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Old 06-29-2013, 02:27 AM   #1
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Default Boat Starts in the Driveway but NOT in the Water! Ground Problem?

1997 Maxum 1900SR with 4.3L.

She starts fine in the driveway.

...Back her in the water and she just cranks. No pop, no chug, no start.

Pull her back out into the boat launch parking lot, crank crank crank sputter START.

So I backed her onto the launch ramp, started the engine then quickly put her in the water. No problems, ran great. I was afraid to turn her off though...

It's got to be electrical, like a ground problem..

I have no idea where to even start.
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:35 AM   #2
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electrical problems are usually consistent and if you had a short your batteries or fuses would be shot.

sputter is not electrical... its flooded fuel.

Sounds like a level ground issue, meaning fuel pump or carburetor floats don't like to be crooked.....

or you got water in the carburetor float bowl.

next time, try some starter fluid, to rule out fuel supply issue.

tell us how it goes.
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Old 06-29-2013, 02:46 AM   #3
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hmmm. It was level at home and started, level in the water on try #1 and wouldn't, then at an angle on the ramp and started after clearing the fuel... That's why i was thinking a short created by something being in the water...
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Old 06-29-2013, 03:27 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by pascavone View Post
electrical problems are usually consistent and if you had a short your batteries or fuses would be shot.

sputter is not electrical... its flooded fuel.

Sounds like a level ground issue, meaning fuel pump or carburetor floats don't like to be crooked.....

or you got water in the carburetor float bowl.

next time, try some starter fluid, to rule out fuel supply issue.

tell us how it goes.
I'll definitely try your suggestion. The boat also sat for 3 years with a cracked block before I bought it and replaced the engine. Just had the carb rebuilt but she may not be dialed in yet... I also need to replace the fuel filter I think but I don't believe that would contribute to this problem.

Thanks!
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Old 06-29-2013, 03:35 AM   #5
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Is this the first start of the season? First, I recommend running the engine in your driveway while spraying seafoam into the carburetor. You're not getting either spark or fuel. I would make initial assumption that the pattern of starting out of water, but not starting in water, was a coincidence. Hopefully a good day of running worked out the issue.
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Old 06-29-2013, 04:06 AM   #6
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Is this the first start of the season? First, I recommend running the engine in your driveway while spraying seafoam into the carburetor. You're not getting either spark or fuel. I would make initial assumption that the pattern of starting out of water, but not starting in water, was a coincidence. Hopefully a good day of running worked out the issue.
No, I've had it running in my driveway but it's a new engine and today was the first in-water run. I had it out running for about an hour and it did well. Last week I attempted the same with the same result: wouldn't start while level in the water but once I got her home sputtered, cleared then ran.
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Old 06-29-2013, 12:09 PM   #7
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I still say you have water in the fuel, and water sinks to the bottom were the pick up tube is.

You bounce around and the water mixes and then get drawn up is doses at high RPM.

Change your water seperator, (looks like oil filter), and then try.

If you had a short, NO lights or starter would work in the boat.

Sounds like 3 year old gasoline.
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Old 06-29-2013, 12:20 PM   #8
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WB, you said the boat sat for 3 years is the gas that old? If so I would remove the fuel filter and poor the gas into a clear glass jar and let it sit for a minute then look for signs of water or phase seperation. Water will be on the bottom of the jar and gas on the top you will see a line where the 2 seperate. Phase seperation is similar but the color of the gas will be different. If either case is true them you will need to pump the tank and get new gas.

I doubt it's electrical unless when you but it into the water the engine compartment is fill up with water. The only metal wiring tied to the outside of the boat is the ground bonding system on all metal to protect it and it is not part of the starting or running system.
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Old 06-29-2013, 09:16 PM   #9
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The fuel tank was nearly empty when I got it. 5-6 gallons. I put a bottle of Heat in and filled up with super unleaded. So yes there's still some old fuel in there but it's predominately new.
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Old 06-30-2013, 12:40 PM   #10
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I would still check for water since the tank was that low there is a high chance that condensation can happen. Any water in the tank would settle to he bottom where the pump draws it from.

Other than that It sounds like you need to trouble shoot when the problem is occuring. Take a day off and launch the boat when no one is around so you have time to check things out. Verify you have spark, fuel at the carb, then it's a matter of correct timing
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