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Runs for 5 seconds and then quits

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1998 Sunsetter VLX with the 5.7. 

I am in a real bind here and could use some advice.  Last time the boat was out was 6 weeks ago and it ran great.  Today I went to winterize it and my son had left the batteries on which were now very weak.  I charged them and put a jumper on them.  Boat started for about 3 seconds and dies.  If I disengage the tranny and push the throttle it does the same thing but does not raise RPMs at all.  Rinse and repeat.  Fuel pump seems to be working,  fuel in tank, newer filters.  I decided to pull the safety lanyard and short that across the terminals.  Now the boat will run for about 12 seconds and then quit.  Weird!. Why would shorting the lanyard make it run a bit longer.   I am thinking that it might be the oil pressure sensor.  Also, unscrewed the fuel cap just in case there is a clogged vent.  Didn't help.. 

Last work done on the boat was a new alternator from Bakes.  Checked that out and all connections are good.  Any other ideas?

I really need to winterize this thing tomorrow as it is my last chance.  Don't want to store the boat broken with a lot of dirty oil in the engine.  Please advise.

Thanks in advance

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Thanks.  It has an almost new battery in it that I purchased in April and used 4 times.   I also have a second house battery that is only two years old, a Blue Sea isolator and a switch to combine.  So I guess my only question is whether a low voltage situation could lead to a failure of ???????  Or perhaps a general lack of use leading to a ??????   

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Low voltage can cause the electronics to do strange things. What voltage does your battery put out?  You may have some other problem, I thought your original post mentioned the batteries had been discharged for several weeks, which is hard on them. 

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I ran out of time to troubleshoot this as winter is setting in this week and it needed to go to storage.  Will have to deal with this in April.  Thanks anyway.  

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On 10/17/2020 at 6:06 PM, Awest said:

Boat started for about 3 seconds and dies.

I can't explain the part about the safety lanyard and 12 seconds, but the above describes a bad oil pressure switch.  A healthy fuel pump will operate for 2 seconds on key up to pressurize the system for start; once the oil pressure switch sees more than 6psi (while starting) it sends a signal to the ECM to send power to the fuel pump.  Without this signal the fuel pump will not run, so the engine dies.  Easily diagnosed by checking the fuel pressure or disconnecting the oil pressure switch.  Given the price of the switch I would just swap it as preventive maintenance.

Edited by formulaben
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The oil pressure switch is what I was thinking as well.  The boat is 22 years old and I have never replaced it, so might as well do it now.  I will check in the spring.  Supposed to get down into the teens this weekend so it goes to storage today.  Thanks for the advice.


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On 10/19/2020 at 2:30 PM, Awest said:

I ran out of time to troubleshoot this as winter is setting in this week and it needed to go to storage.  Will have to deal with this in April.  Thanks anyway.  

You did pull the batteries out and are storing and charging them ?

Steve B.

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Disconnect the oil pressure switch and let the lead hang there.  Boat should run fine without it if the switch is bad.  My buddy got through the bulk of the summer this year with that disconnected on his '02.

Edited by UWSkier
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