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My son's Yamaha 250 has a repetitive misfiring at low

speeds. The motor seems to...
My son's Yamaha 250 has a repetitive misfiring at low speeds. The motor seems to starve for gas for a fraction of a second, shakes, recovers, then the sequence repeats. He says he does not notice any problems at higher RPMs. The motor was just winterized and the matter was supposed to have been addressed. The service tech said the problem was probably a spark plug. I don't think that is the problem - for one thing, the plugs are nearly new. My son should have been more assertive and asked what the basis of the conclusion was and if a diagnostic had been run on the motor. If the tech knows it's a plug issue why would he not have resolved the matter? that's just rhetorical. Thanks for your response.
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Answered in 3 minutes by:
12/10/2012
Malta Tech
Malta Tech, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 290
Experience: Over 25 years experience on marine engines.
Verified
Welcome to JustAnswer. I am John and I will assist you with your question.
P.S. Kindly do not rate until fully satisfied with my answer
Is this a motocross bike or an outboard sir
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

This is an outboard, Yamaha 250

Thank you for that, we get a lot of moto questions here also
Is this a 4 stroke or 2 stroke, do you have full model number so we can look it up in our manuals
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago
It is a four stroke engine. I do not have a model number handy but could get it later today.
Customer reply replied 5 years ago

This is a 4-stroke outboard motor. 2004, 250 hp. I don't have the model number but can get it later.

Ok your going to need to check spark for sure, if they winterized it they could have used fogging oil, that can cause a spark plug to foul. That is why I would pull the spark plugs and look at them and check for spark on the cylinders.
It appears that there are no 2004 four strokes sir, that is why I really need a model number to determine what motor you have. Then I can show you what to look for
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Okay. I'm probably wrong about the year. Remember this is my son's motor. I'll contact him and get the model number you need. I know they did squirt oil into the open cylinders (not via the air intake to prevent fouling the jets). It is important to note that this problem goes backl to mid-summer (July and thereafter- long before the winterizing service).

I'll probably get back to you tomorrow after I get the info you need. Okay? In the meantime, and accepting that this is a 4-stroke engine, any other ideas.

Ok if this was happening before then we could have a coil breaking down or a spark plug wire that is bad. I seen a bad wire from another mechanic which pulled the spark plug wire from the boot caucusing it to ground out and not spark on the spark plug. First I would check that all cylinders are sparking and get me the model number and we can get a better understanding what your motor problem is
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

I've e-mailed my son the correspondence we have had. I told him to get me the model number as soon as he can. I'll be back to you as soon as I get the info. Thanks for your help so far.

Perhaps Yamaha has a bulletin on this problem. In the end, a diagnostic assessment ought to turn-up the problem. It is frustrating that the problem was not resolved during the winterization when everything was right there in front of the tech.

I feel your frustration with this problem, most winterize places just do that and never run the motor unless they are told. Getting the model number will help us get this problem solved and where to start to look first
Thank you
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Amen. I'll be back in touch tomorrow.

Jack Colby

Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Okay, some progress.

Model # F250TXR

Serial # 6P2X-1008478

Just shot me a short note confirming receipt of this info.

I got that let me look at the manual here and tell you what to look at
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Jason
Jason, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 17,410
Experience: Degree in Marine Technology. Gas and diesel marine mechanic.
Verified

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I will be helping you today. I'm not sure what the hold up is here, and why it is taking hours for you to get a real response. I don't need to pull manuals to tell you what to look for.

If the motor is shaking, then that is going to be an ignition misfire. Bad spark plugs would do, so you want to rule those out. A leaking head gasket would also do it, so you want to both check the engine compression, and also have a look at the spark plugs inner electrodes when they come out to see if any are super clean (steam cleaned from water flashing to steam). Or rusty.

.

The next step is to hook up a fuel pressure gauge to make sure the fuel pressure is not to high, and that the engine is not flooding out. (soaking spark plugs with fuel and giving you the misfire that way.)

Spec is 44psi with the engine running. Fuel pressure that is to high means the fuel pressure regulator went south on you.

.

If everything looks good so far. What you want to do next is hook up a timing light to each spark plug wire 1 at a time, and hit the button. The light on the strobe should flash evenly with engine rpms. If the light becomes erratic, that is the misfiring cylinder. The next step is to swap the ignition coils over to a known good cylinder and see if the misfire follows the coil or not. If it does, it is simply a bad coil. If it does not, then there is more than likely a bad sensor on the engine feeding the ECM incorrect information, and the ECM is making poor igntion control decisions, and inducing the misfire. The next step after this would be to hook the engine up to YDS (Yamaha diagnositic systems - the laptop diagnostic program) and both check the engine for codes, and read the live data to see whats going on electrically with all of the sensors.

.

That should get you going, and lead you to the problem. I do work for tips so I want to make sure you hare happy with me before rating my answers. If you have a further question on this feel free to fire away.

Thanks in advance and happy holidays!

