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Author Topic:   Mercury 115-HP FOURSTROKE: Chronic Starter Motor Failure
mark88 posted 12-24-2007 12:31 PM ET (US)   Profile for mark88   Send Email to mark88  
I purchased my 190 Montauk in June 2007. Love the boat but warning. Two times this summer the starter failed. No indication of problem or warning. The starter would turn very slowly with a large drop noted on the voltmeter. I was told this same starter has been used in the 90-HP without problems for four years. The dealer told me Mercury knows that there is a problem and my boat will be updated when the part is available. The boat is put away for the winter now, lucky for me both times the starter died I was in a slip at my yacht club. Those of you that go offshore might want to keep the engine running or carry a spare. I know I will.

[This thread gets a bit confusing, but it turns out we're talking about a Veradito 115-HP; here are starter motor failure reports number one and two.--jimh]

jimh posted 12-27-2007 12:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Exactly what model engine do you have?

Are you recommending carrying a spare engine or a spare starter when you go offshore?

mark88 posted 12-27-2007 09:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for mark88  Send Email to mark88     
The motor is a 115 hp EFI 4 stroke Merc on a 190 Montauk. I boat on Lake Erie and the day before the last starter died was at the tip of Long Point Canada, 15 miles from anyware. Previous boat was a 1971 Boston Whaler 16 with 50-HP Evinrude. My concern is am I the only new Whaler with this problem. I do not want to be stranded while boating. I carry spare parts to maintain my boat and will include a starter untill this is resolved. This has happened twice, without any indication of a problem. I hope no one else has a problem like this: turn the key and nothing.
jimh posted 12-27-2007 09:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
It sounds like you have the new "FourStroke" motor (also known as a Veradito, Le Petit Verado, or L4NA). Thanks for the clarification.

If other Boston Whaler owners with this motor have experienced a failure of their electric starter motor, I am certain they will join the discussion.

It does seem odd that two starter motors would fail. Since the odds of that are rather high--at least one would think they ought to be rather high--you might suspect something else was the real cause. But if your voltmeter is sagging, that is indicative of a very high current draw during starting. High current during starting would be indicative of a stalled out starter motor.

Please keep us informed about any service or remedy offered by Mercury to resolve this. Thanks.

L H G posted 12-27-2007 04:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
"Le Petit Verado" ?
highanddry posted 12-28-2007 01:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for highanddry  Send Email to highanddry     
That really clears it up.

Perhaps check voltage/connection to the starter to see that it has full voltage and amperage.

sosmerc posted 12-28-2007 11:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for sosmerc  Send Email to sosmerc     
It could well be a wiring problem. I would be doing a "voltage drop test" on both the positive cable and the negative battery cable. This should be done systematically from the battery back to the starter motor and through any switches, relays, etc between the battery and the motor.
high resistance due to poor connections or faulty battery switch or chaffed cables can cause high amperage which can destroy the starter.
Jefecinco posted 12-29-2007 11:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Is it practical to replace a starter motor while afloat?

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to "rope" start smaller engines when facing a starter or battery failure afloat?

Do E-Tecs offer a "rope" starting feature?


Casco Bay Outrage posted 12-29-2007 12:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Casco Bay Outrage  Send Email to Casco Bay Outrage     
Mark -

Given that you purchased this boat only a few months ago and in new condition, I recommend you drop it off at your dealer and have them do some testing of the electrical system. Could be as simple as a loose connector, bad ignition switch.

Given the price you paid and the high quality of the engine and boat, I think the onus is on the dealer to diagnose this. Make him "do the right thing".


AtoZ posted 12-29-2007 01:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for AtoZ  Send Email to AtoZ     
Butch, The E-TEC 90 offers rope start although I have never tried it.

Has anyone considered a bad battery?

Jefecinco posted 12-29-2007 07:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     

I would be surprised if the shop that replaced the starter under warranty did not also check the battery, wiring and charging system.

