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Boat quit running today Need a little help!

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I was out today and the boat just shut down. It tried to crank, but it seemed like the spark was weak. It would hit a couple of times and that was all. I was in the process of checking everything like the lanyard switch, and all the obvious, and when I pulled the distrubutor cap off I saw that it was really corroded. Each contact point was covered in corrosion. I scraped them off and cleaned it the best that I could being on the water with limited tools, and cleaned the rotor button. After I put it all back on, it still wouldn't start. I pulled the coil wire off the distributor cap and could see no fire when the engine was turning over. I'm not sure if the coil is bad or what I might need to check before I start replacing a bunch of parts. I am going to replace the distributor cap as well as the rotor button.

Anybody got any ideas before I replace the coil?

By the way it is a 2001 monsoon 325 fuel injected.



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If you're sure you've got no spark out of the coil. You could probe the four seperate wires going to the coil and see if only one of them has power with the key on. If so, my best bet would be the ignition amplifier that is mounted underneath the cap. it's the thing with two seperate wire connectors (actually 3, there's the two wire connector under the rotor). This is a common part on any GM ignition system. Take it off, take it to an auto parts store and tell them it came off of a 98 suburban. It should cross over easily.

Even if that's not the problem, I'll be keeping one on my boat from now on because, I saw one fail on a buddy's boat.

p.s. too bad I missed you at TX wow, I heard you dropped by.

Edited by Pistol Pete
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Thanks Pete. I had figured that it was either the coil or the ignition module under the rotor. If I have power going to the coil on one of the wires with the key on are you saying that the coil is ok?

Ken told me you were there, but you must have been out on a boat at the time I stopped by.

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It's pretty rare that a coil fails. Although, they're only ~$15 at a parts store. The other problem is that even though I have the book that does have the ignition system wiring diagram, it doens't tell you jack!

Baumer's boat quit running down at lake Austin after the wow, all I could tell was that the coil wasn't putting out any spark. The only other thing I could verify was that the coil did have power going to one of the four wires with the key on. I don't know which wire it was and even after I got a hold of the schematics, it didn't help me anyway.

Bottom line was, we took the amp. to an auto zone and they tested it and said it was good. They said the amp was about $70 but, a new coil was only $15. So, we guessed at a coil figuring it wasn't too expensive. Put the coil in and no go. Went to a seperate independent boat repair shop and the guy sold us the amp for $30. Threw it in and it fired right up. Now, the weird thing was that the boat quit again later that day. I still don't know what ended up happening to the boat.

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Interesting...TS or others, is the ICM an easy DIY fix? Since it can instantly strand you with no warning, if it is an easy DIY swap out, is it a part to keep on hand, or is it relatively rare?

Here's a blast from the past for ya' George. Thank good ole Hank for suggesting we keep one of these on our boats.

Wow good find Tom. Talk about going back to the archives.

Sorry, but I didn't chime in on that one. But, here's a good pic. you provided of the amp.


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It's a piece of cake. Just take out the two small screws on either side of the amp and glob on the grease that comes with the new amp to the bottom of the new amp and you're done.

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I replaced the amp, the distributor, and the rotor. Put the fake a lake on and it fired right up. Everything looks real good for now. I'm gonna change plugs, wires & etc. especially after looking at all the corrosion under the distributor cap. Thanks for the reply guys.


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The other common problem with thoses distributers, especially if corrosion is present, is that the "pickup coil" fails, that is the ring in the center of the distributer, around the shaft. If it is green & ugly, it will cause the no spark/no injector pulse problem. It is also a common automotive part - like ststed above - tell 'em it's off of a early '90s Suburban.

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I had been fighting a similar problem and it took me anoput 2 months to figure out that it was a loose wire on the back of the tach. Many the way they wire these boats is amazing.

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I had been fighting a similar problem and it took me anoput 2 months to figure out that it was a loose wire on the back of the tach. Many the way they wire these boats is amazing.

I had a similar problem on a 94 Malibu Skier. The boat just died and was previously running perfect! I replaced the coil and ignition sensor inside the distributor cap. I still had no spark. Testing for spark at

the coil showed about 1 to 6.5 volts. Traced wire for hours trying to find where I was losing voltage. You

need 12 volts at the coil for it to work.

The problem was in the wiring harness. The motor has a harness similar to a trailer hitch to be able to

pull the motor from the boat. The pins in the harness were starting to corrode (white dust) and I was

getting a bad connection causing my wacky voltage readings. Anyways I cleaned the pins and connections

and the boat is running mint once again. Of course I now have a nice new coil ($56 dollars from Mercruiser)

and a ignition sensor ($60 dollars from Mercruiser). I kept the old ones for spares.

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