1985 Evinrude 70hp

by Aaron
(South Carolina)

Hello all. My 1985 Evinrude 70 with electric/pushkey choke has always been hard to start when the engine is cold. I've had the boat (classic 16' Whaler w/center console, with fuel tank under console) about 6 years, and only once has it ever readily started when cold with just a little choke. I'm clearly doing something wrong. Here's my procedure:


Squeeze primer bulb, located just beside the tank under the center console. It never gets fully firm/hard, but I can hear fuel gurgling and moving, so I assume that it it priming the line.

Crank motor for a couple of seconds, then push key in and hold to choke while continuing to crank. No matter how long I crank it, it simply never starts easily. Eventually, I will start to see the gas/oil mixture seeping out from around the prop.

I then proceed to go through the process of removing the plugs to see if they're wet/fouled. Sometimes they are and sometimes they're not. While the plugs are out, I crank the motor briefly to blow out any excess of fuel that may be in the cylinders and fouling the plugs. I usually end up doing this several times. Although I know it's a no-no, I've even tried spraying a little starting fluid in the cylinders before replacing the plugs, just to try to get it to fire. This doesn't usually help, nor does the position the throttle is in.

After usually an hour of going through this process, it will eventually fire up and then run perfect all day long. I've never not been able to get it running, but I haven't found the magic formula/combination that will cause it to start easily when it's cold. Once it does finally fire up, it's good to go.

Compression is great on all 3 cylinders, all within 5 or 6 psi of each other.

I know that it's getting fuel when cold. My suspicion involves the electrical side. Maybe the timing advance isn't working for cold starts? Maybe something weak in the ignition system? I replace the plugs yearly.

Any thoughts/input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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