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Old 26 June 2005, 13:44   #1
Country: UK - England
Town: Chelmsford/Anglesey
Make: Avon SR/RibLite 3.1m
Length: 4m +
Engine: Honda 30hp/Yam 8hp
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 970
My outboard caught fire yesterday!!

It never ceases to amaze me quite how many things can go wrong unexpectedly when you're on a boat. I was out for a potter on the River Crouch yesterday in my Avon Riblite 3.1m accompanied by RichL who was testing his Yam 2.5m tender and a couple of other friends in their 14' aluminium boat.

My Yamaha 4hp 4-stroke started well enough but ran jerkily right from the word go, which it has never done before. After about 500m it started backfiring and then stopped running altogether, whereupon it spontaneously ignited After a brief moment of contemplation, which was at least half a second, I realised I had little option but to unscrew the saddle bracket clamps and dump what was a three year old 600 engine in the sea before it caught the sponsons alight or blew up in my face! The insurance claim will be filed tomorrow morning.

Apart from being a particularly unpleasant experience, although inevitably RichL found the whole incident highly amusing and cursed himself for having forgotten his video camera, I would be interested to know if anyone has the faintest idea why it might have caught fire. I've never heard of a similar incident but I'd be surprised if this was a unique occurence.

I've had the engine from new and it's only done about 40hrs. I had it serviced by a Yamaha main dealer last autumn and the carb was cleaned out because a blocked jet was causing petrol to flood out of it. The engine ran perfectly since with no petrol leakage at all. This particular engine model has a well known design fault in that the fuel tank is sited so far from the carb that it takes up to 12 pulls to start it. It also readily leaks sump oil into the top of the cylinder causing problems with hot starting if the engine has been tilted up. Yamaha themselves admit the engine can be troublesome although failed to advise it might blow up in your face on occasion!

In addition, is it likely to be a problem with the insurance company that the engine is lying at the bottom of the River Crouch (it may be possible to retrieve it at LW Springs) or will the testimony of three independent witnesses be sufficient for them to pay out?

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Old 26 June 2005, 14:45   #2
Country: UK - England
Town: london
Boat name: Frances May
Make: vailant DR450
Length: 4m +
Engine: mercury 50 hp
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 761
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hi phil

i think thats a hard one my insurance wanted pics of the damage sent to them with two quotes for repair and replacement then they paid up as good as gold

in your case your engine is under water and can not be rescued to be pictured in a burnt state and if you say i un hooked it leting it sink they may be a bit funny about paying out

i would speak to some one about the wording of the claim before you sent it in

any way hope you are ok

see you soon dan

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Old 26 June 2005, 15:22   #3
Country: UK - England
Town: NW/SW/Nigeria
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Make: none
Length: 6m +
Engine: none
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 147
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get frendly with a diver
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Old 26 June 2005, 15:57   #4
Country: UK - England
Town: Swinton Manchester
Length: 5m +
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 179
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You could always tell the insurance you have saved them some money for throwing the engine overboard well done for your quick reaction
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Old 26 June 2005, 15:58   #5
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The Garfish's Avatar
Country: Ireland
Town: inn wiliks hed
Make: Redbay 6.5
Length: 6m +
Engine: Twin Etec 90hp
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 962
Originally Posted by Phil Davies
I would be interested to know if anyone has the faintest idea why it might have caught fire.

RGP 7. fuk mee itt woz a gud shott.

luk arfter numbir wan, downt stepp inn numbir too
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Old 26 June 2005, 16:01   #6
Kernow Buoy's Avatar
Country: UK - England
Town: Cornwall
Length: no boat
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,518
I am tentatively, and I stress tentatively, considering the new Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
Arson! with 2330 suspects!!
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Old 26 June 2005, 16:09   #7
Country: UK - England
Town: Norfolk
Make: Redbay
Length: 7m +
Engine: Inboard
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 5,140
My insurance has something in it about them paying the hole cost of any salvage. You could always argue with them that they can salvage it from the bottom if they want......if they are clever they will pay up.
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Old 26 June 2005, 16:16   #8
Country: UK - England
Length: 6m +
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,850
Originally Posted by The Garfish
RGP 7. fuk mee itt woz a gud shott.

Only if it was the engine you were aiming for...
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Old 26 June 2005, 17:00   #9
Country: UK - Wales
Town: Barmouth
Boat name: Blue Marlin
Make: Ribcraft
Length: 7m +
Engine: Yanmar 315/Bravo 2X
MMSI: 235020218
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 826
Weird - my Yam 4HP 4-stroke went off on me today as well.

When I tried to start my outboard today it wouldn't turn over. Feeling like a bit of an arse at the quayside (in full view of loads of people), I decided to row out to the RIB - **** me - it was a long way.

ANYWAY - when we got back, the tide was running at 8kts, no way I was rowing against that - so I started to take my engine (5 hours old) apart on the mooring. I took the spark plug out, and the cylinder was full of oil. I have always stored it as Yamaha recommend (handle/oil reservoir downwards) so I'm baffled as to how it happened. Anyway, flush out the cylinder, clean the plug, reassemble - and away we go (smokily).

I have now built a stand to hold it upright, but I'm v. hacked off that it gets buggered up when you follow the instructions!! WHY design an engine that can be laid down flat, but can't!!

It seems to work now - been running in a bucket for an hour......

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Old 26 June 2005, 17:07   #10
Country: UK - Scotland
Make: HumberOceanOffshore
Length: 8m +
Engine: Volvo KAD300/DPX
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 4,851
Originally Posted by The Garfish
RGP 7. fuk mee itt woz a gud shott.


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