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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an ancient 9.8 hp Merc as a secondary motor on my 20' Tolman Skiff in case the 90 hp Yamaha goes bad. I almost never use it but last time I did it made awful noises, died and smelled as if it was going to catch fire.
I figured I could fix it myself but then decided I have enough projects so I'll pay to get it fixed...............WRONG.
Mechanic looked at it and said "This is gonna cost more'n its worth, I can sell you a new one at $100 over invoice". He was obsessed with trying to sell me a new motor I don't need and announced a minimum of $500 to fix my ancient motor without really doing anything to it.
Being insulted at his idiotic patronizing attitude, after all I built the damn boat and I figger I can fix anything ranging from electron microscopes to diesel engines so I went online looking for old Merc parts.
WOW, you really can get parts for 40 year old motors and I dont think its frozen up so a bit of my time (ok, lots of bits of my time) and a few new parts and I'll always be able to fix it.
Just once I'd like to take something to a mechanic and have a job done right and I'd be willing to pay for it.
 

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Admirable.. Good luck and a great attitude.May I suggest you keep a tally of time and parts .Pay yourself a reasonable wage and put in a jar. Soon you'll have enough to spend your winters in Thailand. Worked for me.
 

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I figger I can fix anything ranging from electron microscopes to diesel engines so I went online looking for old Merc parts.
WOW, you really can get parts for 40 year old motors and I dont think its frozen up so a bit of my time (ok, lots of bits of my time) and a few new parts and I'll always be able to fix it.
Bravo!
 

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That 9.8 will need a honing, new rings and pump impeller for starters. Look for gauling ,aluminium cylinders don't like being seized. Maybe a whole new power head..Consider when your emergency standby kicker is needed and it doesn't want to talk to you ,choice words are necessary but not very helpful.
 

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The first thing to do is a compression test. If the compression is bad, the mechanic is probably right.

On the other hand, it can be fun and rewarding to rebuild an engine even if it isn't cost effective.

Heck you built a boat, nobody builds a boat to save money, at least not a second boat.
 

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Sounds familiar. After several times begging the local repair place to order parts (they never came in because they never ordered them), or being told "we can't get those parts anymore" I took matters into my own hands. They just didn't want to be bothered. I found this place, Sea-Way Marine-your source for Marine Parts - Johnson Outboards, Evinrude Outboards, Chrysler Outboards, Mercury Outboards, OMC & Merc Cruiser Sterndrives. They are so helpful. Figured out the carb model I had on the old Merc 4.5. Sent the parts across the country quickly and cheaply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This so called mechanic wanted to sell me a $2300 motor that I would almost never use.
Instead, i can spend some time figuring out how to fix the 9.8 Merc so when it does go bad I can fix it again. I had to do the same thing with the primary 90 hp yamaha when the ethanol gas kept messing up the carb and I had to rebuild it twice.
Things I have found so far on the Merc.
1. Rusted throttle cable ($29.00)
2. Gummed up carb ($30 for gaskets)
3. Deposits partially clogging the water cooling. I pumped vinegar thru it continuously for an hour to clear it.
4. Probably need new impeller

My policy is to NOT keep receipts. If I kept them, I'd know how foolish my boating hobby is. When I built the boat, I knew I was not saving money over buying an older boat so I didn't keep receipts
 

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I look at it this way.. you might not save any money.. but you gain experience and knowledge. This way when the big engine dies in the middle of nowhere, you stand a chance on repairing it and getting home quickly.
 

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"1. Rusted throttle cable ($29.00)"

Can of bartender's Friend for $2.79 and some steel wool, and you'll save about $35 by cleaning and re-using the old one. (VBG)

I find myself using the phrase "alleged mechanic" because there are so few who really have any idea of what they're doing. Sometimes, I wonder if these folks use toilet paper one whole roll at a time, because there's no instructions on mine that tells you how to get it unrolled and turned into sheets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The problem is that you cannot DIY to everything because it requires too much mental overhead. Time spent figuring out how to get something to screw into the odd sized fitting on the old merc flush fitting ( a wittled down nylon hose barb) coulda been spent doing something more useful. You'd think you could pay someone who specializes in such to do it.
Now that I have an ipad and a gps that goes with it. I have spent several days figuring out various feedthrus for my waterproof FrogSuit case for it. This has taken a lot of time. Combine this with several other projects and eventually you run out of mental capacity to find solutions and you begin ignoring things.
The realization that I simply cannot "do everything" is what led me to seeking a mechanic. I long ago gave up changing my oil on my own car and fixing brakes etc just because it takes too much thought. When I pad the boat yard in Marsh Harbor to fix the fuel pump on my sailboat diesel, my wife thought I'd had a stroke and then complained about the cost. Just the logistics of me trying to do it was worth paying them even though it cost a bundle.
 

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The problem is that you cannot DIY to everything because it requires too much mental overhead.
I've come to the same place.

I understand your mechanic's point of view also.
He wants/needs to put in his hours and get paid for them with minimal risk.

I'm in the computer business and have the same problem. Someone calls me about a 5 year old computer. Can I fix it, maybe, probably but the risk is too high that the result will not be what the user wants.

