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I have a 1994 Mastercraft ProStar Inboard boat with a 350CID…

I have a 1994 Mastercraft...
I have a 1994 Mastercraft ProStar Inboard boat with a 350CID Chevy Engine. It has a 2 barrel Rochester TBI carb and an ECM with 2 32-pin connectors labeled J1 and J2. The fuel injectors are not getting a signal to inject fuel. I have verified that they both are getting 12V when the key is on. I have verified fuel pump and system. The injector work with I pulse them with a 9V battery. I have replaced the Ignition Control Module on the distributor. About the only thing left is the ECM. I'm wondering if one of the inputs to the ECM is preventing it from activating the injectors. Is there a troubleshooting guide that I can get? Or, your thoughts?
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10/16/2017
Jason
Jason, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 17,394
Experience: Degree in Marine Technology. Gas and diesel marine mechanic.
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Hello my name is ***** ***** am I speaking with? I read what you wrote. Do you have a scan tool?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Hi I'm Bud. I have an OBDII scan tool but the connector is different than the rectangular 10-pin connector on the boat. I'm sure it's because OBDII did not exist in '94. Is there a scan tool I can buy for this '94 ECM?

H​i Bud. OBD is a car term. In the marine world it's a different language/protocol and that language is called MEFI. MEFI is a completely different language than OBD, and OBD will not work on MEFI engines and vice versa, MEFI scanners will not work on OBD ECM's. What you likely have is a MEFI 1 or MEFI 2 ECM. For a scan tool, what you would need is either a product called DIACOM, if you want a PC/Laptop based scan tool. Or one called the Techmate, if you want a hand held scan tool. Both can be had from a company called Rinda. Click this link, this is what you would need. http://www.rinda.com/marine/marinemenu.htm

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H​i Bud. OBD is a car term. In the marine world it's a different language/protocol and that language is called MEFI. MEFI is a completely different language than OBD, and OBD will not work on MEFI engines and vice versa, MEFI scanners will not work on OBD ECM's. What you likely have is a MEFI 1 or MEFI 2 ECM. For a scan tool, what you would need is either a product called DIACOM, if you want a PC/Laptop based scan tool. Or one called the Techmate, if you want a hand held scan tool. Both can be had from a company called Rinda. Click this link, this is what you would need. http://www.rinda.com/marine/marinemenu.htm

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Hi Jason, Thanks for helping. Your feedback about MEFI vs OBD was helpful, as was the info about the TechMate Scan Tool. I'm not looking to spend $500, but I learned a lot from the experience, and it sent me down a very helpful YouTube and Google path that let me to learning how to read the ECM trouble codes for free with my voltmeter or a light bulb, along with a comprehensive document about my MEFI 1 ECM. I am good for now. Thanks, Bud

The problem with the test light is it's not going to tell if you if the ECM has a power or ground issue, or if the ECM itself is bad. So you might eventually have to bite the bullet and pick yourself up a scan tool if you plan on DIYing this one. I do want to make sure you are happy with my service before you go. If you had a further question on the issue by all means feel free to ask. If not, Just in case you do not understand the way the website works (and some folks do not). You do have to put forth a positive rating in order for it to credit me for helping you. When ratings are not done, the website simply keeps your deposit and they will not credit me. The ratings box is located at the top of the screen. To rate, you must select the star you wish and also confirm it. Please let me know if you run into any problems or errors when trying to do it. If you do have a problem, or if you can not see the ratings box which is at the top of the screen. Please reply back "I rate Jason's service _______" and fill in the blank.

Please note that our question sessions never close out, so if you need to come back later down the road with follow up questions to the issue, you can do so at any time, even after putting through a rating.

