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Thread: 200 Sportjet engine problem. Seeking help.

  1. #1
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    Question 200 Sportjet engine problem. Seeking help.

    Well, the water's hard and my Sportjon sits out back in the cold darkness of a snowless Alaskan winter. But I think of her often. In the waning weeks of this past summer's boating season, a problem arose with the engine. I have a 2006 Sportjon with 200 hours on it. I had run the boat without incident all summer except for failure of the initial lift fuel pump. A replacement pump easily corrected that issue. However on one of my last boating trips, the engine suddenly beeped loudly and the engine cut off. I was heavily laden and running her at about 4900 RPM. I placed the shifter back in neutral, and the engine easily restarted. It would run fine until I crossed 4000 RPM and then once again the engine would beep loudly and abruptly shut down. I repeated this process about ten times with no change. The temperature gauge wasn't high, but it really never seems to move much at any time.

    I unloaded the boat. With a hand winch, I was able to roll it up on it's side to check the jet intake. It was clear. The oil was full as was the reservoir on the side of the tank. I took off both the spin-on fuel filter on the engine and inline Racor fuel filter and inspected the fuel in a glass jar. All appeared normal. I dumped it anyway and reinstalled the same filters. About 45 minutes later, I restarted the boat and opened the throttle gingerly. At 4000 RPM, she abruptly beeped and shut down. That seemed to rule out an overheating problem. (I don't have any type of heater on my boat either).

    Naturally, I was downstream from my vehicle. So, I left most of my payload behind on the bank and was then able to barely plane the boat at 3900 RPM to make it back to the launch. It ran fine at that RPM. It took about an hour. Once back at the truck, I pointed the boat upriver and opened her up to 5200 RPMs. She ran like a race craft with nary a problem! The next day, I returned downriver to retrieve my gear and ran it at all power levels without incident. I then winterized the boat and parked it for the winter. But I still think about this problem. In fact, it's eating at me.

    I called Compeau's and they basically listed four possible scenarios that could cause this problem: low oil pressure, blocked coolant line, sensor out of spec, or water in the gas. Earlier on the day of the engine malfunction, I had run the boat through some heavy weeds and had to clear the intake. However, the sudden loss of power occurred more than an hour after my last weed blockage (and the grate was clear- could I have had a micro blockage in the engine coolant system?). I was also running the engine a lot harder than usual due to my load. I usually run it between 4200 and 4400 RPMs, not at 4900.

    I am seeking advice from this forum as to what to look for as my trust in my engine is not high right now. Due to where I live, I am unable to take it to a dealer to have it checked out. How can I diagnose and correct this problem to avoid a similar failure in the future? Your thoughts?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

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    dimrod,

    The loud beep before shutdown has to mean the engineís electronic monitoring is triggering the shutdown.

    I think some of the shopís suggestions are plausible. It could be a partial blockage of cooling water that caused an actual exceedance in water temperature while the engine was generating a lot of heat under heavy load. A partial blockage might occur some time after the weed encounter you had. If thatís what happened and youíve successfully run it several times since at full power, the blockage may have freed itself.

    It might be the cooling water temperature sensor is or has become defective or overly sensitive causing false alarms. I think there may be some history of this with Sportjets. However, since youíve successfully run the engine since, the sensors would have to be intermittently defective to be the cause.

    It might be the oil injection system (if it's pressurized) detected abnormal pressure i.e. vacuum or low pressure. Check for fully secure filler caps, and clean, unblocked vents if there are any.

    It seems to me that water in the fuel would cause the engine to run badly at all RPMs or to not run at all. I donít think there would be a beep and abrupt shutdown happening simultaneously for water in the fuel. Also, you found no evidence of water in the fuel. If thereís enough water in fuel to cause a problem, your careful inspection should have found some.

    One more thing I can think of is to check the operating or repair manual and research what the monitored conditions are that cause a single beep and subsequent shutdown.

    I hope your problem is already solved, or if not, you identify and correct it. I know the uncertainty is bothersome when you want to have confidence in your engine. If you are able to run it hard another couple of times without problems, I would start to believe it was a temporary blockage that has resolved itself.

