1996 Sunbird Corsair 220 SEL 5.8 Ford motor OMC outdrive The boat will randomly go into a safe mode and will not run

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Customer: 1996 Sunbird Corsair 220 SEL 5.8 Ford motor OMC outdrive
The boat will randomly go into a safe mode and will not run above 3000 - 3300 RPM.
It has fuel injection and Electronic Ignition.
Does the boat have a diagnostic port?
If so where is it located?
Can a level II Test tool be used?
The motor was recently overheated (Twice) and water leaked into the oil.
The heads were removed and checked for warpage and a valve job was done.
The block deck was checked for warpage and was OK.
New plugs, wires, cap, and rotor were installed along with a new raw water impeller.
When this happened I removed the negitive battery cable to see if it would reset the computer. I didn't.
After it cools down it will restart and run fine.
No ryhme or reason when this happens.
Last time I was trying to get on plane and reved it up to 5200 RPM when it failed
Answered by MasterFixIt in 7 hours 6 years ago
15+ years of experience

15,890 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Marine mechanic, Diesel Engine Repairs, Boat Body Repairs, Boat and Watercraft Repairs

Hi , I am Tech Michael an expert in this field and I will be assisting you today. I am a Master Technician that's dedicated to giving you the best Answer possible.

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Does it sound like it starts sputtering above 2000 RPMs?

WHat exactly does it do when it reaches that speed?

Thank you

Tech Michael

It will fall on its face. It will start to miss and sputter badley. Once you throttle down it will run ok up to 3000 rpm. Higher than that it starts to miss again.

Hi, Thanks for that.

Since it overheated twice, I will bet there is some where its losing compression.

I would have this motor checked for a warped part. When you cant get power after an event like this its almost ALWAYS a warped head or also as possible they didn't do the valve job correctly. In may just need tuning.

Those are the only things that would cause this unless they left something loose like the carb(throttle body).

If they checked everything good for warpage, then it needs tuning is all ;-)

In any case, I will stick with you until this is complete.

Please rate my service kindly.

Also it is the only way I am credited for my time and expertise with you.

Once you rate, I will be notified and will add your question to my priority list so you can reach me anytime until this problem is solved.

Then you can reach me by simply replying to this message anytime.

Thank you


Tech Michael

I don't believe that it is a compression issue.
The boat well run fine for several hours before this happens. Once it cold down it will run fine again. Could run 1 hour or several. If it were mechanical it would run poorly all the time.
The timing is fine, compression is fine 180 +/,-all cylinders
Does this unit have a diagnostic port?I believe it's a sensor.Does this boat have a diagnostic port?
Motor was repaired by a race shop locally.
They know motors not boats.
They said the motors fine and its an electrical problem.I read on a forum that someone had the same problem. It's was going into a safety lock out.
This leads me to believe it's a sensor.

Hi thanks for that,

Unfortunately this one doesn't have a diagnostic port you can use, but the mechanic can.

If you dont think its mechanical and it did cross my mind, (actually it was the first thing I thought of) you may have a loose wire as well that would cause this. Bad connections are always an issue with boats, and maybe you just need to unplug each wiring clip and spray it with a little bit of WD-40. That may very well fix this. I would try that first for sure if it was my boat.

Tech Michael

I will stick with you all the way .

Please rate kindly so I can do so.

Where is this port located?
I have a tester.

Hi that one as I said doesn't have a port that you will be able to use, you need an analyzer and unfortunately the only ones who have these are the dealers and Marine shops.

A meter won't help here ;-(

I would think if all was fixed, you may just really need it re tuned, possibly new spark plugs considering what happened.

I would replace those, and also spray all the pug in connectors once you disconnect them, That may very well fix this for you ;-)

I've done so much of this type of work that this is exactly what I would do to save money. If it doesn't help then they need to recheck their work.

The tune up was done after the motor was repaired.
I'm well aware of the connections being tight, clean, and dry.
I've already checked the ones I can see.

Hi, thanks I would really say that they missed something because this problem is usually a cracked head or something that warps now when it gets hot.

I wish I had better news for you you but I know motors so well.

They really need to re check this one.


Tech Michael

Had the boat out today and it ran fine. We were pulling a tube as well.
I know it's not fixed. It's just didn't fail today.
This leads me back to bad sensor or ecm.
I really don't think it's a warped head or a tune up.
There is no water in the oil, plugs are chocolate brown.With that being said, I don't feel you have Givin me any useful information.
I don't want to pay $45.00 to be told it's broke and to check things that I feel have no bearing on the problem.Not sure we're to go from here.
They charged me before you even gave me any input.

Hi they will return your deposit unless they do feel that I have given you the correct information.

I dont think this is a sensor issue considering all that has happened.

Also I haven't been paid anything for my help at this point.

If you will rate my answer kindly I will forward this to customer service for review on a refund.

Although I believe I am correct on this diagnosis. I have been working on these for over 30 years so Im pretty sure of that.

In any case, I will stick with you until this is complete.

Please rate my service kindly.

Also it is the only way I am credited for my time and expertise with you.

Once you rate, I will be notified and will add your question to my priority list so you can reach me anytime until this problem is solved.

Then you can reach me by simply replying to this message anytime.

Thank you


Tech Michael

Hello. My name is Tan.

Has the boat been sitting in storgae? Have you tried another fuel source?

The symptoms arte more like you have a fuel restriction developing after you have run the boat awhile. This is a common issue with marine engines. What happens is over time the fuel tank does gets some residue and debris build up in the tank. The pick up tube in the fuel tank has a screen on the end of the tube. The symptoms are the boat will run fine at lower rpms when the engine isn't burning allot of fuel then when you increase the rpms the fuel demand becomes greater. This demand puts more vacuum on the fuel pick up tube and all the debris in the fuel tank begins to collect on the pick up tube screen eventually clogging to the point the engine starts to loose power and rpms.

The when you back off throttle the vacuum decreases and the debris falls off and engine runs good. Till you throttle up again it might run up to rpms for a short burst then it starts loosing power again.

Does this sound like what your engine run issue could be?

I believe I just found my own answer.
This is what I was talking about.
I'll let you know if I need any further advice.
Will Mike the previous mechanic see this post?

Yes he will see it. Just let me know.

The wire you are looking for is a Tan with a blue stripe. Just connect a voltmeter to the tan/blue. Negative test lead to the tan/blue and red to 12 volts run the boat and watch the meter when the engine acts up the meter will show 12 volts. If it doesn't show 12 volts then this is not the problem. If it does then either the temp or oil pressure switch is bad or the engine is loosing oil pressure or over heating. It's just strange to me it only does it when you throttle up and goes away when you back off throttle. Safe mode limits the engine rpms to 2500 and your going above that. This is why I though fuel supply.

Keep me posted.

Here's a wiring diagram.

Hello Tan,
The problem was the oil pressure switch.
Once I replaced it, I've had no problemsThanks,

That's great Al.

Happy 4th.

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