Having said that, I know many shops and techs leave a lot to be desired. With two identical failures I'd want to go a little deeper.


fishinchips posted 12-30-2007 10:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for fishinchips  Send Email to fishinchips     
Could be a key switch.


bigjohn1 posted 12-30-2007 11:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1    
The engine this thread is all about can be rope started. Carrying a spare starter is rather impractical, removing the cowel and rope starting in a pinch is a better plan.
mark88 posted 12-31-2007 01:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for mark88  Send Email to mark88     
Thanks for the advice. The first starter was taken off a stock boat. The last time in mid Aug.the dealer checked the electrcal system and called Merc. At that point they stated there is a problem and would upgrade my starter when the part is available. They gave me a new stater, battery and a good luck. You cannot pull start this motor like my old 50 hp, and putting a starer on would be very hard on the water. Trying to see if anyone else has this trouble. Mark
bigjohn1 posted 12-31-2007 11:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1    
Which outboard on your 190 Montauk cannot be rope started:

Mercury FOURSTROKE 115
Mercury Verado 135

bigjohn1 posted 01-01-2008 03:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1    
I see the topic of this thread was slightly changed (for the better) to accurately describe which engine we are discussing. I have the predecesor of this engine when Mercury still used model year designations. Mine is 2004 and it can be rope started. Does the current model of Mercury FOURSTROKE 115hp not allow rope starting? I am skeptical.
jimh posted 01-01-2008 03:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I know that identification of some Mercury motors is rather difficult because they seem to lack a specific model designator, and this is most acute with the 90-HP motors which use a four-stroke design. There are three substantially different motors which all fit this general description and have been sold in consecutive years. To help distinguish among these I think it is best to use the designator "FOURSTROKE" (in all capitals and written as a single word) to designate the newest of these motors, which are based on a four-cylinder block which shares some elements with the Verado motors. These motors began to appear in 2007, but because Mercury decided to eliminate the use of model year designators, it is not appropriate for us to re-invent model year designators for them. If we all use FOURSTROKE for these motors, the identification of these motors will become much clearer.

The reason I propose "FOURSTROKE" is entirely based on the use of that same term by Mercury as a model name, but they write it "FourStroke". I do not feel that there is enough difference in that usage to allow people to recognize it as model name, and in my experience practically no one seems to observe this concatenated word with internal capital letters as having much special meaning at all. On the other hand "FOURSTROKE" (in all capitals and as a single word) seems to be a much more distinctive way of writing the same thing, and I believe that readers will be able to make the distinction between FOURSTROKE, the unique Mercury motor model name, and four-stroke, the general term for describing a motor using this arrangement.

Back to this discussion, I think the original motor being discussed in a Mercury 115-HP FOURSTROKE. But if that assumption is wrong, I hope the initial author in the discussion will reply with a correction.

[POSTSCRIPT: It turns out on further investigation that Mercury used "FourStroke" or "FOURSTROKE" as a model name on all these motors, so it is not much of a unique identifier; Veradito and Mercaha or YamaMerc are better, it seems.]

sheikofthesea posted 01-01-2008 05:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for sheikofthesea  Send Email to sheikofthesea     
I have had the 115 EFI FOURSTROKE on the 190 all year and did not have any starter problems or any other problems with the motor (or the boat). On second thought I did have a wiring issue where one of the panel buttons ( for the stereo) would stay on even when it was in the off position. This did drain one of my batteries fro I fixed the problem.

dbrown posted 01-02-2008 10:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for dbrown    
I have [a Mercury 90-HP which was purchased in 2007 and used a four-stroke engine design], which is essentially the same engine as the 115, and the starter went out at 42 hours. Mine was an intermittent problem. Sometimes it would turn the engine over and other times I got nothing when I turned the key. It was replaced with the updated version under warranty. My mechanic said they had problems with these starters and it was the 4th he had replaced in 6 months. Hopefully the problem is solved, as I now have 60 hours with no further problems.

[This is first hand report number three of a starter motor failure on the Veradito motor, and, by inclusion of the statement of the mechanic, we now have six starter motor failures reported on the Veradito motor--jimh]

nemored posted 01-02-2008 03:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for nemored  Send Email to nemored     
Another reason to change out the Mercury for my twin Hondas like I did on my 19.
jimh posted 01-03-2008 09:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
dbrown--Is your motor a FOURSTROKE or is it the older model that uses the Yamaha power head?
dbrown posted 01-03-2008 04:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for dbrown    
Jim, my engine is a Mercury 90 ELPT manufactured in February 2007. It does not have the Yamaha powerhead. It is Verado based.
dbrown posted 01-03-2008 04:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for dbrown    
And yes, it is a FourStroke as stated on the Mercury site. As an example:

Advanced FourStroke power with clean, quiet, fuel-efficient performance.

