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  #1  
Old 11-07-2013, 11:07 AM
skitilldark skitilldark is offline
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Limp home /guardian mode 101

Just spent the last couple of days reading every thread in the engine section (bored, shooting tv commercials) and the issue I had with my boat this past summer is a lot more common than I originally thought. So just like some brilliant person did on this site when they created the fuel pump 101 thread, I thought we could do the same thing here. After reading so many differrent independant threads on this issue, i am realizing this issue has several different causes and is never easy to diagnose.

This issue(limp home/guardian mode) is when the boat all of a sudden will not go above 2500-3000 rpms no matter what the throttle position is. The computer of the boat is protecting the engine for some reason. Mainly temperature, throttle positioning, oil pressure or defective sensors can cause it. The check engine light comes on and the boat will not go above a Pre-determined low rpm. But, as I said earlier, this is not always the case. More often than not after reading about this issue on so many threads, the check engine light does not come on at all. And when that happens, the boat will not generate a code that the dealer can use to diagnose it. This is where the real frustrations come in and the main reason I wanted to start this thread.

Mine (209/X9 LTR 330) was a combination of low voltage and a malfunctioning perfect pass that was providing incorrect speeds (pp would read that the boat was going 65 mph when it was only going 18) into the computer which it couldn't figure out so it put the boat into limp home mode. I had quickly dismissed the perfect pass because the first time it did it to me I turned it off thinking since I couldn't control the throttle during the event, maybe it was coming from PP. When i started the boat back up it ran fine at first, but about 20 minutes later it went back into limp home. So i assumed(incorrctly) that it couldn't be the perfect pass. So i spent the rest of the summer chasing everything else. After chasing everything else and not finding the cause, I realized that even though PP may be off, it is still receiving data from the paddle wheels and is passing that data on through the system. When I completely disconnected PP, my issue was over. Hasn't been back since.

If this happens to you, it seems more often than not, the first place to look is a low voltage issue. (Hopefully jimn can weigh in on this-he helped me immensely with my issues this summer) This could be a failing boat battery, a shorted amp or other electronic elements in a stereo system, an alternator issue or just a dead short somewhere in the boats' electronics.

The second place to look is the connections on the ECM. Sometimes they can come loose, not making a secure connection. Also check the coil packs forlooseness or corrosion. That has been the cause in several other of these occurrences. In almost all of these cases, it is NOT a fuel issue even though that is where most of the threads I read started first(myself included).

There is a second cousin to this issue where people experience a surging or bogging down on full throttle hole shots. In most cases, the fuel pump is the culprit on that issue.

I'm hoping to try to save you money on buying fuel pumps, coil packs, etc to fix it only to not solve the real issue. Another frustrating thing is when the boat doesn't throw a code, the dealer will tend to recommend replacing the ECM or the computer itself. In most cases this will be a waste of money as it usually is not the problem. And like several learned the hard way, once you have fired up the computer, they will NOT refund the price you paid for it I've heard highs of $1500 and lows of $1200. That's a pretty big gamble and is almost NEVER the problem.

Anyway, others should weigh in about what they discovered as well and maybe we can save our members out there some extra headaches.
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  #2  
Old 11-07-2013, 11:17 AM
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neil.anderson63 neil.anderson63 is offline
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I had similar problem this spring - 2 battery system, 1 battery was toast and throwing boat into limp mode. Thanks for the excellent info "ski"...
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  #3  
Old 11-07-2013, 06:01 PM
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bssteven bssteven is offline
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Boat: 2005, X-2, MCX
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I'm having that problem right now. The boat (2005 X-2) is with my mechanic who before checking it out has assumed it is the TPS. I have already checked the grounds and battery and also replaced the paddle wheel just prior to this problem surfacing. I had no speed signal to PP or my analog gauge and traced it back to a faulty paddle wheel. Then when testing out that repair we found ourselves limping to the dock with a check engine light and no throttle control.
I will check back next week when I get it back from the shop.


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  #4  
Old 11-07-2013, 06:19 PM
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JimN JimN is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skitilldark View Post
Just spent the last couple of days reading every thread in the engine section (bored, shooting tv commercials) and the issue I had with my boat this past summer is a lot more common than I originally thought. So just like some brilliant person did on this site when they created the fuel pump 101 thread, I thought we could do the same thing here. After reading so many differrent independant threads on this issue, i am realizing this issue has several different causes and is never easy to diagnose.

This issue(limp home/guardian mode) is when the boat all of a sudden will not go above 2500-3000 rpms no matter what the throttle position is. The computer of the boat is protecting the engine for some reason. Mainly temperature, throttle positioning, oil pressure or defective sensors can cause it. The check engine light comes on and the boat will not go above a Pre-determined low rpm. But, as I said earlier, this is not always the case. More often than not after reading about this issue on so many threads, the check engine light does not come on at all. And when that happens, the boat will not generate a code that the dealer can use to diagnose it. This is where the real frustrations come in and the main reason I wanted to start this thread.

