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Diagnosis: 30 seconds, sputter and die - 310 carb sportster


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02 Sportster, been running fine all summer, although just a touch rougher the last little while.

Changed the oil + filter the other night, and got a few hours in trouble-free the next day. Following day, started up fine, got up on plane, then sputtered and died. I can restart it (which I think means the fuel pump is priming/working?) and either idle in gear for a minute or two (then dies), or get up on plane for 5-10 seconds (then dies). Seems like it's starving for fuel... but the problem really started all of a sudden. One thing: I've been buying regular gas and not using stabilizer. So, going to throw some stabilizer in the tank, and going to change the fuel/water-separator filter of course, but wondering what's next on the diagnostic list?

Edited by andjules
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02 Sportster, been running fine all summer, although just a touch rougher the last little while.

Changed the oil + filter the other night, and got a few hours in trouble-free the next day. Following day, started up fine, got up on plane, then sputtered and died. I can restart it (which I think means the fuel pump is priming/working?) and either idle in gear for a minute or two (then dies), or get up on plane for 5-10 seconds (then dies). Seems like it's starving for fuel... but the problem really started all of a sudden. One thing: I've been buying regular gas and not using stabilizer. So, going to throw some stabilizer in the tank, and going to change the fuel/water-separator filter of course, but wondering what's next on the diagnostic list?

water in the gas?...check gas / water seperator filter ....maybe add some Seafoam for good measure as well

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Do the filters first, but you might have dislodged some gunk and its stuck in your carb. Do the simple and cheap things first if that doesn't work and its been awhile you might need to rebuild your carb. On my Echelon after changing all filters and doing a tuneup with no success, I took off the carb. found several jets clogged and a small rubber seal was torn and dislodged, so a rebuild was in order, but an inlaw did us a favor and sent down a new carb. and problem solved.

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fuel is a popular culprit for many symptoms like these. i did all the fuel related fixes and no go. i then moved on to electrical. ultimately i found that the module in the distributor was bad. just make sure you get the right one for your boat. it took me 2 tries. not saying its ur problem but its cheap and easy and a lot cheaper than a fuel pump.

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spent a little time with it this last night & this morning. Dumped Stabil and ethonol stabilizer in the tank. Changed the fuel/water separator (filter), poured it out, it was filthy. However, I pulled the fuel pump and the inlet screen wasn't bad. Sprayed carb cleaner just about anywhere I could, but admittedly didn't take the fuel rail off. Anyhow, same as ever: let it prime, runs like a champ for 15-45 seconds (not sure it matters whether I'm idling or rev-ing the engine?), then dies. Could that be something in the distributor? How would I diagnose? Also wondering if that oil sensor/sender could be at issue? It's almost like something is telling the fuel pump to cut. Not sure how to diagnose that sender/solenoid (and is that an automotive part, or do I have to special order it?).

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Fuel pump runs off the oil pressure switch. If the oil pressure is non-existant, or more likely, the switch is bad, the pump will not run.

Switch is located on the top back side of the engine, into the main block, just behind the rear edge of the intake manifold. Depending on year, it will have two or three spade connectors. If you jump the two wires the pump will run.

Peter

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If the oil pressure is non-existant, or more likely, the switch is bad, the pump will not run.

Thanks. I'm aware this thing is something problematic. I'm wondering if anyone has heard it act up like this (works for a bit, then dies)?

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Not usually for the length of time you seem to be referring to. When it goes, the engine usually starts and then dies within a few seconds, as you are only running on fuel in the bowls. But, a good item to eliminate as a variable in diagnosing the true issue.

Peter

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  • 10 months later...

Pete is right I am having the same problem. I replaced the fuel safety switch on the manifold which controls the electronic fuel pump. When the problem continued I went through everything . Fuel tank pickup you name it. Finally replaced the fuel pump. I believe the fuel safety switch I got was bad this is why. If you disconnect the two wire leads at the manifold fuel safety switch and jump them together put your throttle cable forward in nuteral and turn your ignition key on your fuel pump should engage and start pumping fuel. I did that stated the boat and the boat has run fine and no longer cuts out. Problem is that the fuel pump is pumping fuel any time the key is turned on. So it is just a way to diagnose the fuel safety switch is bad. I can run the boat without a problem but wouldn't want to shut the boat off and forget to turn the key off. Going to try and replace the switch ASAP. Hope this helps FYI I have a 1999 Malibu sporster with the 310 and it is carbureted . Doug

Edited by Schells4
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