Jump to content
GreyhoundGuy

Trying to Solve Hard Steering and Loss of Throttle

Recommended Posts

Hi all. Let me start by saying I'm so glad to have found this forum! We just picked up a 1995 Falcon Sport with just 401 hours. The previous owner gave us a great deal, and included wakeboards, skis, lifejackets, and more. This is our first boat and I grew up with stern drives, so this is my first direct drive, so there's bound to be a large learning curve. With all that said, on to the questions.

#1 - We took the boat out for the test drive, and there didn't seem to be any power issues. But when we took it out later that same week, we ended up stalling out twice. We would go slow and easy without a problem, increase throttle, and after a minute or two, we'd start losing power. Eventually the motor would just stop. The first time, we gave it a couple minutes and eventually got it going again. We tried the same thing, slow and easy at first, then increased the throttle. After a minute or two, we lost power, and the motor cut out again. (No backfires or anything... just died out.) This second time, we couldn't get it started right away. The engine wanted to turn over but just wouldn't kick in, so we dropped anchor and had lunch. After about 10-15 minutes, we got the engine started and slowly eased our way back to the ramp to load it back up. I'm really not sure what's going on here. The only thing that was different between the test drive and our ride was that we topped off the gas. However, we also topped off our 4Runner at the same time, so most likely not bad gas.

My plan is to start small and work top down. I'm going to clean the spark/backfire arrestor. While I'm working on the arrestor, I'm going to take a look at the carb. (I'm also patching the flexible hose that pulls air out of the engine area so that I can ensure it's got good air... it's got a lot of holes in in right now.) As I said, this is my first boat and really first time working with engines (I do oil changes on ours and such on our trucks, but that's about it). Any advice and/or ideas you can give would be a great help!

#2 - The steering is really stiff. REALLY stiff. Regardless of being on the trailer or in the water, the steering just isn't responsive. I really need to crank on the steering to get the boat to turn, and continue cranking in order to take it to full lock, regardless of turning to the left or the right. Wondering where I should start looking to try to make it a bit easier.

 

Let's start with just those two questions. Again, any help y'all can provide will be a big help! Thanks in advance!!

-Joel

1995SkiCenturion-min.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
InfinitySurf    286
Posted (edited)

On #1, it does sound fuel related and probably the first thing would be to look at the carb and potentially do a re-build... if any ethenol fuel was left in there and the boat sat for a period of time, it could be gunked up in some places, perhaps clogging a jet. If it ran fine the first time you test drove it and then didnt.... point to possible trash in the fuel clogging something. However, it also points toward replacing any fuel filters you have in-line since it sounds like as you bump up the rpm, it starves for fuel and stalls so its not delivering the fuel the motor needs to run at the higher rpm's. I would also suggest replacing the fuel lines since if they are original they could be badly degraded on the inside, some of those old fuel lines will collapse as you increase rpm and not allow fuel flow.

Doing a tune up is also in the cards since it could be related and is something you want to do regardless unless you know it was done recently....new plugs, wires and replace the distributor cap. Distributor cap gets corrosion on it and is a "wear item" and meant to be replaced every so often. That can cause all kinds of strange issues to happen.

Don't forget replacing/servicing the impeller as that is really important to a healthy engine...at very least pull it and check the condition. (Pro tip)....use something like dawn dish soap rubbed on the impeller to make re-install super easy. You basically turn the impeller as you are pushing it back into the housing and with the soap lube, it goes much easier. It also helps impeller to stay in good condition since it will run dry a few seconds before the water gets too it when you re-start.

#2 sounds like your steering cable is bad, that happens. You probably also have a grease zerk for your rudder box, its typically at the very back of the boat where the rudder box comes thru the bottom of the boat. That may help some....but likely your cable is the main culprit. Youtube has videos on how to replace, its not too hard... just be sure to use your existing steering cable to pull the new cable thru the hard to reach areas or you could spend a lot of time trying to fish the new cable thru the right places. Also check your rudder visually under the boat and make sure there is no obvious damage that is making the steering real hard....at that age it may be worth putting new packing in the rudder box at some point. Any maintenance you do is gonna make your overall experience better as well as keep the boat in top shape.

Good luck and congrats on the boat. Good looking boat and the best family time ever

Edited by InfinitySurf
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Timr71    21

Infinity Surf has given you a lot of great guidance.  For your steering issues, here's a couple of videos that will help.  Also, if/when you call Ski Boat parts online you can talk directly to Ron...the guy in the videos.  Good luck!  

