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Getting some work done on the old 20hp Merc


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It's a 1974 Mercury 200 | 20hp two stroke I purchased in 2000. 

 

I've changed the plugs a few times, and the lower unit oil. Replaced the water pump in 2020. That's it, nothing more. Carburetor has always leaked a little, but it starts and runs well. Pushes my boat to 20MPH. It's never been to any shop / marine mechanic. 

 

End of last season, noticed leak from the lower unit. Decided it was time to have a someone more qualified check her out. 

 

Shop called yesterday, said water in the lower unit, needs all new seals down there. Said compression was good, everything else looked pretty good.

 

All the needed repairs will be in neighborhood of ~$500....asked what I wanted to do. 

 

I said fix it. Might as well. 

 

It's served me well for 23 years, I have spent less than $100 in in the motor over that time. 

 

Heck, the boat, motor, and trailer cost me $600 in 2000.  

 

Glad I got it to the mechanic while there is still ice on the water. 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
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On 2/25/2023 at 8:24 AM, DaubsNU1 said:

All the needed repairs will be in neighborhood of ~$500....asked what I wanted to do. 

 

I said fix it. Might as well. 

Good choice - my refurbished '73 Evinrude 25hp cost me $700. $500 to repair what's been a good motor for you is money well spent in my book.

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8 hours ago, looking45 said:

Have them change the impeller if it hasn’t been changed lately

 

Yep, they are changing the impeller. 

 

I changed it two years ago for the first time since getting the boat in 2000(!)

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Shop called today, got the old Merc squared away.

  • Carburetor issue was a stuck needle / seat. He went ahead and installed the carb kit I purchased a few years back, but never got around to.
  • Said good thing I got it in...lots of water in the lower unit. All squared away with new seals, water impeller...good to go.
  • Said the pull rope was in great shape. No need to replace.
  • $520

Heading to pick it up after work today.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Weather has been nutty here in Nebraska...four inches of snow last Sunday...melted off by end of the day...high temps ranging from 60's to 20's. Dusting of snow again this morning...then high's in the mid 50's this afternoon. 

 

Finally got the old Merc on the water today. 

 

Started on the third pull (pretty standard for this motor). 

 

Ran great, and topped out at 21 MPH, 1 MPH faster than previous. 

 

No leaks. Money well spent!  Should be good for another 20+ years : ) 

 

Water temps were right at 50 degrees. Lake I was fishing down 2' from last fall.  Managed one 13" bass on a drop shot in less than 1' of water near dock.  I'll take it!  

 

image.thumb.png.1fd1adc32ee107f0906b66722f98aa5e.png

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  • 2 weeks later...

There is something to say about the stark simplicity of this outboard. 

 

Last summer I had a bunch of projects to do around the home which kept the SS Minnow sitting on the trailer. I didn't even get a chance to use it until mid August (priorities. I know). First time out the motor (2005 Merc 50 HP 2 stroke) ran poorly so I ended up taking the carbs off and rebuilding them including new bowl floats because one was waterlogged.

 

Anyway, on reassembly I over torqued one of the carb mounting bolts and snapped off the mounting ear. I finally fixed the problem by machining a steel plate that acts like a big washer, this allows me to cinch down the carbs properly. 

 

Once I got it all back together it ran the best it has ever run, for me at least, in particular at slow speeds smooth as could be expected for a 2 stroke inline. 

 

At that point it's late fall, I also wanted to replace the lights, rollers, tires and hub bearings on the trailer which I did, ran it one last time then put it away for the winter. Fogged the motor, drained the carb bowls, fuel tanks, pulled the batteries, all the stuff. 

 

On Wednesday I filled the tanks with fresh fuel, hooked up the batteries, put on the muffs and bang, the motor started up on the first try as if it had been running 15 minutes earlier and was already warmed up. Most years it takes me a week of tinkering to get it to run properly beginning of the season.

 

In the 9 years I have owned this boat I have acquired a mini parts warehouse for this motor and a few of the fun to own special tools and the shop manual. Short of pulling the power head, over the years I have had this motor all apart including the lower drive. I would say that one of the enjoyments I get from owning this boat is having acquired a decent understanding of what makes it tick.

 

I would love to have a 1970s 20 HP Mercury to play around with. Simple and robust. I hope it brings you nothing but joy!

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