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Electric Starter vs. Manual

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Is spending an extra $400 for an electric starting outboard over the manual pull start worth doing for a 15hp outboard? I'm looking to build a nice little 15' jon boat rig for smaller lakes and rivers around my area. Thoughts?

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Newer outboards are really easy to pull start.

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It depends on your age and condition.  Young ? then pull.

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My 9.9 will start with a half pull on the cord, but it sucks having to reach around and pull it.  When I have the option, it's always electric start.  Heck, even my backpack leaf blower is electric start.

With electric start, you always have the option to add stick steering down the road.  Steering without electric start really sucks.

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It's a generation of wimps 😄.  Back in my day, most forty hp outboards were pull starts.  Runabouts and weekenders may have had electric start, but for those who had work skiffs or slabs, pull start was the way to go.  It wasn't until outboards went to fifty or more hp that electric start became more prevalent.

 

Keep in mind most of my boating was done on salt water.  I can see the electric start being more popular on lakes and ponds. where a larger percent of boats had pulley/cable steer.

 

Having said all that, consideration should be given to the layout of the boat.  Does it have a control console where you control the boat?  Or, is it a tiller steer. where you operate the boat at the motor?  I'll opt for the electric start for the console boat, and likely pull start for the tiller control.  The key word being "likely".

 

Does a pull start have an alternator to keep the battery for the electronics charged?  Or, is that alternator part of the electric start package.  If so, I'll choose the electric start since I want the motor to have an alternator to keep the battery for the electronics charged.

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I share the sentiment,  @Fishing Rhino.  But I have to acknowledge that even Harleys had electric start fairly standard some 30 years ago.    I still view it as something else that can go wrong....that isn't a visible,  mechanical fix....oh...and, get off my lawn

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33 minutes ago, Fishing Rhino said:

It's a generation of wimps 😄.  Back in my day, most forty hp outboards were pull starts.  Runabouts and weekenders may have had electric start, but for those who had work skiffs or slabs, pull start was the way to go.  It wasn't until outboards went to fifty or more hp that electric start became more prevalent.

 

Keep in mind most of my boating was done on salt water.  I can see the electric start being more popular on lakes and ponds. where a larger percent of boats had pulley/cable steer.

 

Having said all that, consideration should be given to the layout of the boat.  Does it have a control console where you control the boat?  Or, is it a tiller steer. where you operate the boat at the motor?  I'll opt for the electric start for the console boat, and likely pull start for the tiller control.  The key word being "likely".

 

Does a pull start have an alternator to keep the battery for the electronics charged?  Or, is that alternator part of the electric start package.  If so, I'll choose the electric start since I want the motor to have an alternator to keep the battery for the electronics charged.

 

it's a tiller steer. i'm fully capable of starting a manual outboard lol, i'm just looking for some opinions on advantages or disadvantages for either. thanks for your input though

28 minutes ago, Choporoz said:

I share the sentiment,  @Fishing Rhino.  But I have to acknowledge that even Harleys had electric start fairly standard some 30 years ago.    I still view it as something else that can go wrong....that isn't a visible,  mechanical fix....oh...and, get off my lawn

 

on not biased either way, just looking for some outside opinions. i am more than capable to start a boat with a pully, or motorcycle with a kick start, since i've been doing so since i was 7 years old. oh and i'm not on your lawn, i'm on your pond 😀

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Yes - well worth it. Only took one day with a temperamental 9.9 rope start to convince me. Traded it the next week for a new electric start 9.9 with small alternator and never looked back. Ran that setup on a customized jon boat for 8 years without a hitch. Might have been the best $400 I ever spent 😎

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4 minutes ago, Team9nine said:

Yes - well worth it. Only took one day with a temperamental 9.9 rope start to convince me. Traded it the next week for a new electric start 9.9 with small alternator and never looked back. Ran that setup on a customized jon boat for 8 years without a hitch. Might have been the best $400 I ever spent 😎

 

that's what i like to hear!

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Charging system for battery that's running electronics.  Electric start motors usually come with a charging system, manual start systems usually don't

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55 minutes ago, Team9nine said:

Yes - well worth it. Only took one day with a temperamental 9.9 rope start to convince me. Traded it the next week for a new electric start 9.9 with small alternator and never looked back. Ran that setup on a customized jon boat for 8 years without a hitch. Might have been the best $400 I ever spent 😎

to each his own i suppose but i agree with you. i’ve had both. now i have an older model electric start Johnson 15 tiller on my little johnny and i love pushing that button. it means having an extra battery on board but i have an auto bilge anyways, as this boat is moored 8 months out of the year, and an aft sonar that i run off of it as well. most sonars display battery voltage these days and that removes alot of the guess work about charging. 

