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Jason, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 15876
Experience:  Degree in Marine Technology. Gas and diesel marine mechanic.
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After running time and then stopping, my 1996 7.4 L

Customer Question

After running for some time and then stopping, my 1996 7.4 L MerCruiser will start again and run for 1 to 3 minutes, then appears to not get enough fuel, and then stalls out. It will then take 30 minutes or more before it will restart.
I just had rather extensive work done by the local Marine Max dealer including replacing the entire EFI module, new fuel pump, new plugs and other work. I do not believe anything was done to the fuel cell.
The symptoms appear to match what I have read about vapor lock. Does that sound likely? If so, any suggestions on correcting the problem?
Thank you for your time. I'm anxious to hear your thoughts.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Boat
Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** am I speaking with?
Vapor lock would not set in in 1 to 3 minutes. Sounds more like injector leakage causing flooding if anything. Have the injectors been checked for leak down yet?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jason. My name is***** appreciate your reply. The simple quick answer to your question is no, I do not believe so.
The boat itself is a 1996 Sea Ray 280 CC. It is an "interesting" design in my experience in that there is very little ventilation into the engine compartment. I have added some protected venting and do run the blower regularly in an attempt to cool the entire engine compartment to some extent. Too soon to tell if that makes any real difference.
I bought the boat from my neighbor's son. Between the two of them, they have had it since new. It has been well cared for and kept in a covered lift since new. I have it in a covered lift as well and other than this issue, it has run well. My neighbor's son describes the same issue when he had the boat. He found that lifting the engine cover and venting the engine compartment after running the engine and while tied up at a dock or anchored for a while, seemed to make the problem less likely to happen.
About 6 months ago, I had the boat in the covered lift behind my house here in Pensacola. We had a bad lightening storm and a bolt hit directly in my yard somewhere. It took out every GFCI outlet every where in my yard; it took out the ones on my dock and the one in the boat. It smoked the battery charger, three batteries, the ECM and other electrical gear on the boat as well. I spent about $6-7K on repairs: new ECM, new fuel pump, new plugs, cap, new charger & batteries, fuel & oil filters, etc. The boat again runs well w/ the initial start up and for however short or long you want to run it initially. But once it is turned off and sits for any time (short of several hours or more), it will again start up but then whether at idle or throttling up, it will initially run for a few minutes (if idling) or a few seconds (if throttling up), then sputter and die. It then is VERY difficult to restart short of again, waiting considerable time (hours) and trying again from scratch.
My neighbor (same one who originally owned the boat) showed me a recent notice he got related to the "fuel cell sensor" as I recall and problems w/ vapor lock (I'm going from recall as I haven't been able to locate the copy he shared w/ me). It said something about replacing the sensors/electrodes in the fuel cell??
I have been using fresh gas in the boat but w/ E10. I have been using fuel stabilizer as well.
I am available to chat w/ you if that would be helpful. I will also look for the service notice I referenced to see if that helps at all. Thank you for your time and thoughts.
Sincerely, Rex
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jason. I found the notice. It is from Pleasure Craft Engine Group and dated April 2015. "Re: Importance of Fuel System Safety Inspections". It relates to both ethanol blended fuel and the Fuel Control Cell Pass-Thru wiring lead. As I look at the photo of the FCC Pass Thru Wiring, I note it is NOT the set up I have. It does make me wonder about the FCC on my engine and any role it may have in the problem I am having. I don't know that this helps or not but I thought I'd pass it along. Might help you w/ someone else?? Thanks again. Rex
Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.
Hi Rex. We can definitely do a phone session but I won't be able to do it tonight. (we do this on the side from home, it's 9pm my time and it is close to bed time for me). But if you are around tomorrow we can set up a time for then. What time zone are you in, and what works best for you?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jason. I'm in Pensacola, Fl; Central Time. I am going to pull the entire service record so I will know just what was done on the most recent work (and perhaps more importantly, what was not done). I'm a pediatrician and have some long days as well as a call schedule that varies from week to week so I understand the challenge in setting up a call especially w/ other responsibilities. I know that I'll be tied up tomorrow until about 8 PM and then have some time after that. Let me know if you have any thoughts at this point and we can also try to link up by phone at some point. In the meantime, I'll review those service records as well. Thanks. Hope you have a nice evening.
Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

Good morning Rex, I'm actually in SWFL myself. In the mean time what i'm thinking is there is either a bad sensor on the engine, or the fuel injectors are leaking when you shut it off flooding the engine out. Vapor lock simply takes more time than 1 to 5 minutes to set in, so that would not fit the symptoms.

Expert:  Jason replied 1 year ago.

Hi Rex, just checking in. Did you still need help with the issue?

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