I recently just purchased my first 1986 15hp Evinrude. I am wondering what basic tools should I carry in a little tool box on board? What tools do you guys recommend? I bought a manual and plan on learning the in's and out's about the motor. Obviously some motor problems can be fixed with the turn of a wrench while others require some shop time. Any advice or recommendations would be appreciated!
I don't carry any tools onboard - There's not much you can do when out on the water anyway. I'm on a small lake and can get towed back in if I have a problem. My old motors are pretty reliable and I maintain them well, and have not gotten stranded in many years. I guess you could carry some extra shear/drive pins, fuses, a couple screwdrivers, pliers or channel lock if it would make you more comfortable. Even changing a shear pin is difficult when out on the water, as you just about have to get in the water to do it. Then you risk deep-sixing parts when you try to change it.
Carry another outboard in your toolbox...a kicker with enough HP to push you home and work on the motor properly. Other than that, tools to remove and clean battery terminals and maybe change spark plugs...and of course, a hammer, vicegrips, and duct tape. :-)
I would say a spare sets of spark plugs & a plug wrench & screwdriver, maybe a spare propshaft cotter pin. Also a spare starter hand crank rope. Like has been said, not a lot you can do on the water. I like to start mine the night before I go just to make sure.
As you said, most stuff that breaks requires parts but just keep basic tools, I have 2 vise grips, 2 small crecent wrenches, screw drivers, black tape a plug socket and fresh plugs, zip ties, stuff like that, it has saved me once or twice.