Mine (209/X9 LTR 330) was a combination of low voltage and a malfunctioning perfect pass that was providing incorrect speeds (pp would read that the boat was going 65 mph when it was only going 18) into the computer which it couldn't figure out so it put the boat into limp home mode. I had quickly dismissed the perfect pass because the first time it did it to me I turned it off thinking since I couldn't control the throttle during the event, maybe it was coming from PP. When i started the boat back up it ran fine at first, but about 20 minutes later it went back into limp home. So i assumed(incorrctly) that it couldn't be the perfect pass. So i spent the rest of the summer chasing everything else. After chasing everything else and not finding the cause, I realized that even though PP may be off, it is still receiving data from the paddle wheels and is passing that data on through the system. When I completely disconnected PP, my issue was over. Hasn't been back since.

If this happens to you, it seems more often than not, the first place to look is a low voltage issue. (Hopefully jimn can weigh in on this-he helped me immensely with my issues this summer) This could be a failing boat battery, a shorted amp or other electronic elements in a stereo system, an alternator issue or just a dead short somewhere in the boats' electronics.

The second place to look is the connections on the ECM. Sometimes they can come loose, not making a secure connection. Also check the coil packs forlooseness or corrosion. That has been the cause in several other of these occurrences. In almost all of these cases, it is NOT a fuel issue even though that is where most of the threads I read started first(myself included).

There is a second cousin to this issue where people experience a surging or bogging down on full throttle hole shots. In most cases, the fuel pump is the culprit on that issue.

I'm hoping to try to save you money on buying fuel pumps, coil packs, etc to fix it only to not solve the real issue. Another frustrating thing is when the boat doesn't throw a code, the dealer will tend to recommend replacing the ECM or the computer itself. In most cases this will be a waste of money as it usually is not the problem. And like several learned the hard way, once you have fired up the computer, they will NOT refund the price you paid for it I've heard highs of $1500 and lows of $1200. That's a pretty big gamble and is almost NEVER the problem.

Anyway, others should weigh in about what they discovered as well and maybe we can save our members out there some extra headaches.
FYI- what people call 'Limp Mode', Limp Home Mode and now Guardian Mode' is correctly called RPM Reduction and if it's caused by extreme temperature, it limits the engine speed to 2000 RPM, not 2500-3000 RPM. They set it to this limit for a reason- it's easy to see that the engine is only going 2000 RPM, so the first thought should be "Overheat". If the engine has throttle by wire, a faulty TPS/servo will cause the engine to default to idle, for the safety of the boat's occupants.

Unless someone has experience with these engines, their sensors & control system, they shouldn't just jump in hear first without reading a manual, not going to the internet. If the person working on it doesn't know what to look for, it's a long, frustrating and expensive process that leaves the boat owner hating their boat, complaining about the manufacturer and/or dealer and if they were to look at how much they spend trying to do it for themselves and compare it to what a dealer would charge, it's often cheaper to go to the dealer.

If the dealer isn't up to the task, the boat owners need to let them know that it won't be tolerated. Also, a dealer who's resistant to training their techs, has a revolving door hiring record and doesn't ever seem to have most of the most common parts needs to be reported to MC.
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  #5  
Old 11-07-2013, 06:20 PM
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JimN JimN is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bssteven View Post
I'm having that problem right now. The boat (2005 X-2) is with my mechanic who before checking it out has assumed it is the TPS. I have already checked the grounds and battery and also replaced the paddle wheel just prior to this problem surfacing. I had no speed signal to PP or my analog gauge and traced it back to a faulty paddle wheel. Then when testing out that repair we found ourselves limping to the dock with a check engine light and no throttle control.
I will check back next week when I get it back from the shop.


