How to Start a Mercury Outboard Motor

Written by steve smith
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Mercury outboards are one of the most popular outboards on the water. They are dependable, powerful and relatively quiet. They make high-quality, high-performance one and two-stroke engines. However, they don't always fire right up when you try to start them. There's a few things you need to know before they'll turn over.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Gas
  • Oil
  • Marine engine treatment for ethanol
  • Primer valves

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  1. 1

    Ensure there is plenty of gas in the boat fuel tanks.

  2. 2

    Check your oil level and battery levels by looking at the console gauges. If either one is low, replace as needed.

  3. 3

    Squeeze the primer bulbs on the hose that leads up to the outboard engines. Give them about five solid pumps. This sends fuel into the engine so it will take a spark.

  4. 4

    Put the boat into neutral and insert your key into the ignition. Then push forward on the key several times.

  5. 5

    Turn the key until the outboard turns over. You might notice that it chokes or is slow in starting. If it has trouble like this, move to step five.

  6. 6

    Add ethanol treatment for outboard engines. This helps the engine deal with gasoline that has high ethanol content (up to 10 per cent). Ethanol is an alcohol and a solvent that doesn't react well with outboard engines due to the fact that there is more moisture allowed into an outboard. It can also create sludge and deposits in outboards.

Tips and warnings

  • Installing a higher grade fuel filter will also help resolve issues with ethanol, since it can create sludge and deposits in an outboard engine.

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