How to Troubleshoot a 6HP Mercury 4-Stroke Outboard

Written by patrick nelson
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How to Troubleshoot a 6HP Mercury 4-Stroke Outboard
A loose transom can cause performance problems. (boating image by Carol Wingert from

Mercury's 6 HP 4-stroke outboard boat motors will provide the least amount of trouble if you do some basic maintenance once in a while -- particularly before the off season. However, if you do encounter problems with the outboards like starting or mounting issues, you can correct these kinds of problems by following some troubleshooting steps.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Remove the top cowl on the outboard if you need to access the engine parts. Do this by lifting up the catch that you'll see in the centre. You can perform most work with the lower cowl remaining in place. If you need to get to areas covered by the lower cowl, it un-catches and slides towards the back. Check and fill any fluids if the engine is exhibiting problems. Fill the engine oil by removing the oil filler cap and adding oil so that it fills the hatched area. You can find the oil cap to the lower right of the spark plugs.

  2. 2

    Take a look at the fuel line if the engine stutters when running. The line runs from the fuel tank (which should have fuel in it) to the outboard. Look for an air screw on the tank and unscrew it if the engine won't run consistently. Replace any lines that leak, or bulge.

  3. 3

    Inspect the transom mount for tightness if you continue to have trouble. Give the outboard a wiggle and tighten everything up if there's any sign of looseness. A loose transom can cause performance problems when running the outboard on open water.

  4. 4

    Eyeball the propeller for damage and replace it if fins are missing or bent. The propeller unbolts from the prop shaft. Just remember the order of parts because there are many different washers, nuts and sundry hardware.

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