Hard Starting Mercury

  • avatarburtt
    Posts: 2

    I have a Mercury 115 ELPTO two stroke out board. I’m having problems getting it started when the temp drops over night. I have to pump the primer bulb and continually play with the choke in order to get it to start. I’ve replaced the bulb and installed a new fuel pump kit and I’m still having problems starting the motor in cold weather. Any one with suggestions?

    Profile photo of derek_johnstonderek_johnston
    On the water- Minnesota
    Posts: 5,025

    What brand oil and what octane gas are you running? Typically this type of motor should start fine in cold temps, but it just might be a cold-blooded motor. What year is the motor?

    Choke-ing is common on a two-stoke on cold temps but priming the bulb should not matter.

    Quad Cities
    Posts: 1,007

    Might talk to your local outboard mechanic about installing Boysen reeds in your carbs. Will not give your any different performance, but will make her start easier and idle smoother. Mercs are great motors but have the reputation as being cold blooded.

    Posts: 2

    Choke or enrichment valve works fine. I’m running mercury 2cycle premium plus and 89 octane. The motor is a 2000. Is there a proper starting sequence as far as pushing the choke in before turning the key or vice versa?

    St. Paul, Mn
    Posts: 10,928

    Have you tried hitting the gas while turning it over and choking at the same time?


    farmington, mn
    Posts: 54

    typical for a 2 stroke, i know guys with 1980-1997 merc 2 strokes with same deal. its because its cold! dont do anything to your motor its normal. 4stroke efi motors have sensors to tell it how to run-just like your car or truck. good ‘ol 2 strokes just need a little convincing and patients to run a 4stroke into the ground in cold weather. (ps- 4strokes are dogs)

    Profile photo of amwatsonamwatson
    Posts: 5,147

    dont do anything to your motor its normal

    Yep, definitely agree I have a 1997 Merc 115, it is a little cold blooded when it is cold. Prime bulb, hold in key until it tries to fire the first time. Then you should only have to choke it a little more if at all. Let it idle at a little higher RPM for a litle bit. Once they warm up, they run great. There isn’t anything wrong with your motor

    Alma, Wi
    Posts: 68

    In the cold weather try adding fresh fuel and a little
    fuel line antifreeze.
    This will pick up any moisture left in last years fuel.
    Add Sta-bil in the fall. Like the others have said let it warm up. Get your fishing equipment situated while you let it run for 5-10 minutes.

    Good Luck,
    Buy an evinrude,

    Resides on the North Shores of Mille Lacs--guiding on Leech Lake these days
    Posts: 810

    Here is a common cold starting problem for the 2 stroke carb engines.

    Assumably, your engine is tilted up when backing down the ramp. It still stays tilted up while launching and intitially starting. There is a problem….

    Level the engine after it is in the water. It is not meant to run…let alone start at a tilted position. Quite often…this will cure your starting issues with a 2 stroke carb outboard at the ramp.

    Profile photo of gary_wellmangary_wellman
    West Metro
    Posts: 6,061

    I have two buddies with the same motor. One starts hard, the other doesn’t…….Even when warm.

    I would check to make sure your carbs are “in sync”, but that is about it.

    La Crosse, WI
    Posts: 683

    I have a 1996 Mariner that is also an ornery-starter no matter how hot or cold it is. One day I messed around for about 30 minutes at the dock (no one waiting in front of me) trying to get it to even fire. I choked, primed, cursed, and cranked and NOTHING! I got so desperate I even pulled out the owner’s manual. After some extensive technical research, I turned the kill switch from OFF to RUN and she fired right up!

    The boy had been in the boat the day before playing around and must have pulled the cord.

    She’s tricky to start, but runs great after being started for that first time.


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