Ah, the difference a good motor makes. When we bought our old (1982) pontoon boat, we knew within a few weeks that the 1992 Evinrude outboard was going to be our nemesis. It didn't work right all the time. After three years of tinkering we got it running great. And then, the gears and clutch started messing up. It would go in forward, but would not go in reverse. Then we got it in reverse, but couldn't get it in forward.
Even with all of the other expenses we have, Regina and I decided that a new outboard was something we wanted to buy.
Watkins Marine in Pekin, IL gave us a great deal on a 150HP Mercury 4-stroke. Wow, it is a beast of a motor. It starts every time. It goes forward. It goes backwards.
Boating is fun. Boating is easy. Boating is enjoyable - all because of having the right motor!