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View Full Version : Took my boat out for maiden voyage, had some problems


mzimme
04-03-2012, 04:15 PM
Well, last weekend I took the boat out a couple hours before sunset to see how she ran. Had a couple of issues that I hope to get straightened out. For reference, it's an '83 S&S PS.

First... heat. The guy I bought the boat from was adament about not starting the boat without a hose hooked up (which I knew about because of the impellar), but while out on the water the boat started getting hot. It got hotter at idle than it did at speed, but even at speed it kept creeping up towards the red on the guage. While in the no wake zone on my way to pull the boat out of the water, it actually creeped into the red. Needless to say I was a little worried, and I definitely had a wake in the no wake zone so I could get it to the dock and shut it down.

After some searching, I've found common issues to be transmission cooler being plugged up, and impellar being shredded. Because of how adament the previous owner was about not starting up the boat without water going to it, I have a hard time believing the impellar is bad, but the engine temps would indicate otherwise. I'll have to check out the tranny cooler for pieces of that, but was hoping someone could give me a little better description of this "screen" I need to be looking for.

Second, the boat didn't want to start after running for a bit. I shut the boat down after running it for a bit to just relax and have a cold beverage with my buddy that came out with me for this maiden voyage. After sitting a while, I tried to start it up and it acted like the battery was dead. I suppose it could have been very close to dead before I even to it out on the water, but at the dock she fired right up no problem. I did notice my amp meter sat in the 0 range the whole time. Does this mean my alternator wasn't feeding any charge to the battery? How can I test the alternator short of taking it to an auto parts store and having them put one of those load testers on it? I don't even know how I'd keep water running to the motor doing this. 5 gallon bucket? Any suggestions here? I know motors don't tend to turn over easily with a dead, or almost dead battery. I do not want to get stuck with no power out there.

Third, the rudder. I've read about preload on the rudder on these things. I noticed when my wheel was "straight" the boat went right at a pretty decent rate, while there was really no load "feel" on the steering wheel. When I wanted to keep the boat going straight, I had to turn the wheel to the left some, and there was a significant load on the rudder trying to keep it straight. Is this normal? Should I have the "no load feel" while going straight rather than a "load feel"? Some insight here would be helpful.

Thanks fellas... trying to get her all ready before it's consistently warm out.

wrobins1
04-03-2012, 04:26 PM
One option for testing the alternator would be to test the amount of voltage in the system preferable at the battery. I would test the voltage with the engine off, the engine idling, and with the engine some where around 1200 to 2000 rpms. Ideally if the alternator is charging you should see 13.5-14.5 volts. But testing with engine on and off gives you more information and does not take any time.

cbryan70
04-03-2012, 04:42 PM
If the motor is heating up you either have a clog in the cooling system somewhere or the impeller is shot. Even a worn down impeller will not pump with as much force. Take the 3 bolts of and have a look. will take about 10 min.

cbryan70
04-03-2012, 04:43 PM
What would the engine do when you cranked it while it was hot? Really slow? Could be the battery cables, battery, or the starter is starting to go bad and pulling way to much juice when it is hot.

east tx skier
04-03-2012, 04:43 PM
Even if the previous owner fed the cooling system while running the boat on a trailer, impellers are wear items and don't last forever. When was it last changed? If it was old and brittle, a dry start may have tugged the vanes off. Mark the water pump orientation, remove the pump, and take a look at the impeller. I replace mine each spring and save the old one for a spare.

On the steering load, if you are having to turn the boat left to keep it going straight, that's about normal. You should feel the load at speed, but not at idle speed. Look at your rudder to see if has been ground along the starboard trailing edge. This is a feature you may decide you don't want to be without once you get used to it.

east tx skier
04-03-2012, 04:46 PM
Take the 3 bolts of and have a look. will take about 10 min.

It's easy to install those pumps on the PCM motor upside-down, which might also explain the overheating.

A clog in the transmission cooler. If you have a sea strainer, it might not be sealing and that could cause cooling issues. The plate on your water pump might not be on correctly. Your pump belt may not have been installed correctly. One of your hose connections might be loose, letting air into the system. Check every one of these things along with the impeller.

cbryan70
04-03-2012, 04:51 PM
I swear mine is just three screws? It has been a LOOONGGG winter but i swear all i ahve to do is loosen the belt and pop off three screws. I need one of your brews.

mzimme
04-03-2012, 04:52 PM
Awesome thanks for the replies. I'll take a look when I get some free time this week or weekend.

Question, on the water pump if I remove it, will I need to replace the gasket? Has anyone done a write up on the impeller on these things that you guys know of? Pictures are worth a thousand words when it comes to stuff like this.

mzimme
04-03-2012, 04:55 PM
As for not starting well, it definitely seemed to be because of a lack of battery power. Granted, I was foolish and didn't charge the battery before I took it out, as I just assumed the previous owner had it charged. I'll actually stick it on a charger and get it to full charge to see what happens.

