Outboard motor: starting with empty battery – sail and motor

A discharged starter battery is not necessarily a problem. For small to medium power engines, it is still possible to carry out a good old manual start. Explanations.

You turn the ignition key and nothing happens. The diagnosis comes relentlessly: the battery is discharged or the starter is out of order.

Is it impossible to leave again? Not necessarily, as outboard motors sometimes come with an emergency rope for hand starting if necessary. Otherwise, it makes sense to get one.

One can certainly hope to manually start an outboard motor with no more than 100 horsepower. Beyond that, the effort required becomes really important.

For example, a 60 hp four-stroke Suzuki engine already has 16 kg of compression.

In reality, the more the displacement is distributed across many cylinders, the easier it is to start by hand. This data explains why certain high performance engines can still start using this method.

Sometimes it takes several attempts

However, keep in mind that newer engines controlled by an electronic control module cannot always start with a completely dead battery.

In most cases, a minimum voltage is required for the module to function.

Here are the different steps to start an engine with its emergency rope:

  • Begin by placing the ignition key in the ignition position, applying a little throttle to advance while keeping the reverse lever in neutral.
  • Lift the engine cover.
  • Unscrew and remove the alternator belt protective cover.
  • Thread the small knot in the rope through the notch in the flywheel.
  • Wrap the rope around the steering wheel and tighten it.
  • Hold the handle firmly with one hand.
  • The other hand can be placed on the rope to increase the pulling force tenfold.
  • Pull firmly: the steering wheel turns and the engine starts, otherwise start again!

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