Every once in a while, the old Honda outboard on our dinghy gets temperamental: shaking, puking gas, refusing to idle, and running rough. The remedy is a twenty-minute procedure. The only tools needed are a ten millimeter socket and a screwdriver.
Brown crud collects everywhere inside the carburetor. I’m not sure where it all the comes from, but I suspect it has something to do with the ethanol they add to the gasoline. Oh yeah. It’s a government conspiracy.
Once I clean everything up, it runs darn good for a couple of weeks.
All the so-called ethanol solutions I tried didn’t work. I added a screw-on type water separating filter. No joy. I even switched from a 6 gallon tank to a 3 gallon one, figuring the fuel will be fresher if I fill up more often, but it made no difference at all. About every two weeks I’ve got to clean the carburetor. Marvel Mystery Oil added to the fuel extended the interval a few more days.
I suppose it’s a small price to pay for a motor that usually runs great. Besides, it gives me something to do while messing about the boat, otherwise I’d just sit around on my arse all day drinking beer, but as any boat owner knows, there’s always something to do, so I’m a busy beer drinker.
I really like this little Honda. It’s a four cycle (no mixing oil in the gas), has electric start, and pushes our dinghy along at nearly twenty MPH, which is pretty fast on the water. We go zipping around in it all the time.
In general, outboard motors are low maintenance; it’s part of their appeal. At the end of the season I simply flush it, fog it, pick it up, and put it the basement.
Five years ago, I think I paid 700 bucks for it. Probably overpaid; it’s older than dirt. But what the heck, it was really hard to find a small motor with electric start. I love electric start. No more pulling your arm out of whack! Just push a button and presto, it’s running. Of course it needs a car battery to make it work, but the extra weight is negligible, and I hooked up an electric bilge pump to it. No more bailing out after it rains!
I bought the dinghy brand spankin’ new, a birthday present from my wife. It’s a Tracker Guide Lite. I peeled off all the fancy graphics it so it wouldn’t look so attractive; there’s nothing worse than a cute dinghy. I also added a wooden center seat because it was almost impossible to row from either of the two seats it came with. One was too far forward and the other was too far aft.
Since we favor moorings and anchorages, we rarely cruise without Salty. If we do take a slip, we always pull bow in so we can tie him off the back of the boat, where he, along with his old Honda outboard, wait patiently for us to employ them.