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Darwin

My First Time Out-- Long Story. I Have Questions! : )

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Darwin

I took my '96 Sunsetter out for the first time this weekend. I bought it back in October and had only driven it for about 30 or 45 mins during the test drive. This is my first boat and so it was a little scary. But I've done tons of reading on here and other sites so I felt confident I knew what I needed to do. I wanted to tell all of you that I really appreciate this site and all of the help you so willingly offer. You guys rock!

Anyway, we get out to the lake on Saturday-- it's just my wife, 15-year-old daughter, dog, and me. I've been talking to my wife about her job during launching/retrieval for weeks now... so she knew what she needed to do and that went smoothly. Other than trying to back the boat off the trailer in neutral (doh!), the first launch went great. My wife parked the truck and I picked her up at the dock-- no problems so far (docking is kind of scary though... haha!). As we are slowly driving away from the dock, I notice the engine temp seems to be getting hot (just over 200) so I give it some throttle and the engine cools down really quickly. I keep driving for a few minutes and then we stop to get all settled in and I notice the engine getting hot again. I'm starting to get worried at this point (I'm not real sure what the operating temp is supposed to be and how hot is "too hot"). I stop the engine and pull up the engine cover and to my surprise I see water gushing out of the engine drain plugs. Well... turns out that the non-Malibu dealer who winterized/un-winterized my boat didn't tighten the engine drain plugs properly. Now the bilge is filling with water and I'm starting to think we might be in trouble. At this point we are at least a mile from the boat ramp. I fire it up and head back to the ramp. Luckily, my wife gets the trailer in the water with no problems and I stick the boat on the trailer my first try. Sweet! So we get the boat out of the water, open the bilge drain and head to the dealer.

The guy at the dealer apologizes profusely (it was the same guy who "un-winterized" my boat) and proceeds to properly tighten the drain plugs. He was murmuring something about the mechanic leaving the drain plugs "ready for the lake" so I guess when this guy "un-winterized" my boat he actually opened the drain plugs when he thought he was closing them. Anyway, the guy acknowledged it was his mistake and apologized some more and then we head home.

So Sunday we go out to the lake again. We back the trailer in the water and I fire up the engine. This time I open the engine cover before I back off the trailer to verify there is no water gushing into the boat (I think I will do this every time from now on... haha). No water, everything looks good. So we proceed to have a great day on the lake just driving around and checking things out. We had a nice lunch and practiced docking a couple times. I let my wife and daughter do some driving and they had a blast. Even the dog was having fun. It was nice to just get out on the boat and get familiar with it. So luckily we had a happy ending this weekend.

Anyway, after that long story, I have some questions:

1) What is the proper operating temp range? How hot is "too hot?"

2) Is it normal for the engine to get up to about 210 when you are just idling?

3) I noticed that when the engine temp was up around 200, it would cut-out if I opened up the throttle too much. It would run fine at moderate throttle and it runs great when the engine is cool. But when the engine temp was around 200, it would cut-out if I gave it too much throttle. Is this normal? If not, what is wrong?

4) Where does the bilge pump send the the water it is pumping out? Is the bilge pump enough to keep the boat from sinking in a situation like I was in on Saturday? When do you run the bilge pump? (I realize it would be silly to run the bilge pump if the bilge is dry, I'm just trying to get a feel for "proper" bilge pump usage.)

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mlange

1) What is the proper operating temp range? How hot is "too hot?"

The engine should be running right around 160 degrees after warming up. You may see it fluctuate just a bit, but no more than 5 degrees on either side of that. Most people will probably tell you that they run at 160 dead on all day long. 200 degrees won't damage the motor, but there is something going on if it's running at that temperature.

2) Is it normal for the engine to get up to about 210 when you are just idling?

NO.

3) I noticed that when the engine temp was up around 200, it would cut-out if I opened up the throttle too much. It would run fine at moderate throttle and it runs great when the engine is cool. But when the engine temp was around 200, it would cut-out if I gave it too much throttle. Is this normal? If not, what is wrong?

I'm assuming it's the Monsoon here. The ECM has what's called a "limp mode" that will keep you from running at too high an RPM if the engine is either too cold or too hot. So I'm thinking you were in limp mode. Again, this shouldn't be a big concern from a damage point of view since it sounds like it didn't get much over 200, but I'd get it taken care of before going out again.

So, the obvious question then is... "what's going on?" It's more than likely one of two issues.

1. You have some crap clogging up your trans cooler.

2. You need a new impeller.

Both are DIY jobs that we can walk you through pretty easily if you aren't sure how to change the impeller or where the trans cooler is.

Mike

Edited by mlange

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jjackkrash

They should have swapped the impeller at dewinterization (or at least asked you if you wanted this done). But from your description, it sounds like a bad impeller.

