Problem with ethenal in outboard carb

It rotted out all my rubber parts in my Mercury 20hp jet drive, so I replaced them with a carb kit, but now its the needle valve that has swollen as is sticking. The symptoms were, hard to start, wouldn’t idle well, wouldn’t run right until I gave it half throttle or more, and last time I tried it wouldn’t start at all because it wasn’t getting gas.

Trying to buy just this needle is nearly impossible and they want too much money. It is available in some kits but cost too much since I only need the needle valve and its a pain tring to get all the right parts for right motors. While waiting for a reply from a local shop on weather they have or can order one, I had an idea and tried it and so far it works. I am soaking it in gas now to see if it swells too much again.

The solution that I am testing out is to have the needle valve into a drill and running it on a sand stone for a bit to file the size back down to where it should be. So far it seems to work great, it no longer sticks and seems to still have a good seal while in closed position.

Update: It is still sticky, I sanded down a little more and letting it soak again. I think its best to just buy a new needle. I have that thing sanded down by about 50%, therefor I must conclude that it does not “swell” as people might think, but it becomes too soft and therefore sticks real easy. If it were harder I don’t think it would stick at all. What’s funny is ethenal made all the other rubber parts become hard and brittle, but this needle with a rubber tip becomes soft…?

I still think Mercury should be responsible enough to offer these or have a recall and change them for customers. This motor is a 1995 and ethenal had been in use for ten years by then. But instead, it is very hard to but just the needle from anyone. They either want you to buy a whole kit or pay about that same amount just for the needle. Boaters sure get taken advantage of.

Update 6/15/09: Every place I check online wants $14-15 for this tiny part, and $18-20 shipping. So they want $35 for a part the size of a needle. That’s what I mean by taking advantage of boaters. This is a rip off. I am still trying to get a somewhat local dealer to order it for me but they are so busy that I seem to have to wait for a call back that hasn’t come yet after I called them twice. What a pain. Mercury doesn’t even sell parts. They actually help dealers take advantage of boaters. I know this because my water pump plate had a hole in a certain spot to make it not possible to use the reverse side, forcing me to buy a new one when the reverse side was in perfect condition.

About Dave Tackett

Dave Tackett is from Sterling Illinois. An avid fisherman since childhood, he has fished all over the Midwest, mainly the Mississippi River pools 8-19. His home waters are pools 13 & 14. After fishing Bass tournaments for many years, he gave it up to fish for Walleye year round. He now guides and fishes for fun. He likes to take photos of the scenic places he visits on the river and likes to keep a video camera running to get footage for his Walleye DVDs. Photography is now where he most of his time working, using professional DSLR cameras and lens. These photos include landscape around the Mississippi River and the Rock River, river birds like eagles heron, egrets etc.
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