RIP Dingy motor
29 January 2021 | Stuart Fl
Sally | Cold and blowing
We watched the Bills lose to Kansas City. We were sad but proud that they did so well this year. We came back to the boat on the 26th. On Thursday returning from our morning abulations the little Johnson motor hiccuped. We didn't think too much of it and went about our day. This morning she refused to start. The captain investigated the issue and found a broken throttle rod up inside the engine head. This little two stroke 3 HP engine is the one we bought from Roger and Sue when they swallowed the hook. We aren't exactly sure how old it is but quesstimate it at about 20 years. Finding parts may not be possible.
Scott wasn't happy but we have the 4 HP Yamaha that needed the carburetor cleaned. It had been giving us grief so we swapped it for the Johnson and added that job to the Captains list. It isn't a fun job and the captain was frustrated with the engine so it had gotten pushed down in priority. Today it popped to the top. Along with the carb job the little stinker had been jumping out of gear the last time we ran it. Armed with PB blaster, alcohol wipes and an arsenal of tools he set about the task.
The emission standards for these outboards have been made surprisingly rigorous through the years. They have incredibly tiny jets in the carb that easily gets plugged with whatever may end up in your gas. When Scott tore the carb apart he found quite a bit of rust in the chamber. WTF! That wasn't good how did it get in there? Water in the gas? Leak somewhere? We had no clue, but it sure as heck wasn't a good sign. He meticulously cleaned all the residue from the surface. Any specks of loose gunk can easily clog the jet. After reassembling the carb and installing on the engine he tackled the gear shift. No luck, he couldn't budge the shifter. It was firmly stuck in neutral.
Scott was beside himself. We had gotten a replacement carb for the engine a couple of years ago at a local marine supply/repair place, so we called them for advice. In a few moments we had a diagnosis and it wasn't good. The lower unit had packed it in. He had none in stock and wasn't going to be getting any.
The dingy is our car and we absolutely need the engine to get to shore and back. We weren't excited about the idea of buying a new engine but that seemed the best path. I got online and Scott got on his phone, neither of us were having much luck locating a dingy motor. Most places had large monster motors but no one seemed to have any outboards under 9 horse.
One of the folks suggested an online outfit. We looked them up and they did indicate they had motors in stock. Scott wanted to find out how long it would take to ship it and called the number listed. No answer.... Not wanting to pull the trigger on that until we had a shipping time we continued to look for something local.
We needed to go ashore and without a working motor Scott rowed us in. Rowing an inflatable is a God awful task. They really aren't intended to row. Add to that fact the wind was blowing like stink from the NW made the job that much harder. God bless him, he got us to shore and we ran our errands.
Sitting in the car with our phones we continued the search for another motor. We expanded the radius of the search to pretty much anywhere in Florida. Several places could order them but it would be March at the earliest that we would actually see it. Crap! The only ones we could find were Yamahas and after the last experience we were very hesitant to go that route. The current motor wasn't quite 6 years old.
In between calling marine businesses he kept trying the online place’s phone to no avail.
He finally found a dealer in New Smyrna that had a 4 horse Suzuki but he'd have to let the service manager give us a call back. We continued to search. After waiting and searching another hour Scott called the service manager at the New Smyrna place. They did have a motor but it was missing a part which he thought might arrive tomorrow but he wasn't sure. He said he’d call us when the part got there. Double crap!
After about 3 hours of frantic searching he hit gold with a small family business in Boca. They had a Honda 5 horse in stock. We'd had a Honda prior to the Yamaha and it had worked quite well. It wasn’t our first choice but at this point we would be happy to get an engine. It had gotten too late to pick the engine up today. They were open on Sat so Scott made arrangements to pick it up as soon as they opened.
We got lucky George (SV Gracie) was on shore and offered us a tow back to Light Reach. Thank you George!
The picture is the rocky mooring field. The picture doesn't really show just how rough it is out here. you can see where I've sanded the port side toe rail.