 

Measuring your steering cable

 

More Steering Cable Help

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you both. I was planning on calling today, but we had some health stuff come up (not Covid-19, but pet health) come up, so it'll have to wait a bit.

Random question... I can't find a stamp for the model engine anywhere on my engine. Does anyone know what the engine is in the 1995 Falcon Sport. It says it's 350ci, 265hp. Not sure if that helps.

Last... and again, forgive the rookie question... any suggestions on videos that would properly help me to clean out or rebuild the carburetor that is in this engine?

Thanks in advance, all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Timr71    21

We would need to see a picture of your engine to confirm for sure.  But, it sounds like your engine is a GM 350.  Is it a Mercruiser?  Earlier ski centurions were pretty much powered by Ford 351s, but in the 95/96 range they started going with the GM based 350.  It's not too hard to tell them apart. If the distributor is at the back of the engine, towards the transom, it's a GM, if the distributor is at the front of the engine, towards the bow, it's a Ford.  

Here's a decent video of a guy taking apart a Holley 4160, but this is from a car. Your boat has a marine version of the 4160 (probably) so it should be very similar, but there are some details that specifically make it a marine carb and not an auto carb.  You must preserve these marine details for your safety.  

Carb Cleaning

 

A couple of thoughts on your carb. 1. There's a carb guru. His name is Peter Biever and he's on Facebook. He'll do a rebuild of your carb and walk you through all of the re-installation details.  Here's his link:  Peter Biever

If you prefer to tackle the carb issue yourself, I'd post your questions over on iboats.com  Navigate to the appropriate engine sub-forum and post your questions.  There's a bunch of gurus over there and many of them have taken junk and turned them back into real boats.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Timr71 said:

We would need to see a picture of your engine to confirm for sure.  But, it sounds like your engine is a GM 350.  Is it a Mercruiser?

Yes, it does have a Chevy "stamp" on it, and the spark arrestor cover says Mercruiser. So it's a Chevy Mercruiser 350ci, 265 engine. I just didn't know if I'd be able to get a more specific model number so that I can look up diagrams and such online to help guide me a bit more.

Thanks for the response, Timr71. Much appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Timr71    21

That's the same engine that's in my boat.  And, I have the manual for it in a PDF.  Let me see if I can attach it here.  If not, I'll email it to you.  The file is too big to attach to this post.  Either post an email address in this thread. Or send me a PM with your email address and I'll get it to you.  No problem.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Timr71, I just sent you a PM.

Yesterday, I got the spark arrestor nice and clean and got that reinstalled today. I also replaced the flexible hose that runs from the exhaust bilge pump (is that what it's called) inside the engine cover and ran it to the back exhaust port (under the Ski Centurion metal plate).

Next up will be figuring out how to examine and work on the carburetor, finding and examining/cleaning fuel filters, and calling Ron about the steering cable.

In looking at the steering cable, there's the red line that runs to the rear of the boat and connects to the rudder system. There's also another tube that is mounted higher on the backside of the steering wheel. It looks like it is supposed to have grease inside of it, but it looks like it's bare. Wondering what that hose is for. Any ideas?

In other steering fun, I also have to work on the steering wheel tilt system. When locked into position, it still has quite a bit of flex upwards and downwards, so there's something in there that needs to be worked on.

I can't wait until I get this boat running well. It's going to be so much fun on the water!

Thanks again, everyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Timr71    21

I sent you some emails with the engine manual, the Morse control manual and the brochure.  

You're on the right track for sure with the carb and cleaning/replacing all inline fuel filters. Hopefully, all old gas has been siphoned from the tank and replaced with fresh.  The bowls in the carb need to be drained and cleaned.  

The tube behind the dash is a protector for the rack and pinion steering, and yes it should be greased.  But, I'm not really an expert on that.  You'll need to seek out some better guidance on repair and maintenance of that item.  Same of the steering tilt.  

The good news is that all that you have can be made to work as good as new.  Good luck!  Keep updating us.  More pictures!  :) 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Timr71 said:

I sent you some emails with the engine manual, the Morse control manual and the brochure.  

...

The good news is that all that you have can be made to work as good as new.  Good luck!  Keep updating us.  More pictures!  :) 

Thanks for the help, Timr71. It's going to be a good project, for sure, and I can't wait to get it running back at 100%.

I'll be sure to keep posting pictures and updates as I go along.