But yearh, I was out in the middle of the lake, sun almost setting, only a couple other boats on the water and here I was trying to savor what was left on the battery power. I was fully prepared to row that sucker in, when I finally got it to turn over. We went right home haha.

thatsmrmastercraft
04-03-2012, 04:55 PM
The engine will be more difficult to restart if it were running hot, so that may take care of itself. As far as the starting goes, If you haven't replaced the spark plugs and dist. cap & rotor, I would consider doing it soon.

I would first inspect the trans cooler, then the impeller. The high engine temp may also be caused by a faulty thermostat.

east tx skier
04-03-2012, 05:03 PM
I swear mine is just three screws? It has been a LOOONGGG winter but i swear all i ahve to do is loosen the belt and pop off three screws. I need one of your brews.

I think you can do it that way. But it's such a tight squeeze. The way I learned to do it was just to take the pump off. Doesn't take too long and is pretty easy.

Here is a walkthrough on the PCM/Jabsco impeller replacement.

Link (http://aquaskier.com/articles/impeller_replacement.htm)

mzimme
04-03-2012, 05:04 PM
What is considered normal operating temp on these boats? On a car I know it's around 210... not so sure on a boat. Where should I be expecting that guage to sit in normal working condition?

east tx skier
04-03-2012, 05:06 PM
Awesome thanks for the replies. I'll take a look when I get some free time this week or weekend.

Question, on the water pump if I remove it, will I need to replace the gasket? Has anyone done a write up on the impeller on these things that you guys know of? Pictures are worth a thousand words when it comes to stuff like this.

Check the link I just posted.

Yes, the gasket will come with the new impeller. It just sits in the groove on the inside of the pump housing. Use a little water based lubricant (yes, that stuff) to hold it in place and get the new impeller in.

mzimme
04-03-2012, 05:10 PM
Check the link I just posted.

Yes, the gasket will come with the new impeller. It just sits in the groove on the inside of the pump housing. Use a little water based lubricant (yes, that stuff) to hold it in place and get the new impeller in.

Awesome, thanks. After reading that link... my money is on the impeller. The boat wasn't used at all last season, so I'll bet the little blades were stuck to the housing and ripped a few off. That looks more than managable to change that impeller. I'll have to order one and get it done this weekend. Probably should replace it anyway even if it's not bad.

Now for the possible transmission cooler blockage. Where am I looking to find blockage at?

j.mccreight@hotmail.com
04-03-2012, 05:15 PM
What is considered normal operating temp on these boats? On a car I know it's around 210... not so sure on a boat. Where should I be expecting that guage to sit in normal working condition?

160f is normal, my 89 rides about 150...

east tx skier
04-03-2012, 05:15 PM
The transmission cooler has a screen inside of it (hull side as opposed to motor side). Pull the hose, and look up there with a flash light. You can stick your finger up there and feel around or use a piece of coat hang wire to do it. You can also use a garden hose to back flush it from the other end of the transmission cooler.

If the impeller stays in one position too long, i.e. over the winter or for a year without use), it becomes formed to the asymmetrical shape of the pump housing and becomes a less than efficient water mover. That's why I replace in the spring. If I didn't, I would remove it when I winterized and put it back in come spring.

mayo93prostar
04-03-2012, 05:28 PM
older boats like your 83 had a 140 degree thermostat so 140-150 degrees is more normal for your era boat. many times they run colder than 140. You should go throuhg east tx skier's de-winterizing checklist available at his link for FAQ. Never trust anyone else's word when you are going to be stranded out on the water. charge/check the battery, replace the impeller, run it in the driveway (with water) before going out on the lake, check spark plugs, cap and rotor, etc. The transmission cooler should be a vertical metal tube with the main water line going to it from the intake on the bilge. check the top of it for weeds or other things blocking it for the cooling issue. other things to check are to change impeller, check or change thermostat, and next is the circulation water pump could be bad but typically they leak or squeel pretty bad when gone. I used to have an 82 and now have a 93 year boat. Good luck with it. remember we like pics too to help.

mzimme
04-03-2012, 05:37 PM
Yeah, I need to take more pictures. Problem is I can't store my boat at the house, so I seldom have my decent camera with me when I'm around my boat, and my phones lens is so scratched that the pictures are worthless these days.

I appreciate all the help, sounds like I have some things to check and report back on.

bcd
04-03-2012, 09:05 PM
No one's mentioned it yet, but if your amp meter is reading 0 while the engine is running, it's not hooked up. It would be reading 12V if your alternator is charging and around 14V if it is charging (both with the engine running).

