4 Common Symptoms to Detect a Bad Trigger on Your Outboard

The sole purpose of the outboard trigger is to tell the switch box when to fire. On the other hand, an improperly functioning trigger stops the engine from running or starting. Therefore, it is crucial to solve, and the first step is to recognize the symptoms of a poor trigger outboard. 

The most common symptoms of a bad trigger outboard include the engine failing to run and having no spark, engine stalling, the engine being hard to start, or the engine being low on power.

Well, this is just an overview of the symptoms of a bad trigger. Read along to know much more about it.

How Do You Know If You Need a New Trigger For Outboard?

A symptom of a bad trigger outboard would let you reckon the problem on time. So, if you can address a symptom, you can prevent the trigger from further damage. Here, we have covered the obvious symptoms of a bad trigger outboard.

Symptom 1: No Spark: Engine Fails to Run

If your outboard engine has no spark, it could signal a bad trigger. The trigger sends a signal to produce the required spark to ignite the fuel. If the trigger fails to deliver the signal, the ignition will not occur, and the engine will not start. 

Symptom 2: Hard to Start the Engine From Sitting a While

The trigger in an outboard is a crucial element that plays a crucial role in starting the engine. A bad trigger fails to send the signal properly. Therefore, no spark is produced, preventing the engine from starting.

Symptom 3: The Engine is Low on Power, or Has a Miss

If the outboard has a bad trigger issue, it creates a weak spark, resulting in inefficient fuel burning. Therefore, it will reduce the power of the engine.

Symptom 4: Engine Stalling

The bad trigger of your outboard is also responsible for stalling. If it happens just once or twice, you might just ignore it. However, persistent stalling indicates that you have a trigger-related issue.

Possible Causes of a Trigger Failure on an Outboard Engine

If you know the causes of a trigger failure on an outboard engine, you can actually prevent it from further damage. So, here we have covered the reasons for a trigger to go bad.

  • A very common reason for this is temperature fluctuations or imbalance and internal failures.
  • The wire insulation gets old and crumbles off.
  • There might be a poor connection of the boat’s battery, leading to this.
  • Fuel line twists could be another cause of a bad trigger outboard.
  • An overheating engine is another common reason for a faulty outboard trigger.
  • Ignition switch failure would lead to this issue over time.
  • Propeller damage and internal wiring issues could result in a faulty trigger outboard.

Replacement And Repair Costs of Outboard Bad Trigger

The cost of fixing bad trigger issues depends on many factors. For example, sometimes cleaning and replacing may solve the issue. If you see that your engine is only misfiring may, be simply cleaning will fix it, which does not require any money to spend.

On the other hand, if the issue is the damage to some other parts cost of fixing may be higher. Therefore, the cost actually depends on the severity of the issue. On average, you can expect to pay at least $100 to a maximum of $1000.

Tips to Maintain the Outboard Trigger Well

Here, we have some insightful tips for you to follow to improve your outboard trigger. Follow these to prevent the trigger from any further issues.

  • You must check the fuel line at least once every week to inspect any worn-outs or cracks.
  • Keep on checking the fuel line fittings regularly, if you can. You need to ensure there are no plies or cracks in there.
  • Inspecting the outer wirings is a must. If you have good knowledge, look at the internal wirings at times.
  • You need to check the clamps on the fuel line to make sure of no corrosion or rust on that.
  • Try not to run your boat for a very long time. That means you need to take breaks if you are going long distances with your boat.
  • Do not change your boat’s outboard motor too often or without any valid reason.


The information above gave you a detailed idea about a bad trigger outboard. Here, we have tried to cover the frequently asked queries you might want to know.

What is the main function of the outboard trigger?

The main function of the outboard trigger is to help the switch box of the boat to fire on time. This enables the switch box to collect electrical energy from the motor and transfer it to all the parts of the boat.

What happens when the outboard trigger fails to function?

When the outboard trigger fails to function properly, the boat has numerous disruptions. This would lead increase in fuel consumption and other issues.

Can I fix a bad trigger outboard motor myself?

It is not encouraged to fix a bad outboard motor oneself, in general. If the rider is an expert in a mechanical field, that would be an exception. However, an amateur may cause additional hazards.

How long does an outboard trigger last?

An outboard trigger can last more than you expect. On average, this part of your boat could last up to 10 years or even more. However, you need to ensure that you count on a few tips to expect it to last long.

Can I recycle a bad trigger outboard for any other uses?

No, you can’t rely on using a bad trigger outboard for other purposes. However, defective triggers can still be recycled for use by engineers for different purposes.  

Final Words

There you have it. Hopefully, you get the idea about the symptoms of bad outboard triggers. As soon as you know the symptoms, do not take too much time evaluating them and solving the issue.

Also, you must be careful that since the symptoms may be due to some other problems like a bad ignition coil, you may need professional assistance to evaluate them properly.

Hopefully, the blog was helpful, and you have been successfully able to solve the problem.

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