Jason

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Okay. Now I'm getting some possible reasons for the problem. Three questions: First, are these possible problems going to be evident when the motor is running at low RPM and not evident at high RPM? The problem sems to occur only at low RPM or is masked at high speeds - that is, there, but we don't notice it. Second, why not do the YDS at the outset of the analysis. Won't the computer identify the problems you enumerated? Finally (for now), ethnanol is such a scurge for engines, May water in the fuel be a possibility? Thanks.

Hello, I will answer what you asked in order. Feel free to reply back as needed. If you do need to reply back, and you don't mind me asking, what is your name?

.

First, are these possible problems going to be evident when the motor is running at low RPM and not evident at high RPM?

You have me confused here. You wrote initially "has a repetitive misfiring at low speeds". That tells me you only have the problem at low speeds/rpms, and not at high speed. And I based my entire response to you based on that. You have to clear this up if thats not the case, and we somehow got on the wrong page.

-

Second, why not do the YDS at the outset of the analysis. Won't the computer identify the problems you enumerated?

There are 2 ways to think about this one. YDS, or diagnostic software in general. Does not know everything, it only knows some things. For example, it has no idea what your fuel pressure is, that you have to check with a gauge. It will not know if you have a bad ignition coil, that you have to test for with a timing light, and confirm by swapping coils around (or using a lab scope to confirm). And that is why I put hooking it up in the order I did. There is certainly nothing wrong with doing it first. But I wrote my previous response in a way that there are things you can check yourself if you are handy with readily availabe tools, and not dealer only tools. For example, timing lights and fuel pressure gauges you can get at Sears under the Craftsman name. YDS is a dealer only thing, and the only place your going to find one really is 2nd hand on ebay, because dealers do not like to sell it to DIY'ers. I hope that make sense.

-

May water in the fuel be a possibility?

You know... Water in the fuel, or any kind of fuel quality issue is always suspect. Especially with Yamaha's because they are picky about fuel quality. And I thought about that before my last response. The engine is fuel injected. It has what they call a VST, Vapor Seperator Tank. If there is water in the fuel it will collect in the VST. The fuel pump draws off the bottom of the VST. Water is heavier than fuel and will collect at the bottom of the VST. What you probably don't know is this. Any amount of water at low rpms will cause a misfire. A little bit of water at high speeds is actually a good thing. It can increase octane, and cool combustion chamber temperatures. Extremely high performance engines have water injection, and actually inject H2O into the intake manifold along with the fuel. They have fuel injectors and water injectors. But water injection is extermely calibrated because water does an engine good in low doses, but to much blows the engine. This engine is not quite that level, it is not that high performance. If you had water in the fuel, it would collect in the VST, and the fuel pump would draw up water at high rpms, and it would be to much water, to the point that high rpm operation would have a problem as well. (lack of rpms - misfires ect). There is always a chance that you have water in the fuel, but in this case, based on just what we wrote about right now, it would be 10% or less.

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

You've done a good, comprehensive job helping me, handicapped by our not being able to have a dynamic conversation that comes w/ being face-to-face. The low rpm vs high rpm matter which you addressed in the first part of your last response is an example of what happens when a new wrinkle comes-up and introduces new factors that then have to be considered.

I appreciate that this static back-and-forth makes this analysis difficult for you.

I have had water issues in my Honda 150 and so I am always suspect about water as a culprit w/ a nagging misfiring scenario. Accepting that water may not be an issue, should the VST be drained or replaced?

What I am going to do at this point is send all of this correspondence to my son, Peter and ask him to wade-in - you'll recall we are talking about his Yamaha, not mine. He can add details that might be helpful.

In the end, I believe that because the issues did not get resolved when the engine was winterized (even though we asked for the misfiring problem to be identified) we will likely have to trailer the boat to the dealer from whom Peter bought this engine in 2008. Time is of the essence. Peter got an extended warranty but it is likely reaching its terminus.

I'll get back to you after I hear back from Peter.

I'm Jack Colby

Hi Jack, (I will never say that in an airport)

I do this on the side, we do this out of our houses. And do not work in some office building. I ran my business out of Massachusettes for 7 years, then moved to SW Florida few years ago. The biggest problem I have doing this is that I am not there to see the engine. I am not there to meet you. I have no idea what your expectactions of me are over the internet.

.

I have had water issues in my Honda 150 and so I am always suspect about water as a culprit w/ a nagging misfiring scenario. Accepting that water may not be an issue, should the VST be drained or replaced?

The VST should be opened up, drained, cleaned, and the fuel filter under the high pressure fuel pump replaced once a season. That is when you go by the book, and have dealer level service on the engine. The guys that do not put alot of hours on their engine a year will stretch that and do it every other year. But once every 3 years should be the absolute max you stretch that. Once a year is by the book.

.

What I am going to do at this point is send all of this correspondence to my son, Peter and ask him to wade-in - you'll recall we are talking about his Yamaha, not mine. He can add details that might be helpful.

Not a problem. There are no time limits here. And you are more than welcome to reply back even after rating my answers. Questions never close around here.

