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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My dad has a late 60's or early 70's boat that's been sitting in a garage for an unknown number of years. It's got a Mercruiser 120 engine which is actually a GM 2.5 liter four-in-line industrial engine fitted out for marine application. It wouldn't run so I went through the typical gas/air/ignition checks and found a few problems. Stuck backflow valve at the gas tank. Failed fuel pump, Weak spark. Gasoline as dark as Mountain Dew that smelled like turpentine.

So I put in a new set of plugs. I couldn't find the ACDelco plugs listed for this engine anywhere. I'm assuming they stopped making them years ago. I found an NGK cross reference and used those.

Then a set of points and condenser. I haven't seen my dwell meter in over 20 years. It's probably packed away in a box with a pair of bell bottoms, a phonograph stylus and an 8-track tape. :rolleyes: I went to O'Reilly auto parts expecting to buy one and the counter guy had no clue what I was talking about. Plan-B was a set of feeler gauges. I can't remember the last time I set a point gap by feeler gauge. I'm pretty sure It was years before I needed reading glasses. :p I did eventually get that dialed in.

I picked up a carb rebuild kit at West Marine. I can't remember the last time I had a Rochester carb torn apart. Lots of crud inside this one. I somehow lost the high idle cam. I looked everywhere. I looked for over half an hour. I retraced my steps over and over. I FINALLY found it in the grass where I had dumped out some solvent from the float bowl. What a relief!

Two car batteries I had turned out to be bad. One deep cycle marine/rv battery turned out to be passable. I tossed that in and cranked it over. It started and ran but only intermittently. It felt like a fueling issue. I pumped out all of the old gas and dumped in some Heet, some Techron and 5 gal of fresh 93 octane.

Now I was able to run it and it sounded normal and didn't die. Up till now I was doing all this on the trailer in a driveway with a water hookup for cooling. Next phase... see if it floats!

The boat turned out to be pretty easy to launch by myself. It started right up, went into gear ok and away I motored. I took it easy at first, going slowly with light throttle, listening for any abnormalities. I bumped up the throttle a bit and it responded as expected. I did this a couple of times in small increments with a long pause between each increase. I eventually got into the throttle about 75%, the hull was up on plane, everything was going as expected... then it died. :confused:

I got a restart and let it high-idle in neutral a bit to recharge the battery, then got underway again. Everything was great as I inched up the power. When I got beyond about half throttle, it'd be running just fine then suddenly cut out and die without warning. :mad:

I got a second restart and started heading at a conservative throttle setting towards the pier near the house where I had another 5 gal of gas waiting. I never made it to the pier. It died again and this time no restart. I only got so many cranks out of that deep cycle battery before it wouldn't crank over any more. I was literally dead in the water. It was Sunday evening and the sun was not far over the horizon. Except for myself, the lake was empty as far as I could see or hear.

Cell phone to the rescue! I call 911 and explain my situation to the Sheriff. He contacted a boat service on the lake and they called me. I explained to the guy from the boat service that I was dead in the water and needed to get towed in. He tells me it would be $200 and waits to see what I would say. What am I supposed to say? "No thanks, I think I'll stay out here adrift"? I tell him I have no option but to agree.

They show up about a half hour later and tow me back to where I launched. It turned out to be pretty easy to recover the boat onto the trailer, even without it running.

I'm sucking air somewhere in the fuel delivery system from the tank to the water separator. First I'm going to replace the entire run of hose. If that doesn't do it, the problem is in the tank.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yea Paul, that looks like what we have.

That picture was taken just after I first got it underway and was heading out onto the lake from the launching park. At that point, everything was still going as planed. I cut throttle back to barely moving and stepped back to take that shot. It's a 6 seater that could use some work. It looks better in the picture then in real life.
 
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