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I have a 1995 champion bass boat with (I think) the original mercury XRI 200 motor. Boat is in great condition and has been well taken care of. Boat ran fine this spring then....One day the alarm goes off and I realized that the oil reservoir was low. Limped back to the dock, got it home and filled the tank. Called a mechanic and was told not to worry as there is a reservoir on the engine and even when the main oil tank runs low there is plenty of oil in the tank on the motor. Assumed everything was fine. Took boat back out to the lake a couple days later and it ran terrible. It starts fine, idles fines, revs up fine.. put in gear and it cuts in and out or just won't go above 15 mph or so.Called mechanic and he had me bring it in. He said he put it on the computer and it came back with no problems. He looked at it closer and said the "spark advance control" module was coming apart and that it could cause the problem. $750 later I picked up the boat thinking problem solved. Took to lake and nothing changed.Took back to mechanic. He took it out to the lake and now says that the problem is bigger. Says not all cylinders are firing. Says he thinks its the reed valve failure but won't know for sure till he takes it apart. Says the job is a full day..So... looking for advice. I don't have the money to buy a new motor but also don't want to continue putting money into this one if its a lost cause. I have a two videos of the motor running poorly if that would be of help to someone who knows these motors. Looking for advice on what to do?

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Answered in 10 minutes by:
6/21/2018
Charles
Charles, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 4,925
Experience: US Navy (Ret) Certified Mercury Marine Tech with over a decade of repair experience.
Verified

Hello, my name is***** will assist you.

Do you have the serial number for the engine?

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
I don't have it handy no. Boat is at the shop.
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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
I don't know if it was that exactly. Could be. he called it a "spark advance control module". He replaced it and I didn't notice a difference to the way it was behaving.
Customer reply replied 2 months ago
He said the spark advance control module was coming apart and was located at the top left hand of the cylinder head.
Customer reply replied 2 months ago
here is the video of it running. Full acceleration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kHsi1FKJxY&feature=youtu.be&app=desktop

Either 1 or 8 here. That is where they are located. The other is on the left side of the port cylinder bank.

https://www.boats.net/catalog/mercury/outboard-by-year/mercury-outboard/1995/200hp/1200413rd/detonation-controller-temperature-sensor

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Sounds rough

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
one other thing. Since buying the boat about 6 years ago it would occasionally have bouts of time when it would run like that. Not surge like that more like in that video but more like it just wasn't getting fuel. Then all the sudden it would be fine. I had a different mechanic look at it and he said it was the prop. I had him look at it again and said nothing was wrong. I gave up trying to have him fix it and just got used to it occasionally doing that. Other than that occasional problem it ran strong. 60mph. Question is now is it work putting $1500 into it (or whatever it will cost) for reed valve work or injectors or?

That is not a reed condition in the vid. Give me a few minutes to type up how this thing works.

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The engine needs 34 PSI pressure to run properly. You also need good compression on all 6 cylinders of more than 90 PSI. timing at WOT needs to be about 24 degrees ATDC. With the engine cutting down like that and no alarm going off, it sounds like it could be fuel related. It would be nice if you had the boat and could run a few test from home to get to the source of the issue.

For the oil, the tank in the boat, that 3 gallon one does not have an alarm in it. The only alarm is for the one on the engine, when it gets low the alarm sounds. There is also no memory function on the ECU of this engine. To locate an issue, it has to be happening right when the scanner is connected.

Does all this make sense so far?

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
It doesn't make sense to me but then Im not anything close to a boat mechanic. The small oil tank on the motor was full - just the larger oil tank was empty but I understand what you are saying. Perhaps I damaged something when it the alarm went off. I can get the boat and run through some tests but I am limited on ability and tools for doing anything myself. One more thing. After he replaced that module it didn't surge last time I had it on the water. Here is a video of what it did. Max speed was only 15-20. The mechanic said not to run it as it could damage something so it was just a short 10 minute trip. I took it back to the shop after this video and that is when he told me not all cylinders were firing and that it could be the reed valves. This is also what it sounded like in the past when it would occasionally not run right as I mentioned.This again was at full throttle
https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=WQfL6tpUsr0&app=desktop

Reeds in the engine are like flapper valves, they either work or they dont. They do not come and go. If one was cracked or broken, you would only be down 1 cylinder and maybe 1000 RPM less than max.

What that does sound like is that it is not on all 6, but it is electrical. With a decent multimeter rented from a chain auto parts store, a set of muffs to run the engine at the house, and a fuel pressure tester that can also be rented, I can get you to what is wrong with this engine. You would also need common tools such as a spark lug socket and some other sockets.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
I have a multi meter, sockets and the muffs. Don't have a fuel pressure tester. Wouldn't a boat shop check what you are suggesting? Perhaps finding a different mechanic is what I should do. If you think it would be easy to do I can try to track down a fuel pressure tester and look into this weekend.

The test are rather easy to do. I get the feeling that this guy may be taking you or a ride and guessing at what is wrong with the engine.

Oh, you would also need a compression tester.

We could hook up via phone and I can get you through most of the tests in about an hour.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
ok are you available over the weekend? Would places like auto zone, Napa etc. have the compression and fuel pressure tester needed or are they specific for marine type motors?

Yes I am on here on the weekends. Those places would have them. The compression tester it a 14MM thread, that is a standard one. The fuel pressure gauge needs to screw onto a schreder valve, like a car tire valve stem.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
ok how do I get in touch with you once I have the testers?

Just reply back to this thread. It will come to me and we can go from there. If you want to go to the phone, it is an additional 26, but we can then talk thru the tests.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
ok thanks for your help.

You are welcome.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Just spoke to mechanic. Says he already checked compression. All was between 100 and 110. Not great but ok he says. Says all 6 cylinders have spark so not a spark problem. Says that leaves fuel which would either be injectors or reed valves. Says he checked fuel pressure and it was good at around 38lbs.

Have him do the resistance test on the injectors. With the correct tester he can also do a pressure drop test on the 3 banks when they open to see if they drop the same pressure.

Also, what is the voltage on the red wire to the switchbox when the engine is either at idle or cranking. There are 2 red wires to test, one on each switchbox. If this voltage is not right, the engine will not get above around 2500 RPM.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
I asked him and his feelings are now hurt. Rambled on about being a mercury mechanic for 25 years etc. etc. Suggests I take it to another shop.Here is what he did have to say about what you suggested doing. Says itemizes at idle even. That it doesn't have anything to do with the high-speed stator circuit. As for the injectors, all spark plugs are wet which means their firing.
Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Says "it misses" at idle even... sorry typo

If the timing is off, that would account for wet plugs and not firing at the correct time.

Have you noticed it missing at idle speeds?

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
I haven't noticed it missing at idle at all. Sounded fine to me at idle but again Im no mechanic. It seemed to run/purr fine at idle but according to him its missing so I could be wrong. It seemed to only behave poorly when in forward gear. At idle, in reverse, in neutral and "reved" up. All seem fine. Only in forward gear giving it throttle caused the problem.

To me that really sounds like the high speed stator. You run this engine so you know what it sounds like in the water.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
probably not reed valve or injector issue? Is a high speed stator and easy install or something Id need to take to a shop for?

The stator is 1 piece. There are just 3 different coils on it. The hardest part is pulling the flywheel, but that can be done with a good upller set from an auto parts store.

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Ok Ill probably just need to take it to a different shop. Ill ask another shop to test the stator. This guy is bent out of shape now and basically says he doesn't want to work on the boat any more.

that may be in your best interest honestly.

Charles
Charles, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 4,925
Experience: US Navy (Ret) Certified Mercury Marine Tech with over a decade of repair experience.
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