Basic Troubleshooting When Your Outboard Won’t Start

Don't get stuck at the boat ramp - fix your outboards fast, with these basic troubleshooting tips.

23rd February 2014.
By Gary Reich

When you back down the ramp, turn the key, and nothing happens, it’s a problem. Or, it would be, if you hadn’t seen this video on basic troubleshooting when your outboards won’t start.

Of course, we’re barely scratching the surface of what can go wrong with an outboard, and how to fix it. But quite often, one of these simple issues is all that’s holding you back from a day of boating. If there’s a bigger problem, however, we can still help. Check out these other outboard-oriented How-to videos and articles, for more info.

Three Outboard Engine Quick-Fix Tips
How to Rebuild a Small Outboard Engine Carburetor
How to Change an Outboard Engine Water Pump Impeller
How to Pickle an Outboard
Solve your Outboard Motor Problems: Starting, Fuel, Sheer Pins
How to Change the Lower Unit oil on a Boat

Outboard won't start troubleshooting


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About the author:

Gary Reich

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Gary Reich is a Chesapeake Bay-based freelance writer and photojournalist with over 25 years of experience in the marine industry. He is the former editor of PropTalk Magazine and was the managing editor of the Waterway Guide. His writing and photography have been published in PassageMaker Magazine, Soundings, Fly Fishing in Salt Waters, Yachting Magazine, and Lakeland Boating, among others.
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2 thoughts on “Basic Troubleshooting When Your Outboard Won’t Start

  1. have a 2001 tohatsu 25 jet trouble is it starts but wont keep running its like its running out of gas but have plenty of gas in tank

  2. Hi Douglas – I’m afraid there are too many possibilities to diagnose this from afar; it could be anything from a venting issue to a fuel line leak to a carburetor problem. The first thing we’d try is running the engine from a new tank and line, to eliminate the easy stuff. If it still displayed the same symptoms, then we’d head for the repair shop.

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