FrankSchwab
04-03-2012, 09:20 PM
I don't have an '83, but if he has an amp meter (ammeter), it'll read positive if the alternator is charging the battery, and negative if the battery is discharging. If he has a voltmeter, it should read about 12 V after sitting awhile, 14.4V if the engine is running and charging the battery. But, every voltmeter that I've seen reads low, so put a real voltmeter right on the battery posts if you really want to know what's going on.

1redTA
04-03-2012, 09:22 PM
Im pretty sure the amp meter shows amps drawn - or amps being charged + The voltmeter will show the volts being supplied by the battery when the engine is off or volts being supplied by the alt when the engine is running.

03geetee
04-03-2012, 09:31 PM
Please do yourself a favor and swap out the starter for an Arco hightorque gear reduction starter. The old 351s need a lil RPM when starting hot and if your starter is original (mine was) or just plain old save the hassle and frustration and just get a better starter. IT GETS HOT under that doghouse with little or nor airflow to cool that huge truck/van style starter that again gets no airflow. I have had the exact same issues as you did before I spent 118.00 and just throw the other anchor away.

Boat fires up instantly and will do so again and again. Get the biggest Interstate battery you can fit under the seat in the stock location with the largest CCA capacity and make sure its a cranking battery. You will be amazed at how easy your boat starts. If the boat is turning over fine but just wont fire it is your coil that is laying on the hot intake getting heat soak not allowing the juice to make it to the distributor. Spend the 50 bucks and get an epoxy filled coil from petronix (skidim has it) and it will not have this issue. Let me know whats going on and I can help you!

As others mentioned done stop there, check the cables, and connections too as even the best stuff wont work without good connections.

The cooling issue could be a number of things keep checking what others have posted and report back. Let me know if you need any other help.

Cloaked
04-03-2012, 10:01 PM
Please do yourself a favor and swap out the starter for an Arco hightorque gear reduction starter. Agreed 100%. Same experience with the new starter....

.

mzimme
04-04-2012, 12:12 AM
Please do yourself a favor and swap out the starter for an Arco hightorque gear reduction starter. The old 351s need a lil RPM when starting hot and if your starter is original (mine was) or just plain old save the hassle and frustration and just get a better starter. IT GETS HOT under that doghouse with little or nor airflow to cool that huge truck/van style starter that again gets no airflow. I have had the exact same issues as you did before I spent 118.00 and just throw the other anchor away.

Boat fires up instantly and will do so again and again. Get the biggest Interstate battery you can fit under the seat in the stock location with the largest CCA capacity and make sure its a cranking battery. You will be amazed at how easy your boat starts. If the boat is turning over fine but just wont fire it is your coil that is laying on the hot intake getting heat soak not allowing the juice to make it to the distributor. Spend the 50 bucks and get an epoxy filled coil from petronix (skidim has it) and it will not have this issue. Let me know whats going on and I can help you!

As others mentioned done stop there, check the cables, and connections too as even the best stuff wont work without good connections.

The cooling issue could be a number of things keep checking what others have posted and report back. Let me know if you need any other help.


Great suggestions... thanks. I'll be going through some things over the weekend. I have to go pull the boat from my storage spot and bring it home to work on. Neighbors don't like the boat sitting out front for too long. They're all wayyyy too old ;)

joniron1
04-04-2012, 04:34 PM
Before I replaced the engine in my 89 prostar 190 last spring I had phantom overheating problems not to mention corroded heads that squirted water out the sides from PO setting boat up for 6 yrs with semi brackish water in the motor . I fixed the heads with jb weld and just took it easy on boat and ran it for 2 fun filled summers.It would run hot if it idlled too long or ran more that 25 (we wake board so not much of an issue)mph or so and after the motor was killed to temp would start climbing rapidly untill the gauge was pegged out within 2-3 minutes. After killing it it would take 30 min to an hour before it would restart ,it would just turn over very slowly like the battery was dead. After disaasembling the motor after the new motor was installed I discovered almost every water port in the heads were clogged with impeller pieces only 1-2 water ports were not completely clogged. I probably could have only replaced the heads do to corrosion but had the heads been good it would have been pretty easy to get the impeller pieces out and solve my overheating problems.hopefully this is not the case for you ,but if youve done everything else and still are running hot its something to consider.

mzimme
04-13-2012, 09:07 PM
Well, I finally got around to cracking open the raw water pump and found this inside:


http://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u99/zimstang/IMG_3004.jpg

http://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u99/zimstang/IMG_3006.jpg

http://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u99/zimstang/IMG_3004.jpg



Not sure where the other fins that broke off are, as I only found the one in there. Hopefully they passed through and aren't clogged in the heads or something. I ran the boat in my driveway for a solid 45 minutes just idling on the hose, and the temp never creeped above 160*, so I think I tackled that problem. Hopefully that also helps with the hard starting, as it wont be heat soaked anymore. I'll have to wait and see next time I take her out.

ntidsl
04-13-2012, 11:29 PM
They are in yoiur tranny cooler! Flush it and check your hoses...they will not miraculously disappear. Just follow the water path thru the hoses...there are screens...you'll find them...good luck! Have fun!

mzimme
04-14-2012, 03:49 AM
They are in yoiur tranny cooler! Flush it and check your hoses...they will not miraculously disappear. Just follow the water path thru the hoses...there are screens...you'll find them...good luck! Have fun!

