Make sure your battery is in good shape and fully charge. This will help. Or, consdider having a good mechanic setup your carbs. Unfortunately, for many models cold weather makes for a hard starting engine. Best Regards & Tight Lines! RTC<><
First of all, Mercuries are cold natured. They also like fuel when they are starting. However, I like Mercs. My last three motors have been Mercs 150's and I have found them to be good engines. But, you do need to know how to start one.
Here's how I do it and if I follow my own instructions I typically have few problems.
Hold the choke in for 30 seconds prior to cranking.
Engage the throttle.
Turn the key while holding the choke in.
When the engine starts release the choke but be ready to tap it a few times.
See if this doesn't help.
Man those 4 cylinder 125 Mercs are good motors. Proven technology. They like their gas though. Sounds like you could benefit from some carb adjustment / work. Does it start hard in mild & warm weather or just when it is very cold? Im betting a qualified Merc. mechanic could work out the problem. Might be something as simple as a mixture adjustment.
My brother has a 200hp. Mariner (made by Mercury) and his engine all of a sudden became hard to start, turned out that one of the reed valves in the intake was cracked, and once it finaly started it smoked real bad. I'm not saying you have that problem. Try holding the choke for 5 or 10 seconds, or this spring have someone go through the carborators and adjust them. If you live in or near Suffolk Va. you might want cheak out Nasamond Marine (255-4343) owned by Gibb Chapman. He has a technician by the name of Rick Askeu, a.k.a. Rabbit who is one of the best Mercury machanics in the area. Tell them Tank sent ya. They also won't hurt your pocket book......
While you have the merc\anchor (LOL-joke)
I would try higher octane fuel with fuel boost and also a good strong battery, full charge. if you keep it out of water, never hurts during cold months to keep the ears on and go start it once a week, just like a car, dont let it sit to long.
Also make sure you have a SEPERATE fuel seperator, besides the one on the engine, keep it drained, make sure your fuel is in excelent shape, good condition.
I had several mercs, the last was a 200EFI, we never had starting problems, we had several other issues, but it started fine.
When you get to many hours on your engine and it is time to repower, go get a Suzuki, you will never worry about your engine again.. Like them so much, I am now looking at a Grand Vitari Suzuki Car. My Suburban has now 255,000 miles on her and she is 11 years old now-still running!! Original engine and tranny! Have heard excellent things about the Vitari's.
Anyone got one??
I have a 2001 Mercury 125hp Saltwater engine. I found it very hard if not impossible to start when it was new. I consulted with some friends and a shop and found that I just had to learn my engine. I found that I was not giving it enough gas, ie pump the throttle prior to starting and lots of choke. I started using quicksilver 2 cycle oil and that seemed to help but hard to tell. It seems to start easier as it gets more hours on it or maybe I am learning how to start it.
I will buy a fuel injected engine next time. I am happy with the engine and it gets good mileage. Pushing a 19ft boat all day it uses 30 gal of gas.
I too have a Merc 125 Saltwater 2001. It too is hard to start after it sits for a while. If I'm using it every day, it starts very easy, but otherwise it is a little cantankerouse. I too have found that it likes it's fuel and that if I pump it before I start it and hold in the choke, it fires up OK. I agree it is a great engine, runs really well and has plenty of power and economy.
Thanks Bottom scratcher, I puttered with it a bit and the enrichment valve was not energizing. Worked graet manually had a bad wire. A little heat shrink and solder and it starts like a champ!
I am considering a repower. that engine loves its fuel! Looking at the 150 Verado so I dont have to change controls over. From all the specs I have read as well as the consumer reports that seems to be a pretty quiet and efficient option.
I have 1 1999 Merc 125, and used to have problems with cold start. I agree with much that has been posted prior especially the mention of pumping the throttle-but I'll clarify that. I used to (think I) have to pump my throttle several times and then open it to cause the engine to rev excessively at start just to get it running. I found that ONE push of the throttle to the stop and back to idle set the engine into cold start mode and would start everytime after that. You might have to give a SLIGHT amount of throttle if the engine tries to die but then should stay running without problem. I know I must have damaged my engine doing that excessive reving, but I now know how to start easily. I also had a problem with my fuel pump, the motor would only run when you pumped the primer bulb- I took off the cowling and saw a stream of fuel running from my fuel pump each time I pumped the primer bulb. It turns out, I ruptured the diaphram in the fuel pump (some how), once that was rebuilt it ran great.
I hope this helps.
Ditto. After fixing my electrical issue all it takes is pump the ball till its hard push the key in once and turn the key. If the engine stalls I crank again and don't have to throttle it up! In years of running outboard in the CG and Navy I have learned to warm up the engines thouroughly before running them up in RPM.
Glad to hear you fixed the wire to the choke solenoid. BTW, the new E-10 fuel should keep your carbs jets cleaner than the old gas, as long as you run it once in a while.
I have the same 125 hp engine and love the fact that it only fires two cylinders when idling and trolling at low RPM. It still lets a little oil/gas into the other two cylinders for lube, but not much. Also, this engine is nothing like the 150 which sucks fuel like an old Evinrude. I can take my boat to the Triangles and only burn 20 gallons all day. Keep her til she deserves departure, may five or more years from now!
I just bought an '06 Grand Vitara with 5000 miles, Luxury edition. AWESOME vehicle with an AWESOME warranty. I have owned two Suzuki O/B's in the past and will eventually replace my Optimax with a pair of Suzukis from Doug Whalen.