by Conrad & Judy Kreuter
Q: Dear Boat Talk: My outboard was running perfectly at the end of last season. I performed my usual winterization procedure and this year the engine is difficult to keep running at idle. When I can get it into gear and get moving the engine runs okay. I have tried spraying carburetor cleaner down the throats of the carburetors but this does not seem to help. Do you have any ideas on what to try next? PV, Holtsville NY.
A: Dear PV: Before you take the route that point to suspecting the carburetors, you should eliminate all other possibilities. Remove each spark plug from the cylinder head. Make sure mark each one indicating which cylinder it came from as this will aid in your troubleshooting efforts, and keep them in order. Examine each one and compare them to the others to make sure they all appear the same. Take a compression reading of each cylinder and note the readings. The cylinder compression readings should be within ten percent of each other. If the spark plugs look good and the compression readings are equal you can move on to the next test.
Start the engine and allow it to warm up. It is okay to raise the engine speed slightly to keep the engine running. Take the cylinder head temperature readings. A cold running engine can cause a stalling problem at idle. If the engine temperature is between 125 and 135 degrees when measured at the top of the cylinder head, your engine is at the correct temperature.
If the above tests did not solve the problem, the most likely cause will then be the carburetors. The carburetor mixes air and fuel to provide the cylinders with the proper When you use carburetor cleaner, it cleans the air venturi which is not where the problem lies. The only method to clean the carbs is to remove them, disassemble and clean the internal passages. If you do not feel comfortable working on the delicate interiors of the carbs, leave this work to the professionals. Reinstall the carbs, perform the sync and link procedure according to the service manual and you should be back in business.
In rare situations stalling at idle can also be caused by crankcase air leaks. This condition will require the complete disassembly of the engine to reseal the crankcase halves.
Q: Dear Boat Talk: My brother-in-law and I bought the same identical boat from the same dealer. After the boats were delivered, we were comparing prices and noticed we were not charged the same amount of sales tax. Can you explain why? TF, Huntington NY
A: Dear TF: On March 1st, of 2001, a change in the New York State sales and use tax law took effect. Under the new law sales tax is based on the state and local tax rate in effect where you reside. Before March 1, 2001, sales tax was based on the state and local tax rate where the boat was delivered to the customer.