View Full Version : NO FIRE!

Lowell Bernhardt
11-24-2002, 08:41 PM
Well gang, my attempt to get ye old Merc to fire this weekend was a smashing failure. :(

I pulled and pulled and pulled the manual start rope. Nothing. Pulled the distributor cap and cleaned all the crud out that I could. Sanded the cap terminals, and the rotor contact points. There are some really significant signs of wear in the cap on the #3 plug connection. Pulled and pulled and pulled, nothing. Removed and retaped every wire in the main wiring harness that the insulation looked questionable on. Pulled and pulled and pulled, nothing.

So as I see things right now I'm in pretty much the same spot as I was 3 weeks ago except now I have a old dead 700 Mercury in my basement.

I have talked to a fella that has alot of old Mercury parts, he said that he has alot of parts for motors with a 151111 serial number or higher. The serial number on mine is 14169xx. Go figure!

So what do you think?
1. Part it out and make some extra wooden boat $$$
2. Spend more money and hope things start to look up.
3. Take it back to the fella who gave it to me and throw it out across his driveway.
4. Take up golf.
5. Insert your suggestion here.

Thank for the help all, any extra you could spare would be greatly appreciated as always.

:( Lowell

Peter Malcolm Jardine
11-24-2002, 10:08 PM
Your coils might be dead... find out from a pro. it cost you nuffin so far, might be worth a service estimate

Roger Stouff
11-24-2002, 10:57 PM
Could be coils, as Peter pointed out, or breaker points. You didn't mention the year, so I'm assuming it's not electronic ignition. Lowell, don't give up! I went through heck with my 1958 Mark 55, but it's running great now (knock on wood!)

Outboard motor repair is a process of elimination, and yes, it can get expensive. I found a great mechanic who grooved on tinkering with old motors like mine he hadn't seen in years, so he was a lifesaver. Maybe look around your area for someone like that? Also www.oldmercs.com (http://www.oldmercs.com) has lots of good parts and resources.

Keep at it, you've eliminated a lot of potential problems already.


11-24-2002, 11:06 PM
First figure out if it's not getting spark.... Or not getting gas. A clogged fuel jet in the carb could be an issue.
I got 2 old seagulls that had been lying in the weeds and mud in a marsh for 15-20 years for 30 bucks. I wire brushed the plugs, and drained and refilled the fuel tanks... First one started on the third pull.... SEcond one I had to fool around with the fuel line for about 15 minutes... It started on the 11th pull after that....

11-25-2002, 01:03 PM
As they said. It only takes three things for an engine to run: compression, gas, & spark. You've already got compression, now see if youv'e got a spark.
Pull all the plugs, connect them to their wires, put them against metal on the engine (I wouldn't recommend holding them there with your hands :eek: ) and turn the engine over - see if you have sparks. It will be MUCH easier to turn over without the plugs in.
I don't remember what your this engine is, but if it has points they may need a good cleaning (fine sandpaper will do for a start), sometimes the points can get a really tough layer of corrosion which can take a bit to get through.
There isn't much to go wrong with the ignition (you've only got coil(s), points, condensor, distributor & spark plugs. Work through each item & you will get a spark.
Once you have a spark then you may have to move on the the 'gas' part of the equation to get it going. As long as the engine turns over & has compression there is no reason that it shouldn't run (unless the carb. is a total wreck). This doesn't necessarily mean it will be a good engine , just a running one.
Just keep working through it one step at a time. Good Luck!

[ 11-25-2002, 01:05 PM: Message edited by: nedL ]

Paul Scheuer
11-25-2002, 02:03 PM
Sounds like Ned's been there. It always worked for me on the lawn mower motors. Good luck.

Lowell Bernhardt
11-25-2002, 04:10 PM
Thanks for the vote of confidence all. I've looked at the points in the distriburtor some. I guess that I'll have to remove the cap again and try to clean up the points. (better look up the how to in the book first.)

As for the carb, right now I'm just trying to get it to kick over with starter fluid. If it'll kick with the fluid I can rebuild carbs and just get them metered later.

I've put my sparkplug tester on the motor, both to the coil and to a plug and have gotten nothing. This motor has an electric start, think I should try a battery?

Well back to the basement I go, thanks.


Mr. Know It All
11-25-2002, 07:09 PM
Lowell.....There is a pretty good outboard motor forum here----> http://bbs.cartserver.com/bbs/a/1655/index.cgi
Ya might be able to get some advise there.
If you're desperate for an old outboard, I have a 1961 Johnson 75HP 4-stroke in the boatshop that I think only needs a fuel pump gasket. It's too big for my boat and I would like to get it out of my gar...uh... boatshop. :D Bring a truck because it weighs over 400 pounds.
Kevin in Ohio

Lowell Bernhardt
11-26-2002, 06:25 PM
Thanks somemore all.

Thanks Kevin for the link I was tring to remember where I saw the outboard forum.

OK, here's my thinking, please help me to clarify it in my own head. :confused:

I've got no spark to the plugs. So I've checked the spark to the coils, nothing there either. From here I should check to see if I have any charge coming to the distributor, right? Since this distributor has points in it, I would assume that I would lookfor this charge at the 2 main leads inside of it? If I get nothing here either then logic would tell me that the problem is in the stator coil? :confused:

If I were to hook up the motor to a battery and try to start it witht the electric start, even if the stator were bad then it should start just not charge the battery, right?

Then finally the dumb thought crosses my mind, since this motor is a "remote" motor, do I need to connect it to the remote control cables. If the cable isn't attached could the "start" contacts in the remote lead be open not closed (in the start possission).

Does any of that make any sence at all? Good I didn't think it did either. :D

Thanks again guys for your help, maybe sooner or later I'll swallow my pride and take it to a pro, but till then, THANKS!


Ron Williamson
11-27-2002, 06:37 AM
If you have magnetos,not coils, you want the circuit "open".A magneto shutoff/kill switch is just a ground short.
That is all I know.
have fun

11-27-2002, 09:34 AM
Disclaimer: Don't know much about outboard motors or marine motors, but I do know a little about motors.

With that said if you got a distrubtor you should have a distrubtor cap. If it has a crack or anything like that (even a pencil line from point to point in the distrubtor will make it useless) it may be the problem. Take the cap off and clean inside real well. Clean the points and the areas between the points. Look for any hairline cracks and check for moisture. Caps are usually pretty cheap so replace if still in question.

My 2 cents


11-27-2002, 03:54 PM
Seems you've tried just about everything but what usually fails in a typical breaker-point ignition system: the condensor. Even if your distributor cap were cracked, you'd still get some kind of a reaction even if just a cough. The carb and fuel lines aren't the problem by virtue of elimination (you bypassed them with the starter fluid). Also, you'd still get some kind of reaction. So, either the ignition system isn't connected correctly (or grounded out.....) or the capacitor/condenser is blown. Fortunately, this is also the cheapest part to replace. Testing the capacitor requires that you remove it from the circuit so you might just as well replace it and try again.

Peter Malcolm Jardine
11-27-2002, 08:58 PM
Yep there is a start position, but I don't know how that would affect it... ask someone on line at the old mercs sites.

11-27-2002, 10:43 PM
If yer not getting juice at the coil, you wont get it at the distributor. The coil feeds the dist. not the other way around.