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Old 03-19-2012, 03:44 AM   #16
BikePilot OP
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IP, the trim is a good thought and I'm sure I haven't got it exactly right, but I'm not so far off as to cause that much rpm loss. The trim tabs are stuck almost all the way up so they aren't doing much. The outdrive I can move, just can't use the gauge to see where it is. I tried putting the drive all the way down, throttle wide open then very slowly raised it until the boat started porpising and never broke 3800rpm. The merc' spec is a minimum WOT rpm of 4600 and max of 5000 with rev limiter at 5200. Tests were done with the boat pretty light (once tested with ~10 gallons of fuel in the boat and 3 people, yesterday with ~70 gallons and 2 people, essentially no gear either time) so I'd think it should max out near the top of that range, esp with the 21p prop.

I suspect I'll be the same way with the head and silent choice, but I want them to work as a matter of principle if nothing else

Already got the boat US tow gold tow service on it

I like the idea of the fixed radio, I'll try and get one pretty soon. I'll also get a GPS. For now I've relied on a smart wife holding a chart Also the channel to my house is right next to a super-tall power station that can be seen from pretty much anywhere in Tampa Bay so its easy to figure out which way is home, just gotta stay off the shallow bits.

Anyone know if the distributor is supposed to be bolted in tight or rotate around easily? Motor is essentially the same setup as the GM 502 Ramjet crate motor that hotrodders use.

Ron, I'm definitely looking into the rpm issue, it's definitely not making anywhere near full power.

Smithy, I like sailing a lot too and was in the sailing club at school for 3 years. Good fun. I decided I wanted to try out power for a bit. I think for sailing to really make sense down here I'd need time to go out in the Gulf a lot and I haven't either right now. Also I wanted to do a bit of skiing/tubing/wakeboarding and have a quick and easy way to get to the island a mile out from my house and the many waterside resturants near-by. Something with sails is most definitely in the cards sooner or later
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Old 03-19-2012, 05:26 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithy View Post
What's the price of fuel down there, and what's that thing's burn rate?







Maybe I can rig something up for him.
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Old 03-19-2012, 09:40 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by BikePilot View Post
Thanks guys

IP, the prop occurred to me too so I checked, it has a 21P Mirage prop--should be correct for the boat (or slightly under-propped) according to the manual. I'm pretty positive its not making full power. Had a quick look today and I noted that the distributor twists easily if I grab the distributor cap and twist. Maybe the timing is just way-retarded .....

The distributor should not move. While you are there see if it is mechanical advance and make sure the weights aren't rusted. Same for the carb linkage. Easy stuff first. When I bought my Shamrock she was stuck at 3600 and just would not get over that hump even after all the easy stuff including a full tuneup, carb rebuild, cleaning up the ignition advance weights and swapping the points for a breakerless ignition.

So I bought a timing light and found the timing was off by only 2 degrees (apparently set for a 351 rather than a 302). Believe it or not that 2 degrees made a huge difference. It immediately start turning almost the full rated rpm. If you have been turning the distributor it is probably off at least that much. After timing it correctly what finally got mine to rev all the way out was tracking down a tiny little vacuum leak in the PCV hoses.

