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Johnson 60 HP quit running

5/11/21 @ 10:44 AM
USER SINCE 6/16/03

Backing up from the dock last fall taking it out the pontoon for the winter and hit a rock and motor quit. Now it just has a clunk noise when turning key. I replaced the fuse I found in motor, new starter battery with no change. I was told crankshaft may have broken which is a possibility, but wouldnt it turn over and start at least? Shift handle is in nuetral when starting.  Anything I should look at before I bring it in for service?


5/11/21 @ 11:04 PM
USER SINCE 12/7/05

First, if there is ANY resistance when turning the prop in EITHER direction by hand, then you definitely have a problem and it more than likely is NOT electrical (unless it has electronic shift, which I assume this does not - is it a 60hp 3-cyl VRO?)...that being said, you would need to determine if the issue (resistance) is coming from the powerhead or lower unit. If there is only resistance in ONE direction, I would guess lower unit. It would take one HECK of a prop strike (high RPM) to break a crankshaft by hitting something with your prop, especially if you have an aluminum prop. Not saying it couldn't be done, but I would start with the lower unit. Also, could you have possibly broken the shifting cable? If the motor was in gear and the shifter was in gear when you hit the rock and the motor slammed out of gear, it is possible that that force could have snapped a weakened shifting  cable. That would allow your lower unit to remain in gear even though the shifting lever is in neutral. This happened to my brother-in-law a couple weeks ago. He went to start his Evinrude 175 and the motor started, but was stuck in reverse and wouldn't shift. His shifting cable had broken and was the reason. The shifter was in neutral, so the neutral switch in the control allowed the motor to turn over and start, but it wouldn't shift out of reverse. 

It sounds like this was a pretty solid prop strike at low speeds, as you were backing away from a dock with a pontoon, but the motor did stop immediately, so it wasn't a glancing blow. It is possible you stripped or sheared something in the gearcase, but I would also check to see if the shifting cable is moving the shifting arm on the starboard (right) side of the motor. If the cable is broken, they are VERY easy to replace on a pontoon as the cables are readily accessible (ie not run through the gunwale like on a fishing boat). They run $50-80 depending on the length and require minimal tools and mechanical ability to install. If it is not the cable, my guess would then move to the shifting dog or lower unit gears. These would best be worked on at a marina by experts.

Those 3-cylinder OMC outboards are built like tanks and were good, strong workhorse outboards. If you can fix it for a reasonable amount of money, I would go for it. I had a 1989 70hp VRO that I blew a cylinder on last summer. Unfortunately, it was cost-prohibitive to rebuild it and I would have missed most (if not ALL) of the boating season, so I bought a 2003 90hp Johnson to replace it. Performance-wise, the 70hp didn't hold a candle to the 90, but the 70hp was plenty of motor on my 16.5' Princecraft. It was reliable and even on the day it blew up, it started and ran strong right up until a ring stuck and it blew up. In fact, it still started and idled back to the launch on 2 of the 3 cylinders so I wasn't stranded on the lake - it just didn't have full power! Good luck and keep us posted on what you find out!

5/11/21 @ 3:56 PM

I would pull spark plugs out disconnect battery and turn flywheel by hand and watch to see it pistons move , you should be able to turn flywheel by hand easily with spark plugs removed, this would confirm any major engine damage from said rock. After that if all fuses are good and your  kill switch if you have one is good, I would double check battery connections and battery strength, a bad battery or even the slightest loose connection could cause a no start where all you hear is the clicking but no starter engagement.  That's my two cents,  but I am a mechanic by trade . 

5/11/21 @ 3:33 PM
USER SINCE 8/24/07

Solenoid?  I remember years ago in MN one day the boat wouldnt' start. Can't remember if there was any noise associated with it. But the local outboard guy was able to figure it out and replace it with only one afternoon wasted. 

5/11/21 @ 12:51 PM
USER SINCE 6/16/03

Prop does turn one way nicely, a little bit the other way than resistance which seemed normal. Barely any damage to prop but good sized rock a prior renter threw in from shore that I did not see. As far as the noise, it is coming from motor. I took off the outboard cover and all looks normal and is where I found a box saying spare fuses. Bought new fuse and replaced. No luck....  

5/11/21 @ 12:07 PM
Fish Hound
USER SINCE 1/29/02

Can you turn the prop by hand now to verify it is in neutral? Could be jammed in gear or binding even if gear shift is in neutral.

5/11/21 @ 11:58 AM
USER SINCE 12/7/17

I probably can't help. But what year is it and were is the clunk noise coming from. I had a ignition coil replaced and it came loose and it was hitting on the under side of the flywheel. 

Yeah it was my fault I guess

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