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Thread: Outboard Oil Problem

  1. #1

    Default Outboard Oil Problem

    Took my 1st shot at PWS early yesterday and came back today. I got a check engine light when I started my outboard in Pigot bay. The motor went into "limp" mode. There is a sequence of lights on the tach that flash before you hit the ignition. Thought I may have jumped the gun on that so I shut it down and started it again. This time no light and no "limp" mode...it seemed to run fine. So I get home and flush it then check the oil. The oil has turned a delightful beige color and is quite thin. I thought water initially but it actually smells like fuel. Its a '99 Evinrude 4 stroke 70 hp EE model (built by Suzuki). Before I bought it I asked around to see where I could get service if needed. Anchorage Yamaha on Spenard and Burkshore at Big lake said they had the diagnostic software. Anyone care to make a recommendation as I really don't know anything about either business. Anyone have an idea what the cause might be? Should I drain the oil? Probably a waiting list at either place so it may be a while before it gets looked at.

  2. #2
    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garyak View Post
    Took my 1st shot at PWS early yesterday and came back today. I got a check engine light when I started my outboard in Pigot bay. The motor went into "limp" mode. There is a sequence of lights on the tach that flash before you hit the ignition. Thought I may have jumped the gun on that so I shut it down and started it again. This time no light and no "limp" mode...it seemed to run fine. So I get home and flush it then check the oil. The oil has turned a delightful beige color and is quite thin. I thought water initially but it actually smells like fuel. Its a '99 Evinrude 4 stroke 70 hp EE model (built by Suzuki). Before I bought it I asked around to see where I could get service if needed. Anchorage Yamaha on Spenard and Burkshore at Big lake said they had the diagnostic software. Anyone care to make a recommendation as I really don't know anything about either business. Anyone have an idea what the cause might be? Should I drain the oil? Probably a waiting list at either place so it may be a while before it gets looked at.
    In general, boat shops operate on a first come first served basis...and that may very well mean that your boat will sit in their lot for over two weeks before they even look at it. I know several guys on this forum that are in this exact same hell right now.

  3. #3
    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    More than likely your motor won't hold the code for the problem after you shut it down. The oil light comes on when the oil pressure drops below 10 psi if I remember correctly. The motor should run around 50 PSI. Was your check engine light for oil or water temp? It's not too uncommon for an engine to flash a temporary oil light right after start up due to the huge clearances between the bearings and it take it a minute to fill it up. I'd drain the oil and see what it really looks like. It could tell you if you have a leaky head gasket or something. Hope it's an easy fix. But I feel your pain.

    Rob
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbitten View Post
    In general, boat shops operate on a first come first served basis...and that may very well mean that your boat will sit in their lot for over two weeks before they even look at it. I know several guys on this forum that are in this exact same hell right now.
    Yeah, I know...got those go nowhere fast blues. I'm thankful I didn't have to be towed in

  5. #5

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    Got some work done at Burkeshore earlier this spring and it was well worth the drive. Not cheap by any stretch, but they were upfront with the cost and kept me updated throughout the entire process. Good luck.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B View Post
    More than likely your motor won't hold the code for the problem after you shut it down. The oil light comes on when the oil pressure drops below 10 psi if I remember correctly. The motor should run around 50 PSI. Was your check engine light for oil or water temp? It's not too uncommon for an engine to flash a temporary oil light right after start up due to the huge clearances between the bearings and it take it a minute to fill it up. I'd drain the oil and see what it really looks like. It could tell you if you have a leaky head gasket or something. Hope it's an easy fix. But I feel your pain.

    Rob
    I know you do...did you get yours squared away? Just looked at the tach again... the 4 lights are: no oil, hot, check engine and low oil. It was the check engine one that stayed illuminated. Also checked around the inside of the cowling and see no evidence of leaks, etc. I changed the crankcase oil and lower unit oil before fogging last fall. It started right up and looked good Monday. Guess something just let go on the way out. I was shocked to see that dip stick...since it seemed to be running just fine....but then most things do until just before they blow up.

