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Left Stranded


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I was on the lake this weekend and my 94 Echelon left me stranded. It has a Mercruiser 350 EFI. It ran great all weekend. Yesterday evening we were making one last run pulling the tube when I lost power and it just shut down. It will turn over but would not start. My first thought was fuel. I was at a quarter of a tank. I pulled the rear seat and can see fuel in the tank so I trust the guage. I was not looking at the guages wehn it shut down but the temp was showing about 160 degrees so I ruled out overheating. I could use some troubleshooting help. What are the obvious things I can check before I put it in the shop? I do not have a mechanic I trust and I do not want to buy a fuel pump if I just need a distributor cap.

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Can you hear the fuel pump?

Not sure what to listen for there. Should I be able to hear the pump when I am cranking the motor?

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should be able to hear it when you turn the key to on and not trying to start. Just like a car once your turn the key on you usually can hear it engage.

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Not sure what to listen for there. Should I be able to hear the pump when I am cranking the motor?

If you turn the key to "on" without starting the engine, you should hear the hum of the fuel pump. I'm hoping others will chime in. I'm not the best at this stuff.

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If you turn the key to "on" without starting the engine, you should hear the hum of the fuel pump. I'm hoping others will chime in. I'm not the best at this stuff.

Good tip. I will check that this evening when I get home.

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Good tip. I will check that this evening when I get home.

There is a 3 second prime that the fuel pump will have when you first turn the key to the on position. If do not hear this, check with a test light on the plug to verify that the power is getting to the pump.

If you are getting power, and the fuel pump does not prime, your fuel pump is likely shot.

If you are not getting power, the problem could be related to either the ECM or a relay. I would also recommend checking to see if you are getting spark if there is no power to the pump.

Check this first, get back to us with the results, and you will be able to further diagnose the problem.

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What about the dead man switch? Did the lanyard get pulled? Even if the connections on the back are corroded it can cause problems.

Edited by Bill_AirJunky
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:plus1: Check the kill switch didn't get bumped.

What about the dead man switch? Did the lanyard get pulled? Even if the connections on the back are corroded it can cause problems.

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Did they make a Merc 350 EFI in '94? I thought it was either the carb Merc 350 carb or the 454 EFI.

My money is on the neutral switch too. Try moving the throttle slightly forward or back, just bumping it a bit as you try cranking.

Are the guages working?

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Usually when an engine just completely dies with no loss of power, hesitation or stumble it is electrical. If it is a fuel problem, usually, it will stumble, hesitate, cut out and die.

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I removed the spark arestor so I could see if it was getting fuel when I attempted to start it. It was getting fuel. I bumped it over a second time and it cranked right up. Similar to other posts I read, at first it would not start and now it cranked right up. I have no idea why. It was an extremely hot day and it fits what has been described as vapor lock but I am no closer to understanding why I had this problem. All I can do now is run it and see if the problem reoccurrs. I guess I should be happy that it cranked. Thanks for all the input. It was very helpful.

To annswer a couple of questions asked:

There is no deadman swithch. It is a 350 Magnum EFI and it is a 94 Malibu Echelon LX. The previous owner assumed it ws the original engine as did I. It only has 146 hours on it which is very low for its age. I am not sure how to verify it is the original engine. If there is a way to check please let me know.

I am sure I will be back with more questions. As much a pain as it has been to be a boat owner the reward is seeing both my daughters ski for the first time. My 17 year old got up on the slalom ski this weekened and it was awesome to watch. Thanks again for all the help.

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  • 4 weeks later...

After talking to a number of people and investigating probable causes such as vapor lock I have decided to replace the ignition coil. I have been told by a couple of different people that this will cause it to shut off when it gets hot. When it cools down it will crank. It is a $20 investment and worth eliminating. I will be at Pickwick this weekend and I hope to not have any issues.

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The boat ran great all weekend wiith no issues. I assume the ignition coil was the problem. I recommend check this first if you have similar issues. I had Autozone test the part and the ohms were very low. The replacement coil was $20. What a relief. Thanks for all the advice.

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