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View Full Version : Check Engine Light and Alarm at WOT


Jeff d
04-10-2012, 12:11 AM
Took my '00 230 VRS w/ LTR (325 hrs) out for a post de-winterization test run today.

Winterization included all the normal stuff. Oil+filter change, water drain, etc.

De-winterization included a new impeller, new belt, fluid level checks, etc.

Topped it off with 20 gallons (61 gallon tank) of non-ethanol 89 octane to try to average out the aged 87 ethanol free fuel that has been in there since about late October (w/ stabilizer).

Idled around, listened to the radio, filled up the ballast, tested the Perfect Pass at 21 MPH or so, idled around while emptying the ballast, then cruised for 5-8 mins or so. Everything was perfect up to that point.

Then I decided to open her up just to stretch her legs (I pretty much never run WOT but a couple of times per year for a minute or so). Ran at WOT for 30-45 seconds or so listening to the radio loud and life was good. Then I heard an odd thump. Not that loud but I thought I might have thrown the belt (More on this later). I immediately slowed to an idle and started checking things out. Temp was good (1 needle's width above 160), manifolds were barely warm to the touch, oil pressure was good (Maybe 40 PSI? at idle. Wherever the needle was it was normal for idle). I checked the oil (Probably the 3rd or 4th time. Still good). Belt was still on and everything looked fine so I figured I hit a water logged submerged object or something. This thump could possibly be completely unrelated to the following but I thought I should mention it.

Now I'm on high alert.

Brought her back up to 20 MPH or so and everything was fine. Kept eye on temp (Still a hair above 160) and oil pressure (80 PSI around 1/2-WOT? IIRC), and voltage (13.5 volts or so. Seems like it used to be a strong 14-14.5?). Tried WOT and after 10-15 seconds at 5,100-5,200 RPM I got a check engine light and alarm and a fuel/spark cut. Immediately slowed down and the alarm/light went off. Shut her down and double checked everything. Disconnected the water line between the manifolds to confirm water was being drawn in and circulated (at least to some extent) and a good amount of water poured out. Pulled the impeller cover and it felt fine (V-drive so I couldn't exactly look at it).

Tried WOT a couple of other times after looking around and scratching my head some more and it was almost like I was hitting a really retarded rev limiter. It would rev up to 5,200 RPM or so then alarm/light/fuel/spark cut down to 4,500 RPM. alarm/light would go off and it would rev back up to 5,200 RPM. Like a really slow acting rev limiter (FWIW this is the same prop I've always had on it which is the OEM one). I obviously didn't let it do this for more than a couple of times.

Doesn't seem like it's temp related given the fact that the temp gauge says everything's ok and the way it's acting doesn't seem indicative of an overheating condition.

Brought her home and jumped pins A & B on the diagnostic connector to get the codes where I expected all would be revealed. It had none stored. I just got 12 over and over again (Yes I waited for more than 3 repetitions).

Man, I'm being verbose. Thanks if you've read this far. Sorry, I still have more.

Here are some off season variables that are on my mind:
-I swapped out the water pump pulley for a smaller one like the new Indmar version that lines up properly. Indmar/MC discontinued it so I had to go aftermarket SBC pulley:
http://www.mastercraft.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=44371
That included a swap to a smaller circumference belt.
I don't believe this is related but it is something that has changed since the last time it ran.

-I obviously removed and reinstalled the knock sensor for winterization. I would suspect if knock was detected it would just retard the timing and not throw an CEL/Alarm though.

Here are some other suspects-
-My battery is from 2005 (Dual purpose AutoZone Marine group 27). Yeah I know I should just replace it but it's my lucky battery. Ha! I will definitely replace it if the experts say I should though. I'm pretty sure that mid last season after replacing my decrepit 51 amp alternator with a 105 amp one I've typically been seeing 14.5 volts with the engine running (Yes I did upgrade the wiring too). Today I never saw above 13.5 (Still should be sufficient, right?).

-I believe that my spark plug wires are original. So, I guess 10 year old spark plug wires could be causing some sort of misfire although I don't hear any missing (I know what that sounds like). It cruises along without missing a beat until the computer "decides" to cut fuel or spark (Whichever it does). Sparkplugs were changed midseason last year.

Any other ideas?

Thanks, Jeff

Jeff d
04-10-2012, 12:19 AM
The more I think about this it's acting exactly like if I were to turn the key off at WOT and then immediately start the engine back up (Accept the starter doesn't engage). It makes the same alarm and lights the CEL just like when I turn the key to the on position from off. So, this is pointing more to an intermittent low/loss of voltage scenario. I guess my next move will to check my grounds and connections carefully and then probably replace the 8 year old battery.

