How to Start a Flooded Outboard Motor

How to Start a Flooded Outboard Motor

The term ‘flooded motor’ means the engine has too much fuel and the fuel has fouled the spark plugs causing the engine to be very hard to start or not run at all.

It is very simple to clear out a flooded motor. Simply lift the warm up lever (fast idle, throttle arm) as far as it goes and crank the engine with no choke. By doing this you supply lots of air to the engine which basically flushes the extra fuel away clearing the plugs allowing them to spark again and start the engine.

Different motors have different ways of engaging the warm up lever; some have a separate lever to the main control arm. Some engines have a button on the control arm that you push in so you can throttle the engine in neutral, some motors you have to pull the control arm out to disengage the gear shift. Find out which ever way your control arm works and have a play.

Run your motor (make sure it in the water or on flushing muffs) and hold the choke on until it dies, (either by pushing in the key or holding the choke switch.) This will flood the motor. To make sure it is really flooded; keep holding the choke on and try to start it, it should be impossible to start!

Now simply give it full throttle on the warm up lever, and with NO choke crank the engine… It might take a few seconds or a few attempts but it will start. Once started, keep the warm up lever up until the motor runs smoothly. Be careful not to over rev the engine. You might need to lower the warm up lever to keep the RPMs under approx 2000rpm. It will be very Smokey for a while.

It is a good idea to practise different ways of starting your motor in different scenarios, just in case. You never know one day you might be drifting towards the rocks and in a panic you forget your engine is already hot and does not need choking, if you choke a hot engine it is very easy to flood it. Sp practise flooding it and trying to start it again, one day it might save you…