Thanks in advance, and good luck
Jason

Jason
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Sounds great. Thanks for the guidance. This is my first time using this service and I had no idea that I had to do a rating. I'll do it right now.A thought about your feedback about a possible bad ground or bad ECM. I agree in principal and since I use my OBDII Scan Tool on my Chevy 5.7L LS1 motor in my race car, I understand the far-reaching benefits of using a Scan Tool. However, in this case, if I manually pour some gas into the carb, the engine starts immediately and all gauges, including the tach, work fine. That leads me to believe the ECM is ok. Plus, I have a spare that I connected and got the same behavior. Before I spend hundreds on a scan tool, I figured I'd see if I can read a trouble code that points me to a bad sensor input to the ECM, or something like that. I have carefully examined all the wiring, and the grounds (there are multiple grounds to the ECM) appear fine. Wish me luck, and if you can think of anything specific I should check, please do let me know. Thanks Jason, Bud
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Hi Jason, I am still troubleshooting my '94 Indmar Chevy 350 ECM in my Mastercraft Prostar 190. It has a MEFI 1 ECM. I have thoroughly tested (ohmed out) the wiring from every pin on the J1 and J2 ECM connectors to the other end at the sensors, etc. I have verified power and ground. I have verified the TBS and the Engine Coolant Temperature Sensor are working. I have verified fuel pump operation, and verified that the 2 fuel injectors work (using a 9V battery). I have verified 12V at the pinkish red wire to each injector when the key is on. The engine runs if I manually pour gas into the TBI, but the ECM is not sending the ground pulse signal to the injectors (checked with a NOID light). Is there any known failure of the ECM with this behavior? What signals must the ECM absolutely receive to pulse the injectors? Thanks, Bud

Hi Bud. The ECM needs to see a valid MAP pressure signal in order to fire the injectors. ECM failures do happen so it's also possible the ECM itself is bad. The ECM really needs to be hooked up to a scan tool to read both the live data and check for codes.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Checking the actual MAP sensor signal output to the ECM is next on my list. I was wondering about that, but I was hoping that during cranking, the ECM used a default value to drive the injectors until the engine started, regardless of MAP sensor input. I did read the DTC (codes) from the ECM and there aren't any. It just keeps repeating 12.

12​ means that there are no codes stored. The way the ECM works is it expects a certain range of values from each sensor. If it doesn't see those expected values, it flags a code. A sensor can still be out of range but as long as the value is acceptable to the ECM it will not flag a code. Typically if a sensor is shorted or disconnected, it will flag a code. But if it is reporting a bad value the ECM will still accept it and not flag a code. For example, the MAP sensor. Atmospheric pressure is 14.6 psi, which is what the ECM want's to see. However technically speaking 1 psi would also be an acceptable value. If the MAP sensor was reporting atmospheric pressure of 1 psi, there would not be a code and the engine would not start. You can try disconnecting the MAP sensor and seeing if the engine will start. When the actual sensor shorts or is disconnected the ECM will replace the MAP sensors input with an assumed value. The other thing you want to look at is to make sure there is continuity between the ECM and the ignition module. If there is a break in the harness there the ECM will not get a trigger signal from the ignition. I am going to upload the flow charts for you for diagnosing the issue. See attachments.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thank you!!! for the diagnostic flow chart. That is exactly what I was hoping / looking for. Where would I normally get such a document? I've been searching the web and Indmar's site but could not find anything like this. You mentioned "make sure there is continuity between the ECM and the ignition module." Yes I did that. In fact, I literally checked continuity from every single conductor at the ECM J1 & J2 connectors to the other end of the harness, wherever that may be (TPS, Injectors, IAC, MAP, Knock Sensor, Ignition Module, EFI relays, etc etc. Every single path checked out perfect, including grounds. I also disconnected the MAP sensor with no luck. I actually did that for the ECT (Engine Coolant Temp) Sensor, the Knock Sensor, and the TPS. Nothing made a difference, and doing that did not result in the ECM throwing any codes, which I think might be a red flag. When a sensor is disconnected, shouldn't the ECM store a code for that? Anyway, I'll use the flow charts this weekend and I have a few other checks to do also. Thanks man. Really appreciate this discussion. My best, Bud

The documents all come from the service manuals, which you would buy from the dealers if you wanted one. The engine will start and run to a degree without a functioning TPS, IAC, knock sensor.... But it will not start without a functioning MAP.

When a sensor is disconnected, shouldn't the ECM store a code for that?

