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2001 Wakesetter - Engine Starts then immediately dies


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I have a 2001 Wakesetter and we were out on the water last weekend. The kids wanted to do some tubing and like a rookie I let the rope get wrapped around the prop. I caught it pretty early so I was able to go underneath the boat and untangle it. After that we started the boat up no problem and cruised around for ~10 mins. We stopped to let the kids jump in one more time and when we went to take off the boat would fire up and immediately die. Could not get it to start again and had to be towed in. Has anyone had this issue or would you recommend checking anything? 

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30 minutes ago, JustHop32 said:

I have a 2001 Wakesetter and we were out on the water last weekend. The kids wanted to do some tubing and like a rookie I let the rope get wrapped around the prop. I caught it pretty early so I was able to go underneath the boat and untangle it. After that we started the boat up no problem and cruised around for ~10 mins. We stopped to let the kids jump in one more time and when we went to take off the boat would fire up and immediately die. Could not get it to start again and had to be towed in. Has anyone had this issue or would you recommend checking anything? 

You didn't say which engine you have.

Make sure that your safety lanyard is attached properly to the switch.  You can also bypass the switch with a jumper on the back to make sure it isn't the problem.  After that, you'll want to make sure that your oil level is high enough that you don't have low pressure.  Next, you need to isolate whether you have a fuel or spark issue.  Since it runs momentarily, we might assume for now that you either have poor fuel pressure or a bad oil pressure switch.  Assuming your engine is injected, you can put a fuel pressure gauge on the fuel rail Schrader valve.  The pressure should not change from key on, to idle, to wide open throttle.

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I assume you have plenty of fuel in the tank? Seems like a really silly question but I have one car and one boat story about low fuel!

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The first thing I would check is the condition of the ignition components; cap, rotor, spark plugs, and wires.

It could also be a vapor lock issue.  Heat soak generally has a big effect on starting after the engine is shut off for at least 45 minutes and for up to 2 or 3 hours after.  Using fuel additives like Stabil, or no ethanol fuel, and keeping the engine compartment ventilated and as cool as possible greatly reduces vapor lock.

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I sure did forget. Sorry about that. It has the 350 in it. The lanyard was the first thing that I checked and it is attached properly. I got a fake a lake this weekend to work on it in at the house. Put it on and she fired RIGHT back up. Turned her off and no problem, fired right back up. So I let it run for about 10 minutes to let it get warm, turned it off, waited 5 mins and fired right up. I am at a loss right now but happy its working correctly. Next test in a lake test I guess. 

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On 6/27/2021 at 2:55 PM, Rednucleus said:

I assume you have plenty of fuel in the tank? Seems like a really silly question but I have one car and one boat story about low fuel!

Yes, that was the first thing I checked and it had half a tank. 

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On 6/27/2021 at 11:52 AM, JustHop32 said:

the boat would fire up and immediately die. Could not get it to start again and had to be towed in.

So did it not start at all again, or does it run for a short period then die?  That would be a bad oil pressure switch not allowing the fuel pump to run after key-up.

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  • 2 weeks later...
JustHop32
On 6/30/2021 at 1:19 PM, formulaben said:

So did it not start at all again, or does it run for a short period then die?  That would be a bad oil pressure switch not allowing the fuel pump to run after key-up.

Past the initial fire that was it. It was not like it cranked and cranked. It would fire, the initial fire and then die. 

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BlindSquirrel

Heat soak/ vapor lock? I assume it is pretty warm down there in Texas. What kind of gas do you fill it with?

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That definitely sounds like vapor lock and it's a pretty common problem from that era.  If it happens again, try pouring some cool lake water on the fuel pump and fuel rails.  Also doesn't hurt to run the blower when stopping.  I find that running the blower continuously anytime it's more than 85F helps my boat stay cool.  I don't have an issue with vapor lock, but I do notice a difference in holeshot performance when it's hot if I don't have the blower running constantly.  Under hood heat builds up quickly when you're not moving and especially with the v8 air sucker switched off.

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I have been dealing with the vapor lock issues for years.  Went out twice this week and had the issue each time after sitting for a while.  I usually can pour a cold bottle of water on the fuel pump and good to go but these last two times it took several bottles of water to get it straightened out.  I went ahead and bit the bullet and picked up a low pressure fuel pump (carter) and plan to install it this weekend.  I have been putting it off for years because I always come up with something better to spend the 100 $ on lol.  Should take care of my issue once and for all.

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Usually there is a separate +12V on the Key switch in the on position (Purple) vs start position (Yellow/red).  Check to make sure there is +12V in the on position (Purple). You might need a new Key switch after 20 years.

Terminal 1 is the +12 from battery. Terminal 2  (red)  is +12 to accessories when key is on or in accessory. when key is in the on position the purple wire should be +12 and when the key is in start the yellow/red should be +12.  You probably don't have +12 on the purple wire in on position.

post-11172-0-66156800-1344494081.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/9/2021 at 7:46 AM, DUKENO1 said:

I have been dealing with the vapor lock issues for years.  Went out twice this week and had the issue each time after sitting for a while.  I usually can pour a cold bottle of water on the fuel pump and good to go but these last two times it took several bottles of water to get it straightened out.  I went ahead and bit the bullet and picked up a low pressure fuel pump (carter) and plan to install it this weekend.  I have been putting it off for years because I always come up with something better to spend the 100 $ on lol.  Should take care of my issue once and for all.

Follow up to this...got my pump installed and took the boat out Saturday.  Ran it pretty hard for a while then shut it off for about 45 minutes.  Fired right back up after. :clap:

Had zero issues throughout the day.  Finally got the vapor lock issue in the rear view I believe.  Not sure if the OP got his issue corrected but wouldn't hurt to look into adding the supplemental low pressure carter pump.  The kit at bakes and elsewhere is ridiculously priced so I picked the pump up on ebay for less than $100.  Trip to the hardware store for a couple of  1/2 inch brass hose barb fittings...maybe 2 bucks.  Tube of Rector seal for the fittings 3 bucks or so.  I used some spare wire I had to run the connections...piggy backed on top of stock fuel pump connectors.  So all in maybe $110 dollars.  Pretty easy mod and if it indeed has cured the issue I will be very happy.

Edited by DUKENO1
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On 7/8/2021 at 2:05 PM, JustHop32 said:

Past the initial fire that was it. It was not like it cranked and cranked. It would fire, the initial fire and then die. 

Any follow up on this?  As you can see a lot of votes for vapor lock as the issue.  I fought it for 2 years before I added the secondary pump...6 seasons later and it's never failed to fire right up.  Anyway, if it happens again, put some ice in a rag and put it on the fuel pump.  Try to chill the pump so that it's cold to the touch and then try to start.  If it fires up (maybe key up a 3 or 4 times first) then you've confirmed the cause as vapor lock.  If that's the case I highly recommend adding the pump.  Bakes has a kit, or you can DIY if you're handy and save some money.

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