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Old 01-26-2010, 08:53 AM
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Cool 2003 Evinrude FICHT 250 that stalls without warning

Hello. I am new to the site so please, if I've posted in the wrong area, please let me know. I have recently purchased a 322 Intrepid with twin 2003 Evinrude 250 FICHTs. The engines are strong and run well (when both are running). I am experiencing a problem about 20 to 25 minutes out that the port engine quits, without warning, without alarms, without leaving any trace in the computer as to why. When this occurs, the gauges restart as the key is still in the on position, the motor still has power to raise and lower the trim but nothing on the engine responds to a start command - ie, the fuel pump doesn't kick in / prime, the starter wont turn over, no cooling starts up (none of the usual starting sequence commences in the on or start position). After approximately 10 minutes, the engine starts as normal as though nothing ever happened. This sequence of events continues every 10 to 15 minutes after that. It does not seem to matter what RPMs the engines are running at before or at the time the engine quits. It does not go to the 1200 RPM before quitting - just drops to a dead stop as though someone removed the key or pulled the dead man. Originally I thought it was a problem with the dead man switch, but after disconnecting it, nothing has changed. Tried chasing the wiring harness back to the engine - all wires carry the appropriate current. Replaced the starting relay, still the problem persists. Anyone have any suggestions? The engines have approximately 270 hours on them - all in warm salt water service. The starboard engine does not have this problem. Thanks for your input.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:13 AM
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A temperature related issue with the CPU???? that is tuff....it seems like the CPU would have to be without power to not only not detect the issue, but also to NOT be able to log the event....and since there is a waiting/cool down period, I am going to take a wag and say that it has to be cpu related.....working with electronics everyday, I can tell you that tracking down a temperature related issue is very aggrevating...
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:15 AM
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Most likely it is the fault of the engine computer (EMM) that for some reason is shutting down intermittently. Usually when this is seen, the motor has had some overheated conditions in its past that stresses the internal computer parts. It could also be related to the power input to the computer such as corrosion in the 20amp fuse holder, an intermittent power distribution box, or a wiring problem.

My guess is the EMM.

You can get new replacements through a dealer or get it repaired by DFI.

Contact dfitechnologies.com for more info
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:11 PM
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Thanks Guys. Will have the Evinrude dealer in St. Thomas take a look at the EMM. One additional point, with new spark plugs, the engine seems to run about 10 to 15 minutes longer before shutting down, but also stays off for longer. Still a temp issue by the looks of it, but a weird twist. Any suggestions?
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:37 PM
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Listen as a past Ficht owner - if anything goes wrong without a buzzer or light get to the dealer asap - hopefully its just the computer - this is how mine failed. Later though, one engine totally blew totally without nay warning. Althought I did have an older OMC model so hopefully you just have the computer issue.

Best of Luck! Best engines I ever had while they ran....Super power quiet and great fuel economy!!!!
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Old 01-28-2010, 02:52 PM
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I would do a quick check to see if the cooling circuit for the EMM is clogged or obstructed in some way. Cooling circuit runs from top of block, through EMM then through vapor separator and then to motor leg. It's not that difficult to get the vapor separator clogged up and once that happens the water stops flowing through the circuit and the EMM doesn't get cooled. Ordinarily it should go into the SAFE mode and not shut down but perhaps the EMM is getting a temperature spike that shuts it down.

It's worth a check, doesn't cost anything to do it.
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Old 01-28-2010, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whaler27 View Post
I would do a quick check to see if the cooling circuit for the EMM is clogged or obstructed in some way. Cooling circuit runs from top of block, through EMM then through vapor separator and then to motor leg. It's not that difficult to get the vapor separator clogged up and once that happens the water stops flowing through the circuit and the EMM doesn't get cooled. Ordinarily it should go into the SAFE mode and not shut down but perhaps the EMM is getting a temperature spike that shuts it down.

