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Old 07-19-2016, 02:06 PM
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Misfire/hesitation, brief check engine light, fine, repeats

Hi guys, I'm really hoping someone can help me try and do some preliminary troubleshooting or at least put my mind at ease. I have an appointment set to bring my boat in on the July 25th, but we're leaving on 8/5 for a week long trip with the boat and want to be confident it's running well. Hoping this may be something I can narrow down myself, but I'm not super mechanically inclined.

2003 X-2 (205V) MCX, 267 hours, well maintained. I had a full tune up done in the spring, cap, plugs, wires, fluids, etc. Boat ran great after spring tune until this past week. We were house boating and everything was great. 2nd day out I was wakesurfing, buddy was driving and the boat just turned off. No alarm, no sputter, just went off. Jumped in the boat, put it back in neutral and it fired right up. Thinking back, I did wiggle the kill switch, but it was in place. We scratched our head and continued on with our day, wakesurfing--no issues.

The next day we decided to head towards one of the marinas to get the kids some treats and do some more watersports. We had filled up just the evening before. We're cruising fine at about 25 or so and the boat hesitates for a brief second, like a misfire, I pull back stunned and then continue on. It does it again and this time I notice that while it does it, the check engine light comes on briefly. I can power through it, I can back off and the light goes off and boat runs fine for a while. We head into the marina debating on whether or not to pull the boat out. I hesitantly decide to buy a bottle of fuel injector cleaner and dump it in (taking the gas cap off) and we decide to take the boat back to the houseboat and that worst case we can tow it in. On the way back to the houseboat, the boat runs absolutely fine through the entire RPM range, for about 25-30 minutes. We hope for the best.

All vitals appear to be fine. Temp, Oil, Voltage. Oil pressure did appear on the low side while cold, but after warming up was back in range, which I'm pretty sure is normal. Checked the oil on the stick and it appears to be fine. There was never any audible alarm or RPM protection mode. Boat idles fine. I don't believe it ever happened at idle, only under slight load up to WOT.

We anchor the boat until the next day when it's time to head out and my buddy follows me in. It runs fine for a few minutes and then continues to do the same thing intermittently. This time, during one of the "mis-fires" and check engine lights, I notice that the temp gauge had dropped down to 0, but then quickly went back to 160 after the light went off and we were at idle. Temp was a consistent 160 through the entire week other than this one instance and the temp held the rest of the way back.

Could I have gotten some bad gas at one of the marinas, or water in the gas? I filled up twice at two different marinas and was at about 1/3 to half a tank each time. Vapor lock? Neither of the two shops I called to get an appointment seemed to think it was anything critical with the engine and recommended that I run the gas I have out of it and just be hyper-sensitive to any changes pulling the boat if conditions change or get worse, but I'm wondering, should I fill it back up first (I'm at about half a tank), or run down to a quarter or eighth of a tank before refilling? I never run below a half to a 1/3 of a tank due to all the horror stories with the pumps. I am the second owner and bought with 63 hours. To the best of my knowledge the fuel pump and filter has never been replaced.

Hoping someone can provide some advice here. We really want our confidence back before we head out in a couple weeks and if it's something easy that I may be missing, it would be great to at the very least provide the dealer more information.

Thank you for your time and any assistance you may be able to provide.
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Old 07-19-2016, 02:53 PM
curver900 curver900 is offline
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one option would be to remove all the gas from the gas tank and then refill at a regular auto pump.. that would eliminate the fuel as being the issue.. I would start there.. you might even find the water when you removed the fuel from the tank... if it is always happening at the same point of gas in the tank I would start there... if that doesn't fix it then go to the next step.. but my guess is water in the tank ...

the next thing is the gauge.. that could be a couple of things .. one bad ground, there is a connector corroded and or coming apart.. check all the plugs under the helm make sure all are tight.. clean all grounds check for corrosion..

Last edited by curver900; 07-21-2016 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:08 PM
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So you think I should remove what's in there, versus trying to just burn through it out on the lake or fill it back up? It's not necessarily happening at the same level in the tank. Sorry if that wasn't clear. I was just saying that I do not to ever run it below 1/3 of a tank. I will definitely check under the dash tonight. Battery connections were fine.

