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Everything shut off 2 hours deep into a lake. Some kind of code

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Went to pine flats lake, a large body of water.  We were having a great day.  Got a low voltage warning early in day. Later on we were wayyyy back in the lake then engine fault code popped up und everything shut off.  Dead.  We almost floated into some rocks but my bad a** wive jumped in to save it.  Anyway the rangers were towing us back. I unplugged the batteries, switched to both and nothing.  Then I noticed the shifter not in neutral. I said no way.  I put it in neutral and it fired up.  Now I don’t know what to do. It ran good after back to ramp.  Did I just run it out of battery? What should I do. I was going to take a big client wake surfing on Thursday. I’d hate to do that again. 

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Yes, I was under the fuses and she saw it getting close to rocks.  She's a bad a$$.  

I went through the batteries today and noticed there was a small black ground wire that had broken off.  Anyone know what this might go to?

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One more thing, not sure if they are related.  The boat is fluctuating between 160-190.  I checked the trans cooler screen all good.  I pulled the impeller, looked good. still replaced it.  not sure where else I can look.


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Fluctuating between 160 and 190 on the gauge how quickly?  Like one minute its at 160 and the next minute its at 190 and holding and then falls again?  Do you see a change in the oil pressure gauge at the same time?  Both those gauges use senders that rely on a steady common ground input.  

I hope I'm sending you in the right direction with a cheap thing to look at:  check all leads from the battery to your boat, particularly at the alternator/fuse box/voltage regulator connections.  Check all of the major grounds that you can see.  Also check your alternator and voltage regulator.  Sometimes the voltage regulator is part of the ECU and in that case it's the last thing to mess with.  Also have your batteries tested if you have a dual battery system.  A bad battery can be a real parachute to a system and cause surging from the VR and Alternator.  

A voltage regulator can be looked at like a manager at an auto plant btw:  it cares only about getting output from its work force that meets demand.  Workforce is the alternator.  A bad ground can cause a voltage regular to demand more output from your alternator than is actually needed .  A bad voltage regulator is all over the place and will demand too much or too little, never accurately meeting supply.  Alternatively, an alternator with a few failing diodes can cause the voltage regulator to demand output from it that it can't provide, like a tired workforce.  You can find good guides all over the web to troubleshoot a charging system with a simple multimeter - usually it requires more time than it does money to fix.

You want to see steady outputs from the batteries when the boat is off 12.-12.5v.  When you start the boat on the batteries you will see the alternator surge power a little to catch up and then settled into a steady input to the batteries from the alternator at 13.5-14.5v.  

Deviation from this can result in gremlins all over the boat, but first signs are going to be the ECU throwing low voltage warnings, batteries getting hot,gauges surging, and performance decline. 

I spent days trying to figure this out on my wifes truck way back before we were married.  A few months after I brought it to the shop to have an exhaust manifold bolt extracted when I was replacing gaskets the issue started showing up, and really gradually too.  The guys there had removed and lost the proper wire going from the voltage regulator to the alternator, and for some reason decided re-purposing an old 14ga spark plug wire in place of the 8ga wire would do just fine.  The wire acted like a resistor, screwing up input data to the voltage regulator, which in turn surged the alternator.  It burnt up the alternator, which was overcharging her battery the whole time until it nearly burst.  Gauges started acting up, low voltage dash light came on and then it started to affect motor operation.  

Moral of the story is right away start checking everything.  Check grounding wires, check and clean battery connections, and test batteries and alternator input and output with a multimeter.  If something seems off, remove the component and use a free check at any major auto parts place.  They can test alternator and batteries on the spot for you and sometimes even the voltage regulator sometimes.  Voltage regulators integrated into an ECU are usually not the issue, its almost always a corroded connection somewhere, bad diodes/brushes in an alternator, or a bum battery.  

Edited by Pra4sno
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Small black ground wire that broke off is probably going to some accessory that was either added in by a previous owner or by the shop you bought it from.  All critical motor components are run off the main leads.  You can reattach it, but it's not going to be part of the issue.  

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Thanks for those replies.  I’ll know more tomorrow. I’m going to have the batteries in the all position I got new battery clamps and had the batteries tested.  I’m hoping I was just over driving the one battery as I had it in the 1 position and had a low voltage reading as soon as we pulled out. The boat reads 14.1 volts when it’s running. 

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