Yes it's supposed to.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Jason thanks for sending me the above link: 0b04d721-4fc9-4883-a5c3-ada3b410e281_diagchart.pdf
Are you certain that these pages are for 1994? I ask because the page with 'Chart A-3 (3 of 4)' states “check the resistance of the injectors. Should be 12 ohms +/- 4".My injectors both measure the same at about 1.4 ohms. They work perfect when I check them with a 9V battery under fuel pressure. What I’m worried about, is that the low resistance means they will draw more current from the ECM. I’m wondering if they have been pulling too much current and this has blown the injector drive circuitry in the ECM.Bot***** *****ne: Is a resistance of ~ 1.4 ohms ok?Thanks, Bud

Hi Bud. It's a misprint in the manual. The injectors should be 1.2 ohms +/- .4.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Ah. Thanks.
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thanks again for our interaction Jason. Everything is pointing to a bad ECM. I verified proper 5V being supplied to the MAP and the TPS gray wire, and I verified proper "in range" voltage back to the ECM from both of those sensors. I also verified the wiring and proper signal range (in ohms) from the temperature sensor (ECT) to the ECM. So the ECM is getting the correct inputs. I also verified the presence of 12V on the pink wire to both injectors with key in ON position and CRANK position. The injectors also work perfect with a 9V battery, and I verified the blue and green wires from the injectors to the ECM. The last thing I'd like to verify is this: Does the ECM need to see any specific signal from the Ignition Control Module on the distributor during cranking, in order to pulse the injectors? I'm thinking not, but just want to be sure. Thanks, Bud

HI Bud,

The last thing I'd like to verify is this: Does the ECM need to see any specific signal from the Ignition Control Module on the distributor during cranking, in order to pulse the injectors?​

Yes it does. That signal is how the ECM knows the engine is spinning over. That being said, when the ignition control module is bad there will be both no spark and no fuel. But your engine does have spark so that means the module itself is at least working. This is why I said to verity that there is continuity between the control module and ECM harness wires just to make sure there isn't a break in the wires and to make sure the ECM is not not seeing the control module because broken wires.

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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Thanks Jason. Yes, I verified continuity for every conductor on both the J1 and J2 ECM connectors. The wiring harness has no faults. I verified I have spark at 1 spark plug. And, when I crank the engine, the tachometer in the dash shows about 200 RPM.Assuming I end up replacing the ECM, do you know if a MEFI 2 ECM will work in place of my MEFI 1? That will give me more flexibility when purchasing a replacement unit. I'm hoping to get one used. Speaking of that, other than Google and eBay, do you know where I can buy a used or refurbished/tested ECM?

Mefi 2 will not work, the connectors are different. Try calling this company and see if they can help you out with an ECM - https://www.obd2allinone.com/mefiecms.asp

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Hi Jason. The ECM is still not sending ground pulses to the TBI injectors. I had a marine mechanic connect a scanner to the Data Link Connector on my motor and the ECM is indicating that the engine is at 300 degrees. When I disconnect the 2-wire connector from the sensor, the ECM indicates that the engine is something like -40 degrees. I'm sure that the ECM will not pulse the injectors under either of these conditions. I checked the harness again: I measured each of the 2 wires from the sensor to the ECM and they read 0 ohms end-to-end, and open to ground (nether wire is grounded). Do you have a circuit diagram of the 2-wire ECT sensor for my '94 Indmar 5.7L engine? And do you have information on what the acceptable range of resistance value is for the sensor? Thanks, Bud

Good morning. I read what you wrote. "

I'm sure that the ECM will not pulse the injectors under either of these conditions.

​That is actually not true. Marine ECM's will always keep the engine running. If the engine actually was overheating or had low oil pressure. The ECM would sound an alarm to alert the operator. But it would not shut down the engine nor prevent it from running. If the engine was overheating, the engine will continue to run until it physically seizes up or blows.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Darn! I thought I was onto something. Are you absolutely sure that the ECM will pulse the injectors under all ECT conditions? When all this started, I tested each sensor, and I measured an open circuit from the ECT sensor. I replaced it with a sensor from NAPA auto parts. I just checked the new ECT sensor with an ohmmeter (wiring harness disconnected) and the pin that connects to the yellow wire (ckt 410) is shorted to the metal housing, which, when installed in the engine block, is connected to ground. This means the ECT sensor is always shorting ckt 410 to ground. Does this seem as wrong to you as it does to me? With the harness still disconnected, I measure +5V on the yellow wire (ckt 410) when the key is on, as I would expect. So I'm wondering if grounding J1 pin 2 (ckt 410) would cause the ECM to NOT pulse the injectors...