Jeff d
04-10-2012, 12:51 AM
One more minor off season change that could possibly be related. I lubricated my ignition switch with Dupont Teflon spray lube. I was having an occasional issue where the switch would stick in the "start" position and keep the starter going.

I lubed it in an attempt to resolve that but I'm wondering if it could have caused a poor connection inside. Still doesn't really make sense why it would cut in and out in a rhythmic fashion and only at WOT though.

Jeff d
04-12-2012, 07:37 PM
So, I just received my new ignition switch from SkiDim and here's something pretty crazy: The key is a 100% identical blank and cut compared to my OEM ignition switch and key from 2000. Not sure what the chances of that are. It's a Sierra part but I guess it's really a Cole-Hearse switch since that's what the branded OEM keys that came with the boat have stamped on them.

Jeff d
04-15-2012, 11:19 PM
Well, big surprise: the ignition switch didn't solve the problem. At least I won't have it sticking in the start position anymore though.

I've been reading into the proverbial fuel pump issues and found at least one other person saying that they saw this behavior right before their pump failed. It seems a bit too smooth to me to be a fuel pump problem but maybe there are very brief lulls in pressure that aren't affecting it at low speed. I have a gauge so I will check that as soon as I can get someone to drive the boat while I troubleshoot.

Has anyone else seen brief "stalls" at high speed/RPM which were the result of a bad fuel pump?

mikeg205
04-15-2012, 11:27 PM
I suggest taking it someone who can plug it in to a computer and see what the heck is going on. 5200 RPM? That seems a bit high...is that the max for your engine? Is your ECM programmed to cut back after 5200 RPM? I had a car that did the same thing...

Jeff d
04-15-2012, 11:34 PM
It's more like 5,100 RPM after driving it today. I'm bad at remembering numbers. I also need to revise my 80 PSI oil pressure. It's actually 60 at WOT. I know what a rev limiter typically acts like and this definitely isn't me hitting the rev limiter.

mtajpa
04-16-2012, 01:39 AM
My 99 Maristar 230 LTR rev limiter is at 5200 rpm I had a 14 x 20 prop repaired and they convinced me to go too 14 x 18. Bad move I was only 3/4 throttle before I was in the rev limiter. JimN told me that the Maristar needed the 14 x 20 so thats what I went back to. Mine tachs out about 5100 with the 14 x 20.

One other thing you might check is the connections at the ECM the Maristar I had didn't have a cover over the ECM which sits below the Pylon opening allowing water to drip down on top of the connectors. I found a bunch of corrosion in the J2 connector that was causing a surge when I was out 2 years ago. Got a cover from BAWS and problem solved so far.

Also the coil pack connections can develop corrosion also. I remember someone disassembling them and cleaning them to solve a high speed problem.

Hope this helps.

Jeff d
04-17-2012, 10:53 PM
Well I think I definitely need new sparkplug wires:
http://www.mastercraft.com/teamtalk/showpost.php?p=831100&postcount=7

But while doing that test I also checked fuel pressure. At key on the pump primes and pressure immediately jumps up to 42 PSI (I'm pretty sure this is right for my generation). Unfortunately it immediately drops back to 0 PSI when the pump finishes priming. When the engine's running I get a consistent 38 PSI at idle but, just like when it primes, as soon as I turn the engine off it drops immediately to 0.

Yes, I purged my fuel pressure gauge.

Also, I went ahead and tested the gauge on my truck since it's been a while since I've used it. On there it behaves as expected. Primes (to 60 PSI in this case) and holds that pressure for quite a long while. I left it on the truck for 10 minutes and it only dropped to 50 PSI. So, the gauge is good.

So, after a google search in general automotive terms this usually is a sign of a bad regulator, leaky injector or a failing pump. Does anyone have more specific info on what this behavior could indicate on one of our marine EFI engines? Is the regulator a generic automotive part or is it a MC specific one?

Jeff d
04-17-2012, 11:36 PM
Since it was only $39 shipped I went ahead and ordered an Airtex E2065 fuel pump from RockAuto. I figure that's the cheapest and most failure prone component that could cause the loss of pressure so I'm comfortable with the risk of it not fixing the problem. I will also be replacing the fuel filter while I'm in the tank.

JimN
04-17-2012, 11:42 PM
So, I just received my new ignition switch from SkiDim and here's something pretty crazy: The key is a 100% identical blank and cut compared to my OEM ignition switch and key from 2000. Not sure what the chances of that are. It's a Sierra part but I guess it's really a Cole-Hearse switch since that's what the branded OEM keys that came with the boat have stamped on them.

Remember when someone found out that GM only used a small number of keys fro all models? This is basically the same thing- you can't have a high number of varieties when you use a short key with only a small number of tumblers.

