Regardless whether you are new to the world of used outboard engines or not, you will probably have come across some of the technical terms used to describe outboard motors. Below are some of the common ones you will bump into along the way:
Starter cord: Cord pulled to start the motor.
Power head: The top part of the motor containing the engine.
Transom clamp: Clamp that attaches the motor to the vertical back of the boat called the transom.
Tilt adjuster: Device above the transom clamp used to tilt and secure the motor in position.
Cavitation plate: Horizontal plate above the propeller designed to keep sufficient water over the propeller.
Choke: Used briefly when starting the motor.
Stop button or emergency ‘kill cord’: Used to stop the engine promptly.
Drive selector (gear selector): For engaging forward or reverse gears.
Throttle: Speed control.
Water impeller: A small type of propeller which circulates cooling water inside the motor.
Water outlet: Cooling water comes out of one or more holes when the motor is running, showing that water is circulating and cooling the motor.
Shear pin: A spit pin holding the propeller to the shaft. It breaks if the propeller is stopped by hitting something and needs to be replaced with a spare split pin.
Anode: Small piece of zinc usually attached to the cavitation plate to reduce corrosion.
Remote fuel tank: Fuel supply with a twistable ventilation tap on top which must be unscrewed before use and tightened again after use.
Primer bulb: A flexible bulb in the fuel line from a remote tank. This is squeezed to pump fuel into the motor before starting.
Hull: The main body of the boat, including sides, bottom and deck but not the rigging, engines, masts and other fittings.
With internet now widely accessible worldwide it has become common to find and order used outboards from specialist shops with just a few clicks of a mouse. Such purchases prove to be safe and money/time saving and the outboards are professionally maintained/tested before being sold and come with different kinds of warranty.
If you don't want to risk buying a used outboard from a private seller, I would recommend visiting such well established specialists as hardcoremarine.com (for US), casse-marine.com (for France and Mediterranean), outboards-direct.co.uk or avondale-marine.com (worldwide).
If, however, you cannot find an outboard you need from a specialist and are planning to buy one from a private seller, you need to be extra careful and inspect it inside and out before purchasing. If you are unsure, seek advise from an engineer, as buying privately offers no guarantees and could result in unexpected expenditures rectifying technical faults.