View Full Version : Re-Start Need your Help-First Timer Please

07-21-2010, 01:17 PM
Guys, I see the posts and the great help and experienced ideas. I need your help! Its end of July and still havnt been out.
I have a '88 tri star 220, 454 big block chevy, holley carb, electronic ign. The boat starts right up when cold, but after it warms up it will not re-start, the engine cycles thru, like it has enough gas to start but dies out. I shoot starter fluid in the carb, and nothing, tried waiting (in case its flooded) nothing. have replaced the following:

pulled metal gas line and replaced with hose(no vapor lock)
new carb
new plugs, new dist cap, new rotor, plug wires
pictures attached
Any ides whats next ???

07-21-2010, 02:43 PM
Was it working previously or is this a new-to-you boat? If it was working previously, did anything precipitate the symptom?

Does the engine run perfect until it is turned off? Another words, is the problem only related to starting?

I assume the problem existed before the new carb and I assume the new carb is setup for that engine.

have you checked the quality of your spark when the engine is hot?

If I understand correctly, the engine sounds like it is starting but dies right after you let go of the key. When you have the key forward, you should be bypassing the ballast resistor and potentially delivering extra voltage to the coil; I am wondering if that is why it will not continue to run. I also see you have a electronic ignition module in your distributor, is it designed to use a ballast resistor (some are and others are not)?

I think the first things I would do are to 1) check/clean all of the related connections (starter, ground, coil wires, etc). You might have a voltage drop from a bad connection. 2) Put a meter on the coil and verify that the primary and secondary windings are within specifications, 3) check to be sure you are getting a good spark when the engine is hot.

07-21-2010, 02:53 PM
Make it simple. You need fire, fuel, compression, and exhaust. All of this must be done in time. If it starts cold then you have all of the above. If it will not start hot you are missing one. On your non starting hot engine pull a plug wire. Attach a spare plug. Ground it to the block where someone can see it and turn the engine over without getting shocked or starting a fire. If you observe a good--crisp--bright blue or white spark--you got fire. If you have fire --starting fluid should make boat start but a fuel problem will let it die. I suspect it is one or the other. Figure out which one then trouble shoot that problem specifically.

07-21-2010, 06:20 PM
Thanks for the feedback. yes at cold start, engine runs until turned off. Timing is good. Problem only exists on re-start after engine is warm. when warm "The engine sounds like it is starting but dies right after you let go of the key"... Yes EXACTLY. I thought it was a no gas situation but i shoot starting fluid in and still no start. So I put a clip meter on the sparkplug wires and mine just has a light that lights up( i dont have a meter. so are you saying the sprk may not be stong enough or "crisp bright blue" so I get low or no voltage when engine is hot........if thats the case whats the problem? bad coil?

07-21-2010, 07:35 PM
Coils break down when they get hot but yours doesn't act like that. Have you messed with any wiring like to the key or the coil? Does the light light up when you turn it over when it is hot and doesn't start? You need to know if it is firing when hot to trouble shoot further. If not ballast resistor if you have one could be the problem.

07-21-2010, 07:37 PM
I cannot tell for sure from the pics, so I ask, is there a spacer plate between the base of the carb and the intake? Sorta' looks like it, and there should be.

Here's what I am referring;



07-21-2010, 10:34 PM
Thanks Oldair, I will check that. bought a meter today. Cloaked, yup instl the spacer.
guys, see second pic above, should any tube be on the that capped off intake ?
Does the coil get physically hot to touch, then fail? parts said 19 bucks so what the heck I will try a new coil. This thing is wearin me down.

07-22-2010, 09:28 AM
That new meter will let you test your old coil in 5 seconds. Harder part will be finding the proper resistance specs for your specific coil (look on manufacturer's website). On that note $19 is about half what I would expect for a coil so be sure you are looking at the correct one, particularly since you have a EI installed in there.

That tube should just have a cap on it, so you are all good there.

I have never used one of those clip on lights, you may want to use a real spark plug as described in post#3 to get another data point. At this point I agree, chances are this is an electrical problem.

07-22-2010, 08:59 PM
Luv2, Oldair
metered it, popped in the new coil......eureka. Old coil was toast. You guys steered me dead on to the prob, great job, Thanks for all the help!!!

07-23-2010, 10:51 AM
Fantastic news... After all that work there is only one thing to do now... now go out and enjoy :)...