Mercury FourStrokes have long led the pack in clean, quiet, fuel-efficient outboard power, and now the gap has grown even wider. We combined innovative engineering with advanced reliability features to make our outboards run clean, stay quiet and deliver smooth, responsive performance – all while cutting your fuel and maintenance costs.

bigjohn1 posted 01-03-2008 05:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1    
Early in this thread, the OP advocated carrying an extra starter with this engine given the problems he has had. I recommended rope starting in an emergency vice changing the starter. The OP stated this engine cannot be rope started. This is where urban myths get started and we need to clear the air.

I don’t own one these outboards but a few on this forum do. I just talked with my Mercury mechanic and he states the new Mercury FOURSTROKE 90 and 115 [i.e., Veradito] can be rope started. They have a slide out cover over the flywheel which needs to be removed then use the emergency rope like other models. He did say with a weak battery, it might be tough to start since the EFI system needs a good battery to operate.

Can anyone chime in here with first-hand knowledge on whether these newer mid range Mercury
FOURSTROKE models come equipped with emergency pull cords and a removable flywheel cover?

boatdryver posted 01-03-2008 05:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for boatdryver  Send Email to boatdryver     
dbrown, I think if the motor is Verado based its designation should contain the characters L4NA.
dbrown posted 01-03-2008 05:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for dbrown    
The flywheel cover is indeed removeable easily, but it's true that rope starting will not work without sufficient battery power for the Electronic Control Module. Also, I'm not sure if the flywheel is set up for rope starting. The newer FourStroke engines are based on the Verado block. The designation for my engine on the transon tag is 90ELPT 4S. I have never seen Mercury refer to any of their engines by the LN4A designation.
Buckda posted 01-03-2008 05:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Okay - if a starter motor goes bad (here, I would normally ask - How often does THAT happen? - but apparently with this particular motor, it is a frequent problem), you can "rope start" the motor so long as it has a good battery to run the EFI system.

I submit that the need to rope start a motor has become a fairly rare occurrence. However, out of the times that necessitate rope starting, I also submit that the vast majority of the time that need is caused by a weak or dead battery. If you can't run the motor independent of a battery, there is a very small need indeed for the ability to rope start the motor.

I will further submit that MOST outboard motors which have a flywheel CAN be ropestarted, provided a strong battery is present. At some point, it turns into a matter of technique with the rope, and the presence of a suitable rope in the first place.

This is where a good on-the-water insurance policy comes in handy, if that type of service is available in your area. Further, I've found that having my friend Benjamin Franklin along helps in these situations.

Buckda posted 01-03-2008 06:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Let me add:

...however, the very ability to ROPE START and RUN the motor with NO battery present was a strong feature of the E-TEC motor in my opinion, and factored into my decision on which motor to purchase for my repower project. This because of the remote locations where I use the boat, and the fact that I often am boating alone. Less time hanging over the transom trying to install a replacement starter motor is a good thing in cold, remote waters of the Northern Great lakes and inland lakes of the north.


bigjohn1 posted 01-04-2008 08:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1    
Dave, First let me say I do not own this newest generation Mercury FOURSTROKE aka "LN4A" [aka "Veradito"]. Mercury might have changed the electronics system around somewhat and it might now require a fully-charged battery like the OPTIMAX to even rope start.

With this in mind, there is somewhat of an urban myth which has perpetuated in recent times which dictates that E-TEC is the only outboard which will start with a dead battery or no battery. This may be true with the latest generation of the Mercury 115 FOURSTROKE, but it is NOT true with its predecessor, the Mercury/Yamaha joint venture outboard - the one many coined as "YamaMerc". These four-stroke EFI and carb outboards can indeed be rope started. As you are aware, many CW members have these outboards on their post-classic 170 Montauks.

