What to look for (or look out for) in small outboard - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-01-2014 Thread Starter
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What to look for (or look out for) in small outboard

I'm looking for a small light outboard for my dink. A local used marine store has a Johnson 2hp for sale. Looks ideal and priced at about $300. I believe the store services the outboards before they put them up for sale. Tag on motor said serviced 2 weeks ago and "comp 60". I did not get a chance to talk to the owner.

I know nothing about outboards but am guessing that comp 60 might be the compression? Is that low? What does the mean? I want a reliable motor but also thought this might be a good simple motor for me to learn about maintenance. What do you think?
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-01-2014
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Re: What to look for (or look out for) in small outboard

bit low by normal standards but the small hp seem to hover around that comp 50-70 would be normal range per se

if its starts fine and doesnt cut out or hasnt been overheated sounds good...
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-01-2014
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Re: What to look for (or look out for) in small outboard

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Originally Posted by Jiminri View Post
I'm looking for a small light outboard for my dink. A local used marine store has a Johnson 2hp for sale. Looks ideal and priced at about $300. I believe the store services the outboards before they put them up for sale. Tag on motor said serviced 2 weeks ago and "comp 60". I did not get a chance to talk to the owner.

I know nothing about outboards but am guessing that comp 60 might be the compression? Is that low? What does the mean? I want a reliable motor but also thought this might be a good simple motor for me to learn about maintenance. What do you think?
Probably a 2 stroke?

Not that it matters too much, but in my experience, unless they have been terribly abused, 2 strokes are very reliable. Feed them new plugs once in a while and they are happy. IIRC, the last compression test I did on my 1985 Evinrude 35 HP 2 stroke was about 130 lbs. I have read, depending on the age & type of engine, that anything from about 80 to 100lbs & up is OK. Multi cylinder engines should have similar readings for each cylinder, within about 10% or so.

60 lbs sounds a bit low, but I can only speak from my own experience. Suggest you have the store run it for you in their test tank. Run it for at least 10 minutes, look for a good steady “pee” stream & if the tank will allow, run it hard for a few minutes. If the “pee” stream starts to steam or turns into steam, it is running hot. You should be able to put your hand on most parts of the power head without burning it. Look for peeling or discolored paint which may be caused by overheating.

If the store won’t demo the motor for you, I would suggest you look elsewhere. If it runs & the propeller turns, the only likely problem could be overheating.

Paul T
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Re: What to look for (or look out for) in small outboard

dont buy unless it runs well and wont stall out every time...if it does like above it could be a sign of being overheated and warped

however they are anvils...and can will run for ages...

my reserach shows that 60psi is common comp for these 2hp engines..if under 50 you are iffy.

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post #5 of 12 Old 08-01-2014
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Re: What to look for (or look out for) in small outboard

Spend the $300... when it blows up, expect to spend another $300 the following year, either rebuilding it, or replacing it.

I'm on my 3rd motor in 3 years, with 1 rebuild in between. They might be bulletproof, but they aren't fuel-proof (pun intended).
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-01-2014
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Re: What to look for (or look out for) in small outboard

They might have a test tank. When you go there YOU start it. And make sure its cold when you do. Outboards are good if they start first time every time when cold.

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post #7 of 12 Old 08-02-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: What to look for (or look out for) in small outboard

Thanks guys. I am encouraged to go back and have another look and see what I can learn from starting and running the motor.
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Re: What to look for (or look out for) in small outboard

fwiw I got an evinrude 3.3 for the same price down here and im stoked...its an early 90s model...I didnt even bother doing a comp check, started after 2 tugs after siiting for a couple of years, this thing is spanking "new" there is nothing inside done to it.so pop up the cowling and give it a looksie...

check the carb manifold where it enters the block and look for goop or sealant...if there is it means someone has been fiddling with it and usually the goop is a sign of not using a new gasket(if it uses one) which can mean the mechanic was not meticulous...

however its not a deal killer...same goes for the carb float bowl and other gaskets...if it looks, starts well and runs without stalling out every 30 seconds or so its a keeper...

also check the prop for looseness and whatever cooling method it has, through the exhaust or not or pee hole etc make sure its fine...

enjoy it if you get it....they are like honda motorcycles of days gone by

anvils

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Re: What to look for (or look out for) in small outboard

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Spend the $300... when it blows up, expect to spend another $300 the following year, either rebuilding it, or replacing it.

I'm on my 3rd motor in 3 years, with 1 rebuild in between. They might be bulletproof, but they aren't fuel-proof (pun intended).
new piston rings, and a deglaze will set you back less than $100 a deglaze can be done with a small ball hone...if the block isnt warped then its even easier.

honestly these engines are like working on toys...if the carb is in good condition the rest is easy peasy! jajaja

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post #10 of 12 Old 08-02-2014
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Re: What to look for (or look out for) in small outboard

As others have said check to see if it starts easily cold then hot, runs without stalling, steady pee stream and the prop is not chipped from grounding I would say it is OK.
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