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martho

1. 160 is correct

2. 210 is bad!

3. self protection

4. The bilge will pump water at a decent rate however it will not save the ship if sinking. I think the standard pump is approximately 500 GPH. There is a hole on the starboard side just in front of the driver's seat where the water pumps out. Most of the time, a bilge is set on auto and only pumps when it needs to do so(like a sump pump in your basement)

You have good questions and this is a great resource with a huge wealth of knowledge. We have all been where you are right now and not all of us had a 5000 member forum to help ease the learning curve like you do!

Congrats on the boat and have fun.

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Malibudude

Make sure the impeller is replaced, it’s cheap and easy and is the basic element to keep the water flowing correctly. If it’s got pieces missing then they most likely are at the transmission cooler screen. Normal operating temps are 160 degrees.

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Darwin

Thanks everybody! That is very helpful!

So I already have a Globe impeller I got from the group buy. That is the first thing I thought of when I saw the engine temp getting hot. Looks like I'll be replacing the impeller before I take out the boat again. I hope that is the problem!

Thanks again!

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vette-ski

Could also be a bad thermostat, but more likely bad impeller or debris in the trans cooler blocking water flow. The pump spins faster at higher rpm, which is probably why you see temps drop as you rev it.

The bilge pump will probably do a pretty good job of keeping up with a leak like that. If you leave the drain plug out though, it would have a hard time saving the boat. Stock is probably a 500 gph. I upgraded to a 750 gph on my boat; that's the largest I could find that still used a 3/4" hose output. You can go bigger, but you'll have to change the hose and thru-hull to larger size to make use of the pump capacity. On my boat, the bilge pump runs in auto mode with the switch "off". It will turn on if it detects water. Or you can manually turn it on. If you had water deep in the bilge and the pump didn't turn on automatically, I'd replace it with one with automatic capabilities. You shouldn't have to worry about manually running the pump all the time. Oh, and running them dry is not a problem. There is not a rubber impeller in them than can burn out.

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obski

My first thought is to replace the impeller as well, and to make sure all of the pieces are accounted for if it is falling apart.

It should not be running at 200 to 210.

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martho
My first thought is to replace the impeller as well, and to make sure all of the pieces are accounted for if it is falling apart.

It should not be running at 200 to 210.

Excellent point. Many of these pieces end up in the tranny cooler. I had to pick them out of those little holes with a dentist like hook.

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NorCaliBu
:unsure: Did it overheat on your second day out? You didn't say that it did so I would think that the water escaping the block through the open drain plugs is what was causing the engine to overheat. Dontknow.gif Check the impeller just to be sure but if you weren't running hot on day two...

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Darwin
:unsure: Did it overheat on your second day out? You didn't say that it did so I would think that the water escaping the block through the open drain plugs is what was causing the engine to overheat. Dontknow.gif Check the impeller just to be sure but if you weren't running hot on day two...

Yes, good point. It did get hot on Day 2 as well if I let it idle for very long. But I watched the temp like a hawk and just turned-off the engine instead of letting it idle. It stayed down near 160 pretty much the whole time we were on the lake.

I'm definitely going to replace the impeller this week. Hopefully, I won't be on here next week asking why my boat is still overheating!

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NorCaliBu
It did get hot on Day 2 as well...I'm definitely going to replace the impeller this week.

Thumbup.gif Be sure to clean out the tranny cooler, that's where the shredded impeller pieces will be. If you pop the water hoses off of both ends of the cooler, use a stiff wire going from the top downward to clear the internal "tubes" of the cooler.

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99response
:unsure: Did it overheat on your second day out? You didn't say that it did so I would think that the water escaping the block through the open drain plugs is what was causing the engine to overheat. Dontknow.gif Check the impeller just to be sure but if you weren't running hot on day two...

Believe it or not a boat will run cooler with the drain plugs out.....the water in the block is not being regulated by the thermostat, it is just the raw water temperature.

I agree with everyone else, impeller.

-Chris

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68Slalom
:unsure: Did it overheat on your second day out? You didn't say that it did so I would think that the water escaping the block through the open drain plugs is what was causing the engine to overheat. Dontknow.gif Check the impeller just to be sure but if you weren't running hot on day two...

Believe it or not a boat will run cooler with the drain plugs out.....the water in the block is not being regulated by the thermostat, it is just the raw water temperature.

I agree with everyone else, impeller.

-Chris

Unless the water in the block never reached the thermostat and the temp gauge was reading steam. The worst thing is to introduce cold water to hot material, not a good thing :unsure:

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vette-ski
:unsure: Did it overheat on your second day out? You didn't say that it did so I would think that the water escaping the block through the open drain plugs is what was causing the engine to overheat. Dontknow.gif Check the impeller just to be sure but if you weren't running hot on day two...