  3. #3
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    I do not know if this applies to your engine.

    I had the same indications with my DF115. I changed the water pump. Still did it. So I started clearing any and all water lines. All good. I found grass in the water bypass valve. Cleaned it up and the problem is gone.

    The temp switch is at the top of the engine. If the bypass is bypassing, water won't make it to the top of the engine. Switch tells engine to shut down.
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    Bill Hicks

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    Member KelvinG's Avatar
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    If the ECM, (Electronic Control Module) is shutting down the engine it has a reason, (or at least think it has). The ECM stores all that fault history in its memory. Haul the boat into a shop that has the Mercury DDT, (Digital Diagnostic Terminal) and look at those codes. If it was the ECM, (and it sounds like it was) those codes will tell you why. Once you know why then you can decide if its something to worry about.

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    I'd love to haul it to a shop and hook it up to a tester. However, I live off of the road system and would have to pull the engine and fly it there! So, I need to know what to check myself.. Rifleman and Dirtofak have offered some good ideas. Does anyone have any other input? Is there a place I can rent a tester?

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    Sorry, I also live off the road system so I know how that is, (but I wouldn't trade it for anything).
    I did a quick search for "rent mercury Digital Diagnostic Terminal" and came up blank. Did find one on ebay for $360.00.
    Good luck

    Quote Originally Posted by dimrod View Post
    I'd love to haul it to a shop and hook it up to a tester. However, I live off of the road system and would have to pull the engine and fly it there! So, I need to know what to check myself.. Rifleman and Dirtofak have offered some good ideas. Does anyone have any other input? Is there a place I can rent a tester?

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    I checked out the one on ebay. According to the seller, I would still need the software for my engine. I'm ignorant on this kind of thing and would want to know where to acquire that before purchasing $360 of scanner that I amy or may not be able to use. My search for software has not been fruitful so far. Any insight?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Turner View Post
    Those scan tools look like a slick unit. Have you used them?

  10. #10
    Supporting Member HMS Erne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dimrod View Post
    Well, the water's hard and my Sportjon sits out back in the cold darkness of a snowless Alaskan winter. But I think of her often. In the waning weeks of this past summer's boating season, a problem arose with the engine. I have a 2006 Sportjon with 200 hours on it. I had run the boat without incident all summer except for failure of the initial lift fuel pump. A replacement pump easily corrected that issue. However on one of my last boating trips, the engine suddenly beeped loudly and the engine cut off. I was heavily laden and running her at about 4900 RPM. I placed the shifter back in neutral, and the engine easily restarted. It would run fine until I crossed 4000 RPM and then once again the engine would beep loudly and abruptly shut down. I repeated this process about ten times with no change. The temperature gauge wasn't high, but it really never seems to move much at any time.

    I unloaded the boat. With a hand winch, I was able to roll it up on it's side to check the jet intake. It was clear. The oil was full as was the reservoir on the side of the tank. I took off both the spin-on fuel filter on the engine and inline Racor fuel filter and inspected the fuel in a glass jar. All appeared normal. I dumped it anyway and reinstalled the same filters. About 45 minutes later, I restarted the boat and opened the throttle gingerly. At 4000 RPM, she abruptly beeped and shut down. That seemed to rule out an overheating problem. (I don't have any type of heater on my boat either).

    Naturally, I was downstream from my vehicle. So, I left most of my payload behind on the bank and was then able to barely plane the boat at 3900 RPM to make it back to the launch. It ran fine at that RPM. It took about an hour. Once back at the truck, I pointed the boat upriver and opened her up to 5200 RPMs. She ran like a race craft with nary a problem! The next day, I returned downriver to retrieve my gear and ran it at all power levels without incident. I then winterized the boat and parked it for the winter. But I still think about this problem. In fact, it's eating at me.

    I called Compeau's and they basically listed four possible scenarios that could cause this problem: low oil pressure, blocked coolant line, sensor out of spec, or water in the gas. Earlier on the day of the engine malfunction, I had run the boat through some heavy weeds and had to clear the intake. However, the sudden loss of power occurred more than an hour after my last weed blockage (and the grate was clear- could I have had a micro blockage in the engine coolant system?). I was also running the engine a lot harder than usual due to my load. I usually run it between 4200 and 4400 RPMs, not at 4900.