It's worth a check, doesn't cost anything to do it.
I was also going to mention that.... One more thing, being a 2003, this is a Direct Injection BRP Rude....not really a ficht.....all of the ficht issues had pretty much disappeared by the 2002 models.....Hopefully it's just a minor issue similar to what Whaler posted......but those BRP DI Rudes are well built engines.....
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Old 01-28-2010, 04:20 PM
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I have never been inside the cowl of a 2003 Rude, so take this for what it may be worth. If the EMM is not too hard to de-rig and remove, you could try swapping them and see what happens. As I say, I have no idea if this would be a ten minute job, or ten hours.
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Old 01-28-2010, 04:25 PM
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Are they both fueled from the same tank. If not, there may be a gas tank tank venting issue.
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Old 01-28-2010, 05:57 PM
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Thanks for the inputs.

The EMMs are unique to each engine so swapping them is apparently not an option - something we thought about until I was instructed not to by a dealer in the states that I had called (no one locally services Evinrudes any more - closest dealer is in the USVI). As for the cooling of the EMMs, the main unit is being cooled (cleaned it out and redirected the water outlet so we can check while underway). It seems fine. My question is, is the cooling for the EMM a separate channel off the main or is it part of the main - IE, can it get clogged independently of the main cooling? Also replaced the cooling impeller as the first step (forgot to mention that).

Both engines come from one main 190 gal fuel tank. Separate fuel filters, pumps, oil reservoirs etc., but one main fuel tank.

Thanks again, will keep you posted as new developments come up.

Cheers
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:11 PM
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If you have someone that has software to watch motor under way watch and see what temp the emm is gettig to. reomve the vst tank cooling line see if it helps. I can say that I've seen more than one do this the emm shuts down before it gets to a temp that sets a code, you will have to send it off to get fixed if this is it.
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whaler27 View Post
I would do a quick check to see if the cooling circuit for the EMM is clogged or obstructed in some way. Cooling circuit runs from top of block, through EMM then through vapor separator and then to motor leg. It's not that difficult to get the vapor separator clogged up and once that happens the water stops flowing through the circuit and the EMM doesn't get cooled. Ordinarily it should go into the SAFE mode and not shut down but perhaps the EMM is getting a temperature spike that shuts it down.

It's worth a check, doesn't cost anything to do it.
This is what happened to mine (2000 250's) - I was told the new replacment and later models would not have the problem - apparantly this is not true..
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Old 01-29-2010, 04:04 AM
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Nope,even on the new etecs there's a line that's responsible for cooling the emm
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Old 01-29-2010, 07:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ice Diver View Post
Thanks for the inputs.

The EMMs are unique to each engine so swapping them is apparently not an option - something we thought about until I was instructed not to by a dealer in the states that I had called (no one locally services Evinrudes any more - closest dealer is in the USVI). As for the cooling of the EMMs, the main unit is being cooled (cleaned it out and redirected the water outlet so we can check while underway). It seems fine. My question is, is the cooling for the EMM a separate channel off the main or is it part of the main - IE, can it get clogged independently of the main cooling? Also replaced the cooling impeller as the first step (forgot to mention that).
Both engines come from one main 190 gal fuel tank. Separate fuel filters, pumps, oil reservoirs etc., but one main fuel tank.

Thanks again, will keep you posted as new developments come up.

Cheers
The EMM circuit can get clogged independent of main cooling.

Pull the cowl off the motor, find the EMM. There is a hose running from the top of the EMM to the top of the block. There is a hose running from the bottom of the EMM to the top of the vapor separator. There is a hose running from the bottom of the vapor separator to a brass barb'd fitting on the motor leg (have to take the port side lower pan off to see it). That is the cooling circuit for the EMM.

The cooling passage for the vapor separator can get clogged up with sand/sediment fairly easily (been there, done that many times). If the vapor separator gets clogged then little or no water will flow through that cooling circuit which includes the EMM and the EMM will overheat. Depending on how clogged it is, the EMM might simply go into the SAFE overtemp mode and limit RPM to 1200.