Jeff d
04-28-2012, 10:33 PM
Well, this seems to be resolved. It's hard to say definitively what it was since I didn't use the proper scientific method but I think it was like Brian B said (via PM/ his similar thread), it was moisture in the ignition coil area causing arcing and what not. Disassembled everything and applied dielectric grease then reassembled and replaced the sparkplug wires. I picked up an extra 2 MPH or so (GPS verified) and got to over 44 MPH too. I don't think I've ever gotten above 42.X before.

I'm thinking about adding a thick piece of foam weather stripping along the rear of the engine compartment where the sundeck closes. There's a little "gutter" there to try to keep the water from gushing over into the engine compartment but it's obviously not enough because it still gets wet. I'm reasonably certain it's not coming from the water pumps either because they don't leak a drop at idle or fast idle. If I seal it off to some extent then the water will either flow back out or go down the bilge vents all the way to the floor without splashing on the engine.

Checking/Cleaning the ECU connector like mtajpa said was my next move but I guess I don't need to do that now. Mine actually does have a cover over it though.

The other potentially related factor was the hardened plastic fuel line in the in tank module. It was badly and permanently kinked and had to be restricting flow by 60+%. Replaced that with a 1/4" piece of high pressure fuel injection Ethanol rated hose. Ran great today with two uncomfortably long WOT runs (I hate doing that to an engine for more than a few seconds) to be sure.

That Jegs 8.5 mm wire set and the cheap MSD crimp tool worked out great though. You have to have access to a vice to use the crimp tool but it gives an OEM quality crimp. I checked each wire after making it with an ohm meter and they were pretty much exactly 500 ohms per ft every time. I did notice when at Pep Boys last weekend that I could have gotten similar universal/DIY crimp V8 wire sets for a bit cheaper than Jegs though especially when you factory in the Jegs $10 "handling fee" after supposedly "free shipping".

HOT-4-TEACHER
05-18-2012, 09:04 AM
Good morning....I just experienced a similar issue with my "new to me" 2007 X2. We just took it out on the water to see what she could. Somewhere arond 5400 RPM, I felt a power drop and my speed reduced to 25ish MPH.

Any chance there is a rev limiter on the 07 X2?

Just before this outing, the only other change I made was install a new prop (14.75 X 15.5...recommended by OJ). Could that have any effect?

I appreciate anyone's input.

JimN
05-18-2012, 10:56 AM
Well, this seems to be resolved. It's hard to say definitively what it was since I didn't use the proper scientific method but I think it was like Brian B said (via PM/ his similar thread), it was moisture in the ignition coil area causing arcing and what not. Disassembled everything and applied dielectric grease then reassembled and replaced the sparkplug wires. I picked up an extra 2 MPH or so (GPS verified) and got to over 44 MPH too. I don't think I've ever gotten above 42.X before.

I'm thinking about adding a thick piece of foam weather stripping along the rear of the engine compartment where the sundeck closes. There's a little "gutter" there to try to keep the water from gushing over into the engine compartment but it's obviously not enough because it still gets wet. I'm reasonably certain it's not coming from the water pumps either because they don't leak a drop at idle or fast idle. If I seal it off to some extent then the water will either flow back out or go down the bilge vents all the way to the floor without splashing on the engine.

Checking/Cleaning the ECU connector like mtajpa said was my next move but I guess I don't need to do that now. Mine actually does have a cover over it though.

The other potentially related factor was the hardened plastic fuel line in the in tank module. It was badly and permanently kinked and had to be restricting flow by 60+%. Replaced that with a 1/4" piece of high pressure fuel injection Ethanol rated hose. Ran great today with two uncomfortably long WOT runs (I hate doing that to an engine for more than a few seconds) to be sure.

That Jegs 8.5 mm wire set and the cheap MSD crimp tool worked out great though. You have to have access to a vice to use the crimp tool but it gives an OEM quality crimp. I checked each wire after making it with an ohm meter and they were pretty much exactly 500 ohms per ft every time. I did notice when at Pep Boys last weekend that I could have gotten similar universal/DIY crimp V8 wire sets for a bit cheaper than Jegs though especially when you factory in the Jegs $10 "handling fee" after supposedly "free shipping".

DO NOT use the DIY crimp on wires if you don't have the correct crimper. Also, DIY wires can be problematic because these boats run at significantly higher RPM than a street-driven car and that means using an Ohmmeter to check plug wires means exactly squat. It may idle fine but at high RPM, they can't conduct high frequency and that's where a good set of plug wires really shines.

You don't need Jeg's, but you do need a good set. The OEM are from Taylor, or used to, anyway. I have a Chevy Silverado with the 5.7L TBI and bought my wires at O'Reilley's- they have a lifetime warranty and were about $35.