Outboard Won’t Start: Evinrude E-TEC 40 50 60 65 75 90 HP

When an outboard motor will not begin to work it’s important to observe the type of starting problem the boat motor is exhibiting; e.g. outboard will not attempt to crank, motor cranks slowly but won’t fire up, or the outboard turns over but will not start.

Identifying these starting characteristics will make it easier to trace and correct faults in a motor’s mechanical or electronic system. Use this troubleshooting guide to identify possible causes and corrections when a Evinrude E-TEC outboard won’t start.

Outboard Will Not Crank


  1. Battery switch not ON. Ensure battery switch is ON and functioning correctly. Test and replace switch if needed.
  2. Discharged battery. Check battery state-of-charge, recharge or replace.
  3. Fuse (10 A). Replace faulty fuse. Check for damaged or loose wiring.
  4. Bad ground or connection. Check for loose electrical connections, bad grounds or damaged wiring.
  5. Wiring harness. Test for 12 volts at terminal “B” of key switch.
  6. Seized gearcase or powerhead. Check and repair as necessary.
  7. Faulty key switch. Test key switch operation.
  8. Starter solenoid malfunctioning. Check wiring for tightness and corrosion. Test solenoid.
  9. Drive gears/bendix or starter damaged. Check drive gears/bendix and starter.

Outboard Cranks Slowly

  1. Discharged battery. Check battery state-of-charge, recharge or replace battery if necessary.
  2. Battery connections and cables. Inspect terminals for tightness and corrosion. Check voltage drop in starter circuit.
  3. Powerhead hydro-locked. Check for signs of water in cylinders.
  4. Partially seized gear case or powerhead. Perform inspection and repair as necessary.
  5. Drive gears/bendix or starter damaged. Check drive gears/bendix and starter.

Outboard Turns Over But Won’t Start

  1. Stop circuit grounded. Ensure safety lanyard is installed properly and stop circuit is not grounded. Inspect the wiring and emergency stop switch.
  2. In gear—tiller models. Put outboard engine in neutral.
  3. No fuel. Ensure gasoline is in the fuel tank.
  4. Poor quality or contaminated fuel. Check or replace gasoline.
  5. Fuel system blockage. Inspect fuel pick-up, anti-siphon valve and primer. Using the primer, fill vapor separator with fuel.
  6. Air in fuel system. Check for trapped air in the fuel supply manifold. Refer to repair manual for vapor separator venting procedures.
  7. Insufficient fuel pressure to injectors. Test fuel manifold pressure.
  8. Incorrect spark plug gap, damaged porcelain insulator or worn centre electrode. Gap spark plugs to factory specifications, replace worn or damage plugs.
  9. Fuel injectors not receiving voltage. Test voltage at injectors.
  10. Excessive fuel or oil, engine flooded. Ensure the injectors are not leaking. Check for leaking fuel or oil lift pump. Inspect vapor separator vent for leakage.
  11. Insufficient 55 V alternator output. Test voltage on 55 V circuit. 
  12. Capacitor or 55 V circuit wiring. Check 55 V circuits and capacitor.
  13. Ignition system. Test outboard ignition system. Refer to repair manual for electrical and ignition system analysis.
  14. EMM to CPS input, no sync. Visually check RPM reading while cranking outboard motor.
  15. Fuel injector blockage or leaking fuel. Inspect injectors. Refer to fuel system analysis in etec repair manual for proper testing procedures.
  16. Ignition system malfunctioning. Test ignition system components.
  17. Crankshaft position Sensor. Check EMM LED and CPS air gap indicators.
  18. Timing or EMM program operation. Check the timing and EMM program; check ignition primary outputs; injector coefficients and monitor injector circuits.
  19. Internal engine damage. Check powerhead for damaged and repair as necessary.
  20. Leakage in intake manifold, reed valves, cylinder/crankcase. Inspect parts and replace as needed.
The information listed applies to the Evinrude eTEC 40 horsepower, 50 HP, 60 HP, 65 HP, 75 HP, 90 HP E-TEC outboard engine. Year 2012 2013 2014 2015.

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