Outboard Engine Saga Nearing An End

The proverbial light bulb went off in my head last night. As I had mentioned in previous blogs I couldn’t get the water to flow through my Mercury 3.3hp outboard engine’s coolant system. After having put the engine completely back together from cleaning everything possible inside this past winter, I ended up having to open it up and reassemble the engine several more times trying to troubleshoot this problem. In the end, I spent more time on this than actually fixing the engine in the first place.

And I still haven’t fixed it. Yesterday, I had given up and called a mechanic in Mattapoisett (just leaving a message to call me). But something kept gnawing at me. Every once in a while when I checked the water impeller ( and let me tell you I did that quite a bit) I noticed that some of the the fans/spokes where in the opposite direction. How could that be? Well, last night after one more try of taking apart and re-installing the lower unit, then testing the engine in a barrel of water it didn’t work. I gave up for good. There was nothing else I could do. I went through everything in the cooling system and there was absolutely no blockage whatsoever. So I left the engine on it’s stand just sitting on my patio, grabbed a beer, sat down and just sulked. I had to bring the engine into the shop. I failed. Though, as I finished about half the beer, looking at the engine, the lightbulb went off. “What if it’s not the cooling system. What if it’s something else”? How did I overlook this simple assertion? I jumped up from my chair and gave the engine a good look all around. Then it hit me……. the engine rewind starter!!!! I got my screwdriver out and took it off the flywheel. And sure enough………… I had put it on backwards. I cursed. All that work for something so simple. You see, with the hand rewind starter backwards, it starts the engine alright, but the flywheel and driveshft will spin in the opposite direction. The driveshaft was spinning counter-clockwise instead of the correct clockwise direction. What this was doing was spinning the water impeller in the opposite direction preventing any water from being pumped into the engine. The fix won’t be easy, thats why I didn’t even attempt it last night. The fix requires taking out the coil spring and thats not going to be pretty. I may end up having to buy a new one. We’ll see. But the good news now is that I know what needs to be done to fix engine. And I’ve learned my lessons in small engine repair thats for sure.

Addendum:  I couldn’t fix the engine :-(    The last solution I thought I had turned out not to work. I don’t know what the problem is. After thinking I fixed the engine, I put it in a water tank started it up and bingo: no water out the coolent hose and the propellor shaft turned in the opposite direction (counter clock-wise). I’ll probably just bring the engine to a professional to fix.

One Response to “Outboard Engine Saga Nearing An End”

  1. Scott Keck says:

    Frank – YAY! You figured it out! I’ve been waiting for a new entry in the outboard saga, LOL. Talked to Janet the other night as I’m sure you know, and I’m really looking forward to getting out on the water with you guys. Who knows, if we have time maybe the 4 of us can go out for some “leisure” sailing, and then maybe the gals can go shoe shopping or something and we can take her out for a spin in some bigger wind/waves and really whoop it up. Having done all of my sailing in and around San Francisco, my avg. summer daysail typically consists of 25-30 kts of breeze and 4-6 foot chop, LOL. I’ve seldom unrolled my entire 135% headsail on the trusty Ranger 23. At any rate, boat looks great and I can’t wait to get out on the water with you and get her to kick up her heels.

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