6 HP Tohatsu hard starting - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 21 Old 08-01-2012 Thread Starter
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6 HP Tohatsu hard starting

We bought a Tohatsu 6HP several months ago and use it about twice a week. It runs perfectly, the only down side is that it takes about 15 pulls to get it started when cold. I follow the instructions to the letter and have tried some variations. End results is 15 pulls. As it has an integral tank there is no bulb to pressurize the system. Anyone have any suggestions?

Paul T
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post #2 of 21 Old 08-02-2012
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6 HP Tohatsu hard starting

You bought this engine new? Do you use any additives in your fuel to keep it fresh?

I assume that when you are done with your engine and are putting it away for the day, you shut off the fuel and run the engine until the fuel in the carb is exhausted? The hard starting issue might be the result of it takes a while for the fuel to enter the carb. I would try not running the old fuel out of the carb at the end of your period of use, shut off the fuel and see if that helps.

It might be helpful to use an additive in your fuel to keep it from going bad, phase separating. This keeps you fuel fresh.

Good luck.

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post #3 of 21 Old 08-02-2012
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Re: 6 HP Tohatsu hard starting

Sounds like a carb issue. Probably some gunk because of ethanol in the fuel. If I were you and the engine is new I'd take it to the shop you bought it at and have them clean the carb. They may even have some replacement fuel lines that are better for ethanol if they weren't on there already. A new motor has a three year warranty.

Or just take the carb off yourself. These are very easy to do. Screw driver some sockets. A couple of paper towels, some carb cleaner, and about an hour of your time total.

Also replace the spark plug for good measure.

I have the same motor and it likes full throttle and full choke to start up. Back down the throttle when it fires.
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post #4 of 21 Old 08-02-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: 6 HP Tohatsu hard starting

Yes, the motor is new. I have tried leaving the gas on between trips, no difference. I use Berryman's B-12 fuel additive. As mentioned it runs perfectly and re-starts fine when warm. I will try the full throttle approach. Thanks fpor the feedback.

Paul T
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post #5 of 21 Old 08-02-2012
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Re: 6 HP Tohatsu hard starting

Integral OB, etc. tank systems sometimes need a 'boost' to completely fill the carburetor and to get the carb float to its proper (spec) level - needed to have the correct air/fuel ratio.

As a trial, open the 'gas cap', seal the tank opening with your mouth and BLOW (5 - 10 seconds) into the tank to pressurize the fuel ... will fill the carb bowl until the float valve closes. If this corrects the hard-start, then either get or retrofit an external tank with 'squeeze bulb' or install a mini-squeeze bulb (Walbro, etc.) between the tank and the carb.

On small HP OBs BE SURE to only use FRESH (less than 30-45 day old) gasoline, dont depend on 'stabilizers but still use them, and BE SURE to always run the engine DRY of fuel when shutting down. For storage of more than a month or two, always open the carb drain plug to BE SURE that no gasoline is remaining in the carb bowl ... you can squirt in Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) to help keep the developed 'varnish and gums' to a minimum.

The correct starting fuel/air ratio for most Tohatsu (6hp) OB will be with the throttle set EXACTLY with the indicator between the 'rabbit' and the 'turtle' and the choke pulled - 'all the way out'. If you need to start on either side of that 'index' then the carb usually need cleaning and readjustment.


The usage of 'ethanol free' marine fuels (not available everywhere) will greatly help with 'hard-starting' and degraded performance. Go to ValvTect website to locate 'ethanol free marine fuels'. Locator: ValvTect - Certified Marinas

Good luck, but expect such nonsense to get much worse with increasing ethanol content in gasoline.

Last edited by RichH; 08-02-2012 at 11:06 AM.
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post #6 of 21 Old 08-02-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: 6 HP Tohatsu hard starting

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Integral OB, etc. tank systems sometimes need a 'boost' to completely fill the carburetor and to get the carb float to its proper (spec) level - needed to have the correct air/fuel ratio.

As a trial, open the 'gas cap', seal the tank opening with your mouth and BLOW (5 - 10 seconds) into the tank to pressurize the fuel ... will fill the carb bowl until the float valve closes. If this corrects the hard-start, then either get or retrofit an external tank with 'squeeze bulb' or install a mini-squeeze bulb (Walbro, etc.) between the tank and the carb.

On small HP OBs BE SURE to only use FRESH (less than 30-45 day old) gasoline, dont depend on 'stabilizers but still use them, and BE SURE to always run the engine DRY of fuel when shutting down. For storage of more than a month or two, always open the carb drain plug to BE SURE that no gasoline is remaining in the carb bowl ... you can squirt in Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) to help keep the developed 'varnish and gums' to a minimum.

The correct starting fuel/air ratio for most Tohatsu (6hp) OB will be with the throttle set EXACTLY with the indicator between the 'rabbit' and the 'turtle' and the choke pulled - 'all the way out'. If you need to start on either side of that 'index' then the carb usually need cleaning and readjustment.


The usage of 'ethanol free' marine fuels (not available everywhere) will greatly help with 'hard-starting' and degraded performance. Go to ValvTect website to locate 'ethanol free marine fuels'. Locator: ValvTect - Certified Marinas

Good luck, but expect such nonsense to get much worse with increasing ethanol content in gasoline.
Rich,

Very interesting, I will try the pressure test and throttle setting tomorrow. Other than the hard cold starting it runs perfectly at all speeds and loads so I am cautious about adjusting the low speed mixture.

Thanks for the feedback, Paul T
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post #7 of 21 Old 08-03-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: 6 HP Tohatsu hard starting

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Rich,

Very interesting, I will try the pressure test and throttle setting tomorrow. Other than the hard cold starting it runs perfectly at all speeds and loads so I am cautious about adjusting the low speed mixture.

Thanks for the feedback, Paul T
Rich,

Half throttle worked well, about 6 pulls instead of 15, didn't need the pressure test. It caught me by surprise, 5 pulls, not a wimper, 6th pull must have been close to the rev limiter by the time my brain engaged and I turned it down, next time I will be ready for it. Thanks for the suggestion.

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post #8 of 21 Old 08-03-2012
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Re: 6 HP Tohatsu hard starting

Good to hear! Suggest you 'run hell' of it with fresh gas and new stabilizer, etc. so those teeny problem passages in the carb begin to 'clean out'. ;-)
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post #9 of 21 Old 08-04-2012
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Re: 6 HP Tohatsu hard starting

I have a Tohatsu 9.8 four stroke and I used to have a really tough time starting it when the engine was cold. I took it in for a tune up and I have no idea what they did but I have not had a problem since. Before I go cruising next winter I will take the motor in for servicing again. At a cost of $100, for me it's money well spent.
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post #10 of 21 Old 08-04-2012
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Re: 6 HP Tohatsu hard starting

If it is not starting on the first pull there is a problem. That problem can be anything from lack of knowledge of how to correctly start the engine, fuel system issues or a mechanical malfunction. Your local dealer is your best resource as they can physically see what you and the engine are doing...

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