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outboard troubleshooting

So off we went to the marina Saturday to check our crab pots. Crank the motor (a Honda 8 HP, 3 years old) again and again--no joy, although it had run fine on Friday. Finally gave up in frustration, back again on Sunday to try some more. At present the motor is sitting in the back yard, the boat is sitting at the marina, and the thermometer is sitting at about 75 degrees without a cloud in the sky.

So far I've tried:
--new plugs (one of the old ones was somewhat corroded and quite dirty, the other one was slightly dirty; they had about 1 year of use on them)
--new fuel filter
--gas is about 6 weeks old
--squirted starter fluid into the carb. After I did this the motor started and ran fine. Then I shut it off with the "dead man" switch and attempted to restart--wouldn't start.

Gas reaches the carb; however, one repairman suggested it might be the fuel pump (can't prove that fuel pump is actually moving fuel while running, could be just the stuff I pumped in by hand with the fuel line bulb). This repairman then said "but we don't work on Hondas so I can't say for sure".

I haven't cranked the motor with the plugs out to verify a spark; however, since I was able to get the thing started once I think this means that the ignition system is ok. Or does it?

The nearby Honda shops are quoting a 3 week delay before they'll even be able to look at the the thing. Anybody have any ideas on things I haven't tried yet?

Hal Mueller
Seattle, Washington    hal@xxxxxxxxxx

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