I remember reading this myth 1-2 years ago in a couple of the heated "E-TEC versus Mercury" threads and saw it was counter to what both my outboard owners manual stated and the offical Mercury factory manual stated. Still, many here insisted on it. So, I conducted an experiment on my outboard to confirm the fact for myself. I replaced my good battery temporarily with a old dead truck battery I had laying around. I pulled off the flywheel cover, wrapped the pull cord around the flywheel and on the second pull, the outboard fired right up. My outboard can also be started sans battery as long as the rectifiers wire is pulled. I did not try this test but I have no reason to doubt it. The procedure for doing this is clearly stated in the factory service manual.

It would be interesting to know what battery voltage must be present for one of these newer generation Mercury FOURSTROKES to be started via the emergency pull cord. The point is, I tend to read critically and also like to confirm for myself (when I can) some of the info I read in websites. I am as guilty as the next guy soemtimes in passing off information "I heard" as fact. That is why I initially challenged the escertion that this outboard could not be rope started and the OP would need to carry an extra starter in view of his problems.

jimh posted 01-04-2008 09:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There are many four-cycle outboard motors with carburetors which can be pull started, and I don't think anyone really thought much about that feature. However, motors with electrically operated fuel injectors generally have not been able to be pull started, regardless of the design of their combustion process, two-cycle or four-cycle. The Evinrude E-TEC was the first two-cycle motor that I can think of which had electrical fuel injectors, a computer controller, and could be pull-started. The TOHATSU 25-HP and 30-HP four-cycle motors recently introduced are the first four-cycle outboard with electrical fuel injectors which can be pull started that I know about.

I see two elements of electrical demand which are involved in the starting process: the raw current available to run the injectors, and a steady voltage to allow the computer controller to boot up and begin operating.

To create the electrical current for operating the injectors, there usually has to be some special attention paid to the electrical generating system in the motor so that it can run without a battery attached. The electrical generating system also has to be able to provide sufficient current even at the low rotational speed likely to be occurring during pull starting.

To get the computer controller operating properly the design of the controller has to be chosen so that it boots up very fast. Also there usually has to be some sort of storage capacitor and voltage regulator to maintain the operating voltage to the computer at the proper level during starting.

Some motors are just not capable of being pull started very effectively, and those motors are not even provided with an rope pull lanyard for emergency use. Also, on some motors the ignition electronics are designed to not generate any ignition spark until the motor reaches a certain rotational speed. If the motor is not turned over fast enough, it will never start because there is no spark. That's how my 225-HP two-cycle motor works. As a result, pull starting it is probably out of the question unless you have the strength to yank the pull starter hard enough to spin the crankshaft fast enough to reach the ignition threshold speed (which I think is around 300-RPM).

jimh posted 01-04-2008 09:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
DESIGNATORS: The designation "L4NA" (not to be confused with the "LN4A" which until someone made a typing error in this discussion was never used by anyone anywhere) is used by Boston Whaler in their literature to identify the Mercury four-cycle outboard which has four cylinders and is based on the Verado four-cylinder block, without supercharging. The "L" is from in-line, the "4" from the cylinder count, and the "NA" for naturally aspirated, as far as I can tell. It is a nice, compact abbreviation that describes the motor.

Mercury gave these motors the very confusing model name of "FourStroke" (written as a concatenation and with internal capital letters), which causes no end of confusion with the associated term, four-stroke.

I invented the term Veradito, which seemed to cause a few Mercury enthusiasts to take offense, to view the term as derogatory, and to view me as a Mercury basher of the first order for using it or promoting its use. However, it was a perfect model name for the motor, if I do say so myself.

Mercury could have avoided all of this if they just gave the motors a unique model number, say something like L4NA-XX where XX was the horsepower.

I think a reasonable alternative is to use "FOURSTROKE" to identify them. Using all-capitals is a common convention used in the past to identify model name designators. For example, a MONTAUK (the boat) versus Montauk (the village). Thus FOURSTROKE (the Mercury motor) versus four-stroke (the generic term for an engine with a four-cycle combustion process). To further separate FOURSTROKE from four-stroke, I think we ought to never mix the two, so the term four-cycle ought to be used when talking about FOURSTROKE motors.

