Happy Ether!

Starting fluidToday lets about about starting fluid! Thought is was a typo didn’t ya? Come on you really did. And actually not even sure there is Ether in starting fluid anymore. It used to be and now some chemist at some place made it with out ether. Regardless of the actual make up of the stuff. Is it good to use? I can tell you its saved my ass many times. But at what cost. I have read on different places that it can be harmful to our flatheads , the engines, not our actual heads, although sometimes one must question even that.

But for today we are talking about starting fluid. My guess is if you have to use it, something larger is at play? Like did you prime your pump enough. I am not talking about the first start of the year, but though out the boating season. I will add that with a 6 volt system sometimes it can help with a weak spark. Which of course gets us back to an issue that should be adressed. So starting fluid is like a temp fix? Anyway. Whats the official peanut gallery vote on starting fluid! Oh and Happy Easter!


17 replies
  1. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Well, when I didn’t know any better, I used it a couple of times and luckily didn’t blow up anything.

    On another subject: I heard from Bob Braaf last night. He and Chris Ann ( original Chris Smith’s grand daughter) who were at Tavares with their boat are apparently enjoying a cruise down the intercoastal thru the Florida Keys.

    Happy Easter !

  2. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    I grew up knowing it as the breath of life. Took a while to realize that if you need it something else needs repair.
    Here is the honest truth from down under.

  3. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    I find Starting Fluid to be like most things in life! Moderation is the key.

    Bacon on Sunday morning is wonderful! Eating a pound of it every day of the week may not be such a good idea.

    A slight blast in the throat of a Zenith updraft seems to give the extra snap to a 6V MCL every time. (I know convert to 12V, it’s been working this way for 60 years why change now)

  4. Denis D
    Denis D says:

    Never in a boat! I once used it on a cranky chevy six cylinder and after a couple of unsuccessful attempts, I gave it a final squirt and turned the key and thought a bomb had gone off under my butt. Looked under the car and the muffler was blown wide open.
    Ahh yes, young and naïve!!

    Denis D

  5. WoodyGal
    WoodyGal says:

    First start of the year always found me as a child in the boathouse with my Dad trying to start the 1947 CC Rocket. Lots of ether was involved.

    • Carroll P
      Carroll P says:

      Yes. First start of the year is the only time I use it. Otherwise I just flood the darn “W” and end up pulling the plugs and try again. It’s start with either works. In moderation. 😉

  6. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Used it on the Royal in the Red & White on the suggestion of the previous owner – it worked, but not a good idea on a boat. Finally was told (Thanks Craig!) that on the old Zeniths, one needs to verify there is gas present – use the lever on the fuel pump – then full choke for a few cranks to get it flowing and then about half-choke until it starts. So far, that is the ticket – no more ether! It helps to have the ability to turn the motor over without the ignition on to get oil and fuel flowing prior to firing it off.

  7. KentB
    KentB says:

    When the engine doesnt kick on the first crank attempt, my father-in-laws face lights up as he exclaims “Ill get the ether!”
    I always refuse his advances with the aerosol-bomb-can. And to think he was an engineer in the Automotive Industry. #facepalm

  8. Randy
    Randy says:

    Needed it at times on the Westerbeke 4-cyl diesel in my sailboat. Always made sure to crank it over a few times first to get some diesel fuel into the cylinders so it would not fire strictly on the ether shot. Only ever gave it a light shot of the stuff!

  9. Ronald
    Ronald says:

    Its the greatest ever, never be without it on a 6 volt system and sometimes on a Zenith updraft 12 volt, Just use it in moderation, magic in a can.

  10. Old Salt
    Old Salt says:

    The beginning of last season I tried to start my trusty K and for the life of me I couldn’t get it started. Ether was applied sparingly as I have done in the past but it wouldn’t start even though the starter was turning strong. As it turned out my 6 volt battery was not putting out it’s full allotment of cranking amps. I swapped the battery for a new one and it started right away. FYI if you have a Batteries Plus store by you they can test your battery as well as sell you a new 6 volt battery as well.
    Safe boating everyone!

  11. Thom Head
    Thom Head says:

    My Mercury Sensei always warned me against using ether. He said that it washes the oil off the cylinder walls leading to metal on metal. He always used WD-40, both flammable and a lubricant.

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