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TOPIC: Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3

Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 03 Jul 2017 03:30 #1

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Hi all,
You folks have helped me out before so I'm hoping this learned group can do so again.

We took our Maxum 2600SE out on the SF Bay for two trips in May/June this year. The engine seemed to perform fine, with the exception of slightly elevated fuel burn (17 gph vs 13.5 gph on plane). This is a chronic problem on our boat, and I have fixed this in the past by replacing the fuel filter and cup and the lower fuel pressure regulator. A new fuel filter and cup did not correct the problem. I removed the FPR and saw that the screen was covered in black crud so I replaced it.

We launched again on July 1. Everything seemed normal at idle and displacement speeds (up to 8 knots). When I tried to go on plane, I could not get the boat RPM above 3000. I was not able to get on plane or go faster than ~13 knots. I ran the boat for about an hour trying to see if the engine performance changed. Gradually our speed dropped to 8 knots and the engine power and RPM seemed to fluctuate. I then brought the boat back to the launch ramp.

Today I checked several things. The FPR was removed to see if the o-rings had been compromised when I installed it, but they were fine. I checked the engine oil for signs of water but it looks fine. I checked the upper FPR and it looked fine. I checked the distributor cap and rotor and they seem fine. The air filter looked a little dirty but doesn't seem to be bad enough to cause this problem.

Any obvious things that I haven't checked? Thanks in advance for any wisdom you can offer!

Tom

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2006 Maxum 2600SE with Merc 5.0L MPI/Bravo III

Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 03 Jul 2017 18:03 #2

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Cool fuel Gen lll should be on your 2006 MPI Engine.
Fuel pressure running high due to its clogged fuel system most likely.
When you replaced the paper filter, did you also replace the white disc filter also?
That's the important one!
Major problem with paint peeling , clogging up everything inside the module.

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Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 04 Jul 2017 20:25 #3

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Thanks for the reply. Yes, I do have the Cool Fuel Gen 3 and am aware of the paint peeling problem (which by the way, Mercury Marine refuses to acknowledge). This is why I've had to regularly replace the filter, disk and the FPR at various times.

This new problem could be due to clogging in other areas I suppose. Maybe the injectors? The upper FPR (on the rail) looks clean.

I'm wondering if the fuel pump is giving out.

I also wonder if I should break down and replace the Cool Fuel module. It's expensive ($1000) and I have no idea if Mercury has corrected the paint overspray problem at the factory.

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2006 Maxum 2600SE with Merc 5.0L MPI/Bravo III

Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 05 Jul 2017 17:46 #4

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My pleasure Ice!
First check the fuel pressure at the fuel rail.
Yes something is getting clogged up most likely. The module isn't cheap about a BOAT bucks.
I would pull the module, disassemble everything, check the inlet screen filter on BOTH high & low fuel pumps.

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Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 24 Aug 2017 22:36 #5

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OK so I've taken this boat to a mechanic and he's done some diagnostics, but there is still no resolution. There were no fault codes and the engine telemetry looks normal (including under load). He's leaning towards a cylinder leak problem. He did a compression test and all cylinders were OK but 2 and 4, which tested at 130 psi, but after he sprayed in some oil they tested normal. He wants to do a leak down test, but I'm not sure he's on the right track since the engine SOUNDS fine at low speeds and even under heavy load, it just can't deliver enough power. Also the engine has been running fine up until two weeks before the July 1 launch. It's hard to believe a cylinder problem would manifest suddenly.

Another mechanic told me that with cars, typically two things can cause the engine to not get full power: a fuel delivery problem, and a blockage of the exhaust system.

The fuel pressure seems to be normal, and as I mentioned I replaced a component that was clogged. But I suppose there could be another problem that isn't detected by the engine computer.

I don't really understand how exhaust gasses leave the engine. I believe they leave via the stern drive, but I don't know how they get there. Are they routed to the exhaust manifold that is used for raw water exhaust? Or is there a separate set of manifolds/pipes? Is there something that could get blocked and should be checked?

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2006 Maxum 2600SE with Merc 5.0L MPI/Bravo III

Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 25 Aug 2017 00:27 #6

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iceman11 wrote: OK so I've taken this boat to a mechanic and he's done some diagnostics, but there is still no resolution. There were no fault codes and the engine telemetry looks normal (including under load). He's leaning towards a cylinder leak problem. He did a compression test and all cylinders were OK but 2 and 4, which tested at 130 psi, but after he sprayed in some oil they tested normal. He wants to do a leak down test, but I'm not sure he's on the right track since the engine SOUNDS fine at low speeds and even under heavy load, it just can't deliver enough power. Also the engine has been running fine up until two weeks before the July 1 launch. It's hard to believe a cylinder problem would manifest suddenly.