Just do everything one step at a time and you will find the problem. But the exhaust issues, checking the advance weights and retiming it would be first on my to do list.
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Old 03-19-2012, 03:27 PM   #19
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Thanks, I'll definitely check it. The motor is fuel injected and the timing advanced is controlled by a computer module, but base timing is done the old fashioned way. The computer references the base, mechanically-set timing so if it isn't supposed to move, but does then the advance will be all screwed up too. I'll start by setting base timing and tightening it down and then see what it does. I also want to get some software and a cable so I can monitor everything from the laptop (or at least monitor what the computer thinks is happening).
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Old 03-19-2012, 05:02 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by BikePilot View Post
I also want to get some software and a cable so I can monitor everything from the laptop (or at least monitor what the computer thinks is happening).
Is that generation mercruiser capable of it? No idea, I haven't been boating long enough to own something from the 90's, but the latest generation smartcraft stuff is awesome. If possible, I would put it at the top of the list of things to spend money on.
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Old 03-19-2012, 06:34 PM   #21
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I was just teasing you a little, with the price of gas so hight right now. Looks like a fun little ride, hope you have a blast with it!
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Old 03-20-2012, 03:42 AM   #22
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IP, yep it is or so I've read
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:48 AM   #23
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Have you tried to determine the engine's RPM capability while the boat is out of the water, or in the water with the prop removed?
If it STILL won't rev over 3600, then you'll need to investigate further.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:32 AM   #24
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I haven't, but I'm pretty sure it'd easily rev to the limiter out of gear. I'm not crazy about spinning the motor up that high without a load though. It's most definitely not making full power so I'm investigating further anyway :) If fiddling with the timing doesn't fix it, I'll try revving it up in neutral to see what it does.
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Old 03-20-2012, 06:54 PM   #25
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You wouldn't need to hold it at "redline" for more than a second or two just to ensure the engine itself is NOT the problem. If it revs as it should, then I'd look very closely at the prop. Maker sure both the pitch AND the diameter are correct. A measily 1" over on either would be a BIG deal.
Find someone with a similar outdrive and maybe borrow a couple of props to try out.
It's not too hard to swap even while in the water. Just don't drop the nuts or prop.
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:30 AM   #26
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Played with it more this weekend. Timing was definitely way off. Retarded far enough at idle to be off the toothed reference thing (about 3" past it!). Turns out that a computer/scan tool is required to set timing properly, but I got it in the ballpark with a timing light, its around 10-12 deg at idle (complicated part is its supposed to be base of 8 plus whatever the computer wants to add to that, I can't disable the computer yet without the right software to set base, but I'm a lot closer now and will order the software Tuesday).

The timing change seems to have added a lot of power, but couldn't test very well as there was 3'+ chop in the bay and I was in danger of stuffing the bow under. I did manage to run it WOT for a very short way in following surf (rather exciting, now I want something with 6' of freeboard and a closed bow so I can play in the waves ) and saw 4100 rpm, so definite improvement and I think that a bit more distance, trim and less surf would have it revving out better still. It also jumped up on plane much more quickly than before, plus we had 2 more people on board.

Downside of fixing the timing is that now it idles at 1,100 rpm which makes no wake zones and docking a bit interesting. Idle is controlled by an idle air control valve and is not adjustable according to the manual. Linkage/cable and throttle stops are adjusted out so that they aren't holding the throttle bodies open. I'll see what the IAC is doing when I get the software and take it from there. maybe just some carbon holding it open, a vacuum leak or something.
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Old 03-25-2012, 07:51 AM   #27
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Change the dope in the lower unit.
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:06 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by BerndM View Post
Have you tried to determine the engine's RPM capability while the boat is out of the water, or in the water with the prop removed?
If it STILL won't rev over 3600, then you'll need to investigate further.
No loading a gas motor won't tell you anything. Do a compression check on it. The 454's are notorious for dropping a cylinder. Especially the raw water cooled ones that have seen salt water use.

Also check the plug wires lots of time they lay against the exhaust manifold on these engines and as they get older they arc ouT.
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Old 03-25-2012, 04:40 PM   #29
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Thanks. Was still super rough in the bay today so didn't go out. I did fix the trim tabs. The switch was bad and wasn't activating one of the solenoids. The West Marine in the 'hood had one in stock and on sale Now they both go up and down like they had good sense.

I got the timing set dead-on as per the manual (software provider told me how to jumper the connector while I wait for the full diagnostic software+cable to ship). Now idles about 1000-1050rpm so still too high. Throttle bodies are closed as they should be, seems to be the IAC motor doing the high idle on purpose. Hopefully the software will let me see what's up there.

Gimble and lower unit oil was changed November 2011 (receipts for it anyway) so should be ok (but was done by the same guy who screwed up the timing and idle which worries me a bit). Since the boat hangs on a lift and I haven't got a trailer working on the lower unit is going to be interesting

Plug wires, cap and rotor were also done by the same guy (Feb. 2012) and predictably they are just flopping around. I'll get retainers and tidy them up. They are oem merc stuff.

If the timing doesn't result in full power I'll do a comp check. One was done within the last couple of months and all cyl's reported to be in-spec (but by same suspect mechanic).
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:22 PM   #30
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Since the plug wires are wandery, you probably should swap plugs and make sure all wires are good and tight, I had an issue last summer where the boat wouldn't plane out, and shuddered, it was the back piston plug wire loose, hard to get to of course.

I've also had the same "bogging" issue with a plugged strainer in the tank, and also with the fuel water seprarator.
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