Wrestling with the Outboard

I was so mad about the experience I had buying my 20 hp outboard that I wrote a song about it (Mary McGuire, lyrics at the bottom).  I love my boat bling, and am proud of having rigged her remote control myself without the benefit of instructions.  What I didn’t know is that Honda doesn’t make a 27″ shaft for the 20hp model and that when I asked for the longest shaft they had, it was a 22″.

For those without outboard experience 5″ may seem like a lot of fuss over nothing, but it can make the difference in getting reasonable and reliable motion when needed. The angle of the motor was also a surprise.  The manual drawings all show a perfectly vertical motor when actually there’s a slight angle-out meant to counter the angle-in found on a whaler transom.  My sailboat transom (back end) angles-out so when mounted, the prop almost points up. The motor mount is the deepest dipping one sold, mounted to the boat at the lowest possible point with wedges sandwiched in to make the mount properly vertical.  It should have worked.

This weekend I did what I’ve been contemplating for a whole year.  I used an old backing plate that I had cut into wedges, drilled new holes in the mount and bolted the motor to the wedges and motor mount at the lowest possible point directly onto the motor mount (as opposed to clamping to the top of a tall backing plate – now removed).  I haven’t reconnected the push rods yet (they may need to be remounted farther back in the cockpit), but otherwise it looks like it should be golden.  Fingers crossed.  I’m overdue to go to the pump out, which will be the trial run for the new positioning of the motor.

Mary McGuire

Mary McGuire, you have no right to be so pissy with me.  You made an error, or two or three, when selling that outboard to me. You wouldn’t buy a car that won’t steer, so where is my tiller? You say they don’t come with one here, did your lunch include a whiskey and beer?

Mary McGuire, you’re uninformed and you make me nervous.  Where is the motor you promised me?  You get an F for customer service.  The substitute Honda isn’t all there.  You make me pay for shipping.  I need a motor so I really don’t care.  Where does it say let the buyer beware?

Mary McGuire, how did you manage to forget to ship the fine 8mm self-locking nut that holds the tensioner clip?  Have you ever even been out to sail?  I would tend to doubt it.  A serious lack of attention to detail pegs you as merely girly meat on the rail.

Mary McGuire, please don’t help me anymore.  I promise, cross my heart, not to come back to your store.  Mary McGuire it has definitely not been nice, you make West Marine look like Paradise, Mary McGuire.

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