Yes, I know all of this is rather bizarre, but it could have all been avoided if Mercury had just not corrupted four-stroke into FourStroke and thought it would be clear to everyone what that meant. L4NA would have been a lot simpler, Veradito would have been a lot handier, and even something prosaic like F90, BF90, DF90, L90, and so on, would have been much better.

dbrown posted 01-04-2008 10:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for dbrown    
Just a quick note. I just spoke to Mercury about the possibility of rope starting my engine [i.e., a Veradito] if nessesary and they responded that is was not possible on the newer models. They said that the RPM's nessesary to achieve ignition could not be reached by rope starting even with a fully charged battery. Hope this clarifies things a bit.
L H G posted 01-04-2008 12:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
Mercury, Suzuki and Honda all have named their non-supercharged 4-stroke engines the boring "Four Stroke", with or without the space, and put large decals on them for everyone to see. As for catalog/internal designators, you guys decide whether L4NA or DF90 means a hill of beans difference to anyone except the nitpickers here.

I thought Mercury [branded engines made in Komagane, Nagano Prefecture, Japan] 25 and 30 HP EFI 4-cycles were the first EFI's to be pull started, not the Tohatsu versions. They came out 2 years ago, and for over 20 years Mercury has been the EFI leader in outboards, 2 and 4-cycle. Even E-TEC 25's and 30's [which don't exist--jimh] can't be pull started. There are none, five MODEL YEARS after the first E-TEC 90 introduction! Either the R & D is missing, or there are problems scaling the E-TEC technology down this low, as Mercury and Tohatsu have also indicated with Optimax/TLDI, choosing 4-stroke technology as a better alternative instead.

mark88 posted 01-05-2008 04:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for mark88  Send Email to mark88     
dbrown Interesting to see a simular problem on your 90 FOURSTROKE. You sound like you had warning of a problem, my case just nothing. I look forward to the updated part. Do you think Mercury would tell the people who bought these boats they might get stranded. My owners manual covers 75/90/115 EFI(4-Stroke) motors,no mention of rope starting that 115 FOURSTROKE. Thanks for reply Mark
dbrown posted 01-05-2008 05:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for dbrown    
Mark, I did have warning by the fact that the starter would operate sometimes and then nothing. If I turned the key numerous times it would eventually start, so I was never stranded. I only lived with it like that for a weekend. Took it to the dealer, they had a starter overnighted from the factory and I was up and running in 2 days. I think in all the years I've been boating, I've never had a starter go out on me. And yes, it would be nice if manufactures could be up front when they have a known problem. But that would cut into profits far too much. I hope you get yours taken care of promptly. Other than that, I really like the engine and it has been everything I expected and more...
bwhaler01 posted 01-06-2008 03:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for bwhaler01  Send Email to bwhaler01     
Just to clear any ambiguity, which of the L4NA Veraditos can be rope started?

Someone mentioned the 75 & 90 can, but not the 115.


bwhaler01 posted 01-07-2008 10:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for bwhaler01  Send Email to bwhaler01     
Can someone clear the air to which L4NA's can be rope started - if any?
jimh posted 01-07-2008 10:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
You might be able to rope-start an L4NA or FOURSTROKE Mercury if you have a good battery attached to it. I do not think the motor was ever intended to be run without a battery attached.

Mercury motors tend to use a Motorola PCM555 controller. I don't think the controller was designed to be operated without a good battery attached to the motor. The motors also have electrically operated fuel injectors. Unless the motor can power these without a battery, it probably won't fire up.

But, if you have a battery, you probably could pull-start the motor if your starter motor conks out and there were some way to attach a lanyard to the flywheel.

bwhaler01 posted 01-08-2008 03:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for bwhaler01  Send Email to bwhaler01     
Makes sense. Is there a rope kit inside the cowling for the Veraditos to employ emergency starting in case the starter conks?

My Mercury 60 fourstroke had a rope kit under the cowling for emergencies. It also had a different brain too - it is an ECM 555 digital controller. Maybe being digital, less power is required for it to operate...

bigjohn1 posted 01-08-2008 11:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1    
Nobody here is going to clear the air definitively through first-hand knowledge. It gets discussed 1-2 times per year and people throw out guesswork and suppositions that are sometimes flawed. I recommend you talk to Mercury and/or consult your factory manual. That way, you get it from directly from the source. Some people told me I couldn't start my outboard without a fully-charged battery but they were wrong. Its best to get this type of important information directly from the source.
dbrown posted 01-09-2008 10:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for dbrown    
As I said in the above post regarding rope starting my 90 HP FOURSTROKE:

Just a quick note. I just spoke to Mercury about the possibility of rope starting my engine if necessary and they responded that is was not possible on the newer models [i.e., the Veradito model]. They said that the RPM's necessary to achieve ignition could not be reached by rope starting even with a fully charged battery. Hope this clarifies things a bit.

