View Full Version : Distributor caps Failing 1986 351 Windsor Motor

06-07-2013, 10:05 PM
I have an 86 Mastercraft with the 351 Windsor engine, I have had it nearly 2 years now. I have put about 250 hours on it myself. Hour Meter now shows 800 Hours. Not sure if original Hour Meter or if it had been replaced. Had 550 hour on the meter when I bought the boat. After 12 months of owning the boat all of a sudden it started running terrible. My son was driving and after shutting the boat off for me to get in after skiing it would not start. Never had any prior issues. After 20 minutes boat ran only enough to make it 1/4 mile to boat ramp. Would not Idle nor run properly at high rpm. It was backfiring and kicking and barely staying running . Eventually I was able to find the problem and it was a bad Distributor cap. That was Sept 2012. NOTE I replace spark plugs about every 50 hours as the boat will normally idle rough then the new plugs makes it run perfect again. Now June 2013, 85 more hours on boat the Distributor cap has a problem again. This time about a week ago unloaded boat from trailer, it ran fine. Got to the starting dock at our lake a 5 minute idle trip and shut it down. Again till this point it was running perfect. 20 minutes later start up to tow a Slalom set and engine will hardly stay running. Revved it up in Neutral thinking fuel issue. Engine did not run right. Shut it down and remove Distributer cap and see it has arcing line running from some of the terminals. I did not have my spare new distributer cap with me and was about to go get if from home but when I put the distributer cap back on it ran fine. Changed the Spark plugs the next time out 2 days later and seemed to run great again. Another 2 days later starts running a bit rough. This time I had the spare new Distributer cap and rotor in the boat. Put it on and boat ran perfect again. Put 2 1/2 hour on the boat today about 6 different engine runs or more. Still running perfect. Hopefully stays that way. Looking like a spare Distributer is gonna be something I start carrying in the boat. Anyone else going thru this? PS My Distributer has the electronic ignition.

06-08-2013, 12:07 AM
Have you checked the connections for the electronic ignition? This sounds more like an intermittent electrical problem than dist caps failing as they don't get better once they go bad.

06-08-2013, 09:37 AM
Thanks, I will look at that today.

06-08-2013, 10:09 AM
We have an 87' Prostar with the same motor. 3 years ago the rotor, cap, points, plugs and wires were replaced at once. We have never had an issue with the motor.

06-08-2013, 10:49 AM
What brand is the cap and rotor? How old are the plug wires? I used to see a lot of bad coil wires on 351 engines, for some reason. The rest of the wires and the cap/rotor were fine.

06-08-2013, 08:08 PM
The Distributor Cap is Crusader part number RP173081A With the Rotor that comes in that kit.

06-08-2013, 11:33 PM
If you're having problems with those Crusader parts, maybe you could try Borg Warner, or something. I have used Borg Warner for my Silverado and the Gold series parts have a lifetime warranty. Same for their plug wires.