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Not BU related, 50HP Mercury Outboard

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I know this isn't BU related, but you guys are like family and most :lol: of you are pretty mechanically versed so I thought I would pose my questions here.

I recently acquired a 1986 model pontoon......it was too good of a deal to pass up(pretty close to free). It's an '86 Crest. I am planning on using it for booze cruises, riding around, basically to keep the hours off of my BU when not pulling someone. I don't care if it's old and ugly.

The good:

Floor is solid.

Carpet is good.

Seats are in good shape.

Has a 50 HP 2 stroke Mercury

The bad:

It's dirty, very dirty.

Steering cable is froze up

Motor hasn't run in 2 years(I got it running after a few minutes and replacing the fuel line.)

Black stuff floating in water around the lower unit(wasn't milky like oil so it may be carbon/fuel/oil buildup in exhaust after sitting for 2 yrs)

Won't idle unless in neutral and rev'ed a little.

I talked to a mechanic buddy of mine and he confirmed that the black stuff may just be build up.

Here are my plans as far as getting the motor/steering up to par(any feedback advice appreciated):

Drain lower unit

Pressure test for leaks

If leaks, replace seals

Replace impeller

Replace plugs

Run a few tanks of gas through it and see what happens

Once I know the motor & lower unit are fine, replace steering cable.

Give it a good cleaning, get a bimini top, cooler, and radio and have fun.

Any advice on the engine related stuff?

Edited by NCVride
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I consider pulling the prop and check for fishing line wrapped around the shaft. This is a common cause of prop shaft seal failure which will lead to milky oil in the lower unit.

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Those motors are pretty bulletproof.

After sitting, I would do everything everyone else said.


1. Put some seafoam in the new gas, it will help until you get around to a good carb cleaning or rebuild.

2. I do not know where you dock it, but a solar panel or battery tender for your battery is a good add as 2 strokes don't have much of a charging system, so the radio will eventually drain it. (I run my stereo on a separate battery)

3. a really good cooler - those rides always go longer than you think, because they are just as much fun as the ones on the ski boat :)

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I'm an OMC man, so I haven't messed with many mercs up close, but go ahead and get some PB Blaster on that steering cable if it's a through the tube style. Loosen the big nut and get some Blaster into the cable end too. It's probably gonna be a booger to get out, and letting it soak is your best bet.

You can probably tell if the cable itself is stuck, or if the end is stuck in the tube. I'm betting it's the tube. The cable may still be good enough if you can get it free from the engine. After you loosen the big nut at the motor, try to turn the wheel. If it will turn a little (and it will open and close a gap at the big nut), the cable is good. Don't just torque on the steering wheel forever to try to free it unless you also want to buy a new steering head.

Post a picture of the steering at the engine so we can take a look at what you have.

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Thanks for the input guys.....Well I was able to pressure test the lower unit today and it is good to go....no leaks, no milky fluid.

Now on to the steering cable and the plugs.

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If the plugs are from 1986, they are probably still good. Just clean them and gap them (unless they are surface gap) and put them back in. Let's get to the steering cable!

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HA HA Gary,

I doubt they are from 1986.......but it is possible. I plan on getting some seafoam or the mercury quickleen and running a few tanks through it before I do the plugs. Kind of using the same logic I do for my BU, I don't like to change the plugs in it before I burn off my fogging oil from the winter.

Going to try to get the steering cable pulled this week so I can get a new one. Plus I have to clean the 5 pounds of bird crap and spider webs off of it. Luckily the bimini top on it was in decent shape....sure makes my wallet happy.

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I have a 1987 Evinrude 140 with what are probably original plugs. I bought it in the early '90s, and I know I haven't changed them. Maybe it is about time... nah!

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  • 1 month later...

Just thought I would update this. IT'S RUNNING!!! I got it running several weeks ago but forgot to update it. I put a new steering cable in and steers fine. After putting it in the water, it would stall everytime I put it in gear. I pulled both carbs off and rebuilt them. I also replaced all of the fuel lines and the fuel pump diaphragm. It runs as good as one could expect a 28 year old motor to run. It's so nice to ride on the lake and not worry about wine, beer, cheetos and goldfish getting spilled on the seats and floor. My next addition is to put the radio in. Thanks for all the advice guys.

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