For the outboard here are things that could go wrong:
Parts take a long time to source.
They come in wrong.
It takes an extra long time to get a frozen part removed.
A frozen part breaks
After putting it all together it doesn't run right and has to be dissembled and more parts ordered.
He gets it together and you run it for a couple hours then the head cracks.

The bottom line is that he can't reliably estimate the cost as their are too many unknowns.

If you were to give him the motor and $500 in cash and said to do the best he could and to call you if the money ran out he would probably take the job.
As long as he knew that you were willing to take the risk and not pass it off to him.

The bottom line is that it is your old engine so you need to take the risk.
You either take that risk with your money or your time or both.

The only people that are willing to take that risk from you are people with nothing to loose.
I tell my computer users to have the neighbor kid play with their computer, they might get lucky.
 

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My policy is to NOT keep receipts. If I kept them, I'd know how foolish my boating hobby is. When I built the boat, I knew I was not saving money over buying an older boat so I didn't keep receipts
An alternate policy might be to keep receipts so you can return things that don't work etc. just don't add them up.

All the advantages, none of the disadvantages.
 

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Davidpm, Yer prob right. Dunno what the correct solution is here.
You have it exactly right. No one knows the correct solution until it is all apart and even then it is somewhat of a guess as to which parts must be replaced vs. which ones should be replaced vs. which ones you might as well replace since you are in there.
It might be worth $50 bucks or so if you make a deal with your mechanic to take it all apart and bring in all the pieces for him to take a look at and give you his best guess as to which ones are ok and which ones need to be replaced.

It is unlikely he will agree to put it back together for you but he may have a better idea of what is worn and what is worn out.

Your mechanic would probably love to help you he just doesn't want to own your problem.

If the two of you look it over and he sees something that is deal breaker you got your monies worth.
 

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Just once I'd like to take something to a mechanic and have a job done right and I'd be willing to pay for it.
I have a very good auto mechanic, and I don't use him for much. Just what I don't have the time or tools to do. I broke a serpentine belt on my BMW 530. Normally not a big deal, but since it was going to have to be towed, I figured let him do it as it happened on a Sunday evening, and did not want to loose time at work. I get a call from him on Monday evening, and he asks me to call him back. I knew something was up because it is normally a "it is done, keys are under the floor mat and leave a check for umpteen billion dollars." I called him back and he said "yea, your car is done, but I backed into it with my truck." OUCH... I said OK how bad, and he said he was on his way to get an estimate. He had his guy do the work, and use BMW OE parts and I walked away with about $800 left over from the insurance check. He was more upset than I was for sure because I knew he would take care of it. So moral of the story is that there are honest and good mechanics out there, just some of them can't drive!
 

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.......so a bit of my time (ok, lots of bits of my time) and a few new parts......
"Lots of bits" of a mechanics time and a few new parts will add up very quickly. The advice to buy new was probably good by comparison. If you are willing to get greasy, you may save money, but not at a good wage, I'll bet.
 

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I always do one thing at a time. IF i have a lot of things to do, i try and do them in a way that's more comfortable to me. this normally just means focusing on one problem at a time , it's like not keeping receipts, you didn't want to see how much money was going into the boat so you don't feel overwhelmed, that's pretty much how i work, i "know" what needs to be done to everything but i keep it in the back of my mind, and only focus on one of the them at a time, and if i can, i just do each problem totally until it's fixed before moving to the next problem, rather then starting 4 things and jumping back and forth between them (unless you are waiting for parts, and stuff like that i move to the next problem unless it'll take longer to finish it then getting the part)I don't have a boat so i can't really say how work on a boat goes, but i would try and do it the same as i do for my cars and it's problems. or the lawn mower, or whatever.
I find i have a lot less trouble this way, i used to have random meltdowns before i switched to thinking less on everything and thinking more on each thing one at a time, of course this is me , and you are you, so it's all relative,
it is very hard to find people to do the work you need them to honestly, and without some hidden agenda (such as "i got this motor, i need to sell someone, the next person who had a bad motor I'll try and hoodwink them into buying it) i had someone tell me my fuel pump was bad in my suv, i changed the fuel filter and that was all that was wrong, if i had let them work on my car a 10 dollar problem would have ended up a 350-400 dollar problem, and that is why people try and work on it themselves a lot of bad mechanics have given a lot of good mechanics a bad rep, which sucks, but it's just how it is, there is not much trust anymore.
 

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As you are finding, the carb is very often the problem. Leaving fuel in it for extended periods always ends badly. I recently got a great deal on a Yamaha F2.5, but alas it had a shifter shaft that was epoxied and I had to clean the carb. A brief session on the web and I had the parts, followed by an hour of cockpit table surgery. Myself I always run the carb dry after use, which is important since I don't use it very often.

As you have found parts online are affordable and readily available. I actually find it much easier. I love looking at the diagrams online then checking the boxes for parts, some of which I'll probably never use. :) Going to the local dealer is always a pain and takes more time and money. I could spend almost as much in gas for the two trips it usually takes to get a simple gasket kit. Sometimes you will have to wait extra for the next parts delivery.

Each time I tackle a repair project I find myself getting better at it, and taking more note of detail. Very rewarding.

Have fun.
 
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