Another mechanic told me that with cars, typically two things can cause the engine to not get full power: a fuel delivery problem, and a blockage of the exhaust system.

The fuel pressure seems to be normal, and as I mentioned I replaced a component that was clogged. But I suppose there could be another problem that isn't detected by the engine computer.

I don't really understand how exhaust gasses leave the engine. I believe they leave via the stern drive, but I don't know how they get there. Are they routed to the exhaust manifold that is used for raw water exhaust? Or is there a separate set of manifolds/pipes? Is there something that could get blocked and should be checked?


I just posted a response to the identical post on the Maxum owners club for you.

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1997 Maxum 2400 SCR 5.7LX Bravo II

Mike

Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 25 Aug 2017 19:01 #7

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I would be looking into the exhaust.... there are flappers in there just below the elbows that can fail and plug the exhaust tube.... one side plugs and 3000rpm is about all you get out of it when in gear in the water...
its a cheap and easy fix if thats what the problem is, and reasonably simple to check, it only requires pulling the elbows off and looking down the tubes.

one side or theother may be stuck closed or if it broke a pivot hole, it will be jammed in there, and if it broke both pivot holes, it will be down farther in the exhaust tube, in which case it may require pulling the outdrive to extract it.

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1989 Bayliner 2556, 5.7 OMC Cobra

Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 25 Aug 2017 19:26 #8

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Centerline2 wrote: I would be looking into the exhaust.... there are flappers in there just below the elbows that can fail and plug the exhaust tube.... one side plugs and 3000rpm is about all you get out of it when in gear in the water...
its a cheap and easy fix if thats what the problem is, and reasonably simple to check, it only requires pulling the elbows off and looking down the tubes.

one side or theother may be stuck closed or if it broke a pivot hole, it will be jammed in there, and if it broke both pivot holes, it will be down farther in the exhaust tube, in which case it may require pulling the outdrive to extract it.


+1

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Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 25 Aug 2017 22:46 #9

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Centerline: If the exhaust was blocked, shouldn't the boat have overheated as well? The raw cooling water exits the same way, right? The engine temp was normal while I was on the water.

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2006 Maxum 2600SE with Merc 5.0L MPI/Bravo III

Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 26 Aug 2017 04:15 #10

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iceman11 wrote: Centerline: If the exhaust was blocked, shouldn't the boat have overheated as well? The raw cooling water exits the same way, right? The engine temp was normal while I was on the water.


Thinking about this the exhaust is not going to be totally blocked if the flappers broke off and are laying in the bottom of the y-pipe so while the exhaust is restricted gases and water can still pass however I would still expect a rise in operating temp.

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1997 Maxum 2400 SCR 5.7LX Bravo II

Mike

Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 26 Aug 2017 11:10 #11

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First post Ice wrote " black crud "

Hoses may be compromised from this new fuel.

What happens and i've seen this more and more ...

Spend a week chasing a lack of power condition.

Went thru the list i copied and pasted below, what did it turn out to be ?

Inner lining of the fuel hose peels away, leave " black crud " in a filter, clean it out or replace the filter, and think nothing of it.

Turns out the inner lining can and will block the fuel hose.

Owner of the boats don't even mention the " crud " i have to keep prodding them what was done to the boat, was it acting up before, then they say or mention something about " crud " in a filter.

Take a peek at the list :

This is a generic list you don't have a carb: for example.

1. Fuel condition. Type and Octane possibly old fuel.
2. Propeller pitch or diameter, damaged blades. Wrong prop ...
3. Restricted fuel pickup tube or anti siphon valve Fuel System Test
4. Crankcase oil volume, high oil level can cause aerated oil and lifter collapse
5. Marine growth on hull and outdrive.
6. Wrong gear ratio in outdrive.
7. Restricted carburetor air intake (clogged flame arrestor).
8. Restricted exhaust system (broken exhaust shutters/flappers) in engine transom shield or drive.
9. Poor cylinder compression Compression Test.
10. Carburetor defective, or wrong type.
11. Fuel pump pressure and vacuum
12. Boat overloaded, improperly loaded, or improperly trimmed.
13. Engine Overheating.
14. Engine timing and ignition system operation. Plugs, wires, etc.
14A- Check the dist. shaft some have a c-clip some don't, wiggle the shaft.
15. Remote control cables and linkage for proper travel to open throttle plates fully.
16-Valves need adjusting.
17-Hidden water in the hull.
18- Fuel hose degradation.

Above copied and pasted from another website: #16 and #17 added by myself. Now i'm adding fuel hose degradation.