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Anyone who assumes anything WRT diagnosing a problem with one of these is a fool.
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  #6  
Old 11-07-2013, 07:22 PM
skitilldark skitilldark is offline
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Wow. JimN obviously has strong feelings about this. Understandible. Alough i feel like my dealer went above and beyond trying to diagnose this problem for me and I really appreciate their effort( three separate sessions on the water trying to get the boat to go into limp home). They did have to draw the line at some point and at that point I was a little bit on my own. This problem is so frustrating because of the lack of code that the boat throws. I REALLY wish MC could figure out a better way for the system to give the dealer better intel on where the problem is coming from. Until that happens we are all just walking around in the dark. I found my problem but only because I was totally committed to tracking it down and solving it. And I just started replacing everything until we solved it. But that is so ridiculous how much more money I could have saved if we simply had better intel from the boat's systems.
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  #7  
Old 11-07-2013, 08:09 PM
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JimN JimN is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skitilldark View Post
Wow. JimN obviously has strong feelings about this. Understandible. Alough i feel like my dealer went above and beyond trying to diagnose this problem for me and I really appreciate their effort( three separate sessions on the water trying to get the boat to go into limp home). They did have to draw the line at some point and at that point I was a little bit on my own. This problem is so frustrating because of the lack of code that the boat throws. I REALLY wish MC could figure out a better way for the system to give the dealer better intel on where the problem is coming from. Until that happens we are all just walking around in the dark. I found my problem but only because I was totally committed to tracking it down and solving it. And I just started replacing everything until we solved it. But that is so ridiculous how much more money I could have saved if we simply had better intel from the boat's systems.
There's no difference between what a MC boat shows the tech and what a GM car tech sees. The problem is in the level of training and the tech's abilities- the issue is that people who haven't been trained to work on these are working on them, so they flounder around, hoping that a solution sprouts from someone or something. Code or not, the problem is curable if the tech knows how to look without a code reader or diagnostic computer. A multi-meter can be used for all of this, along with a few specialty harnesses and parts but nothing really exotic. A diagnostic computer is only a tool- without the knowledge of the systems, it's mainly meaningless. It's not an issue of how MC makes finding codes possible- Indmar or Ilmor marinized the engines (with whatever assistance they had) and in the case of the Indmar stuff, it's off the shelf GM/Delphi parts and ECM. I haven't seen what Ilmor uses but it really doesn't matter because there's no good reason to reinvent the wheel.

The real crux of the biscuit (Frank Zappa reference) is in the knowledge of electronics and (in)ability to troubleshoot this area. Without this, the chance of finding the cause of a problem quickly is slim, at best, and the fact that it is found often relies on coincidence or persistence of the person looking for it.

I don't know what courses they offer now, but when I worked for the MC dealers, we went to a 3-day session called 'On-Water, Advanced Diagnostics', where the trainers dug through their records for the oddball problems that had come up through the years. These were all "Cranks, but doesn't fire" problems- some could have been caused by someone who didn't pay attention to all of the details and ended up making an engine fail to run. They assumed we could all diagnose a problem with the starting circuits, charging system and many other areas that were common. No guessing WRT the cause(s) of the problems was allowed and if we couldn't tell them exactly why a part needed to be replaced, they wouldn't give it to us. This class would be invaluable to techs who are working on these engines now or, really, at any time and if they aren't offering it, they should reconsider this.
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  #8  
Old 11-08-2013, 08:03 AM
skitilldark skitilldark is offline
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Boat: 2014 X-25 6.2 Ilmore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimN View Post
There's no difference between what a MC boat shows the tech and what a GM car tech sees. The problem is in the level of training and the tech's abilities- the issue is that people who haven't been trained to work on these are working on them, so they flounder around, hoping that a solution sprouts from someone or something. Code or not, the problem is curable if the tech knows how to look without a code reader or diagnostic computer. A multi-meter can be used for all of this, along with a few specialty harnesses and parts but nothing really exotic. A diagnostic computer is only a tool- without the knowledge of the systems, it's mainly meaningless. It's not an issue of how MC makes finding codes possible- Indmar or Ilmor marinized the engines (with whatever assistance they had) and in the case of the Indmar stuff, it's off the shelf GM/Delphi parts and ECM. I haven't seen what Ilmor uses but it really doesn't matter because there's no good reason to reinvent the wheel.

The real crux of the biscuit (Frank Zappa reference) is in the knowledge of electronics and (in)ability to troubleshoot this area. Without this, the chance of finding the cause of a problem quickly is slim, at best, and the fact that it is found often relies on coincidence or persistence of the person looking for it.

I don't know what courses they offer now, but when I worked for the MC dealers, we went to a 3-day session called 'On-Water, Advanced Diagnostics', where the trainers dug through their records for the oddball problems that had come up through the years. These were all "Cranks, but doesn't fire" problems- some could have been caused by someone who didn't pay attention to all of the details and ended up making an engine fail to run. They assumed we could all diagnose a problem with the starting circuits, charging system and many other areas that were common. No guessing WRT the cause(s) of the problems was allowed and if we couldn't tell them exactly why a part needed to be replaced, they wouldn't give it to us. This class would be invaluable to techs who are working on these engines now or, really, at any time and if they aren't offering it, they should reconsider this.

Well said. Without your assistance in my case I would probably STILL be searching for the problem.
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  #9  
Old 11-15-2013, 02:14 PM
dsword dsword is offline
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The engines put in our boats see much more stress than a comparable car engine. I keep thinking that part of the marinizing process should have been to put more detailed sensors and sophisticated diagnostics on the engines put in our boats.
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  #10  
Old 11-23-2013, 05:15 PM
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bssteven bssteven is offline
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Boat: 2005, X-2, MCX
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Okay so I have replaced the TPS and still in limp mode and still getting a check engine. Either that was not my issue or I was thinking the ECM may need to be reset afterwards. Any ideas?


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