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Thread: Unusual outboard behavior?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Palmer, AK

    Default Unusual outboard behavior?

    Yesterday, I noticed some non typical behavior from my outboard, and I'm wondering what the forum members think. I have a '98 Suzuki 85 hp, converted to a jet.
    At the Deshka landing, when I started my boat, I noticed that it was shaking quite a bit and the exhaust was sputtering. To me, these are classic signs of a plug misfiring or not firing at all. These signs weren't totally new, I saw similar symptoms back in May (last time I used it), just not as bad. I quickly changed the plugs, but the shaking persisted, enough that it made us decide not to head down river. I wen through steps to isolate the problem, including testing each plug for spark, testing each coil wire, testing each cylinder, etc. I concluded that one of the connections coming from the CDI (ignition computer box thing) was not working. Crud, 2 outta three isn't a good ratio, so w pulled the boat and headed for Southport in Big Lake, since they deal/service Suzuki. Got there, talked to a mechanic who agreed with my diagnosis, and found out a new CDI is $700!!! I decided to stomp around the parking lot while the shop was tracking down the part. A friend called, who used the boat in June while I was away, and told me "Oh yeah, it idled really rough, but ran great when I revved it up" HUH! How could that be if a cylinder isn't firing at all? So, I quickly threw the boat in the lake, and, I'll be ****ed, it did indeed run much better when in gear and opened up beyond idle. Weirdly, it didn't smooth out when I was using the choke lever to up the rpms, only when it was in gear. When I would slow down, the motor would idle smoothly for 5-10 seconds, then go back to missing and sputtering. What is up with all this? Could a motor run well on 2 out of three cylinders? Could I just have messed up the diagnosis? If so, why the rough idling?

    Jim Creek - Home of the burning car hook cast!

  2. #2
    Member Rod in Wasilla's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    um... Wasilla...


    May be a sign of the fuel pump going bad. Pumps good at higher RPM but not enough flow at idle. Might be worth a check.
    Quote Originally Posted by northwestalska
    ... you canít tell stories about the adventures you wished you had done!

  3. #3


    Agree with Rod on a potential fuel flow problem. The behavior of your outboard seems very similar to how an outboard behaves when the idle is set too low - the motor runs very rough at slow speeds and acts just like a misfire. Anyway, just an area to consider looking into.

  4. #4


    Could be a plugged pilot jet on one carb. I have had similar problems, my old boat would not run on tesoro gas of any grade. Fill up somewhere else, no problems at all. I tried to use cheap injection oil once and ran into similar problems. Easy fixes, not so easy to figure it out.

  5. #5
    Member lab man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    I really don't know much about Suzukis, but I agree with checking your idle. I've had similar problems with my 25hp merc, and a polaris snowmachine. Messing with the carbs and idle seemed to fix the issue.



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