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GreyhoundGuy

Trying to Solve Hard Steering and Loss of Throttle

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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

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InfinitySurf    281
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
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Timr71    19

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

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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.

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Timr71    19

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.  

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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!

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Timr71    19

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.  

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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.

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Timr71    19

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!  :) 

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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

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