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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
I'm extremely new to sailing and have never had much experience with mechanical/electrical things of any kind, including automotive. So I'm hoping I'm just doing something wrong and it will be an easy fix! If not, well, it's a good opportunity to learn, right? ;)

The problem is that my partner and I recently bought a Catalina 27 with a Honda 9.9hp motor. It sat for about a month without use. We read through the manual and then went out to see if we could get the thing started. We were able to tilt it down properly and pull out the choke, set the lever correctly, etc.

But then when we pulled the starter, it wouldn't even turn over. I'm pretty sure we were pulling it fast and hard enough, although, as I said, total newbies here!

Help?

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first did you have the kill switch clip connected. does it have gas in the tank, did you connect the fuel line, did you pump up the squeeze bulb on the fuel line. is it in neutral, it will only start in neutral
 

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What he said. Also, make sure it's in the water too. It is not what is preventing the start but it does need to be in the water to get proper cooling if it does start.

Put fresh gas in it too. Those motors don't like old stale gas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
All of those things were done properly. I'm not sure how old the gas is, since it came from the previous owner. Could be an issue. If that's it, is it normal not to get anything other than a click when you pull the starter?
 

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Is it electric start, or are you pulling a rope? If it's electric and you hear a click, that's not normal. If it's a rope, it should spin the motor, not click. If it's not in neutral, I think the rope might just pull out and not engage the flywheel?

Or is the motor seized? It should spin when starting.
 

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I could be sending you the wrong way here, but gas with ethanol has been a problem on a number of outboards that I know of when the fuel sits for more than 30 days. The ethanol starts to separate out and will cause havoc. Easy to test, get a fuel sample from the huel hose feeding the engine, and pour it in a clean container. Compare it to how it looks versus clean fresh fuel. Then let it sit for maybe 45 mins and see if it separates.

If this is the problem, you'll probably need to clean out the carburator (or injectors), and replace the old fuel with new one.
 

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Save yourself a lot of frustration and find a good outboard mechanic and have him give it a once over and tune up. If done right it should start with a pull or two.
 

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All of those things were done properly. I'm not sure how old the gas is, since it came from the previous owner. Could be an issue. If that's it, is it normal not to get anything other than a click when you pull the starter?
You can't get a "click" by pulling the starter. Tell us if it ELECTRIC start (PUSH a button) or manual start (PULL the starter rope with a handle).
 

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Maybe see if you are getting spark? Remove the plug, ground the base, put the cap back on & pull hard. You should see a blue/white spark across the gap. If you have good spark, squirt a little bit of gas in the plug hole, put the plug back in, pull hard and you should get a pop or partial run for a few seconds.

If that happens, it is likely that the carb needs a thorough cleaning. Once you get it running, suggest you drain the float bowl if you aren't going to use it in a week or so.

All this assumes the tank is venting properly and that your primer bulb is getting fuel to the float bowl. You can loosen the drain screw on the carb to see if gas flows out when you squeeze the bulb.

Paul T
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks, everyone. It's a pull starter, and we hear a click in the engine when we pull it. I know some of you said that's not possible, but that's what it sounds like. No turning over, as I said. I'll probably check the spark plugs and clean the carburetor and get new fuel (pretty sure it's not an ethanol blend).
 

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Sounds like it's not in neutral. No need to check the spark if the motor isn't turning when you pull the rope.
 

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Take the cover off. On the top of the engine there's the carburetor
Look carefully for a small shiny brass screw.
Carefully remove the screw being extremely careful NOT to drop anything!
On the bottom there's a tiny, I mean tiny hole.
Take a fine wire and clean out that hole.
Replace and I believe it will start.
dick
 

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Thanks, everyone. It's a pull starter, and we hear a click in the engine when we pull it. I know some of you said that's not possible, but that's what it sounds like. No turning over, as I said. I'll probably check the spark plugs and clean the carburetor and get new fuel (pretty sure it's not an ethanol blend).
Hi Onion,

Not to mean you don't hear a "click". If you hear it... it's there. But those of us that know outboard engines, are visualizing something else/ Thanks for the clarification of "pull start". You will be bombarded with knowledge and swags from the most experienced to the least on a forum such as this. Without going to the shop... it's got to have: air, gas and spark. When you know you have those 3 and she won't run, then it's a carb most likely.

Dave
 

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Does the pull cord come out, about a foot or so when you pull it? If not, there is an interlock that prevents that if not in neutral. We have a Tohatsu 6HP 4 stroke and the shift lever has to be in EXACTELY the right spot to allow the cord to be pulled through.

If the engine is "pulling through", with the pistons cycling properly, suggest you re-visit some of the prior posts.

Paul T
 

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If you're at a marina, ask a dock neighbor for help, many if not most boaters have at least some experience with small outboards. Also, read the manual. If you don't have one, find the Serial Number on your Honda and down load it here
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Unfortunately, we're anchored. But a guy who's been giving us informal lessons is going to take a look on Monday. I'll let you know what the verdict is, just in case anyone else has a similar issue.

EDIT: Did read through the manual thoroughly. Not much help, in this case.
 

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Holla,

Sorry for your issues.

I have a Honda 9.9 with both electric and pull start. Frankly the pull start puts more energy into starting the engine than the electric does so as long as you don't have arthritis or bursitis or other physical issues the pull start is fine.

The Honda carbs are *extremely* sensitive to ethanol. There are several issues. First there is phase separation in older gas - that means the ethanol separates from the gas; the ethanol is corrosive and erodes the inside of the fuel line and leads to tiny particles clogging up the carb jets. Ethanol is also hydrophylic and sucks water right out of the air, leading to additional corrosion in the fuel system and the accumulation of water in the fuel tank.

Given you description I would haul your fuel tank ashore and dump it in a hazmat tank. Get new fuel. Drain your fuel line and carb bowl. Rebuild (sorry) the carb. Start over with clean fuel and the engine should start.

Moving forward, when you are done with the engine, every single time, remove the fuel line from the engine and let the engine run out of gas. Make sure you close the vent on the tank.
 

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themerryonion,

Catalina is a great choice for your first sailboat.
I bought a Catalina 25 with a 9.9 outboard and had problems with the carburetor.
I tried fixing the problem myself and ran into issues because the jets in the carburetor are so small.
My suggestion is to take it to a marine mechanic and spend the money to get it diagnosed and fixed up accordingly.
I spent $200 to have the carburetor overhauled and now it runs like new.
Once you do get it running make sure to add STABIL fuel treatment to each tank.
Also, disconnect your fuel line and let the motor idle until it runs out of gas.
These two practices will save you from issues in the future.
All the best.

Mr. Moon
 

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If all this info doesn't lead to a start possibly a kill switch failure. A bit of salt crystal grounds the spark. Was a common problem with older Hondas
 

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My 2005 9.9 hp honda outboard is not starting.The following has been done, clean gas w/ no ethanol, carburetor has been dipped and thoroughly cleaned. kill swich has been chek out and spark plugs have spark. I am not sure what is left to check. Does this particular model have computer andif so could this b the problem. Any help would be appreciated.
 
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