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How much water should I see from tell-tale hole?

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  • How much water should I see from tell-tale hole?

    My fiance's father gave us a boat he had sitting in his backyard for about 3 years. It has a merc 140 outboard that I just got started for the first time today. Everything I read in the manual said I should see water coming from the "tell-tale" holes. I'm running it out of water with a hose thing (has two rubber cups). I turn the water on enough that there is water squirting out the sides of the cups, but not full blast. When I started it the first time, water stops squirting out the cups, but no water was coming out the tell-tale holes so I shut it off.I called her dad and he said it had been too long and wasn't sure, but that maybe it sat too long and water needed to fill all the passage ways. So I tried again and let it run for about 15 seconds, still no water so I tried to give it some throttle (till about 3500 rpm) and then I saw water start to spray out the tell-tale holes. I brought it back to idle and almost no water out the tale-tell holes.So my question is, just how much water should be coming out? On the front of my service manual, it shows a boat with a 150 going pretty fast and I can see a small stream of water coming out the tale-tell holes. Its not a jet stream of water or anything, but more than I saw on my engine.Thanks for any help!!


  • #2
    Re: How much water should I see from tell-tale hole?

    Hoss with a motor with an unknown history of waterpump maintenance, one of the first thing that is routinely done is to replace the waterpump impeller and/or rebuild the water pump. Even if it seemed that your water flow was perfect, this would be a good thing to do. Look up impeller for much discussion on this. It's a simple DIY if you have a shop manual, or about an hour or less for a pro.The tell tale stream should be steady and strong even at idle. It might be a little stronger at higer RPM, but it should be good and strong at low RPM. It might take a few seconds for it to start, but not very long.You shouldn't run the motor much above a high idle on the hose.

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    • #3
      Re: How much water should I see from tell-tale hole?

      Do make sure the tell tale holes are clear, bugs love to nest in there. String trimmer string is good to run up there to clear them. Still, as D says, it is a very good idea to replace the impeller, and a very bad idea to run without good water pumping.

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      • #4
        Re: How much water should I see from tell-tale hole?

        I have one that does similar things but why is it the stream is very low in idle with the hose but fine in idle in the water?

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        • #5
          Re: How much water should I see from tell-tale hole?

          Because a garden hose can't flow as much water as the thing can pump.-W
          If you need to reach me - study my profile

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          • #6
            Re: How much water should I see from tell-tale hole?

            Turn the hose on full blast when using the muffs. The hose will barely keep up with the demand even at idle. My tell-tale doesn't begin to whiz until the thermostat opens up.

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            • #7
              Re: How much water should I see from tell-tale hole?

              Definately change the impeller. My rig always pumped quite well, but I decided to change it out this season anyway. The impeller was stiffened, took a set, and was beginning to crack. For the minimal cost and effort, I can't imagine why a person would not change it out. Good luck...
              Project Skanky Beast http://70silverline.250free.com/Skankybeast.html

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              • #8
                Re: How much water should I see from tell-tale hole?

                my .02 is never turn the water on full blast from a hose,you can damage the seals in the water pump housing.you can once the engine starts slowly increase to a reasonable amount though Change the impeller and lower unit lube.and clean the carbs after sitting that long they have crud in them no doubt.The crud will cause a lean condition and ruin your engine Rich

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                • #9
                  Re: How much water should I see from tell-tale hole?

                  JasonJ is right, worked with a neighbor on his new old motor (25 Johnie). Since the motor pee'd well he would not put up the 15 bucks for an impeller. Later that week he overheated and upon breakdown there were pieces of the impeller everywhere. It may look fine but it is hard to see brittleness!

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                  • #10
                    Re: How much water should I see from tell-tale hole?

                    Thanks for the info! I think I will go ahead and change the impeller. I found a kit on line (new impeller and all gaskets) for ~$25. Sounds like a good piece of mind givin the cost. I will also see about making sure all the water ways are clear.

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                    • #11
                      Re: How much water should I see from tell-tale hole?

                      Just a bit of trivia.. Your motor is a 1980 year, and a real gem too...

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                      • #12
                        Re: How much water should I see from tell-tale hole?

                        Originally posted by Hossrod: I found a kit on line (new impeller and all gaskets) for ~$25.
                        Hossrod, where did you find the kit? I'd like to find a kit for my motor but haven't had any luck finding one...

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