View Full Version : Engine Problems..

04-24-2006, 01:02 PM
Ok..I had this really detailed post and it deleted on me...So, here is the summary.

1. Running back to dock from a day on the river (no problems all day) Was running almost full throttle and had to dodge a few logs.
2. When returning to a straight path, I noticed that the fuel gauge went to empty and my motor bogged down and we came off plane.
3. Motor was shaking pretty bad along with the boat. I could throttle up and down constantly to keep the motor running but it eventually died.
4. Unhooked the amplifiers (which were running at almost peak volume at time of incident)
5. Let it sit for a few minutes and it fired right up with no problems what-so-ever. (fuel gauge went back to normal-This is why I am thinking electrical)
6. Ran it home easy, trailered, and tried to figure out the problem.....Fired right up every time.

Is this a:
-bad alternator
-fuel filter
-too much draw on from the amps (never happened in 3 years)
-tune up situation

I need to fix this because we are always having to move out of the path of barges...I dont want to have to push my boat out of this path by human power and adrenaline!


east tx skier
04-24-2006, 02:45 PM
Bump for you, Matt.

88 PS190
04-24-2006, 02:59 PM
Fuel gauge is electric. And it dropped. Its entirely possible that your alternator is going. What's the reading off the alternator at idle? Is it charging well, or kinda weak.

04-24-2006, 04:13 PM
Ill take a look at it this week and see. She is in storage during the week and I cant get out there for a few days. The funny thing is that I JUST replaced the alternator in a friends x-10 this weekend! I guess practice makes perfect. I think that you are right about the electrical. My stereo was REALLY loud when it went.....but, I was having bogging situations (slight bogging when running) last year. It is a 1995 225VRS Maristar, if that makes any difference.

04-24-2006, 04:29 PM
I would be curious to know what the charging voltage is at the battery when you have your stereo turned up and your cruising along. In other words with all the electrical systems operating just like when you had your problem the other day.

I'm thinking that you may have too much electrical load and the alternator can't meet the demand. If the alternator can't run all the electrical systems then the battery will supply it's stored charge. Until the voltage level falls to low. That might explain why you lost power after awhile, and a battery will recover after letting it rest some time.

Don't forget this also, the battery is part of the charging system. If it is old and weak it can affect alternator output.

04-24-2006, 04:32 PM
Brand new battery on board....AND I have played this same set-up (stereo) for 3 years without any problems. I did kill the amps after the bogging and it ran fine. We did go directly home after this because of barge traffic and not wanting to wake my insurance agent from a nap.

04-24-2006, 05:11 PM
Hmmmm, could be several things, did the music still sound ok when it first happened or was it distorted?If still sounded ok, I'm betting not the battery, but some loose connection that causes fuel gauge to go to E and cause the motor to have problems.

04-24-2006, 05:29 PM
Do you have a capacitor in your sound system? If your running high power amps in your sound system you need one to relieve the load off of your alt.

04-24-2006, 05:51 PM
The amps are really not that large:
JL Audio 250/1
Pioneer (maybe even factory) 120/4

The music was a little distorted now that you mention that, but I thought that could be from the volume (like usual) at high speeds.


04-24-2006, 05:55 PM
I would still looking into installing one in your system. Im only pushing 300 watts in my truck. Before I installed one I could watch the batttery gauge move. Now it never budges! I will never do an install without one. I just installed an additional 1000watt amp in my X-10 with a 1.5 Farad Capacitor. It has a Digital read out, full cranked it never drops below 13.1 Volts.

04-24-2006, 06:01 PM
I think that I will order one right now. Looks like I need to keep looking for my problem though with a volt meter. What brand do you use and where do you get it from. I have my local Stereo shop here, but if I can find one cheaper...I am all for that.

04-24-2006, 06:07 PM
For what you are running all you will need is a 1 Farad Capacitor. They install inline of your power to your amp after the fuse, very easy to install. I would recommend getting one with a digital read out so you know what your battery is putting out & charge is. Check out www.topedgeonline.com or www.cardomain.com. Im using a Kole Audio 1.5 Farad Capacitor. I paid like $85. Shop around.

04-24-2006, 09:51 PM
Is the board agreeing that the stereo made the boat bogg down? I am willing to dismiss this as a fluke unless anyone (anyone???) thinks otherwise.

I am adding a cap. and will be testing it out the boat to be certain before the weekend (season is only 6 months long in TN!). Thanks for all the help.

04-24-2006, 09:54 PM
Hm...just saw this thread. I would change the fuel filter as well....its cheap and easy to do.

04-24-2006, 09:58 PM
i have one already...just need to find time to do it. are the lines pressurized? can i just unbolt and remove the filter?

04-24-2006, 10:14 PM
My SWAG, I think there is something else going on. I've never heard of a radio bringing a boat to a halt running at full speed.

04-24-2006, 10:17 PM
i was really cutting it hard left to right when dodging the logs (dont you love how a MC feels running wide open) i may have sloshed the fuel to one side and made the engine lean out

04-24-2006, 10:19 PM
i have one already...just need to find time to do it. are the lines pressurized? can i just unbolt and remove the filter?

Unbolt it, have a small catch bin, as some will leak and there is gas in the filter, but not all that much should come out.

Make sure you put it back in the right way.

04-24-2006, 10:32 PM
any takers on the alternator is bad?

04-24-2006, 10:35 PM
That is possible, especially if you were low on gas.

i was really cutting it hard left to right when dodging the logs (dont you love how a MC feels running wide open) i may have sloshed the fuel to one side and made the engine lean out

04-24-2006, 10:36 PM
Not me. But my mechanical ability came from a Holiday inn I stayed at last year.:D

any takers on the alternator is bad?

04-24-2006, 10:53 PM
There may be an issue with one or both amps due to low voltage. When cranking the snit out of a system and there's not adequate voltage, the heat generated can melt the power and ground terminals, causing a bigger current draw. Since we don't know exactly how the system was wired, I'll assume there isn't a circuit breaker or fuse within 12" of the battery + terminal. If that's the case, the fuse on the amp would never see the short that could have caused the voltage to sag enough that the motor would want to die.

FYI- when an amp is distorting, it's:

A) Time to turn it down
B) Set the input sensitivity so it's correct
C) Make sure the charging system is adequate for the system's current draw (if it's the OEM alternator, it's not)
D) Make sure the battery terminals and all connections in the system aren't causing voltage drops

If the stereo was cranking for a long time, there's almost no chance that the battery was being charged. A high output alternator will do a lot more for this problem and adding a second battery will do more. Idling with the stereo cranked will never charge a battery. The alternator doesn't put out 14.4V until it's over 2000 RPM, usually.

Ever try to start a motor with a stiffening cap?

88 PS190
04-24-2006, 11:25 PM
Thing to think about with "its never had a problem before"

If you were at it all day, that alot of riding, alot of time w/ the boat off and starting again, and even listening w/ the engine off, get the battery low, and add to it the stereo, and then even if your alternator is only slightly too weak for your load it will have issues.

Figure fuel guages get their readings by sending current across a variable resistance and then reading the return that if your voltage drops, or you aren't making enough current that the guage should show low, and if there is a threshold value that is considered E then its even easier to see that happening.

I like what was said earlier, stick a multimeter across the battery and check your charging voltage. If you aren't reading around 14.4 like JimN's number above, w/ your radio on, you're going to have to replace the alternator.