I'm going to assume that Mercury knows whether or not it can be rope started. But I will find out for sure when it comes out of storage and I give it a try...

swist posted 01-09-2008 12:33 PM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
I've never been able to rope start any outboard of 70 hp or more, and all of them came with a pull rope in the tools package, implying that the rope was useful for something. I'm also relatively strong. But clearly some people can do it.

Because of the above, I regularly ignore the warnings about disconnecting the plugs when rotating the engine crankshaft for maintenance or whatever.

I'll probably get both my hands cut off when an engine starts after rotating the prop a 1/8 turn.

L H G posted 01-09-2008 02:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
Mark88 - Of the thousands of new Merc 115's sold so far, how many of these, or what percentage, would have to have starter problems for you to label your thread:

"Mercury 115-HP FOURSTROKE: Chronic Starter Motor Failure".

If this were indeed such a terrible problem, wouldn't we all be hearing more, all over the web and in the boating mags?

Considering you have posted this in the Post Classic section, and considering many new Whalers are right now being offered for sale with these engines, and considering this difficult Marine marketplace, isn't a thread title like this a CHEAP SHOT? Why don't you give BW a break.

bigjohn1 posted 01-09-2008 04:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1    
Larry - The OP did not title this thread as it reads now. It was changed a few days after it was submitted.
jimh posted 01-09-2008 09:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Function: adjective
Etymology: French chronique, from Greek chronikos of time, from chronos
Date: 1601

1 a: marked by long duration or frequent recurrence : not acute <chronic indigestion> <chronic experiments> b: suffering from a chronic disease <the special needs of chronic patients>

2 a: always present or encountered; especially : constantly vexing, weakening, or troubling <chronic petty warfare> b: being such habitually <a chronic grumbler>


The root of the word chronic is chronos, or time. The report says the starter motor failure reoccurred frequently. Often enough the guy plans to carry a spare starter motor around with him because he believes it will fail again.

The dealer says they are aware of this problem, which implies it is occurring in other cases. They're proposing a remedy which will consist of replacement of the starter motor with an updated part

The motor failure was not acute--it did not explode into a ball of flame.

Exactly what term would be more accurate?

The initial discussion solicits others who have this same problem to report, and, indeed, other owners of the motor report the same problem.

bigjohn1 posted 01-10-2008 02:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigjohn1    
One person has stated they had problems with the starter on the engine this thread is titled for. Ask 10 people of reasonable intelligence if one occurance is considered chronic.
sheikofthesea posted 01-10-2008 09:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for sheikofthesea  Send Email to sheikofthesea     
I agree with bigjohn. I have the same engine as do many others and they have not had the starter problem. Thus it is a problem of semantics ( which is often used to belittle a question of what a word means in different contexts when in fact that's all that words do, i.e. have different meanings in different contexts). There does not seem to be a chronic problem with the 115 FOURSTROKE in general but the author of this thread has had chronic problems with his starter. It would be silly to generalize from his situation to boaters' experience in general with the motor.


newt posted 01-10-2008 11:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for newt  Send Email to newt     
I have to agree with Jimh. The problem that the original poster has is a chronic problem. It may be isolated to only one engine (his), but it is a chronic problem on that one engine.
L H G posted 01-10-2008 03:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for L H G    
What a bunch of nonsense. But I sure am glad to learn that the word "chronic" now means "twice" in a selection of one of hundreds.

How about this?

Some guy here, out of several hundred participants, says:

"in the last 6 months, after being completely healthy all 60 years of my life, had two heart attacks, but heart surgery, covered by my insurance, now has me fixed up and I should be good for the next ten years."

Thread title on ContinuousWave:

"WHITE MEN OVER SIXTY: Chronic Heart failure"

jimh posted 01-11-2008 02:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I work with a fellow who has chronic bad breath, but by saying that I do not believe that anyone would suggest that I was trying to say that all of the people I work with have bad breath.