-

In the end, I believe that because the issues did not get resolved when the engine was winterized (even though we asked for the misfiring problem to be identified) we will likely have to trailer the boat to the dealer from whom Peter bought this engine in 2008. Time is of the essence. Peter got an extended warranty but it is likely reaching its terminus.
Normally I would say just leave it, after it has been winterized who cares, just deal with it in the spring. But if you do have a warranty, you have to get this taken care of ASAP. If not, then you will be paying for it out of pocket. One thing manufactors love to blame things on (and in some cases rightfully so) old gas. You do not want to be dealing with this in the spring when you have 2 weeks left on the warranty and a fuel tank full of 5 month old fuel. That is just a game you do not want to play, as it is a loosing game for the end customer.

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Thanks. This is very helpful. I'll talk w/ Peter tomorrow - he is checking on the end date for his extended warranty. After that I'll get back to you. Nice work.

Jack

Your very welcome for everything so far Jack. Hey listen, the system forces me to reply to you every time you write, even if it is just ot say thank. If you have something to add to this by all means chime in. If not, take your time.

--Jason

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Hello Jason,

I spoke w/ my son, Peter, last night. Peter said that he believes the misfiring, as I call it, was resolved. There seems to have been much more attention to resolving the problem during the winterization than I first believed. This is a classic case of misunderstanding throught that static communication process I referred to yesterday. The folks doing the winterizing actually put Peter's boat in the water, diagnosed the problem, and tried a fix - replacing the spark plugs and "tightening a wire." Subsequently, a mechanic tested the engine again in the water under load. The problem did not reoccur, he reported. The confusion came about when I asked Peter several days ago if he knew the problem had been resolved. He said that he did not know that. What he meant was that he had not been there when the motor was tested after service. He did not tell me that the mechanic reported to him that the motor was running fine. Not knowing that the matter apparently was resolved, and having concerns about the possibility of the problem remaining in a short warranty window, I began the exchange w/ you. Hopefully, the problem has been eliminated. We'll see in the spring when the boat is relaunched. Peter will let me know today if the extended warranty will still be in place in the spring. If it is and the problem remnains, we will still have recourse to get a fix w/o incurring a hefty bill as you noted in one of your posts last night.

Einstein once said, "Things should be as simple as possible but no simpler." looks like he got that right! Still, while I was casting about for answers yesterday not knowing that the engine had been tested and ran w/o a hitch, or so it would seem, I did get a lot of valuable information from you that I can apply in the future - I've already talked w/ Peter about the water issues based on your observations and recommendations.

I did not have much hope that the engine problem would simply be the result of poorly functioning spark plugs - you've probably noted from my comments here that I am still a little dubious. But, Peter and I did change those plugs in the fall last year and perhaps one was noted seated properly or tightened to spec - we did not use a torque wrench. And then there is the matter of the loose wire, whatever that means. Are you buying that as a possible explanation for the engine's symptoms at low RPM? Let me know.

After our next echange we will likely conclude this discussion. Before that, I want to commend you for the thoroughness of your postings and for your in-depth anlaysis througout these help sessions. It is greatly appreciated.

I'll sign-on to a payment after your final response.

Jack

Jack,

On the Yamahas, they run a relatively low voltage ignition system. What I mean by that is on average, most outboard ignition systems run about 25 to 30 thousand volts to the spark plugs. The Yamahas run in the 15 to 20K range. Because of that, they are very picky about fouled spark plugs. It does not take much. To add to that, on any engine, ignition coils are nothing more than a step up transformer. They take a certain amount of voltage in, and step it up to whats needed to fire the plug. Now when the engine is at low rpm, the charging voltage is low, and the voltage going into an ignition coil is going to be on the low side. As the engine rpms increase, so does its charging voltage. Ever drive a car at night with the headlights and heater on, and your at a stoplight and the headlights are dim. And when you step on the gas the lights get brighter? Same thing applies here. A fouled spark plug requires more voltage to fire than a clean spark plug. At low rpm, the voltage out of an ignition coil is low, because input voltage in is low. At higher rpms, voltage out of an ignition coil is going to be higher because input voltage is higher. And all it needs to be is high enough to make a fouled spark plug fire.

I hope that explains it/makes it easy. If not, feel free to fire back.

Thanks again, and happy holidays!

Jason

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

I get it. Thanks. I'll pass this on to Peter Colby.

If we need you in the future, how do we get you specifically?

Jack

The easiest way to get me is to just pop my name in the question field. Or, you can ask for me through my profile link. http://www.justanswer.com/boat/expert-jasonw/

Thanks Jack.

Jason

Jason
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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

Great. We'll save you in our contact list for the future. Where are you located? We are in RI (me) and Ct (Peter).

I'll do the rating (excellent) and "cash out" now.

Happy Holidays.

Thanks,

Jack

Jack. Thanks very much for the tip, that was most generous.

I'm actually down in southwest Florida, on the gulf. I did live in Mass for 33 years, and I ran my business for 7 of those years up there. But decided to make the move to FL a few years ago.

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Customer reply replied 5 years ago

As for the tip, my pleasure. I grew-up in Newburyport on the Merrimac River.

Stay warm.

Jack

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