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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Is this mechanic trying to pull one over on me?
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Thread: Is this mechanic trying to pull one over on me? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-25-2011 08:02 PM
hellosailor Well, Mariner, you've stepped in it and the only question is what your STATE laws are. That's what will determine how and whether they can lien your boat, whether they need a written work order and so on. If there's nothing in writing you may be able to demand your engine back and get it. Maybe undamaged.

Best to find out what your local laws are and who knows of the shop and their rep. You might be able to demand your engine back, and if you have any proof of ownership, bring back a cop to liberate it if necessary.

But from what you say...the mechanic certainly sounds full of something. An engine with "no" compression wouldn't have started, wouldn't have run. And would be most unlikely to just "lose" all compression from one day to the next, that wasn't what you'd originally complained about.

Might be simplest to walk away from it but again...you've got to ask locally.
06-25-2011 05:29 PM
MacGyverRI 1st, I gotta raise my labor rate....

Compression may be "low" but still there. Is it a 2 cycle or 4 cycle?
2's are touchy w/ actual compression needed, especially at idle.

A simple Valve adjustment can cure most 4 cycles of bad idling.
06-24-2011 12:24 PM
SJ34 You can't just leave the engine and not pay the bill or you will never see it again, they will repair it and lien sale it to themselves.

The average mechanic rate here is about $100/hr so you are not necessarily getting ripped off in that regard. I'll pile on here though, if you didn't think the guy knew what he was doing you shouldn't have let him take the engine.

FWIW, there are several things that would cause the engine to POP. Assuming it was not mechanical, a lean condition caused by gummed up carb jets, exhaust valves being out of adjustment, exhaust leak etc. My vote would be for a gummy carb if it ran well when you last used it. Spraying carb cleaner into the throat of the carb to clean jets is about as effective as pouring drain cleaner into a manhole cover to clear the sink drain in your kitchen. If plugged, the carb needs to be disassembled and cleaned.

An engine will run with very low compression and you can't always diagnose that with a pull on the cord if the engine uses an automatic decompression system for starting. Somebody more familiar with your engine may be able to advise you about that.

Bottom line, if you have no confidence in the mechanic get the engine back before they can rack up big fees. Or let them fix it and pay up.
06-24-2011 09:17 AM
HPLou "The mechanic said he thinks it might be carburation and started spraying some of my carb cleaner in it while I pulled the chord."

It sounds like the engine got flooded with carb cleaner. Normally one would use spray carb cleaner with the engine running not as one would try to start an engine. Probably have to change the plugs in order to get the engine started. You may have to use a spray starting fluid to get the engine started again. If that doesn't work, the carb may have to come off for a rebuilding. Good luck.
06-24-2011 08:18 AM
imagine2frolic Oh he's very competent. He managed to walk away with your motor. What he is not is honest. This is why I buy the manual, and learn for myself. At times I have a friend show me, and I learn even better. Damned manuals drive me nuts.

bl,

I just love your posts.......i2f
06-24-2011 12:16 AM
MarkSF So he's diagnosed compression failure. That's an hour's labour at the very outside. So pay it, and take your engine back. It's worth $100 WITH compression failure.

Why on earth would you leave him the engine if you're convinced it's fine?
06-24-2011 12:00 AM
PaulfromNWOnt Mr Jones is right. I may not have said it in quite the same way, but a boat buck can certainly point you in the right direction to self reliance.

Sounds like it may have had a stuck/sticky valve. A nice oil change with some form of additive may have corrected the problem. Or it may not have. The point being that there is no real mystery to be found under the cowl of an outboard, and doing it yourself (in this particular case) wouldn't have left you any further behind than just leaving him with your motor.

Pay your tithe, get your motor back, and play around with it.
06-23-2011 11:59 PM
Stu Jackson I'm sure you've figured out the answer by now. Get your engine back and don't pay then anything. What's so hard?
06-23-2011 10:42 PM
bljones You left your OB with an outfit that charges ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS AN HOUR???????
You only get ripped off if you allow yourself to get ripped off, and right now you have sent that shop an engraved invitation
Here is what one hour of labour buys you:
A socket set and the shop manual for the OB you own.
For one hour of labour paid to somebody else, you are able to fix it yourself.... forever. Pick up your motor, pick up your big girl panties, and do. it. yourself.
06-23-2011 10:33 PM
Siamese You're right. An engine with no compression wouldn't have run. Also, I would think that "no compression" would be observable by pulling the starter cord.

If you want to confront him while you're still in a position to do anything, it's easy enough to jam a compression meter into one of the spark plug holes and pull the cord. If there's compression, just shoot him. Then take your engine.

Tell me....because I'm curious...did he give you a copy of any kind of work order for the work to be done. Anything to indicate that he even has the engine. A very well regarded boatyard here on Michigan's west coast wanted me to leave my engine with them and balked at giving me any paper on it. I walked away with the engine.

If you're not mechanical and can't do the compression check, just have him do it. A compression meter's about the size of a dial type tire gage. You cram it's cone shaped rubber end into one of the spark plug holes and yank on the starter cord. The needle on the gauges stops on it's scale and indicates how much compression there is.

The two likely causes of no compression would be really bad valves and/or really bad piston rings. If rings, you would have been burning a lot of oil.

Either valves or rings would be an expensive repair. The kind that would cause you to give him the engine.

Maybe you could get him to confirm that's it has "no compression". Ask him if he's sure that it has no compression. By the way, a compression tester costs less than 20 bucks and there's nothing iffy about the results. Either there's good compression or there's not. What was his reading? What is it SUPPOSED to be? I'll guess that as soon as you try to nail him down on the compression is that he'll change his story, which is why I would have him confirm it on the phone. Also, there's no way it has NO compression. Ask him if he used a compression tester on it, and what was the reading. His story's probably going to fall apart.

I'd get the engine from him and take it someplace reliable. Where I live, the "yard" would be the last place to take an outboard. Better to go where the fishermen go. Pay the yard if you have to.

The yard will likely get away with robbing you.

Chances are, if the engine was running well before, the popping's just bad fuel or something.
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