Tips For Priming Your New Outboard Motor's Fuel Pump

If you've just bought your first boat with an outboard motor, it's important to understand the basics of the fuel pump operation. Most outboard motors are outfitted with a pump that only operates when the motor itself is running. For that to work properly, the fuel system has to be primed all the time, otherwise you won't be able to get fuel through the pump to the motor. If you experience an interruption in your fuel supply, it could be because the system lost the prime. Here's a look at what you need to know to restore it.

What Tools Should You Keep On Hand?

Keep a small tool kit accessible just in case your fuel system loses its prime. That way, you can access it quickly and get things running as fast as possible. You'll want to have some new fuel line. Invest in some of the clear plastic line so you can see the fuel as it flows through. You'll also need a set of box-end wrenches and fresh fuel.

How Do You Prime The Pump?

Start by removing the cap from the fuel tank. This ensures that the tank vents well. Check the vents built into the tank to be sure that they aren't plugged, because that can create a vacuum when the system starts drawing fuel. This prevents air from flowing back into the tank, which keeps fuel from flowing through the system. Keep the cap off the tank until you get the system flowing.

Push the primer bulb located on the fuel pump or the carburetor. You'll need to push it several times, until the bulb becomes firm when you push on it. You should visibly see fuel in the carburetor or fuel pump line.

If not, look at the length of the line that connects the tank to the pump. Loosen the clamp on the line where it connects to the pump using your wrench. Remove the line from the pump. Attach the new line to the nipple on the pump and secure the clamp. Then, place the other end of that new line onto the fuel tank connection the same way. Push the priming bulb several times again, watching for fuel to move through the line.

If you can't see any fuel in the line, that's an indication that the problem is beyond a lost prime. You'll need an outboard motor technician to evaluate that. If the problem is solely the lost prime in the system, this will restore the fuel flow and get your motor running properly again. Contact a business, such as All Seasons Honda & Peninsula Ski-Doo, for more information.