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Discussion Starter #1
Okay. Let me start off by saying that if you told me my muffler bearings were out, I would tell you to put in some new ones. That about sums up my mechanical ability. Now on to the problem. I have a 15 foot aluminum boat with a 9.9 Johnson outboard, electric start, early 1990s vintage I believe. I have owned it for about 7 years. I fish local lakes around Mansfield, and the motor probably logs less than 30 or 40 hours a year. It has been virtually trouble free, except that it never would run at idle speed. Not a problem for me because I use a trolling motor. Okay, so I go to the lake sunday morning, can't get much going, and notice a couple of boats trolling for Hybrids (I assume). I rig up, put the throttle at idle speed and it purrs like a kitten. I nice surpise. After about 30 or 40 minutes of trolling, the engine just quits. Didn't sputter, or bog down, just quit instantaneously, and would not restart. Engine cranks, but won't even think about firing? No noises or odors. Any ideas where I might start to look for the problem would be much appreciated.
 

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Get some muffler bearings. Just kidding; had to do it.
First thought is that it is ignition. Can you check to see if you get any spark out of the spark plugs? Or, does the motor fire on starting fluid?
 

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Question? When it died did you try pumping up the primer bulb on your fuel line? Ethanol in the gas may have deteriorated your fuel line or the primer bulb and you could be losing pressure. Non fuel injected outboards use vacuum from the engine to operate the fuel pump. If you have a leak in your fuel line somewhere the pump may not be able to supply enough vacuum at idle speeds to keep your fuel system working properly. That would be the first thing I would check. I had the same problem a couple of years ago. The motor would run fine at anything but idle speed. When it quit I pumped the primer bulb and it fired right up, but then died again because I was letting it idle. Changed the fuel line and primer and it worked fine.

It could also be an aging diaphragm in your fuel pump. I would try priming the ball again and see if it fires. If it does it's something in the fuel system. Hope the idea helps you figure it out.
 

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bet it has those darn china bearings in it LOL[[your gonna regret ever saying that] ok pull a plug set it against the motor so it would be grounded crank motor watch for a nice blue orange spark, got spark thats good no spark?? could be a power pack. get johnrude on here and ask him to walk you thru a trouble shoot.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Dr J,. It will probably be this weekend before i can get to it but I will get a spark tester and start with that.
 

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Crazy I just had the same issue of stalling at idle speed. Replaced the plugs and primer ball and fuel line from tank to motor and it ran like a champ in the garage (in water) after I did that. Get out to lake Saturday(had it running less then 8 hours before) and it won't start now. Haven't been able to see if I get spark yet but thats my guess with mine....just hope its something simple and not my stator again. Good luck with the issue. I'd check every type of connection and fuse to see if you have corroded wires or a loose connection.....sometimes its something simple like that.

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Discussion Starter #7
I wish I hadn't said anything about muffler bearings !!! But thanks all for the replies. I will start with the spark test and let you know.
 

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Try replacing the plugs. Years ago when I had my boat at my father in laws ( a 3rd generation hardware store owner that also did lawnmower repairs) at buckeye lake, I told him I always had problems getting it started and sometimes had problems at idle. He told me to replace the plugs. Told him I checked them, they were clean and sparked, he replied just change the plugs. I did, no more problems. Learned a lesson - plugs may appear fine but can still be weak. It does not cost much, so you are not out much if you still have problems.

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Discussion Starter #13
Update. Had the day off so set out to see what I could see. So I pulled the cover off and sure enough there was a bunch of wires and cables and a lot of other stuff under there. I looked for anything obvious like broken stuff but didn't see anything that jumped out at me. Did notice a little compartment that said "spare fuse" on it and right away I thought maybe there was another fuse in there somewhere and I found link that was fused, pulled it apart, pulled out the fuse, determined it looked good and put it back in. Saw another connection that looked like it should come apart, took it apart, it was a pin connector of some sort and looked slightly corroded, gently cleaned it and put it back together. Jiggled everything else that would jiggle and decided I would pull the plugs and see if there was spark. Had to walk up to the console to get the wrench and just couldn't help turning the ignition switch just once for kicks...wait for it...yep fired right up an purred like a newborn kitty. I didn't have any water hooked up to it so I shut it down, puttered around and tried it again...fired instantly. Tried it one more time and no problem. I only wish that I had attempted to start it before I took the cover off and started messing around in there. Had I done that, and had it not started I would feel a little more comfortable that there might have been a loose or bad connection. Guess I will have to wait till the next trip to the lake to see what happens. One question for you guys if I might ask. The engine originally quit and would not restart after about an hour running at a trolling speed. I really have never run it that long at such a slow speed before because it just would not run at that speed without stalling every couple of minutes. But this last time out it ran perfectly at slow speed and so I ran it like that for an extended period. Is it possible that by running it a such a slow speed that engine wasn't getting enough water to keep it cool. Would overheating cause it to stall and not restart for a long time? I think some time this weekend I will hook up the ears, run it at idle and make sure there is sufficient stream coming out. Anyway, for now, I guess I am happy and we will see what happens next. Thanks to all who replied earlier. I appreciate it.

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Fisher- read entire post. I would suspect carb
problems if it raises its ugly head again.
When runs at full speed ok but not at idle.

Read up on Sea Foam. Treating your 9.9 with this.
Will often do wonders for older engines. Cleans a lot of carbon and crap out.
I had an old 82 9.9 Evinrude that ran really rough. One treatment with Sea Foam made it run like a new one.
 

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First off do not run your outboards with out water. It will destroy your water pump. If your running now then it sounds like the pump is weak. You should hear a buzzer if over heating but if you don't have anything out the tell tale hole, the pump is shot. I never start mine out of the water.
 

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I had very similar problems with my 9.9 1996 evinrude. Basically the same motor. If it will start when cold and run until it warms up you probably do not have carb. or fuel pump issues. A warm engine would start again then die if starving for fuel, pumping the primer would force fuel into the carb effectively bypassing the fuel pump. You would be able to keep it running by squeezing the ball. Since your tinkering apparently fixed the problem, you will need to go out and run it again for a while to see if it repeats. Hopefully something was loose or corroded and you fixed it. If not your motor probably has either a stator or power pack issue. When cold they will run forever, but when the electrical components heat up they can fail under temp. and load. Expanding metal breaking its connection. Very common issue is the power pack, mine ran fine cold and took 3 weeks to figure out until I spark tested it hot vs cold. No spark hot, perfect spark cold. Replaced it and ran perfect for years after.

Again, hope you fixed it but if not maybe this will save some headaches.
 
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