I guess "chronic" will have to go on the list of outlawed words.

swist posted 01-11-2008 08:46 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
The word "chronic" is not a good choice when discussing statistical phenomena. As is obvious from this thread, when applied to a group of people or objects, one cannot tell if it is a small number of objects with many failures, or many objects with a few failures each.

On the other hand, much ado (as usual) is being made out of little. It is obvious from reading the initial post, that it is a case of only one object. I am also somewhat suspicious when service people claim that a problem is widespread. It might be true, but to me it's more likely to be the service person's attempt to CYA by shifting blame to the manufacturer for an intermittent problem which he knows will be difficult to find and fix.

jimh posted 01-11-2008 09:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Swist--that is an interesting observation regarding the relationship between the customer, the dealer's repair department, and the factory. Sometimes the repair process is mixed with political overtones. Here is another case study:

In a somewhat ironically related situation, we were having chronic starting problems with an engine at our workplace. The engine was a less-than-one-year-old very large stationary diesel which provided power for an emergency electrical generator. Obviously, owning an emergency electrical generator is not of much value if it will not start or run reliably.

Fortunately for us, we did not need the engine in an emergency, but every month we would test-run the beast to give it some exercise. This is how we became aware of the starting and running problem. It failed to start on a monthly test.

The manufacturer of the generator provided on-site service and made repairs. At the next test run, the engine failed again. We became very wary of this engine and increased the frequency of our test starting procedure to a weekly basis. This cycle continued for a while, until the engine was actually beyond the warranty period where repairs would be free. The starting problem was chronic and soon reoccurred.

Here's where the story becomes more interesting. The field service technician or engineer on-site had to work with a factory engineer in coordinating what repairs were made and what components were replaced. It seems that the factory had some specific notions of what the cause of the problem had to be, but the field-engineer had other ideas. The guy on-site felt the problem was associated with a particular component, but the factory engineer would not authorize replacement of that part.

Finally, we, the customer, had to escalate our case to a higher level within the manufacturer's organization in order to get them to authorize replacement of the component the field service guy was asking for. Eventually, the suspect component was replaced. The engine has been running perfectly ever since.

The component that was replaced which appears to have been the real cure for the problem was a rather prosaic and simple device. I don't know exactly why it became such a political football to get it replaced. It wasn't the most expensive component that was replaced--the factory had already authorized replacement of other devices in the system which were considerably more expensive. But for some reason, the repair process seemed to have been affected by influences which were not entirely based on principles of electrical troubleshooting and repair.


The statistical validity of any repair problem which is reported on a web based discussion forum is hard to determine, and I consider that it is a totally separate problem from the current dustup about using the word "chronic" to describe a malfunction which occurs repeatedly.

I don't see where in the discussion that anyone tried to make an inference that this problem was statistically significant. On the other hand, the case was made that it is statistically insignificant. However, this same case can be made about any problem which is reported by any single person. I do not see that it serves any purpose to suppress discussion of a problem on the basis that it is not proven statistically to occur to all owners of the device.

The existence of this problem in other motor of this same type has been confirmed by a second owner. This makes dismissal of the problem as being statistically insignificant at least twice as hard as it was when the discussion began.

The purpose of having discussions about malfunctions is to share information about them so that others might benefit. It is only by having discussions about problems which affect individual motors that we could ever discover if they occurred with any frequency among all the motors in the class.

mark88 posted 01-17-2008 07:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for mark88  Send Email to mark88     
Jimh Your last message very to the point. I`m not bitching to Boston Whaler, the dealer has been very helpfull and wants to resolve the problem. Small dealer and never had problems like this before. If you sell more boats in Texas, my thinking is that some other person has the same problem. Thanks for all the info. Mark
jimh posted 01-18-2008 09:06 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Mark--Please let us know what happens with any repairs or replacements. I am certain that the information will be useful to many readers, and you should feel completely free to report the outcome, no matter what happens. I do not think that participants should be reluctant to report problems related to their new Boston Whaler boats and motors. It is only by sharing this information that others become informed about the nature of the problems they might encounter.