    I am seeking advice from this forum as to what to look for as my trust in my engine is not high right now. Due to where I live, I am unable to take it to a dealer to have it checked out. How can I diagnose and correct this problem to avoid a similar failure in the future? Your thoughts?

    Thanks.

    If I get cavitations my motor will beep too. Air or junk introduced into the intake/grate the motor will over rev and beep.
    If you get it to beep at a higher RPM and the motor shuts down, at least the motor is saved The lower RPMís without shut down just means (IMHO) you havenít over rev the motor even with junk in the grate.

    Go over a few waves and you will get Cavitations and a beep. Continues the Cavitations and a shutdown will occur. (Hence a motor saving feature)

    Iíve had rocks in my grate and if I got over a higher RPM (beep), but if I reduce the RPMís the motor was just fine (again w/rocks in my grate). Clear the junk from the grate and all is good again.

    My understanding how a JET works (correct me if Iím wrong) is an empty boat or an overweight boat has no effect on the amount of water being pushed through the jet nozzle. The effects is stepping or not stepping is caused by alot of things, but the water and HP is the same regardless of weight in the boat.

    Can you re-produce the problem; what you said was you didn't re-produce it once you unloaded the boat. You most likely unloaded the grate too.

    Cavitations is the real killer

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    Erne,

    Once I unloaded the boat completely, it would still beep and abruptly shutdown at the magical 4000 RPM threshold. The problem was very RPM specific. If I kept it running just under 4000 RPM, then she would run just fine. I couldn't leave my passengers and dead moose behind, so I jettisoned everything else and ran it back to the launch, holding my breath the whole way. It took about an hour. Sometimes I would loose plane in deeper water as I wasn't moving fast enough at all times to keep it on step. I didn't dare try to "test" the 4000 RPM+ range until I passed my vehicle and could motor upstream. By that time, the gremlin had disappeared and my boat ran fine. The next day, it ran without incident as well. But I wonder if the same problem will arise again in the future. Naturally if it does, I'll be many miles away from the launch DOWNSTREAM! I'm just trying to gather advice on what to check. I'd like to know what to do to solve it if it reoccurs. I'm only a backyard mechanic at best. Cavitation was not an issue.

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    Supporting Member HMS Erne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dimrod View Post
    Erne,

    Once I unloaded the boat completely, it would still beep and abruptly shutdown at the magical 4000 RPM threshold. The problem was very RPM specific. If I kept it running just under 4000 RPM, then she would run just fine. I couldn't leave my passengers and dead moose behind, so I jettisoned everything else and ran it back to the launch, holding my breath the whole way. It took about an hour. Sometimes I would loose plane in deeper water as I wasn't moving fast enough at all times to keep it on step. I didn't dare try to "test" the 4000 RPM+ range until I passed my vehicle and could motor upstream. By that time, the gremlin had disappeared and my boat ran fine. The next day, it ran without incident as well. But I wonder if the same problem will arise again in the future. Naturally if it does, I'll be many miles away from the launch DOWNSTREAM! I'm just trying to gather advice on what to check. I'd like to know what to do to solve it if it reoccurs. I'm only a backyard mechanic at best. Cavitation was not an issue.

    Since I'm just tossing ideas your way, I still think it could be Cavitations. Check the impeller for wear, that can cause cavitations at any RPM range w/beep; and if you continue running the motor a shut down.
    My other comment is you keep saying it cleared itself of the problem and wasn't re-produced (that's how I read your comments). If you fuel starve the motor at the higher RPM's (example by adding a Racor), from what I'm told by Mercury and Higher level mechanics, the 200 Opti doesn't like fuel restrictions that can cause fuel starvation to the motor; hence a shut-down. The problem with all this stuff is events change; re-producing it may or may not happen again. You add or take way after market add-ons, do all the right things and still have a problem; you get a no-go in the boat and scratch your head as you float dead in the water and ask What The........good luck

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