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Broken Starter Pull Cord Repair

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by Simon Sexton, Nov 13, 2017 at 12:25 PM. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Simon Sexton

    Simon Sexton

    Joined Nov 1, 2017
    30 posts, 2 likes
    Catalina Valiant 25 Tall Rig
    Fin Keel Tall Rig US Cypress, Texas Watergate Marina, Kemah, TX
    Hey guys! So, the story: Yesterday I went down to Kemah to clean my boat and take her out for a sail. The winds were pretty low, but enough to give my 25 footer some power for a light cruise. I finally finished cleaning her and took the mains'l cover off; as I sat down in the cockpit and pulled the cord to start my Mercury 9.9 two-stroke, it came completely loose. Suffice to say, my day of cruising with my family is now postponed. I have repaired and worked on inboard engines all my life, but have minimal experience working with outboards in terms of maintenance. Does anyone know the most efficient way to fix this problem within a decent amount of time?

    God bless,
    S.S.
     


  2. Sailm8

    Sailm8

    Joined Feb 21, 2008
    1,365 posts, 81 likes
    Hunter 29.5
    US Punta Gorda
  3. py26129

    py26129

    Joined Oct 25, 2011
    455 posts, 22 likes
    Island Packet IP31
    CA Lake St. Louis, Montreal
    Been there, done that. Watch out for the recoil spring when you take the motor apart. If it comes unwound it will do so very suddenly. Be careful. Rewinding it is a bugger, usually facilitated by much colorful language. Other than that it's not too tough of a job

    Cheers

    Matt
     


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  4. capta

    capta

    Joined Jun 4, 2009
    1,973 posts, 315 likes
    Pearson 530
    XX Sailing in the Windward or Leeward Islands where ever we are anchored
    I second Matt's post. Be very careful with that big, powerful spring.
     


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  5. Ron20324

    Ron20324

    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    5,625 posts, 368 likes
    Beneteau 323
    US Annapolis MD
    I wonder if someone has ever installed a socket drive on the outboard to use a cordless drill (a-la-winches) on an outboard flywheel or such? Or like a handcrank-start diesel?
     


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  6. capta

    capta

    Joined Jun 4, 2009
    1,973 posts, 315 likes
    Pearson 530
    XX Sailing in the Windward or Leeward Islands where ever we are anchored
    Without a ratchet I believe that would be extremely dangerous. If the motor started that drill would be spinning pretty darn fast.
     


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  7. Benny17441

    Benny17441

    Joined May 24, 2004
    5,182 posts, 252 likes
    CC 30
    US South Florida
    Reminds me of a trip we took on the Long Island Sound more than 15 years ago. On the last leg from Port Jefferson to Northport we got up in the morning and prepared the boat (85 Starwind 223) to sail. When we were ready to cast off from the mooring I pulled the cord and the engine started but the cord broke off. For a second we thought about shutting down the engine and repairing the cord but we decided to go on and fix it at the end of trip. We knew the old two stroke Nissan 9.8 was reliable and would not likely die but also that we could not turn it off until we got to our destination. The burn rate was 1 gph and we knew we had enough fuel but that we would have to refuel the 2.5 gallon tank on the fly. I do remember we got out on the Sound and were flying at 8 knots with a favorable current but an hour out of Northport the tide changed and our boat speed went down to 1 knot over the ground. We started tacking back and forth to and from the Connecticut shore but were not making good ground. Fuel was starting to become an issue. It took us three hours to travel the remaining distance to our destination. We dropped sails and motored in to the community dock. My memory fails me but I think we sailed like 7-8 hours and once finally tied up I pulled the safety plug to shut the engine down. While my buddy unloaded the boat I took off the cowling and tied the remaining piece of line unto the recoil mechanism. I took me about 20 minutes but the shortened cord was working. If we had stopped to fix it in the morning we would have lost some of the favorable current and probably would have had to fight for an extra hour to reach our destination. God forbid we would have lost or required a part that would have made us to cancel that departure. Next morning we were on a plane back to Florida while a friend took over the boat for a week's sail. The old pull cord did not get replaced for another 2 years.
     


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  8. py26129

    py26129

    Joined Oct 25, 2011
    455 posts, 22 likes
    Island Packet IP31
    CA Lake St. Louis, Montreal
    Not that I'm endorsing the method but that's a pretty common way to add "electric start" to your snowblower up here

    Matt
     


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  9. Simon Sexton

    Simon Sexton

    Joined Nov 1, 2017
    30 posts, 2 likes
    Catalina Valiant 25 Tall Rig
    Fin Keel Tall Rig US Cypress, Texas Watergate Marina, Kemah, TX
    Thanks to all you guys for the helpful input! I'll definitely be careful of the spring, and I'll look at youtube for the little technical things. Thanks again; and I enjoyed your story Benny! It's always fun to tell stories to which other sailors can relate ;)!
     


  10. capta

    capta

    Joined Jun 4, 2009
    1,973 posts, 315 likes
    Pearson 530
    XX Sailing in the Windward or Leeward Islands where ever we are anchored
    How many hp is a snow blower?
     


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  11. py26129

    py26129

    Joined Oct 25, 2011
    455 posts, 22 likes
    Island Packet IP31
    CA Lake St. Louis, Montreal
    They range form 4-5 hp to 15+. Mine is started as designed with the pull cord.

    A (lucky?) friend and my father in law had 10hp blowers that were routinely started with a drill motor and a socket.

    Matt
     


  12. Ron20324

    Ron20324

    Joined Jan 22, 2008
    5,625 posts, 368 likes
    Beneteau 323
    US Annapolis MD
    Oh, I dunno... How fast does the outboard go at idle compared to the drill speed??? They used to start car engines that by manual cranking. And how fast does the rope go when you pull it and the motor starts up. I'm sure someone could make it happen, other than the snowblowers since they already do it.
     


  13. jviss

    jviss

    Joined Feb 5, 2004
    1,988 posts, 121 likes
    Tartan 3800
    US Westborough Westport, MA
    A big risk is you lose your grip on the drill, and it spins around real fast and then is flung off, hopefully not at one's head, most likely towards open water.
     


  14. capta

    capta

    Joined Jun 4, 2009
    1,973 posts, 315 likes
    Pearson 530
    XX Sailing in the Windward or Leeward Islands where ever we are anchored
    Have you ever seen an engine crank? They are designed to NOT turn once the engine starts running, and people still got hurt occasionally! If you put a drill and a socket on an outboard flywheel nut to start it, you are risking serious injury. There absolutely must be a ratchet or a release.
     


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  15. justsomeguy

    justsomeguy

    Joined Feb 20, 2011
    5,644 posts, 522 likes
    MacGregor, Island Packet 35
    US Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
    While I'm unfamiliar with the 9.9, can't you just open the cowling, remove the pull-start guard and wrap a line clockwise around the exterior of the pull-start flange?

    And then pull, of course. o_O
     


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  16. gdudik

    gdudik

    Joined Oct 25, 2017
    12 posts, 5 likes
    Catalina 22
    US Vancouver, WA Vancouver, WA
    How many cold engines start at their slowest idle speed? On cold start, my engine is at 1/2 throttle to start it. According to the manual (5hp 2 stroke mercury) idle is still just shy of 1,000 rpm.
     



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