-Joel

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Timr71    21

Hey Joel,

Over on the iBoats.com forum, Austin just tore his Holley 4160 apart to rebuild it and he's chronicling it in his rebuild thread. Check it out.

-Tim

 

1987 Tru Trac II rebuild

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi again, all. I wanted to post a quick update with the specs of the boat, and the minimal work I've done so far. (Being a teacher and changing over to Online Learning has had quite a learning curve, for sure!)

According to the manual that Timr71 sent (THANK YOU again for the manual and brochures, BTW), I have the 350 Magnum Tournament Ski engine (350 cubic inch, 265 horsepower, velvet drive transmission).

So far, I've replaced the flexible hose that runs from the bilge fan to the rear of the boat and out the port. (The hose was in BAD shape, so it's good to have a new one on.) I've also cleaned the spark arrestor. While working on the spark arrestor, I took a look at the carb, and it looks to be in pretty good shape (from the parts I could see). I didn't see any buildup or anything like that. I'm going to leave the carb for now and focus on three other projects. (Small projects first so I can learn as I go.)

First, I'm looking at the Water Separating Fuel Filter and wondering, is that the only fuel filter on the boat, or is there another somewhere that I haven't found? If there's another filter (leading into the carb?), where exactly is it? Anyway, I don't know when the Water Separating Fuel Filter was last replaced, and they're cheap enough, so I'm going to go ahead and swap that out. I'm curious to find out how much water it's holding.

Second, I was going to look at the fuel pump and flexible hose that runs to the carb, but the hose has been replaced. Instead of a hose like this one (which is transparent so you can see if there's any particles in the fuel line like the manual tells you to do), the hose that's on it right now is a standard black rubber hose. I'll be swapping that out soon... wondering if I should just replace the fuel pump while I'm at it.

Lastly, the bilge pump isn't working. The one on there now is an Attwood Sahara s500 automatic pump. I can't get it to activate. Not sure if it's not getting power, or if it's locked up. I tried the small dial on the rear of the pump (like mentioned in this YouTube video from Attwood), but I can't get it to turn at all. Feels completely locked in place. Also, and this is a bit frustrating, it's currently held on with zip ties. There are four mounting bolts for a bilge pump, but this one is basically held on to the rear two bolts by small zip ties over the bolts because it doesn't have any mounting points. I'm wondering what the original bilge pump was for this boat. Anyone have ideas?

So that's the update. These are the three projects I'm hoping to knock out fairly quickly. First though, I need to go change the oil in our 4Runner. It's overdue... gotta get it today!!

Thanks in advance to all with the ideas and suggestions. I appreciate your help!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rereading the above posts, I'll also definitely take InfinitySurf's advice and take a better look at the carb. This'll be my first carb I've ever worked on, so definitely a bit apprehensive... but willing to give it a shot.

Again, thanks to everyone with your ideas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Timr71    21

Hi Joel,

Glad to hear you're making progress.  My boat, a 1993 Falcon Open bow, is very similar to yours. I don't know what the original bilge pump is either because mine was toast. We replaced it with a new one. I ended up using a piece of angled metal to make a mountain bracket for it. You have to be careful here though, when I first mounted mine, I did so in a way that didn't let the floats move up and down smoothly and that cause it to run when it wasn't needed, in auto mode.  Also, placement, I moved mine forward in the bilge a bit, to the lowest point. As a result, I have a pretty dry bilge and it rarely comes on.  

Post some pictures of that area so we can see what you're dealing with. You shouldn't have a problem picking a bilge pump that'll work for you and getting it installed.  Make sure that the hose going from the bilge pump to the back of the boat isn't rotten and leaking water along the way too.  

 

-Tim

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi again, all. Thought I'd post a quick update.

We took the boat out about a week ago for a test run. Prior to heading out, I poured in two bottles of HEET to help absorb any water or bad gas. At the lake, we had the same problems with acceleration. It idles fine, goes okay at low speed, but dies out when going for higher speeds. We ended up getting it started and were able to drive slowly back and load it on the trailer. 

A couple nights later, I took off the old water separating fuel filter and poured the contents into a glass jar to see if there was water choking out the fuel system. There was no sign of water, sediment, particles, or anything. So as far as I can tell, there's no water in the fuel. (Glad to know that the filter is working well, tho.)

