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Dominick, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 1009
Experience:  25 Years Experience as Mechanic, 20 Yrs Boat Yard Owner/Mechanic, Factory Certified
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Boat stranded on the water, engine cuts off after about 30

Customer Question

Boat stranded on the water, engine cuts off after about 30 seconds. Oil reservoir is a little below the line. Don't have access to more outdrive oil at the closest source. Is there an oil substitute available from an auto parts store?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Boat
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can we supplement with 10w30 or 20w50 to get the boat back to the landing? No merc oil available near location.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
oil is 1 inch low on the reservoir. This is a mercruiser alpha 1
Expert:  Tan replied 1 year ago.

Hello. My name is Tan.

Low drive oil will only sound and alarm. It will not disable the engine in anyway.

What are your symptoms?

Could I get the engine serial number please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
engine stops after 20-30 seconds after cranking.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
getting the serial for you
my son is on the water in the boat and I am on the phone with him.
Expert:  Tan replied 1 year ago.

This is either fuel starvation or an ignition issue. Will engine restart?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
0L606107 0L717585 4.3L thunderbolt 5 ignition.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
engine will restart each time
run for 20-30 seconds but also while running high speed and shut off
Expert:  Tan replied 1 year ago.

Does your son have any way to do a voltage test at the fuel pump?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
a few years back we had a problem with a purple wire (oil sensor I think) that is connected on the port side under the block. I think we had the same symptoms then. Not sure if he has tools for voltage test on board.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
phone call would have to be directly with him. But I think email and web with me is fine.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
he wiggled the purple wire and it seems to be running longer now.
Expert:  Tan replied 1 year ago.

Tell him to try this. On the starter we need to jump from the battery cable terminal to the purple wire on the start solenoid. Now start engine does it continue to run?

In this diagram jump with a piece of wire from A to D.

I can call him if you like.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Its almost definitely the purple wire connection. It is running at fast idle now for two minutes after he wiggled the purple wire.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can I reconnect with you if he gets stranded again? He is going to try to return to the landing in the next couple of hours.
Expert:  Tan replied 1 year ago.

Yes you can I will be here.

I think you are having an issue with the oil pressure switch that runs the fuel pump when engine is running.

Expert:  Tan replied 1 year ago.

Jumping the wire on the starter will verify this is the problem. We are bypassing the oil pressure switch that runs the fuel pump.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
gotcha. Once he is back to his house we can run that test. He is going to get it to the closest marina and take a cab back to his landing to get his truck. If he runs it at slow speed, we think he can make it 5 miles to the marina. He also has towboat US coverage if he needs it. Appreciate you help. I can see why you have such high marks.
Expert:  Tan replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. If it does quit on him this will get him back. From your description of the issue this is the problem. Fingers crossed it gets back safely.

Keep me posted I will be available all afternoon.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I would like to keep this issue open if we can. Willing to up the fee since it is looking more complicated than a simple oil question.
Expert:  Tan replied 1 year ago.

Yes it will stay open till we get your issue resolved.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
By the way the block was replaced this spring but it has run well until now. They went to replace the Fly wheel after they found the starter was loose. Then they found that the ear for the starter bolt had broken off. They could not weld it back on so they replace the block. Not related I don't think, but I'm not sure if the sensors and such were replaced.
Expert:  Tan replied 1 year ago.

Not related. These oil sensors are bad about the terminals corroding and the sensor failing.