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Feels like prop or somewhere in the drive line is catching

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Hello, I am recently new to owning an inboard and I am having an issue with my 2011 Axis A20. It has the AR335 Indmar engine.

It feels like under certain engine load and rpm levels that something is catching the drive line or maybe like an engine hick-up with no power for just a split. But no codes. It feels like something is like tugging or jerking on the back of the boat for a split second.

If I ride at a higher RPMs like surfing at 10MPH or at wakeboarding speed (21MPH) under full load, it's good. It seems to happen if I run at lower RPMS like around 15 mph (not on plane) and unweighted, or even on slow turns around 10mph fully weighted.

Nothing seems to be wrapped around the shaft or prop, however I have noticed that it is extremely difficult to spin the prop by hand. It takes a wrench on the prop nut to spin it, and it's pretty difficult. I could almost change the prop without using a block of wood to prevent it from spinning. Other than the occasional pulse from the "catching", nothing else seems to be acting up.

Warranty is out of the question, and I'm mechanically inclined, however I'm not sure on where to start diagnosing the issue.Any ideas on what it can be or what I need to start checking? Your help is greatly appreciated!

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disconnect drive shaft from your vdrive and feel how hard it is to spin. Should not be nearly that hard to spin. Sounds like the packing where the drive shaft goes through the hull may be too tight or wore out. If you cant turn the drive shaft by hand after disconnecting there is an issue. Could also be where the drive shaft goes through the support under your boat.


Edited by tdelandsheer
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If it were in the drive train then I would expect that you would feel it under other conditions. My guess is is a miss. How many hours? Try replacing/cleaning the plugs. Doesn't sound like bad gas but easy to rule out.

It doesn't take much of a miss to feel like the boat is being pulled backward or is catching but in reality it's just you losing power for a split second....

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@ryguy: Does the miss or hesitation happen at any steering wheel angle, or does it occur in a specific turning mode? Have you hit anything just prior to the issue starting. Other items to check would include: injectors (might need to be cleaned), potential loose connections (alternator, grounds, ignition), engine alignment and as previously noted, alignment of shaft in bushings (if white vesconite strut bushings, the shaft should turn reasonable freely, the black rubber ones will need water lubrication or the shaft will stick dry).

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Thanks for all the help guys! I will report back when I find something.

@tdelandsheer, I will definitely look into that and rule out the strut and packing. Do all packing's have water jet inlets? Mine seems to have a water supply line going to it. Maybe for cooling?

@pauley71, I have about 280hrs. I purchased this in July 2015 and put about 60 hours on it since then. I have ran several tanks through it, so I'm not sure if it would be bad gas because it has only done it maybe 4 times on a tank and on the terms I listed above. Other times it has never done it all day. It only seems to do it while 1) the engine is at a relatively low RPM and low throttle level like when letting young kids wakeboard. I wonder if a miss would trip an engine code light though? I will definitely look into inspecting/cleaning the spark plugs coming up this winter maintenance.

@Michigan boarder, The first thing I did when I purchased the boat was change the oil but I didn't see a fuel/water separator. On my I/O, it's obvious, but not so much on this one. So I will look harder to see if I can find one. Maybe I can call a dealer and see if they can sell me one and tell me where to find it.

@Woodski, it happened a couple times when I turn hard right when picking up a down rider. Not planning but definitely plowing water. I have seen a water jet inlet into the packing (which looks black), so having difficulty spinning the drive shaft might need some water. I will definitely look into injectors and alignment. I did have to replace the alternator on the maiden (for me) voyage, and all connections were clean and tight. I will double check that also. I imagine it would pull a code?

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@ryguy: are you saying per your last note at my comments that is only happens during a hard right turn? If that is the case, I would also investigate the rudder for looseness and certainly go through the running gear alignment & ensure the shaft bushings are sound. I would pop off the coupling to make sure it lines up with the transmission coupling and does not have side force on it. That water hose actually supplies some water to cool the seal implying you don't have a packing per say but the dripless shaft seal. Should spin by hand pretty free assuming the vesconite shaft bushings are used (you can tell if there are white or light colored bushings between the strut and your shaft.

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