When I went to O'reilly Auto this morning to pick up another Sierra Water Separating Fuel Filter (they can order them and have them in about a day for about $2 more than Amazon), I talked to one of the guys there. His brother used to have a Ski Nautique and Moomba, so he knows the engines and layout a bit. He said that since there's no problem with the actual fuel (from what I could see), the problem has to be in fuel delivery - most likely the fuel pump.

He said that if the fuel pump diaphragm is cracked, it could have enough pressure to delivery the fuel at lower speeds. It wouldn't sputter or anything, but appear to be fine at lower speeds. But upon acceleration, when the diaphragm is working harder to deliver fuel to the engine, it won't be able to keep up, and the engine would end up stalling out.

He said on trucks with the Chevy 350 small block engine, if there's a problem with the fuel pump (cracked diaphragm or whatever), the excess fuel gets squirted out of the pump as you drive, and it ends up on the ground or somewhere else on the pump housing where it can evaporate. But you can't do that on a lake, so the gas ends up being sent to the crankcase and mixes with the oil. So he said to pull the dipstick, wipe it on a clean paper towel, dip again, wipe again, and then smell. If it smells of gas, then it's probably a bad fuel pump. So I came home, followed the steps and.....

It smells a heck of a lot like there's gas mixed in with my oil! I had just changed the oil in our 4Runner (full synthetic, but should have a similar smell to regular used oil), and I smelled both of them separately. The oil from the boat DEFINITELY smells of gas.

So the next step is going to be to put on a new fuel pump, new water separating fuel filter, change the oil... and then at some point, I'll get the steering cable (got it from Ron today) and the bilge pump done, too. 

Thanks for helping out, @Timr71 and @InfinitySurf. I'll keep everyone in the loop as I move forward. I feel like I'm finally on the right path!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This should be my final update in this thread. Both problems have been solved.

For the steering, I followed @Timr71's suggestions and contacted Ron to get a new steering cable. Because there was also a bit of vertical play in the tilt steering assembly, I ended up replacing that, too. The new setup is solid as a rock, and it steers on a dime.

For the loss of throttle, I followed @InfinitySurf's suggestions and followed the fuel. The carb looks okay. The water separating fuel filter was good. The culprit was the fuel pump. After putting the new fuel pump on and replacing the fuel filter with a new one, we took the boat out for a test.

We were slowly driving along for a good bit at a slow speed. We turned back towards the ramp (so we'd at least be facing the right direction) and gave it some throttle. The boat responded and didn't let up. It was great! I kept waiting for the engine to die out on me, but it never did... it ran beautifully!

MANY thanks to both Timr71 and InfinitySurf for your help! (InfinitySurf, checking the impeller is still on my list).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Timr71    21

That's great news! Glad you're up and running.  Should be tons of fun this summer with that boat.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recent Status Updates

    • MajaKazazic

      Are you  engineering students and searching for homework help services?helpmeinhomework.com provide all types of engineering assignment homework help services.helpmeinhomework has a reputation of providing premium quality online engineering assignment help for over a decade. Students all over the world find our services effective and reliable.Our Engineering Topic computer science,help with electrical engineering ,mechanical engineering,civil engineering...etc

      · 0 replies
    • MatthewsDave

      Sometimes it is normal for students to have trouble completing their finance assignments on time, seeking help from the team of experts in finance assignments to complete the assigned work on time. With the effective guidance of finance homework, we also strive tirelessly to improve your grade.
      Expert teams are available at any time to assist you in all types of topics related to your finance assignment, allowing you to easily complete finance homework on time to get an A + grade. You can certainly gather a lot of important information under the guidance of our energetic Finance faculty.
       
       

      · 0 replies
    • harlobra

      Heading to Lake Ouachita Arkansas in the morning for a week of houseboating and surfing.
      · 0 replies
    • Nick213

      Ordered a  sewlong cover...... hope it's as good as everyone says since there almost double the cost of others.
      · 3 replies
    • luluzer

      Winterization tomorrow for this homie. Seemed like the season flew by - let's hope winter does the same. 
      · 0 replies
    • Guest

      Guest  »  dittrimd

      Just read your message regarding restoring your Barefoot Falcon.  I have a 1991 Barefoot Falcon with exact same floor issues.  I also had to replaced the stringers and am in the process of replacing the floor.  My question is regarding the need to replace the foam.  Like you I have several hundred pounds of saturated foam removed and I am not certain to replace it or leave it without foam.  Do you are anyone know if the foam is necessary for any structural support, or is it just for sound and flotation?
      · 0 replies
  • Topics

  • Popular Contributors

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.