll tell you what goes wrong with most older outboard motors. Before the Carter administration, there was lead in the fuel. Lead acts as a lubricant in a two-stroke engine and keeps the carbon from building up too rapidly in the combustion chamber. Take the lead away and the carbon builds up. For a two-stroke engine to run properly, the fuel/air mixture needs to flow into the combustion chamber in a certain way. But if there''s a carbon build up, the mixture becomes turbulent and the combustion is not happening correctly or completely. The engine starts to run like crap!

Mr. Owner replaces the plugs, and that helps a little but not much and not for long. He tries the fuel filter, the points and maybe even the coils but still it''s not right. He takes his dear egg-beater to the shop and they tell him it''s going to cost big bucks and he''d be better off if he''d just whip out the ole'' Visa and buy this nice new jobby right there.

Before Mr. Owner signs over this years, and perhaps most of next years cruising kitty, I''d invite him to turn around and face the other wall. Yea, the one with all of those bottles, cards and cans. Look for a can that is called "Engine Tuner" and for $7.00 or so, take one home. Follow the instructions on the can to the letter and you may be surprised at the results!

The stuff works its way under the carbon and lifts it away. As less carbon is present in the combustion chamber, the better the motor runs. I''ve also tried de-carboning using a sprayer of clean water but this stuff works better and faster.

Well, amazingly, thatís about all Iíve got to say about that.

Pi
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Old 02-04-2003
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Small engine repair

POCA, That was some very good information concerning the carbon build up.Thanks! What is your opinion of the 4 strokers,compared to the older 2 strokers? Are there any major watch outs with the 4 strokers (besides additional weight) that you''re aware of?
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Old 02-04-2003
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Small engine repair

Well, I''ve had both types and I suppose, on the user end, they both balance out with the pros and cons. One needs oil in the fuel and the other needs oil in the crankcase. While no internal combustion engine is environmentally friendly, the four-stroke generally has less of an impact then the two-stroke and the four-strokes tend to be quieter running. There''s more moving parts in the four-stroke, hence more problems that can arise in the "moment of truth". Four-strokes generally cost a bit more too.

Another question Iím often asked is who makes the best engine? Really, I donít believe any one manufacturerís engine is all that much better then the next. Off of any assembly line will come dependable engines as well as lemons. There are good Nissans and Yamahas, and there are junk Evenrudes and Mercurys too. Unfortunately dependability is not in any specific manufacturer, but mostly in the luck of the draw.

Iíve been pushing my Jesse Boyce with an 8hp Mariner for 5 years now. Itís been the most dependable motor Iíve ever owned. Yet a friend of mine bought a 15hp Mercury four-stroke for his Contessa 26 the year after I bought my Mariner and he had nothing but problems from day 1.

I suppose my recommendation to one looking to purchase a new outboard would be to assess the prospective usage of the engine and if the weight isnít that big of a factor, go with a four-stroke. If youíre going to manhandle it around, look at the two-strokes. Once youíve settled on a type, look for the best deal more then any specific manufacturer.

Pi
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