When I am asked to check wot on friends boats, I make sure the tank is half full, engine freshly tuned up.
Hull must be clean, doesn't help when the guy say's oh yea 3-5 weeks ago, nope freshly cleaned hull.

You have water tanks, 8.34 pounds per gallon of water. You do the math. That's fresh water, saltwater more.

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Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 26 Aug 2017 21:16 #12

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Chief Alen wrote: Spend a week chasing a lack of power condition.

Went thru the list i copied and pasted below, what did it turn out to be ?

Inner lining of the fuel hose peels away, leave " black crud " in a filter, clean it out or replace the filter, and think nothing of it.

Turns out the inner lining can and will block the fuel hose.


Well I definitely saw black crud on the lower FPR (the one mounted on the Cool Fuel module). The boat was running fine with this condition, except for high fuel burn rate. The problem started after I replaced the FPR (and had already previously replaced the fuel filter and disk).

It sounds like you're saying a fuel hose itself could be internally blocked? How would I isolate the hose causing this problem? Would the fuel pressure on the rail tell me anything? Or would I just have to remove the hoses and inspect them visually?

Thanks for the list. A lot of those items don't apply (boat sits on trailer for example so bottom is clean) but there are definitely things that need to be checked.

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2006 Maxum 2600SE with Merc 5.0L MPI/Bravo III
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Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 26 Aug 2017 22:18 #13

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Don't recall but you have already checked this out. There have been issues with the cool fuel getting internally blockage from being internally painted. Fuel pressure at the rail would be low.

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1997 Maxum 2400 SCR 5.7LX Bravo II

Mike

Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 27 Aug 2017 01:09 #14

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We are experiencing the same problem. Did you find the cause?

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Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 27 Aug 2017 13:44 #15

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Ice:

i included a pic and link below.

Damn expensive for a piece of hose, but in the scheme of things cost wise a good investment.

Is the hose your problem don't know,

i also heard about the cool fuel paint messing chit up, paint melts in a NY second when fuel touch's it.

I refitted my last 2 boats when i got them, with new hose ... the fill hose is the most expensive,

Could it be water in your fuel, maybe phase separation ?

May sound crazy to you i had that problem.

Starting about 10 years maybe longer, before starting the boat for the first time after layup, i crank the bow up ... my boats are trailer queens, stick a hose down in the tank dead center, and pump the gunk and junk off the bottom of the tank into a snapple glass bottle, always glass jar, never plastic, eats right thru plastic.

When the fuel runs clear i shut off the pump.

Then i follow the hose to the next stop clean as i go the turns are the worst, and i found my channels in the bracket that hold the element clogged. I learned my lesson.

From tank to carb or in your case efi you need a clean system.

When you are 1000% sure of a clean system, run the boat, if your still have the problem then it's time to go after fuel injectors etc.

www.ebay.com/itm/SHIELDS-368-MARINE-BOAT...-A1-15-/232408830702

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Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 27 Aug 2017 16:55 #16

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Working on this some today, working on the list. Pulled the exhaust elbow, the shutter on both sides look and operate fine. Seems like there is no exhaust blockage.

Fuel pressure at the rail is 38 psi at idle rpm, which is in the specified range of 34 - 38, but on the high side.

Manifold Vacuum is 12 in Hg at idle. Goes up to 17 at 2000 rpm. This appears low. Going to repeat the compression test......

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2006 Maxum 2600SE with Merc 5.0L MPI/Bravo III

Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 27 Aug 2017 16:59 #17

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Thanks Alen, once we figure out what the problem is with the manifold vacuum, the fuel lines are the next on the list. Thanks for the great info!

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2006 Maxum 2600SE with Merc 5.0L MPI/Bravo III

Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 27 Aug 2017 21:32 #18

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OK done for the day. No clear resolution, unfortunately. Lots of things checked OK: exhaust, timing, spark plugs, fuel pressure, fuel condition, cylinder compression, throttle linkage, distributor shaft.

So we went back to the vacuum. We used two handheld gauges, and they both read a steady 12 in Hg at idle. I have old Merc manuals (1999 and 2001), not the current one that matches my engine, but I can't imagine the engine had changed in this area. Under "Troubleshooting with Vacuum Gauge", the table says that a normal condition is a steady reading of 15 to 21 in Hg at idle rpm. So we're definitely reading low. The manual says that a steady low reading is caused by either incorrect rotor location or a vacuum leak. Hard to imagine the rotor position changed between our two trips so we're looking for a vacuum leak.

So, ...we removed the intake manifold, and inspected the two lower gaskets. They both look OK but I guess that doesn't necessarily mean they were not leaking. We had to quit for the day so didn't look at the upper gasket yet.

