View Full Version : HELP! warm starting problem

07-05-2007, 12:13 AM
I've searched this and read threads for an hour, but can't really find what I'm lloking for. Hoping someone can help.

I have an 88PS190. I have battled through numerous electrical challenges and I believe have overcome them. Today on river my warm engine would not fire. Cranked on my brand new battery for ~20 seconds, a couple of times and couldn't get a fire. Finally got it to go, but had several repeats of this event. My dilema is that I am leaving for a 10 day waterski vacation with this boat in two days. I think it ill advised to be going through major changes this close with no time to river test, etc. I've tried no gas when starting, I've tried a little gas when starting, I've tride a full shot of fuel and can't find the recipe. Checked choke, it is operating fine. I smell gas when I start after one of the extended cranking seesions. I haven't checked points and plugs because they have less than 100 hours on them and I'm leaving Saturday morning at 5:00 am. Question, is there a simple adjustment to this stock original carb that will improve my warm start. A/F mixture? I read about the spacers but would have to pull carb and hesitate to do so on eve of vacation??

Any simple adjustments discovered that worked miracles on this?

07-05-2007, 12:20 AM
Vapor lock? Try venting the engine compartment, open the engine hatch, insulate the fuel lines with insulating tape.

a heat-sock (http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/Product/tf-Browse/s-10101/Pr-p_Product.CATENTRY_ID:2005764/p-2005764/N-111+10201+600010263/c-10101), or reflective foil tape (http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/Product/tf-Browse/s-10101/Pr-p_Product.CATENTRY_ID:2006313/p-2006313/N-111+200728563+600012817/c-10101).

http://www.jcwhitney.com/wcsstore/jcwhitney/images/imagecache/G_16313G_SW_1.gif http://www.jcwhitney.com/wcsstore/jcwhitney/images/imagecache/G_15764G_SW_1.gif;pvd419a42b49842588

07-05-2007, 12:28 AM
Did the boat fire later?

07-05-2007, 08:00 AM
Check the points gap and dwell. 100 hours may be enough to cause the wedge that rides on the distributor cam to wear down to the point of the spark not being hot enough but I agree that venting the engine compartment may help.

07-05-2007, 08:53 AM
If it is only a problem when the engine is warm, my guess would be vapor lock. My 88 has a spacer between the carb and intake which I understand is to dissipate heat. I agree that insulating the fuel lines would be a good idea.

07-05-2007, 08:58 AM
If the spacer is like a wedge, it's more to level the carb. Marine motors are at more of an angle than a car or truck motor. If it's mating surfaces are parallel, it adds velocity to the fuel/air charge, which helps performance.

07-05-2007, 11:09 AM
Boat eventually starts, about the time you think you might need your oar out, and after it starts the boat run extremely well. Perfect I would say. Just don't shut it off because it won't start back up. Hmmmmm, I hat to pull carb off right before leaving for a vaca, but it sounds like the spacer has helped people. Is the tape identified above hard to locate at hardware stores? Any other suggestions? It sounds like a lot of inboard owners have battled through this one.

07-05-2007, 11:44 AM
I have always assumed this was an electric choke problem. When you shut down the motor and current is lost on the choke, it starts to cool and close. So you have a warm engine trying to start with a closed choke. If I find this is the problem, the only solution will be to replace the electric choke with a manual one, or turn the iginition on waiting a minute for the electric choke to open, and then try to start.

07-05-2007, 11:47 AM
If the motor has heat-soaked and the choke closes, it should be replaced. The hot motor should be enough to keep the choke open.

Definitely something to look into.

07-05-2007, 11:50 AM
Hmmmm.... thanks JimN

07-05-2007, 12:54 PM
You could also try Holley Tech Support and see if they can help.


07-05-2007, 01:56 PM
"about the time you think you might need your oar out, and after it starts the boat run extremely well"

Sounds like you need to get the oar out sooner, eh?:D

07-05-2007, 02:17 PM
When I check choke it is open due to the heat sink from manifold. The electric choke has passed every check I could throw at it because it was my first suspicion. I've got a new lead however.

From a holley expert that believes I am battling degradation of Holley internal gaskets. So when I shut engine off, my carb is dripping fuel into manifold, flooding engine (so to speak). My choke is wide open, but my throuttle butterflies aren't, so the recomendation is to 1. replace gaskets, or 2., start engine with WOT. I mentioned the mechanical limitation of doing so with the neutral pin pulled out and he reminded me that I can achieve WOT by pullling throttle control straight backward as well as forward. After that light bulb went on, it dawned on me that the WOT start was one combination I never tried. So, this is my new (and hopeful) solution, on the eve of vacation. This holley expert, fellow MC owner, told me his standard start approach has always been (for 26 years), pin out, WOT backwards, and pull throttle back as soon as it catches (or fires). I'm encouraged, and hope this will work. I'm also going to insulate my fuel line as recommended in earlier replies.

Carb rebuild in my future, but not tonight.

What do you all think, anybody out there start with a WOT?

07-05-2007, 03:40 PM
WOT is standard procedure for clearing a flooded engine. Always has been, probably always will be and it's SOP for injected motors, too.

07-05-2007, 04:54 PM
The trick must be bypassing the safety neutral switch. I can't put my throttle wide open unless I'm missing something, my throttle has to be straight up for my engine to crank. This in turnhas my throttle butterfiles completely shut. I agree completely that the WOT is standard approach, so I'm going to jumper my neutral safety, and try the WOT trick until I can safely rebuild. Any comments?

