View Full Version : Engine Stalls When Cold

06-03-2008, 08:32 PM

I just bought my first boat. It is a 1987. It has a Ford 351 in it. The engine starts up just fine but can't take a load until it warms up. As soon as I place the boat in drive or reverse the engine stalls. Does anyone have any tips as to what this could be?

I just did a tune up (New rotor, cap, condensor), timing is set 6DBTDC, Idle at neutral when warm is 1000rpm and 600rpm when warm and in drive. The electric choke setting is at the nominal setting.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


06-03-2008, 08:52 PM
I once had a 87 MC with the same problem. The previous owner did not winterize the carb correctly. I had to rebuild or replace the carborator. If you don't either drain the carb or put fuel stabilizer in the gas and run it 5 min. when winterizing, the untreated gas will gum up in their. Good luck

06-03-2008, 09:08 PM
I think this is common on boats with a carb. My '92 needed a couple of minutes with the throttle off of idle to warm it up before it would run when put in gear. It did it from day 1 and it was never a significant issue to me.:twocents:

06-03-2008, 09:21 PM
i rev 1500 to 1800 rpm's temp up to 140 before shifting,,88 powerslot
that performs like a super star

06-04-2008, 01:17 PM
My '82 S and S with the 454 Chevy and big Holley does the same thing. So, if the boat is in the slip and we're getting ready to go out, I get to the boat first and let her warm up. When I launch and she's cold.... it is what it is!... and I have to run for a couple of minutes before I can engage at idle. It's the choke. Rick

06-04-2008, 01:35 PM
I'm thinking choke also. I just had my Holley rebuilt last year and it still takes a couple minutes to warm up before I can take off. Like Rick said, it is what it is. We have boats with a carb. Let it run for a few minutes and go!


06-04-2008, 02:01 PM
choke adjustment - open motor cover when this problem occurs and remove flame arrestor and see if choke is open or closed. it should be closed some. loosen screws on black plastic electric choke coil and rotate appropriately to increase the length of time the choke stays on. I can not recall which direction it is.

carb could have some gum. clean it out with some carb cleaner, but if it runs well after warm up, I suspect it is not the carb.

idle out of gear should be lower then 1000, understand you may have it up some to compensate for the stalling. idle should be around 650 RPM when warm and out of gear.

another way to compensate is when you put it in gear, give it a little throttle before it stalls. otherwise adjust choke and/or let it warm up a little.