  7. #7
    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    I'll have mine back home Tomorrow afternoon or Friday morning. Taking her for a spin in Ship Creek tommorrow to make sure everything is good to go.
    Maybe you could change out the oil and try running it in a neaby lake or something. Maybe do a few short runs and shut her down and see if you get the alarm again. If ya do, then take it to the shop. Too many electronics on those things to be sure what it could be. Good Luck.
    27' Wooldridge Super Sport Offshore Pilothouse PRIME TIME!
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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    If it truly smells like fuel, I suspect a fuel pump or fuel related issue.

    outboard oil smells like fuel

    Read a couple of the first hits. Possibly as simple as a faulty line.
    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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    Fuel contamination of the oil will not make the oil cloudy/milky/beige, water/coolant does that and that happens by way of headgasket failure, cracked block or cracked oil cooler (no idea if your motor has an oil cooler). If a headgasket/cracked block failure, the introduction of coolant into the combustion chamber quenches the burn and the fuel injected into the faulty cylinders gets washed into the oil along with the coolant, thus creating the strong fuel odor.

  10. #10

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    Do a compression or leak down test it will tell you right away if you have a head gasket leak. That would at least help make the idea of parking your boat at a shop for weeks easier.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by mad_yaker View Post
    Do a compression or leak down test it will tell you right away if you have a head gasket leak. That would at least help make the idea of parking your boat at a shop for weeks easier.
    I just did a cold compression test. #1 125 #2 128 #3 122 #4 130. All the plugs look uniform and basically new...not fouled in any way. So here I sit with my signature blank,vacant look. What do those numbers tell you? They are pretty good, aren't they?

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    those numbers look sexy
    you have (salt)water leaking in somewhere from the cooling system
    that's nasty

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jisler View Post
    those numbers look sexy
    you have (salt)water leaking in somewhere from the cooling system
    that's nasty
    I suppose it would be a good idea to drain the contaminated oil?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garyak View Post
    I suppose it would be a good idea to drain the contaminated oil?

    Absolutely! Next, find out if that motor has an oil cooler.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by .338WM View Post
    Absolutely! Next, find out if that motor has an oil cooler.
    I have the service manual and there is no mention or image of an oil cooler. A guy at Anch. Yamaha said it might be the thermostat or a fuel pump connection plunger thingy. I'm no mechanic so I don't need to get in there and really foul things up. Also called Burkshore...both places said about 3 weeks before anyone could even look at it. Oh well, I guess that's life in the frozen North.

  16. #16

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    Those numbers look fine. I would only be concerned if any of them had ten percent or greater difference. Sorry to hear its so long out for a wrench to even look it over. In the mean time.. Had you been idling or trolling for any period of time? How many hours are on the motor? If you have not already drain the oil.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by mad_yaker View Post
    Those numbers look fine. I would only be concerned if any of them had ten percent or greater difference. Sorry to hear its so long out for a wrench to even look it over. In the mean time.. Had you been idling or trolling for any period of time? How many hours are on the motor? If you have not already drain the oil.
    I bought the motor used. Seller said it had less than 100 hours on it but that has not been verified. I put about 10 hours on it this trip and most of it was at idle out of gear. I just have 2 golf cart batteries hooked together so I had the engine idle when setting/pulling pots and for a while afterwards to be sure batteries remained charged. Is a long time at idle problematic? I drained and saved the oil this afternoon. Also, I asked about this on an engine forum and one guy said that all the plugs should be removed when doing the compression test. I did it with all plug wires disconnected but left the plugs in except for the cylinder I was checking at the time. I thought if I took all the plugs out that I'd blow oil all over the place. So if he is right about that and I didn't do it correctly, my numbers could be wrong.

  18. #18
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    Yes, all of the plugs should be out when performing a compression test, leaving them in can mask a headgasket failure for example. Also, peak compression should met at 5 or 6 revolutions no more.

  19. #19

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    Redo your test with plugs out as 338 says, no you will not blow oil everywhere. Its a fourstoke. You get a little fuel residue but keep a rag handy and you will be fine. You may want to pick up or rig a remote start switch that you can jump the starter with so you are not having to use the key. Makes it a breeze. Once you've completed that post them up!

  20. #20
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    It does not matter if it a 2 or 4 stroke it will not blow oil out its cylinders unless there something wrong.

    You also need to open the butterfly on the carburetor so the cylinders will get maximum air. This can be done by holding down the throttle when you're turning the engine over.

    Have you tested the old oil for Gas?

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