 

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 I heard that @Fishing Rhino  had a pull start on his lobster trawler.

 

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I had a Force 9.9 that always started one pull. Plus the benefit of cost and weight savings of the battery.

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18 hours ago, kjfishman said:

I had a Force 9.9 that always started one pull. Plus the benefit of cost and weight savings of the battery.

I'm surprised the Force even started, pull or no pull. 😄

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49 minutes ago, slonezp said:

I'm surprised the Force even started, pull or no pull. 😄

I had an old 1985 9.9 force. it had a serious attitude problem. it only started when it was in the mood.

more than once it almost got sacrificed to the lake gods.

best thing I ever did with that motor was sell it.

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On ‎1‎/‎28‎/‎2019 at 2:01 PM, Team9nine said:

Yes - well worth it. Only took one day with a temperamental 9.9 rope start to convince me. Traded it the next week for a new electric start 9.9 with small alternator and never looked back. Ran that setup on a customized jon boat for 8 years without a hitch. Might have been the best $400 I ever spent 😎 

This ^^,  Been through the same thing with a 9.9. Stuck in the middle of the sound, blisters on your hand from pulling and still had to use trolling motor to get back.  BTW, motor had just came from the shop with a full tune up and operational check.

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The one that broke me was 25 hp Suzuki 3 cylinder 2 stroke, 3 carburetors, oil injection.

 

That motor started so smooth with only a little more than half a pull.

 

But every once in a while that sucker would jerk the handle right out of your hand!

 

Bought a 40 hp Tohatsu 4 stroke electric start 😉

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At 72 I am so blessed to have a Yamaha 25hp, 4 stroke, electric start. I used a pull strart for about 20 years. The guy at the shop told me, “this is what you need”. He was right. Totally different mind set when I hit the river now.   :ok-wink:

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On 1/28/2019 at 1:22 PM, J Francho said:

Newer outboards are really easy to pull start.

Yeah.....the starter went on my 25HP 4 stroke in Oct. of this past fall.

 

Even at 10+ years old with umpteen hours on it, it always started on a couple pulls cold, or one pull warm.

 

I was just going to finish the season pull starting it.....BUT after 2 weeks of this nonsense, I had enough. Put a new starter on it.

 

If you have never had electric start, and the motor is set up to pull start, it'll be fine. In my case, taking the cowling off, hand wrapping the "emergency" pull rope, starting it, and then putting the cowling back on was a GIANT P.I.T.A.

 

I could live with pull start only....but only on a motor that was pull start only, if that makes sense.

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I was referring to pull start only.  I've been in enough rental tin cans, and they all start with a gentle tug.

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The older rental boats all had 5 1/2 hp to 7 1/2 hp 2 cycle, 2 cylinder outboards with manuals pull start. I worked on boat landing for about 8 years starting about 50 engines every day from May to Sept and rarely had any problems starting them. Occasionally a plug would fowl, wire would brake or a carb would get gummed up and need to be serviced. Pull starting a 15 hp OB shouldn't be an issue unless your not physically able to stand and pull the rope. You pump the prime bulb, pull out the choke and pull 1 or 2 times and the engine starts, push in the choke and off you go. I had a manual 15 hp Evinrude for about 40 years on my 14' Lund, still working great when I sold it.

If you are not able to pull the rope or need the engine to charge a starting battery that you use for electronics then the electric start is well worth $400.

Tom

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After having both shoulders rebuilt, I keep my pulling to a minimum 😉

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On 1/30/2019 at 2:00 PM, slonezp said:

I'm surprised the Force even started, pull or no pull. 😄

Never had a bit of trouble with it.

 

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My first bass boat had an 85 horse Johnson V4. I think it was a 79 model. For some reason the starter would occasionally overheat and stop cranking for an hour or so until it cooled down. It was so cantankerous that I kept a screwdriver with a knotted rope tied to it in the boat at all times. In the six years I owned that boat I’ll bet I pull started it at least 75 times.

 

Once you’ve pull started an 85 HP V4 then a little tiller steer motor isn’t much of a challenge. Plus, there’s always ether if you need a little help. 

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