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Old 30 May 2013, 19:30   #1
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Avon Sportboat

Hi all,

Recently , I have acquired an inflatable RIB and am now at a complete loss! From what I gather, it's a Avon Spoartboat S3-40, which came with a Black a Blue labeled 20HP Mercuery Thunderbolt(maybe?) engine. The RIB (or should I say SIB?) Inflates well and comes with all they plywood but not controls/steering. The Mercury engine starts and runs well (although I do need to try and source a fuel tank...), but has clearly been used alongside some steering gear is it has no tiller. Has anyone any experience with this engine, with regards to some sort of service and cleanup? Have had a quick look online and can't find a manual, but intend on cleaning up the wiring and carb.

What I can't work out is the remote steering and throttle controls. I gather I have two choice, either (A) try and source some sort of steering and throttle mechanism, and try and build some sort of ply/metal console to mount it on- but can't work out what I need for this. Or (B) take a (possibly) more simple approach and buy a second hand tiller. Problem is, this leaves me with two questions. Is the steering mechanism any old generic type that is the correct length for the boat, or do I need to be looking for mercury stuff? and secondly, which tiller do I go for? Oh and (C) is it worth it!!!

Sorry for such a long winded post, but I am REALLY struggling to find info on this SIB(or RIB!) and engine.

Cheers
Jake
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Old 30 May 2013, 19:48   #2
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Boat name: WhiteNoise/Dominator
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The tiller and throttle are combined if you fit a tiller.
You'll need the correct tiller for the motor-is there a 'gear' sticking out of the port side of the motor? If there isn't, you'll need to source the throttle linkage that goes inside the cowl from the tiller as well. Probably better to buy a scrap motor to remove them from-there's quite a few about as most have died of abuse/ old age by now.


However,before you try and do anything,get a manual (you'll need it to find all the bolts) and try and get the gearbox off it-those motors are a steel driveshaft from memory and you might find the gearbox seized on because the driveshaft is rusted solidly into the powerhead.

It can't be serviced properly if it's stuck as you won't be able to replace or inspect the water pump impeller. I wouldn't use it without at least inspecting the impeller-it could be 40 years old. If it fails, you'll be stuck.
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Old 30 May 2013, 19:55   #3
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Country: UK - England
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Boat name: WhiteNoise/Dominator
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This should be the manual you need:-

Mercury Repair Manual 1965~89 by Seloc | eBay
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Old 30 May 2013, 19:58   #4
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Country: UK - England
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Boat name: WhiteNoise/Dominator
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BTW, you might find the seller of this has a tiller setup:-

Scrapping Mercury 20hp 2 stroke outboard manual start. crank cases | eBay

It's the same motor as yours
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Old 30 May 2013, 19:58   #5
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The tiller and throttle are combined if you fit a tiller.
You'll need the correct tiller for the motor-is there a 'gear' sticking out of the port side of the motor? If there isn't, you'll need to source the throttle linkage that goes inside the cowl from the tiller.


Before you try and do anything, try and get the gearbox off it-those motors are a steel driveshaft from memory and you might find the gearbox seized on.

It can't be serviced properly if it's stuck as you won't be able to replace or inspect the water pump impeller. I wouldn't use it without at least inspecting the impeller-it could be 40 years old. If it fails, you'll be stuck.
Hi Nos4r2, many thanks for the reply.

There is a gear sticking out the motor. When we tested it in a bucket of water- it seem to manage reverse-neutral-forward okay. I'll try and get the gearbox out and give it a check- is there any gaskets I need to replace if/when it comes out? I may replace the impeller (if easily source-able?) before I take it out. In the meantime I have a 5hp Yamaha engine I can have a play with when the weather gets better (although, will be a while with my broken collarbone, not boat related!!!)

I guessed the tiller and throttle (and therefore, steering) are combined. Is it easy to find the correct tiller, would any mercury one do or is exclusively a thunderbolt I should be hunting for?

You seem to have roughly guessed the engine, any rough ideas as to what model I should be looking for? So far my research has roughly pointed to a thunderbolt 200, but I could be way off...

Thanks for the help.
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Old 30 May 2013, 20:01   #6
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Post a pic-it'll be a Mercury 200 (20hp) Blueband from what you've said. Is it a wraparound aluminium cowl or a plastic cowl? If it's aluminium it'll probably be 1970s, maybe earrly 80s.


Sounds like all you need is the tiller unit then.

You WILL need to fit a killcord to that motor though if you use it, it's quite easy-they just plug in to the wiring of the stop button.

I'd replace the impeller as a matter of course. Be careful removing the old one-the key for the impeller on those is tiny and easy to lose.
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Old 30 May 2013, 20:02   #7
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BTW, you might find the seller of this has a tiller setup:-

Scrapping Mercury 20hp 2 stroke outboard manual start. crank cases | eBay

It's the same motor as yours
Super- thanks very much. I have emailed the seller, so finger crossed.
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Old 30 May 2013, 20:07   #8
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Post a pic-it'll be a Mercury 200 (20hp) Blueband from what you've said. Is it a wraparound aluminium cowl or a plastic cowl? If it's aluminium it'll probably be 1970s, maybe earrly 80s.


Sounds like all you need is the tiller unit then.

You WILL need to fit a killcord to that motor though if you use it, it's quite easy-they just plug in to the wiring of the stop button.

I'd replace the impeller as a matter of course. Be careful removing the old one-the key for the impeller on those is tiny and easy to lose.
Will try and get a pic tomorrow, but as you said, it's a black aluminum cowl with blue writing, with a little foam on the inside. Bit dented, but not too bad!
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Old 30 May 2013, 20:08   #9
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Oh, and you may need to very very carefully split the impeller from the driveshaft. They stick. I used a dremel to remove the last one I did.

They are VERY responsive to the throttle when you first open it by the way. Be careful. I nearly turned a 3.4m Zodiac over backwards finding that out.
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Old 30 May 2013, 20:19   #10
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Oh, and you may need to very very carefully split the impeller from the driveshaft. They stick. I used a dremel to remove the last one I did.

They are VERY responsive to the throttle when you first open it by the way. Be careful. I nearly turned a 3.4m Zodiac over backwards finding that out.
Woah, pretty reasonable engine then! I have dremel at hand, thanks for the tip. Will make sure I do before I take it out. If it drives through the gears si the gearbox likely to be knackered?

In your opinion- is it worth spending the extra ins steering gear for this boat, or should I just have fun enjoying it with a tiller? Part of me is tempted to get a good price tiller and see what happens from there....

I guess it depends if it's a good boat worth spending money on....
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