At the beginning of March myself and a pal came across a 1978 Searider 5.4 with a Merc 80 of the same vintage.
First job was to start on the outboard to see if it worked before setting upon the boat armed with a cutting disc and a bucket of gusto.
As the engine hadnt started in some 10-12 years the first job was replacing anything that might give us hassle, fuel pump, water pump, plugs, exhaust cover gaskets, carb to powerhead gaskets, carb rebuild, wirning replacement, new fuel and vacuum hoses and new fuel connectors both engine and tank side, theMercontrol unit was also treated to an overhaul including a new IGN barrel, battery leads and a repaint.
Tonight was the first proper start after ALL the work, we put it in a HUGE tub of water and turned the key.. nothing! It spun over but wouldnt fire, we tried several times but to no avail, we took the cowlings off to check for any visible problems but all looked good, we decided to give it one last go before digging deeper and BINGO! She fired right up and after a fiddle with the throttle she settled onto idle and sat there purring away lovely!
As its the first proper start we mixed up quite an oily mix and left it idling for 20 mins or so just to get everything inside up to temperature and give itself a clean out before lifting RPM, we will try a faster idle tomorrow. If im honest Ive never heard a 2 stroke idle so smoothly and very quiet for an old engine.
We were like kids with a new toy, its been a long time coming but to hear it running so smoothly was worth it.
I must say a big thank you to Rob at Black Dog Marine, without his help sourcing hard to get parts it wouldnt have been possible, we were never going to make him rich by buying a few gaskets off him but nevertheless he got them for us and had them on my doormat in jig time so thanks Rob.
I know its an old engine and some wouldnt bother as the old Mercs have a name for being a bit agricultural and temperamental but hey ho, it was free and worth a shot.
The decals are shot so I have a pal that works in a signmakers so Il be cashing in a favour, with a quick blow over in black and new decals itl look the dogs danglies, the engine itself has come up lovely after cleaning off 30 years of wax/oil/dirt!