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When it will not start you would need to start by either disconnecting/cutting the white wire from the CDI box. Or, disconnecting the main harness from the outboard and jump starting it. That will tell you if the problem is on the engine, or in the controls/boats wiring. That is where you would need to start.
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You want to disconnect (or cut) the white wire at the CDI box itself on the engine. The other way to do it is to disconnect the extension harness that goes from the boat into the engine. And then just jump start the engine. The reason for doing this is to isolate the engines components from the wiring that runs up to the helm, and this includes the key switch and kill swtich. Does that make sense?
Are you still with me? Did you have any further questions?
what is the model number on this engine?
Click this link to pull up a picture. #5 is the CDI. does this match what you have?
If still no spark then you have either a bad CDI box or bad stator. Do you have a hand held volt/ohm meter, and do you know how to take electrical resistance measurements?
Do you see a brown and a blue wire that connect to the CDI box?
No reading at all?
It should have read in the 765 to 935 ohms ballpark. If you got nothing, the stator is shot, and what is causing the no spark condition. Installing a new one will get you up and running again.
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Spec is supposed to be 765 ohms to 935 ohms. I can only go on what you tell me. Is your meter any good, do you trust that it is accurate?
And it can definitely be intermittent. The stator is what provides the votlage for the ignition system. If it is borderline on voltage output sometimes it's going to work and sometimes it is not. Spec is 765 to 935, if the stator is not measuring that with a quality meter then it is no doubt bad.
If that is something you are going to question result wise on your end then you would need to invest in a higher quality multimeter.
But from what you are telling me, it has a confirmed bad stator.
Was there anything else?
Sure thing. Click this link - http://www.boats.net/parts/search/Yamaha/Outboard/1986/90ETLJ/CDI%20MAGNETO/parts.html
Stator is #3
Please let me know if you run into any problems when trying to put through a rating for me.
Thank you and good luck,
All resistance readings, regardless of the actual component, must be done with that component and out of the circuit.
When I had asked if you knew how to take resistance readings and you told me yes.... I thought that would have been something you knew. Does the stator read higher with it disconnected?
All you need to do is remove the brown and blue wires from the CDI and measure the resistance between those 2 wires. You know what the specs are so if it's out of spec it's bad. If it is in spec, the CDI is bad.