One time I found a little bit of shell fragment in the vapor separator which apparently would float around in the separator and only randomly cause the EMM to get hot. There was nothing predictable about when the check engine alarm would go off. I could run for 40 minutes at cruise and everything would be fine, hit some chop (probably interrupted the water flow) and then the alarm would go off and the motor RPM would pull back. Cleaned out the vapor separator by back flushing it and using a zip tie to poke around the bottom outlet to loosen up the crud. Everything was fine after the clean out.

On a clear vapor separator you should be able to blow air (with mouth, do not use air compressor) into either fitting easily, less effort than blowing up a balloon. On a clear vapor separator, if you pour water into the top fitting, it should flow out the bottom fitting almost as fast as you pour it in. If blowing air is difficult or the water doesn't flow through it easily, you've got a restriction.
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Old 01-29-2010, 07:46 AM
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That's a great post right the whaler,

another thing you might do while rummaging around in there is to check all the wiring harness connections to the engine for the tiniest signs of corrosion. if you get corrosion in a wire the resistance goes up and the voltage goes down, as the temp rises the resistance goes higher and the voltage goes lower until: the voltage is too low for the engine to continue running. its the same thing that happens on a bad battery cable end, just on a small scale.

its free to look and corroded wires have been know to be found on boats.

good luck
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Old 01-30-2010, 08:08 AM
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Ok, lastest update . . .

I pulled apart the cooling hoses to the EMM last night. After a short delay after starting the engines, these was plenty of flow (equal to the starboard engine that isn't giving me grief) coming into and out of the EMM (out of the EMM after I reconnected the into hose - ).

I rechecked the connections and even switched the trim relays with the start and run relays to make sure I didn't get bogus new relays (picked up two new relays last week when I was in the States but that hasn't solved the problem).

Will take her out again today and see if this has solved anything.

Did notice a hissing sound the first time I took off the top EMM cooling hose, that sound wasn't there the second time I took it off after re-running the engine a few minutes. (Took off the hose again to compare to the starboard engine - wasn't quick enough the first time to get a baseline flow from the working engine . . . oops).

Who knows, that may have dislodged something?? If it is the computer that's faulty, wouldn't it normally go back to the 1200 RPM safemode? It never has - always just cuts out completely without any warning alarms or messages on the gauge.
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Old 02-05-2010, 05:36 PM
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And the plot thickens . . .

The boat spent the week at the Evinrude dealer . . . they replaced the EMM and the PDP (Computer and the power distribution panel) and the engine is still failing same as before. The cooling channel to the emm is working fine, no new codes in the computer (nothing since it started acting up, with the exception of an oil pressure switch which was bad and has now been replaced) . . .

Anyone have suggestions? I appear to have an engine no one knows how to fix . . . .

Thanks again for all your suggestions to date.
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Old 02-05-2010, 06:12 PM
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I had a stalling issue with one of my ETECs. When I would hit 3000 RPM, my Starboard engine would just shut off. It acted like the key was turned off. When my mechanic hooked it up to the computer, there were no error codes and the temp readings never showed overheating. In an effort to trouble shoot, he disconnected the harnass plugs and cleaned the connections. He also added dielectric grease (I think) and the problem mysteriously went away. There must have been some corrosion on one of the pin connections.

Give it a shot. I can't hurt and won't cost much to try.
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Old 02-06-2010, 07:33 AM
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Deep Six your FICHTS and provide some structure for the baitfish to hide. Mark your GPS, go buy some Yamaha's and maybe then with the dinners you catch, you'll start to recover your loses on those POS FICHTS!
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Old 02-06-2010, 08:10 AM
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Deep Six your FICHTS and provide some structure for the baitfish to hide. Mark your GPS, go buy some Yamaha's and maybe then with the dinners you catch, you'll start to recover your loses on those POS FICHTS!
Thank you gentlemen. I will give the harness greasing a try . . . anyone ever heard of a starter solenoid causing these problems (someone suggested I changed them as well, but I can't seem to wrap my head around why a starting solenoid would cause the engine to quit). After that . . . deep sixing the engines may just be an option . . .

Cheers
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