Are you absolutely sure that the ECM will pulse the injectors under all ECT conditions? ​

​Yes definitely. The key here is reliability. Imagine the boat is 20 miles off shore and a storm is coming in, and then a temp sensor that costs 2 dollars to make in china decides it wants to stop working and it tells the ECM it's overheating even though it is not, and the engine shuts down. That would not make for a very reliable engine. A carbureted engine with points ignition would end up being more reliable at this point. As far is J1-2 being shorted. The ECM uses the temp sensor to adjust the fuel/air ratios for a hot vs cold engine. If the ECM thinks the engine is cold when it's hot outside, the engine will always run rich because it will always be in cold start mode. If the ECM thinks the engine is hot when it's cold outside, the engine will be hard to start because the ECM will not richen up the fuel mixture. The engine will eventually start but it will be hard to start. If anything you might need to get a scope and see if the ECM is actually getting a proper wave form from the ignition module itself.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Makes perfect sense Jason. I was thinking the same thing when you told me that the ECM needs to see a valid MAP pressure signal in order to fire the injectors. I would think if the MAP sensor went out or was even disconnected, the ECM would simply use default values to run the engine and get me home...So now that I've read just about the whole Baker and Haynes manuals on this MEFI 1 system, and at least a dozen more online articles and blogs, plus our conversation, I'm coming to the conclusion that in addition to proper power and grounds, the ECM needs to see 3 things:
1. The throttle must be less than 75% open. At about 75%, the ECM assumes the engine is flooded and doesn't pulse the injectors until the throttle is pulled back. This is according to my Mastercraft Prostar owner's manual.
2. A proper pulse train from the Ignition Module.
3. A proper MAP signal.Agreed?As a side note, I'm on my 4th ignition module since we began talking. I'm thinking there has to be a connection here...
When I began this troubleshooting exercise, I noticed that when I turned the key to the 'run' position, I heard a fairly loud buzzing (arcing?) coming from the coil. Even though the resistance measurements on the coil paths (per the manual) were perfect, I replaced the coil anyway. The buzzing/arcing stopped, and with a new ignition module, I got spark. But after continued troubleshooting, which included cranking the engine a few times to check the noid light on the injector plug, the spark would stop. I would verify voltages at the coil and the 2-terminal connector on the ignition module and everything was good. I would replace the ignition module and I would have spark again. Is there anything that you know of that would cause multiple modules to fail? These were aftermarket module purchased from NAPA Auto Parts.

Good morning.

1. The throttle must be less than 75% open. At about 75%, the ECM assumes the engine is flooded and doesn't pulse the injectors until the throttle is pulled back. This is according to my Mastercraft Prostar owner's manual.
2. A proper pulse train from the Ignition Module.
3. A proper MAP signal.

As a side note, I'm on my 4th ignition module since we began talking. I'm thinking there has to be a connection here... ​

​That isn't right. Are you remembering to clean off all the old heat transfer grease off of the distributor and use new heat transfer grease on the new modules? Does the distributor itself have a good clean ground? Did you test the pickup coil inside of the distributor yet?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
I was meticulous about cleaning off the old heat transfer grease and using the new grease. Also, there shouldn't even be that much heat since the engine is not running, and we're talking about cranking the engine for a few seconds to check the injector noid light to see if the injectors are getting a pulse from the ECM.Regarding the distributor ground, there is a gasket between the distributor and the block, so I believe the primary source of ground is the distributor clamp. I removed it, cleaned all contact surfaces with the distributor and block, and re-installed. I checked resistance from the engine block to the distributor at several places, including the 2 screws that hold the ignition module to the distributor. I measured 0 ohms in all cases. I even cleaned those 2 screws with a wire wheel to make sure they are making a good electrical connection with the ground eyelets on the ignition module.I tested the pickup coil by measuring its resistance with an ohmmeter, per the manual. It measured perfect. And remember, the motor starts immediately if I manually pour some gas into the carb. That further indicates that the pickup coil is working (right?). But that (pickup coil) has been on my mind as I rule out other culprits.

I ​have no idea if the automotive ones are even the same. They might look the same but I can't say for certain if they are the same. At this point you would either need a lab scope to see if the ignition module is outputting a wave form to the ECM or think about swapping it to a carburetor.

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