Would the kill switch cause both the intermittent misfires and the check engine light to come on? I wouldn't think so, but I just don't know. Seems like if it was the kill switch, it would shut off completely every time and not just hesitate/lose power briefly. Although as mentioned, it did just die completely before I started having the misfires.
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Old 07-19-2016, 04:46 PM
curver900 curver900 is offline
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short out the cut off switch... then you eliminate that...
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Old 07-19-2016, 06:18 PM
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Any ideas on what else I can check? Been trying to read up and search.

Will check:

under the dash and kill switch for loose or corroded connections.
plug/harness on top of fuel pump module
rubber ring on gas cap
re-check battery cables
check battery cable connection to alternator

Anything else I'm missing? After reading today, I'm pretty nervous about the bill I'm going to see from the dealer, which is a little frustrating after just having spent quite a bit getting it all tuned up and gone through.

Spoke with them at length yesterday on our way back and even he admitted it was going to be somewhat difficult to diagnose if there are no codes stored.

If there is something else fairly straight forward I should be checking, please advise.
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Old 07-20-2016, 05:33 PM
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Auto parts store had their fuel pressure gauge already out on loan, so I ordered one on Amazon and it will be here tomorrow. I really do not think it's the fuel pump, but I could be wrong. I just don't think it would have ran that long if it was on its way out, but I could be wrong. I have the parts to replace it and will do so if the pressure is wonky tomorrow evening.

I also bought a 5 gallon gas can, a pump and will drain the fuel tonight and check for visible contamination.

I also want to see if I can trace the wires to find the fuel pump relay and inspect. I know where they're at, but I'm not sure which of the 3 relays it is. Hopefully I can visually trace the wires and harness to figure it out.

Still hoping someone can give some advice on how best to get to the back of the kill switch. Do I really need to remove the entire side of the dash to get to the back of it?

Still need to inspect the cap and rotor, but they were just replaced in May along with new plugs and wires by mechanic.

Lastly, I'll pull the sub so I can inspect the MDC module and look for loose connections there and at the bus bar.

Will take out on the water with a fresh full tank of gas this weekend and see what I get.

Any other ideas on what to look for?
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Old 07-20-2016, 06:15 PM
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pull the plugs and see if they look normal - if they are clean (white) on the insulator then your losing fuel - and running lean.. they should look tan.

2003 - have you ever changed the fuel pump?
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Old 07-20-2016, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeg205 View Post
pull the plugs and see if they look normal - if they are clean (white) on the insulator then your losing fuel - and running lean.. they should look tan.

2003 - have you ever changed the fuel pump?
Thanks Mike for the reply.

I sill need to pull the plugs, but have that on the list. They were just replaced in May as part of a full tune and boat hasn't had many hours since then. It had been running great up until the houseboat trip this last week.

Pump has never been changed, although I do have all the parts to do so. Only 267 hours though and I've always been diligent about keeping at least ~1/3 of a tank of gas.

Pressure gauge is on its way and will be here tomorrow so I can test that on the water this weekend.
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Old 07-20-2016, 08:33 PM
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Tried to siphon the gas, but I guess the tubing was too short, or something's blocking it from going inside the tank as I couldn't get a draw on it.

***That said, if I'm going out on the water to test the fuel pressure and try to burn through what is possibly contaminated or bad gas, should I head out with what I have now (half a tank) or fill it up with premium first?

Fuel pressure gauge will be here tomorrow, so I can at least test fuel at the rails with key in on position, but won't be able to get out on the water until this weekend to test psi under load.

Just not sure if I should fill up or not, or will it really make much difference?

I visually inspected all three relays, and although I know they really need to be tested with a volt meter, they at least appeared to all be fine. Same with the 3 fuses.
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Old 07-20-2016, 09:27 PM
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pulled the subwoofer (a chore)
checked the mdc and bus for signs of loose connections or corrosion
pulled purple wires off the back of the kill switch so I could tie them off (that was a bear)

So I guess at this point, I wait for the fuel pressure gauge and hit the water. I'm not sure what else to check. Not much into pulling plugs at this point.

I'm hoping it's either crappy gas, kill switch, pump relay or pump/filter in that order.

If there's anything easy I should be looking at before heading, out this weekend, please let me know.

Also, I'm assuming it's okay to just jump a wire between the two spade terminals on the kill switch wires to close off that connection? What's weird is there were 4 terminals on the switch itself, but only two wires coming off of it when I pulled it through the back. Assuming that's normal.
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