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I recently sold my 1977 16' charger deck boat with a 1977 Evinrude 115 hp outboard. I took great care of the engine, added a water/fuel seperator, kept it garaged when not in use (5-6 times per season) and when I sold it is was running great. I drove the boat over 100 miles to the person who wanted to buy it in Grenada, MS. He wanted this to try it out first, so we launched the boat and after a couple of minutes of starting and warming up (first time out after winterizing) she fired up and we ran it for 10 minutes or more at idle and on several runs of 2-3 minutes at full throttle. It ran perfectly, as it always has for me in the past. The buyer was pleased with the performance, and we did the deal. He had a 100 mile trip to get home to Jackson, MS and blew a bearing on the trailer, but other than that got home in one piece. I took a few calls from him later, one where he had wrapped something around the prop and wondered why it would idle, but would die when shifting into gear, sheesh. (thanks for being patient with this long story, but here comes the question)
Here's the problem, a week later I get this email:
"I took the boat to an Evinrude shop to have some preventative maintenance done (new water pump) and give it a general once over (check the electronics, compression and whatnot).  They have informed me that the #3 cylinder is not showing any compression and that its going to be a nice chunk of change to fix. They also informed me that this was not a problem that just showed up as something like that typically happens over a period of time.  
I am quite disappointed that I purchased a boat in good faith thinking there was nothing wrong with it but on my first run in the water after getting it home and having to fix the trailer the motor dies."
So I write him back and expressed to him that I was sorry for his problems, but as I stated earlier it was running great when I sold it to him. I also warned him that some shops are less than honest and that he might want to get a second opinion. His response follows:
"Unfortunately the # 3 cylinder is toast the walls are severely scarred..  I am having to replace the entire power head (with a warranted used one) at a cost of $1250, plus labour of $250 or so. (this was the cheapest way out as rebuilding the head was going to cost over $3000.  In all honesty I had already planned to spend about $500 on getting the carbs rebuilt, the water pump replaced and giving the motor a general thorough going over, but the $1900 total bill I am looking at is not real pleasing to me since they told me there is no way this problem just popped up the first time I put it in the water.  I am not blaming your maintenance and upkeep or your additions but you have to wonder if there was a growing problem when you bought it and since you (as a non-mechanic) did not have it checked out properly it just grew while you owned it and unfortunately died the first time I got to drive it.
If you would agree to pay half the cost of the new/used power head and labour ($750), it would give me a satisfaction of not being cheated on my first boat purchase. I guess  I should have had the boat inspected by a proper mechanic  prior to purchase, but as they say, hind sight is 20/20.

So, finally the big technical questions, since I had no signs of any problems when I sold it, is there any validity in the mechanics claims? What could cause a sudden death of #3 cylinder?
I would really appreciate some expert feedback here.
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was the right fuel mixture put in boat by new owner , not enough oil would cause quick damage

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