Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282  l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

The never-ending project to fill my hole in the ocean while bailing it out

Preparing for Sailing Season '06
The Carburetor Rebuild Project

Click thumbnails for a larger picture


Last weekend, after replacing the spark plugs, I tried starting my '85 Tohatsu 9.9 hp outboard.  It took a bit of cranking (after sitting all winter), but it started and I let it run for over half an hour before shutting it down.  Then I tried starting it a few more times and with a click of the ignition switch it fired right up.  The following day I tried it again and, with the usual fuss with the choke, it started again and I ran it for ten minutes before shutting it off.  On Wednesday, I tried starting it -- and nothing.  It'd crank over but wouldn't catch.  I tried using starting fluid spray and it'd catch, but wouldn't run.  (Jun. 15, 2006)

I called my usual outboard service guy, but he couldn't possibly get to it for a week, maybe two.  I called another repair shop and the wait was longer.  I've waited long enough to launch, so I decided to go at it myself.  (Like I had a choice?)

I was getting spark, I was getting gas to the carburetor.  Something was wrong in the carburetor.  Tohatsu was great; sent me a direct link to its antiquated online owners manual for my old 9.9B model.  I chased down and found a carburetor rebuild kit -- allegedly the last one anywhere, but fortunately not too far of a drive.  (Jun. 16, 2006)

Back home with the rebuild kit, I took the carburetor apart, soaked it in carburetor cleaner for a few hours, blew it out with compressed air, and began reassembly.  To be honest; I saw nothing obvious that could be giving me a problem.  Nonetheless, I replaced the fuel pump diaphragms (photo left) and everything else that came with the rebuild kit.

I expected to find something that didn't belong there in the fuel bowl, but it was immaculate; no water, no foreign matter -- not even a trace.

This was my biggest disappointment:  I found nothing obviously wrong.

The main jet and fuel inlet valve looked good too, to the eye.  After soaking the carb, I blew it out with compressed air, dried it with a blast of starting fluid, and began reassembling.

I replaced all the parts in the old carburetor with all the new parts that came with the rebuild kit -- might be the last time this kit's available, but if it lasted twenty-one years since it was installed, I should be all set for a while!

This morning I headed out to put the rebuilt carburetor back into the motor.  I'd gone as far as I could in this direction, but my expectations were low.  I just didn't see anything obviously wrong.

I won't be surprised if the problem likely is somewhere else within that motor.

But damn, click of the ignition switch and the outboard started better and quicker than it ever has since I've owned Chip Ahoy, and did it over and over again!

Whoa boy, do I ever feel good.  Hey, I don't need to know why -- I'm ready to launch whenever I can round up my crew again, who I've put on "indefinite leave"!  (June 16, 2006)

Moving on with Season 2006 improvements
It's never-ending ... but spring has arrived and Sailing Season '06 is in sight

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