Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Boston Whaler

After 20 plus years of sitting on the roof of Drift Away, we launched the Boston Whaler yesterday. 

In order to launch the boat, I first needed to pick it up with the electric hoist.  A 13' Boston Whaler with a 40 HP outboard is heavy.  I don't know exactly how heavy, but the hoist complained A LOT.  It bent over and squealed when I pushed the IN button on the control.  With the Whaler hovering a foot above it's cradle, I disconnected and lowered the lifeline on the flybridge and pushed the Whaler off the side of the boat where it dangled precariously over the water.

Pam was on the main deck, where she proclaimed "Holy shit!".   Pam has a way of cutting right to the chase.

I responded with "Don't get underneath it!", to which she responded "Don't worry!".

I pushed the OUT button on the hoist control and down the Whaler went, with the hoist bending and protesting all the way down.  It was like trolling with light tackle for sunfish and hooking a Marlin.  And yes, no matter how many times I reminded myself, I forgot to put the plug in and as soon as the Whaler hit the water it immediately started to sink. A not so auspicious beginning.  I then hit the IN button to raise the Whaler up out of the water and Pam hopped in to insert the plug.

After securing the Whaler, I jumped aboard with great anticipation.  I turned the ignition key.  The motor cranked slowly.  It didn't fire.  I turned it again.  It cranked slower.  The battery was drained dead.  Rats.  So I went to the engine room and got the battery charger.  When I returned, Pam and the dogs were in the boat in anticipation of a boat ride.

It was not to be.  They got out and I got in.  I hooked up the battery charger and left it for a time.  I came back later and cranked the engine.  It wouldn't start.  I cranked and cranked.  Nothing.  Outboards are pretty simple motors, I told myself.  Not much to go wrong.  Either fuel or spark.  I removed the engine cover.  There it was.  An engine, with hoses and wires and stuff.  What to do? 

Well, first I scraped off the mud wasp nests.   That was obvious, but still the engine wouldn't start,  Then I noticed directions on the air cleaner.  It said to push the key in to prime it, which I did.  It started!  And then died.  No matter how many times I primed it and cranked it, it would sputter and start and die.

Here's a pic of me, still hopeful.

After about an hour of this, I decided it would best be left to a professional.  Oh sure, I could start turning adjusting screws and such, but where would that put me?  It might put the thing so far out of whack that even a pro wouldn't be able to sort it all out.  I put the cover back on, grabbed my fishing pole and entertained the fish by dragging funny looking lures past them.  It cracks them up.


  1. I would think the Carb is all gummed up from not being used for so many years-- You can take it apart and clean it your self... Can't You?? I would guess the motor is going to need a new impeller too...

  2. Yeah, sounds just like the little Seagull I revived a couple years ago. It would fire and run for a couple seconds then quit. After I disassembled and cleaned the carburetor it ran like a champ.

  3. Funny, I said almost the same thing. I asked if the carburetor was getting fueland maybe he should but some fuel in it.... And I'm just a girl! :)

  4. I have an outboard of the same make, but smaller HP. If you use that primer thinghy more than once, it over-fuels the engine and fouls the sparkplugs. When this happens to me, I remove and dry the plugs (or buy new ones). It also helps to crank the engine a few times without the sparkplugs to further clear excess fuel. Also, fresh gas is a must.
    Good Luck!

  5. And these days, it is important to ensure you have pure gas. No methanol. I made that $600 mistake on my runabout.

  6. After sitting for a few months our motor used to have the same problem. We resolved this by cleaning the carb and instead of using the machine fuel holder, we'd use the extra fuel tank hooked up by that rubber hose. You know what I mean. Then on each use of the motor we'd disconnect the outside fuel tank and let the engine run until it ran out of fuel. Knock on wood, we never had small motor problems again. Hope this helps.