I checked the tranny cooler.... nothing there.

EricB
04-14-2012, 09:49 AM
On an 83 the tranny cooler is before the raw water pump. Parts of the impeller will be somewhere in the engine. Hopefully the circulating pump chewed the rubber parts up and allowed them to pass.
When you get back on the water, just check areas on the engine after it has run for awile for spots that seem hot. Compare one exhaust manifold to the other. Also, visually compare water flow out of each side of the exhaust when in the driveway (hooked up to water supply of course). This can give you an idea of how well the system is performing.

-V-
04-14-2012, 09:58 AM
check by the thermostat

03geetee
04-14-2012, 02:22 PM
Yeah I would suspect you might still have some issues with your cooling if that impellar looked like that. I have to really push the boat to get it above 140 on the stock guage, actually I dont think it has ever gotten above 140. Keep searching and looking for the pieces, I hope the this was the only issue for you and that she is gonna run just fine now that she is cool.

JTR

mzimme
04-14-2012, 08:59 PM
On an 83 the tranny cooler is before the raw water pump. Parts of the impeller will be somewhere in the engine. Hopefully the circulating pump chewed the rubber parts up and allowed them to pass.
When you get back on the water, just check areas on the engine after it has run for awile for spots that seem hot. Compare one exhaust manifold to the other. Also, visually compare water flow out of each side of the exhaust when in the driveway (hooked up to water supply of course). This can give you an idea of how well the system is performing.

Both exhaust ports were draining about equal amounts of water when I had it on the hose.

160* seems pretty normal when running a 143* t-stat. 17* over the tstat temperature isn't bad. If it gets much above that I'll be concerned though. I'll keep looking for those pieces too. Where is the T-stat on these?

mzimme
05-20-2012, 11:27 AM
Wanted to update on my cooling issues. After the impeller change I mentioned I only found 1 piece of the broken impeller. Well, when the boat was still getting hot after the new impeller I pulled the thermostat cover off and found the other piece of impeller blocking a major water flow port. Pulled that out, replaced the thermostat, and took it to the lake. All is well. I put a 160* in it and the boat barely went over 160*. Despite the horrific winds yesterday, we had a good day on the lake :D

JimN
05-20-2012, 11:53 AM
No one's mentioned it yet, but if your amp meter is reading 0 while the engine is running, it's not hooked up. It would be reading 12V if your alternator is charging and around 14V if it is charging (both with the engine running).

An ammeter doesn't show voltage- it shows charging and discharging, often without any numbers, other than Zero at top center.

TNPIG
05-21-2012, 10:33 AM
Wanted to update on my cooling issues. After the impeller change I mentioned I only found 1 piece of the broken impeller. Well, when the boat was still getting hot after the new impeller I pulled the thermostat cover off and found the other piece of impeller blocking a major water flow port. Pulled that out, replaced the thermostat, and took it to the lake. All is well. I put a 160* in it and the boat barely went over 160*. Despite the horrific winds yesterday, we had a good day on the lake :D

Always feels good to find problem and get a solution. When these older S&S are running good they are blast to have on the water. I'm having the same problem as you on my 84S&S in that it's a pain to start once it gets warmed up. I bought one of the ARCO starters people have been suggesting and hopefully that will work.

mzimme
05-21-2012, 11:45 AM
Always feels good to find problem and get a solution. When these older S&S are running good they are blast to have on the water. I'm having the same problem as you on my 84S&S in that it's a pain to start once it gets warmed up. I bought one of the ARCO starters people have been suggesting and hopefully that will work.

Mine starts "fine" now that it isn't heat soaked. Pretty certain that was the problem, as I never had starting issues when it wasn't getting hot.

It leaves a little to be desired in warm starts still, as it cranks fairly slowly until a certain point, then fires up. I usually have to give it a shot of gas before trying to start when warm.

81SNS
05-21-2012, 03:07 PM
Mine takes a pump of throttle to fire up as well, a friend of mine who has been a hot rod mechanic for years , rebuilt my carb last year then went out with me to fine tune it, everytime I went to hit the starter he would say, it's got a Holley pump the gas!