This is one of those stories boaters tell when they’ve figure out how to fix something they should have figured out a long time ago. Most people just feel like an idiot and never tell anyone about it. But, I’ve decided this one is more important to share than my pride.
Since we’ve started the trip, we often would use the dinghy on a regular basis. The engine would start every day no problem. But, every once in a while we would go home for a month or two, and in others we would go traveling without the boat for a few weeks. When we would return, I would always have a hard time starting the dinghy motor. I would have to pull the starter cord about 20 or 30 times before it would finally start.
Well, yesterday I thought after 6+ months of not using the dinghy I should put it in the water and try to start it. I had read that some boaters recommended taking the fuel filter lid off and filling it with fuel after a long storage. I guess that the fuel evaporates and/or settles after long use. I took off the engine cover and looked. I noticed the fuel line went straight to the fuel filter of course. But, I didn’t see an easy immediate way to fill the fuel filter. I also squeezed the fuel bulb on our fuel line a bit like I usually do to help get it started. I noticed air came out when I did this. So, I squeezed the bulb multiple times until all the air came out. Guess what? The motor started right up! I have no idea why it never occurred to me that I would have to squeeze the bulb more and that this was the problem with it not starting. But, now it all makes sense.
So, if you’re having problem starting the engine, and it’s been a while – look at the filter and if isn’t filled with fuel carefully add fuel to it, or use the squeeze bulb if you have one. Be careful not to overfill or it will flood the engine.