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Help! 1995 Malibu Sunsetter

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Purchased a 1995 Malibu Sunsetter with 850 hours this summer and it has worked perfect up until today. A little hard starting, but nothing other than a little cold starting. I have used it every weekend since July. Today went to the lake and it started hard. Finally got it started, sounded fine. Went to the middle of the lake slowly, gave it gas and it died. Couldn't start it after that, ran the battery until there was nothing more. It seemed like it was going to start, but never turned over. Paddled back to shore.

It's a Mercruiser 350 Magnum engine. Impeller was replaced this summer, I was told. Carb looks a little dirty. Any ideas of why it won't fire and or why it's been slowly starting to have a hard time starting?

On a side note, can't figure out which model I have. It has the Echelon LX driver display, but with the Sunsetter 350 engine. Any ideas?

Thank you.

Bryan - Gilbert, AZ

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This is going to sound simpler than I mean it to, but its either a gas or ignition issue. What that means is, did you check to see if there is spark? If there is spark, then most likely, its a fuel issue. If there is no spark, then most likely, a fuel issue. IOW, we need some more info from you as to what if anything you checked before giving out information that may be incorrect, or will send you in the wrong direction.

Also, in 1995, Mercruiser made both a Carbed and an EFI engine. Need to know that also.

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I would start with a tune up if it hasn't been done before by yourself. Change the cap, rotor, and coil. If the spark plugs look like they could use it do them as well. All money well spent and parts that should be changed as a regular tune up. My money is on a bad coil.

  • Like 2
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Pull a spark plug and see what it looks like. If it's wet then you're probably getting fuel, and you likely have an ignition issue. As Martin said, good chance it's a coil but it could also be cap/rotor or ignition components. I'd start with cap and rotor and if that doesn't rectify it then a coil and then plug wires.

Good luck!

Edited by CliffB
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Make sure all battery connections are good, all connections at starter are good, coil good, like others said above, a complete tune up.

Check the umbelical connection at the engine, pull apart, use contact cleaner, replace. If it has a carb, check for fuel.

Make sure you have a water source while attempting to start. Dont dry start the engine. What kind of mechanical engine experience do you have?

Is there a good boat shop nearby?

Steve B.

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Could also be the fuel pump giving out. Or the carb needs a rebuild kit. You can get an inline fuel pressure gauge to see how much you've got. Just insert it between the pump and the carb. I think you should have around 5 or 6 psi. There is also a little fuel filter inside the carb where the fuel line enters. Check that and it will give you an idea of how bad your carb is.

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  • 1 month later...

Did you figure this out yet?

If its EFI there is no fuel filter unless sombody addded one. I had a similiar problem last fall. I checked spark, fuel lines, VST tank and floats and wound up replacing the mechanical fuel pump, not cheap but I am glad I did. I took the old one apart to see what may have been any culprit and found the vent barb clogged which prevents the diaphram from working correctly.

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  • 1 month later...

I had one of the two float valves for the webber carb get stuck on mine. Boat died near idle and would start at high pwr settings only. Took a day to figure it out. I could have fixed it on the spot by tapping on the carb. Cleaned the carb and it ran fine...

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