07-05-2007, 05:18 PM
I have this problem, although not as bad as what you describe. I used to just have to flick my '74 350 Chevy and it would come to life (it had the manifold buried bimetallic choke coil). I kind of expect that here too. My Holley is a fresh rebuild and it is still seems a tad touchy. Years ago my father used to bit*h about the Ford's electric choke. I'm still thinking it is not really coupled well to the engine needs hanging out there in the breeze. But now I have to play some more. Good to know I am not the only one fiddling. One pump or two, maybe a half.....geez.

07-05-2007, 06:58 PM
I believe if you pull the neutral pin out, the neutral safety switch should allow the engine to crank even if throttle is applied. (Not sure, because fortunately my boat's always started w/o throttle assistance)
May only work in one direction though. I helped get some girls' boat started yesterday at the ramp, engine was flooded, and it would only crank in neutral, straight up (idle), or reverse (to give throtttle and clear it out), not in forward.
You can get the heat resistant tape like that at most automotive speed shops. I've found the chian stores don't carry it by me anyway.

07-05-2007, 08:09 PM
I suspect that Thrall is right and I'll be able to do a WOT throttle position while starting by pulling throttle control backwards with pin out and neutral safety still engaged (not bypassed). I'll give it a try that way and if it shuts off the starter when I roll throttle out of the straight up position, then a bypass it will be. I would prefer not to bypass the safety if not necessary.

07-06-2007, 04:56 AM
I suspect that Thrall is right and I'll be able to do a WOT throttle position while starting by pulling throttle control backwards with pin out and neutral safety still engaged (not bypassed). I'll give it a try that way and if it shuts off the starter when I roll throttle out of the straight up position, then a bypass it will be. I would prefer not to bypass the safety if not necessary.

I seem to be facing a similar issue with a TBI as discussed in another thread. I think my injectors are dumping fuel in while sitting hot. Let us know the outcome if you try to wrap the fuel lines in insulative tape or the like.

Bruce Carr
07-06-2007, 08:37 AM
With the neutral interlock pin (at the base of the throttle lever) pulled out, you can pull the throttle lever all the way back as if going into reverse. The lever will advance the butterflies to full open throttle.

"Pumping" the throttle backwards with the interlock pin pulled is also usefull when starting a cold engine. It is much the same as pumping the gas pedal on a carbed car.

Kevin 89MC
07-13-2007, 04:57 PM
Yeah, I always cold start mine by giving it one full WOT reverse pump, and then leave the throttle in the "reverse idle" position and fire it up. I can then put a little pressure on the throttle in "reverse idle" position to keep the revs up enough to allow it to warm up all by itself (so I avoid having to hold the throttle while warming up on cool days).

I often have to give it a little shot while starting, hot or cold, and just do it in reverse so the "neutral safety switch" is still engaged. Maybe it should be called the anti-forward switch!

07-16-2007, 03:32 PM
An update. Thanks to those who offered advice and responded. Turns out my slow start had nothing to do with fuel. Found a bad lead from solenoid to starter, fixed it, fired first time every time..........(wait for it)......until, my starter went out three days later. Heavy amp draw pulled voltage to starter down to where engine would no longer crank even though the battery was fresh. Of course this occurs 12 miles from boat ramp, but a friend on the water took me and suspect starter to ramp, drove into small town USA, and the test revealed a 210 amp draw. No marine starter within 50 miles, so I slapped an auto starter in and it worked fine since. I believe the whole thing started with a bad battery, frying a lead, frying my starter. All three replaced now and everything appears to be fixed. I have the new solenoid in my tool box just in case.

I learned a lot though from the advice given here. I have also read the previous threads about marine vs auto starters, so I'm looking into rebuilding my marine or outright replace it (again). As easy as the starter comes out, if anyone has a starting issue, pull it and have it tested. Even if only to rule it out.

07-16-2007, 06:03 PM
Actually, 210 Amps is in the range for that part, according to what we were told at MC training. The draw wasn't too high but the lead was damaged when the voltage dropped. P=IE is the power formula and if the power stays relatively constant but E (voltage) drops, I (current) has no choice but to increase. The lead was sized for normal battery voltage but with the voltage drop, it failed due to excessive current flow. The loss of cross-sectional area equates to a drastic reduction in wire gauge and increases the temperature of the conductor, which naturally limits current flow. Further voltage drop and reduced current flow because of the reduction in wire gauge increases the conductor's temperature and the effect of the problems. It's a vicious cycle and turns into a chain reaction. You should look at the contacts in a solenoid when they have been beaten to death over the years. Pitted, melted, scorched, fused, dead.

07-17-2007, 04:04 PM
Thank you for the explanation. Are you thinking that my starter is ok, and a new lead may have been all I needed? The 210 amp draw was without load of course. I unfortunatley replaced starter and lead at the same time.

07-17-2007, 04:59 PM
OK, 210 Amps is high, no-load. There's really no point in changing the lead if it's been having hard start issues. The rest of the starter had been damaged by heat and would have failed soon, anyway.

07-20-2007, 03:48 PM
Just got report back from starter rebuild shop. Starter issue not related to low voltage at all. My bushings were shot, leading to armature drag and increased amp draw. Not sure where the chicken and the egg evaluation comes into play here, but all I know for sure is that I evidently had a shot starter and coincidentally had a bad lead from solenoid to starter. Random electrical coincidences..........? They always make me wonder. Boat starting like a top now, hot or cold. Yeehaw, lets go skiing.