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Hi.  I just found this board and have been lurking reading what looks like great advice.

I've got a 1996, 200HP Johnson (Model J200TXEDR) that idles rough and stalls. 

Before putting the boat in the water, I changed the spark plugs (QL78YC) gapped to .030.

Its been running rough and intermittently stalling when I changed gears Fwd to Rev, but it would get up on plane OK and had to be played with a bit at idle. 

The batteries were weak so both were replaced

I thought that it might be "bad Gas" since I had added stabil late last year and I was still using that tank full (it’s a big inbuilt tank).  So I got one of my 5 gallon cans and filled it up with high test and hooked up a jury rig from that gas can directly past the boat's primer bulb (using another hose and primer bulb) which bypassed the inbuilt tank.  I also changed the inline gas filter inside the engine compartment.

It seemed to run allot better but it would stall. Not cough, not sputter, like it had been doing.  Just stop, like you turned off the key.

All of the plugs look OK.  I tried covering each carburetor intake and the RPM would increase allot, the settle down to normal idle, which says each cylinder seems to be working OK, I think.  It appears that each carburetor and each cylinder's spark is OK, so I have avoided diddling with the carburetors.

I did find a little hair line crack in the red knob on the Primer solenoid which I repaired (it was leaking a little trickle of gas).

It still has the same problem of running marginally OK, a little rough, then just stalls.  It restarts OK, immediately, then stalls again after about 2-3 minutes, starts right back up.
What am I missing?
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I think you need to do the basics. 

Put a timing light on each plug wire and look for consistant spark.

Pull and inspect the plugs - is one really wet or fouled compared to the others ?  Then check the compression to see if all cylinders are the same - full throttle no choke - should be within 10% of each other.

If all looks fine remove and clean your carbs which is likely your problem.  During the process look for bad hoses or connections.  Numerous carb adjustments to sync them with the timing so you need a good service manual and the skill or maybe best to get the shop to do the carbs.

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Thanks for the quick response Kev.
I pulled the plugs and they all look OK and about the same degree of wetness. 
I tried putting my hand over each carb air intake, and the engine surged with each one.  I'm thinking that each cylinder has its individual carb. If that is true, and it is not a common intake manifold for multiple carbs, then each cylinder must be OK.
I've ordered the shop manual from the local library, so maybe that will give me some more hints, or tests that I can perform to isolate the problem.
Since it seems to run pretty well with the jury rigged gas can, I think my original problem was just gas.
Now I'm suspecting that I may have screwed up something in looking for the original problem.  That's one reason that I tend to shy away from just going ahead with reworking the carbs without some really good reason.
I'm suspecting something electrical now, since it just stalls, like you turned off the key, and restarts immediately.
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I think you are putting to much value on the fact that the engine rev's higher when you put your hand over each throat - this is to be expected.  A cylinder would have to have zero gas, compression or spark to be totally dead.

I would drain all the old gas and put in fresh stuff.  Discount fuel line at engine and pump the bulb till fresh gas comes out.

Your carbs have to give the precise amount of fuel at idle, medium and full throttle.  The idle jets are the smallist and clog up first.  If the carbs are dirty your engine will run but the first sign of problem is a rough idle and stalling when putting it in gear.

I would suggest cleaning the carbs making sure the float height is proper - generally the float is level with the carb turned upside down.

If you still have problems make sure that all of the external carb adjustments are correct which is going to require a good service manual or a trip to a tech.

My 93 140hp Evinrude ran perfect except it like to stall while docking.  Would start right up again everytime but the carbs needed to be perfectly cleaned and adjusted.

Good luck.

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Thanks again Kev,
I'm drifting towards the carbs too.  But when I was looking around the carbs(at what I don't look forward to doing) and the linkage to the spark advance mechanism, I noticed some black oily substance up near the starter & flywheel.
I bought a 1 3/8 inch socket to remove the flywheel, but Its apparently not that size, or its metric.  So I haven't been able to remove the flywheel yet.
Anyway, this black oily goo seems to be dripping down from the area under the flywheel.
I did bypass the gas tank by running another gas line, with another primer bulb, into a 5 gallon can.  It seemed to improve but still stalls and idles rough.
I'm still waiting for the library to deliver the shop manual.  In the mean time, I'm trying to find a rebuild kit for the carbs.
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It sounds like your stator is going bad.  Mike

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