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Author Topic:   Pull Starting a 48 HP Johnson
minimontauk posted 06-20-2003 10:11 AM ET (US)   Profile for minimontauk   Send Email to minimontauk  
I notice that my 96' 48 HP Johnson motor, which is electric start with trim/tilt, has a notch in the flywheel top, presumably for pull starting. Is it really possible to do this by hand with a knotted rope and dowel handle? I would feel a lot better knowing I have the option if the battery or starter craps out on me miles from shore. I also heard a rumor that you can buy a Johnson engine cover with an integral pull-start mechanism that can be fitted to an electric start engine. Any truth to this?
jimp posted 06-20-2003 11:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimp  Send Email to jimp     
mini -

Should be possible. I've done it with a Merc 150 with a dead battery, a 115 or 130 Yamaha and 90 Evinrude. Make sure the key is turned "On" when you do this.


Bigshot posted 06-20-2003 11:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
We used to pull start all kinds of stuff. 2am and wanna go for a ride but left keys at home? Just disconnect the main wiring harness and let her rip(also know as hot wiring). Being you have the keys, turn it on. If battery is dead have someone try and start the engine while you pull, makes it easier.
where2 posted 06-20-2003 01:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for where2  Send Email to where2     
Bigshot, my dad taught me the fine art of running the engine with/without the key when I was something like 12. In the last 20 years, I've still never had to use that knowledge on an outboard... However, it was fun to brag about in high school... Of course, there was the time I hot wired the VW GTI in the junkyard in under 3 minutes with dad watching. He couldn't believe how quick I had it running... (pays to have the book on the passenger seat). Bought the engine out of the GTI and put another 100k miles on it with only minor work...
Bigshot posted 06-20-2003 03:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
I had a 87 GTI with over 150k on it when sold. Still ran great. Had a 95 Jetta and now a 2003 TDI Jetta, love that thing and 50MPG.....oh yeah!
Peter posted 06-20-2003 06:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I've "pull started" a cold 1987 Johnson 150. No problem doing it. When pull starting it cold you need to flip the red lever on the "priming" device so it is pointing backward. It is probably not a bad idea to practice now.

I doubt that there is a cover with integral pull-start mechanism. Recoil pull start mechnisms are usually bolted to the block. The covers of pure pull start motors (OMC 20 HP and up) are usually taller than their pure electric start bretheren to accomodate the recoil mechanism.

Tom W Clark posted 06-20-2003 06:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

It is very easy to rope start your motor. In fact it is very easy to rope start any outboard that is equipped for doing so. I rope started my V-6 Johnson numerous times.

The provision for emergency rope starting was a standard feature on Mercury and OMC motors for years and years, though I understand that many modern outboards have a shroud that shields the flywheel and prevents an emergency start.

In the case of the three cylinder Mercury outboards of recent years, this shroud is secured with plastic wing nuts that allow a quick and easy removal of the shroud on the water and allows access to the notches in the flywheel. I believe recent larger Johnson and Evinrude motors have a non-field removable flywheel shrouds.

Your ownerís manual will describe the procedure, but itís pretty simple. You need only wrap the cord around the flywheel 1/2 to 3/4 of a turn. Remember you are only trying to get the motor to turn through one compression stroke and it doesnít take as much of a pull as you would think.

I recommend that anybody who has an emergency rope under the cowl learn to start their motor before the need actually arises. All the electric start outboards I have ever owned came with a piece of 3/16Ē - 1/4Ē cord with a wooden or plastic handle tucked in a pouch on the inside of the motor cover. I would guess that the new DFI motors are not rope startable given their high electrical demands and complicated designs. Yet another reason to avoid them.

There was a recent tread where a member here felt he was stranded offshore when he went to start his outboard and the battery was dead. He ended up calling for a tow and paying a hefty tow fee. Sadly, he could have avoided that dilemma had he simply rope started the motor and been on his way. Itís an important skill to learn.

There was somebody here who used to poo-poo the idea of rope starting in an emergency, instead claiming it was more desirable to carry jumper cables. I do not EVER want to be stuck trying to jump start, or be jump started off-shore in a slop with two boats banging into one another. Thatís just a recipe for disaster.

No, there is no cover that simply has a recoil rope starter built into it, though a recoil starter equipped outboard like your looks as if the rope starter is in the cover because thatís where it protrudes from.

Duckin Whalers posted 06-20-2003 10:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Duckin Whalers  Send Email to Duckin Whalers     
You won't catch me going far in the winter without two batteries. I always know that a dock line will substitute for a smaller diameter cord in a pinch. You just cut down the weave, pull the nylon core out of the center and wah-la.....pull cord. All you have to do is get the knot small enough to fit in the flywheel slot and wrap the dock line around the outside of the flywheel. Get home cut off section of line you screwed up, burn and it is still usable.
minimontauk posted 06-23-2003 10:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for minimontauk  Send Email to minimontauk     
As usual, you guys are a huge help. I will try the pull start next time I'm out on the boat, which I finally got in the water. Thanks again.

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