The game plan now is to order new gaskets, put everything back together and re-check the vacuum next weekend. Hopefully this fixes the vacuum problem and this was the source of the power loss.

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2006 Maxum 2600SE with Merc 5.0L MPI/Bravo III

Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 27 Aug 2017 21:43 #19

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If your suspect low vacuum perform a leak down test of the cylinders.

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1997 Maxum 2400 SCR 5.7LX Bravo II

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Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 27 Aug 2017 22:25 #20

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Ice I really don't think this is causing the low rpm. The vacuum you measured is only a little out of spec and may be due to leaky valves but not enough to cause the loss of rpm you are seeing.

Fuel starvation is a more likely cause. While the fuel pressure is good at idle it maybe be dropping off at high rpm where the problem is occurring. I would check fuel pressure at the limiting rpm. Also do you hear any engine knock?

You said you checked timing but was that only at idle? Did you verify its advancing properly? I.e. Check timing under load at the limiting rpm.

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1997 Maxum 2400 SCR 5.7LX Bravo II

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Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 27 Aug 2017 23:56 #21

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iceman11 wrote: Centerline: If the exhaust was blocked, shouldn't the boat have overheated as well? The raw cooling water exits the same way, right? The engine temp was normal while I was on the water.


no... the exhaust system being blocked by the flapper causes back pressure in the aspiration of the motor so it cant breath, but the cooling water still exits thru the little opening that remains in the tube.
and a properly working cooling system on a marine motor is so efficient that even if something is wrong with the motor, it will still stay cool.... but if the cooling system fails, then is when you will notice a heat problem..

for every cubic foot of air ingested into the motor, when it explodes in the cylinder it immediately becomes about 1.6 cubic feet... and if it cant breath out, no more air/fuel can be taken in.... as the gasses get up and over the elbow where they mix with the water, they begin to condense back to 1CF, but if there is back pressure due to a restriction, they wont flow as freely as they need to to get to the water to condense down, and in any case they wont condense any smaller than the original 1 cubicfoot, so the back pressure continues as the engine tries to breathe..

I see you pulled the elbows to check the exhaust... did you look down the tube towards where the exhaust goes to the outdrive and see the flappers? you mentioned the gaskets but not what you seen down in the lower tubes, and that is where the problem would be found if the flappers was the problem..

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Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 28 Aug 2017 00:19 #22

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Centerline: yes we looked at the flappers on both sides of the Y pipe, and all were operational, so I think we can rule out exhaust blockage.

Mike, I agree that 12 in HG is not extremely low, and may not be causing the loss of power or top end RPM. However it's not correct and the advice I'm getting is to fix this first before assuming there's another root cause. We did measure fuel pressure at idle and higher RPMs. It was all in the spec'd 34-38 range. I did not hear any engine knock. Measuring under load is another animal because we'd have to launch to do that. We did check timing and made sure it advanced with RPM.

You mentioned a leak down test: since all cylinders passed compression, what is your theory there?

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2006 Maxum 2600SE with Merc 5.0L MPI/Bravo III

Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 28 Aug 2017 02:00 #23

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iceman11 wrote: Centerline: yes we looked at the flappers on both sides of the Y pipe, and all were operational, so I think we can rule out exhaust blockage.

Mike, I agree that 12 in HG is not extremely low, and may not be causing the loss of power or top end RPM. However it's not correct and the advice I'm getting is to fix this first before assuming there's another root cause. We did measure fuel pressure at idle and higher RPMs. It was all in the spec'd 34-38 range. I did not hear any engine knock. Measuring under load is another animal because we'd have to launch to do that. We did check timing and made sure it advanced with RPM.

You mentioned a leak down test: since all cylinders passed compression, what is your theory there?


I don't recall you posting the compression numbers but if they are not around 150 and within 10% of each other there is minor leakage either by the valves or rings and a leak down test will help identify which. A leaky valve will also decease vacuum.

I don't think fixing the low vacuum will be helpful to resolving the issue. Kind of normal engine wear.

So fuel pressure is good , I would still inspect rubber hoses as mentioned as delamination could limit flow.

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1997 Maxum 2400 SCR 5.7LX Bravo II

Mike

Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 28 Aug 2017 02:11 #24

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Knowing nothing about an MPI, could this be a plugged injector issue?

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Loss of engine power; Mercruiser 5.0l MPI/Bravo 3 28 Aug 2017 02:14 #25

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Not sure Dave but if so the spark plug for that cylinder should stand out. Removing and inspecting them not a bad thing to do.

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1997 Maxum 2400 SCR 5.7LX Bravo II

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