Believe it or not a boat will run cooler with the drain plugs out.....the water in the block is not being regulated by the thermostat, it is just the raw water temperature.

I agree with everyone else, impeller.

-Chris

I don't know...I know I wouldn't do it. Depends on flow path through the block. With two drain points, the block may have water and the heads and intake might not. This puts the heads at a risk of overheating and wrecking a head gasket.

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Darwin
This puts the heads at a risk of overheating and wrecking a head gasket.

If I blew a head gasket... I would know it, right? The engine would be leaking big-time, right? (I'm only semi-literate when it comes to the internals of an engine.)

Just trying to verify that I didn't damage the engine. It seemed to run great yesterday with the execption of the getting hot while idling issue.

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RTS
It stayed down near 160 pretty much the whole time we were on the lake.

I'm definitely going to replace the impeller this week.

It's never a bad idea to replace the impeller at the start of the season.

But keep in mind that you have a thermostat cycling on and off (once you reach operating temperature). The guage my not 'stay put' like they seem to do in modern cars.

While 160* is generally regarded as ideal, don't get too upset if you see the guage go a little higher from time to time. My boat, at idle, will increase in temp to very close to 180* (but doesn't go over that unless I have a problem), then it goes back to 160*, then the cycle repeats.

Did you say it was a Monsoon?

EDIT: If you went up to 200* or so for a short period of time, you'll be fine. You didn't see any smoke/steam coming form the engine, did you?

Edited by rts

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Darwin

Yep, it's a Monsoon and I didn't see any smoke or steam.

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99response
:unsure: Did it overheat on your second day out? You didn't say that it did so I would think that the water escaping the block through the open drain plugs is what was causing the engine to overheat. Dontknow.gif Check the impeller just to be sure but if you weren't running hot on day two...

Believe it or not a boat will run cooler with the drain plugs out.....the water in the block is not being regulated by the thermostat, it is just the raw water temperature.

I agree with everyone else, impeller.

-Chris

I don't know...I know I wouldn't do it. Depends on flow path through the block. With two drain points, the block may have water and the heads and intake might not. This puts the heads at a risk of overheating and wrecking a head gasket.

I wasn't saying that you should run the boat without drain plugs...but I have run my boat without them to clean out all the scale and junk built up, at idle on the trailer and my boats pump water.

Also I would get your money back for the de-winterization thing, if they don't put the drain plugs in and then don't even fire off the boat and check that it's working, what did they do, attach 3 hoses for who knows how much $$

-Chris

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Darwin
Also I would get your money back for the de-winterization thing, if they don't put the drain plugs in and then don't even fire off the boat and check that it's working, what did they do, attach 3 hoses for who knows how much $$

-Chris

They didn't charge me anything. When I picked-up the boat last October after they winterized it, they just gave me an envelope with the drain plugs and said "bring these back in the Spring." When I brought the boat back a couple weeks ago, the guy just came out to the parking lot with a wrench and put the plugs back in. I thought it was kind of odd that they didn't want to test it but I figured they were the pros so I didn't worry about it. My plan was to just watch everything carefully the first time I took the boat out on the lake. I guess I just wasn't expecting a problem (I'm glad I was paying attention!).

I'm going to learn how to winterize it myself before next winter so I'll know what the hell is going on!

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Bill_AirJunky

Just a couple of quick points.

The 160 degree thermostat is stock. But if your boat has a heater in it, it might have a 175 or 180 in it now, which is normal.

Learn how to winterize yourself. It's not tough in that boat & can be done in just a few minutes.

210 for a short time shouldn't do any damage to a cast block & heads. If it was aluminum (like an LT1) I'd be worried.

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electricjohn

If you saw the mechanic put the plugs in the motor, then where was the water coming from? Running at 200* would not hurt your engine at all. The limp mode kicks in at 203*. Check that screen in the trans fluid cooler, besides impeller parts there could be seaweed or leaves blocking flow.

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Molarbu

I know this seems frustrating, but be glad you're learning all this stuff from these guys! The learning curve with a new boat can be painful so it's good you're getting it out of the way! The Malibu Crew is awesome. Thumbup.gif

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jetskipro550

First day out in our boat the impeller "went out" and our temp shot up high. We took it to our mechanic that afternoon, he replaced the impeller and no damage was done. We always keep a spare in the glove box now.

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goducks
First day out in our boat the impeller "went out" and our temp shot up high. We took it to our mechanic that afternoon, he replaced the impeller and no damage was done. We always keep a spare in the glove box now.

I remember that day, quick trip out for sure.

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