Whether or not others feel that your problem is statistically significant should not be a factor in deciding to author an article about the problem and how it was remedied.

Longisland13 posted 01-19-2008 11:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for Longisland13  Send Email to Longisland13     
I am in the market for a 190 Montauk and after reading this I think the 135 Verado might be a better option. Thank you
dbrown posted 01-19-2008 01:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for dbrown    
Longisland13, since these engines are based on the Verado platform and use the same block, it also uses the same starter as the Verado. Even though I have had a starter fail, I don't consider this a chronic problem. Mine was promptly replaced and I have had no further problems with it.
glen e posted 01-19-2008 02:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for glen e  Send Email to glen e     
again as said above "much ado"...

go to the message a search for "starter problem" or just "starter"

tell me what you are searching 3 years worth of posts....

chonic my A$$.....some of you you guys are amazing....

6812montauk posted 01-19-2008 08:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for 6812montauk  Send Email to 6812montauk     
two of my boating mates have purchased the Mercury brand 100hp (four stroke/four cycle) for use in the coming months when the weather gets warms a bit. I may be in the market for the same engine but will wait to see if these chaps have the same starter problem before deciding on a brand. The Irish Sea can be utterly nasty at times and is no place for a craft with chronic unreliable starters.
jimh posted 01-20-2008 12:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Unless I have read it wrong, I think the count (in this discussion) is now up to at least [six] starter motor failures reported on the 90-HP or 115-HP FOURSTROKE Mercury motor. Since the motor has only been available for perhaps a year at the most, a report of [six] starter motor failures has the potential to be considered statistically significant.
6812montauk posted 01-23-2008 07:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for 6812montauk  Send Email to 6812montauk     
[Six] starter motors is [six] too many in a short time period. Do any of you chaps know if the same startor assembly is fitted on the export models of the Mariner 100hp? I have been instructed that our available Mariner stocks in UK use the same components as the USA black Mercury 90 and 115 models.

This problem makes me want to look more closely at fitting my craft with the BRP 2-stroke engine, but they are more lofty in price here. We shall have to wait and see if the good folks at Mercury fit a more reliable startor in the future.

sheikofthesea posted 01-23-2008 09:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for sheikofthesea  Send Email to sheikofthesea     
I definitely welcome anybody coming forward with issues or problems with new BW's and their, Mercury engines. I was intrigued by this whole starter failure problem because I have the same engine. I also think it is important for people who have the same or similar engine and who have not had a problem to report their experiences as well so that people can get a sense of what is really going on.
paulso posted 08-26-2008 07:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for paulso  Send Email to paulso     
Add me to the list. Purchased a Montauk 190 late 2006, delivered April 2007. Typical weekend usage say 40 times a year. 2007 no problems. During this summer have had an intermitent problem of turn the key, big voltage drop and nothing. No clicks or slow starting, nothing. Try a few more times and starts up. Little nerve wracking when you are drifting in on the rocks when bass fishing. Told to check battery connections. Did have a slightly loose negative wire. Problem continued. Took it to the local Mercury dealer they say bad starter. I have the Veradito 115-HP.
Whalerdog posted 08-26-2008 06:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdog  Send Email to Whalerdog     
I have 120 hr. on 19 Montauk and 115 both 2007 no problems [with the electric starter motor]. I have run it very hard.
sapple posted 08-26-2008 07:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for sapple  Send Email to sapple     
For the record, I purchased a new left-over 2007 170 Montauk this past spring. It has the Mercury 90 EFI fourstroke engine. I have run it pretty hard this season putting on about 850 miles (per GPS) (estimated 110 hrs plus or minus 10 hrs). I have had no problems with the [the electric starter motor].
jimh posted 08-27-2008 11:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
[The thread now contains seven reports of failure of the starter motor on the Mercury 115-HP FOURSTROKE or Veradito motor. Comments about other failures or problems with newer Boston Whaler boats which were not related in any way to the Mercury 115-HP motor and its electric starter have been removed Please use a new discussion for those problems.]
jimh posted 10-11-2012 11:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
In another discussion an eighth starter motor failure is mentioned for a Mercury 115-HP FOURSTOKE outboard engine. See

With eight starter motor failures, I think there is not much doubt that the starter motor has been a bit of a problem on this engine.

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