2001 Challenger 1800 240 EFI M2 Gen 1 starts and dies after 2 seconds

1800 Challenger 01

Active Member
Hello Everyone,

I have a 2001 Challenger 1800 240 EFI M2 Gen 1.
I have this really weird issue, I can always start the engine, not right up, but after few tries. The engine starts, runs for 2 seconds or so and then dies.
I fixed few things which were bad, but still have the same issue, but now I am able to always reproduce this issue every single time. Before those fixes, the boat was not even turning on some times.

Fixes:
- The fuel pressure was low and I figured that the high pressure pump in the VST was broken, so I changed it. Pressure test now is good, stays 36 psi for minute/s
- The inline fuel filter attached to the primer pump was a bit clogged, so I cleaned it.
- I changed the water separator filter.
- New battery
- Changed spark plugs
- TPS sensor was giving very wrong readings, so I thought that is the problem. Changed it (ouch). Now, new sensor works kind of okay (0.2 V -> 5.2 V), but still same issue.

Now, I will explain the weird part.
- If I turn the steering wheel to left or right (which pulls a cable to give more throttle), the engine starts and stays up for as long as I am holding the steering wheel. If I pull more on steering wheel, the RPM goes higher, if I let go of steering wheel, 2 or 3 seconds and the engine dies.
- While turning the steering wheel and keeping engine on (1200 or so RPM), then I shift lever from N to F or R to release the throttle lever lock, then if I move the throttle lever up a bit, then I feel the RPM goes a bit down (like the reverse of what should happen), but only a little bit, then if I move the throttle lever up more nothing happens all the way until around 60%. So, almost no effect to throttle from 0 -> 60% (except some negative effect). Then after 60%, the RPM starts increasing and only then I can release the steering wheel and engine will stay on. Moving throttle beyond 60% will keep on increasing the RPM. I obviously didn't really check anything higher than 2500 - 3000 except for a split second, but engine seemed very responsive.

All tests were done on the trailer because it is quite hard to try it on water.

I have been trying to fix it since last year, so I might have done few extra things that I forgot to mention, but any pointers as to what else I should be doing?

Hardly any local mechanics work on these boats. I found one and sent him the boat hoping he can get an error code or something from the computer, but they are so busy and they hadn't looked at my boat yet (been more than a month). Also, I heard few people saying that the best person to work on your boat is yourself. So, I am hoping the great community here will guide me through this.
 
Simplest things first.
2 people and a flashlight. One person works the throttle (engine OFF) and the other checks the throttle plates (butterflies) for proper operation. Visual check the levers move properly with the throttle on port side of engine. Must move trigger (under flywheel), too.

When is the last time a compression test was done? All plugs out, WOT, fully charged battery. Looking for 135psi.

Testing for RPM on land proves almost nothing. You can get 6000rpm on one cylinder.

TPS? New? Yeh, I bet Ouch! It should show smooth transition on volt meter from idle (engine OFF) to WOT and back to idle.

How long ago did you have the VST apart?

Check all your ground wires-- 4 I think. Check the grounnd wires under the 2 black boxes on top of the engine. Does your boat have the throttle guardian installed? Some did not. It is known to cause problems.
 
Hi Tim, thanks for your quick response.
I am hoping to get access to the boat by end of this week so I can do the suggested tests.

If the throttle plates are not moving properly, I shouldn't see smooth voltage transition of TPS, correct?

I didn't do a compression test because I was focused on the throttle doing nothing the first 60% of the way, but I definitely should.

TPS wasn't new, that thing was 1075 Canadian plus tax plus shipping. I got a working used one which was still very expensive (300 US). But, voltage transition is smooth from idle to WOT back to idle (except that the max voltage was a bit off)

I took VST apart last year to change the pump.

I don't have the throttle guardian.

When you say check the 4 ground wires, which wires exactly are you referring to?
 
Hi Tim, thanks for your quick response.
I am hoping to get access to the boat by end of this week so I can do the suggested tests.

If the throttle plates are not moving properly, I shouldn't see smooth voltage transition of TPS, correct?

I didn't do a compression test because I was focused on the throttle doing nothing the first 60% of the way, but I definitely should.

TPS wasn't new, that thing was 1075 Canadian plus tax plus shipping. I got a working used one which was still very expensive (300 US). But, voltage transition is smooth from idle to WOT back to idle (except that the max voltage was a bit off)

I took VST apart last year to change the pump.

I don't have the throttle guardian.

When you say check the 4 ground wires, which wires exactly are you referring to?
Throttle plates --tps.
Throttle plates have nothing to do with how (electronically) smoothly the tps changes. The lower throttle shaft drives the tps. If your throttle plates don't open 100%, your tps will be out of adjustment. It can also reduce power.

Common problem when engine runs for seconds---
Remove screw on side of vst. This drains the vst tank. Key on. Fuel should run out until the lift pump times out. About 20 seconds.
If it does not, the float needle inside may have corroded to the brass seat and shut off incoming fuel.

Grounds--
on the bracket with the coils, on top of the ECU. There are others. You will have to find them.
 
Thanks again for all useful tips.
I haven't fixed the issue yet, but wanted to share my update.
The mechanic just got back to me and diagnosed that my trigger assembly needs replacement. He was not getting spark on all the pistons (I think only 3) and went through the ignition troubleshooting procedures on all CDMs, stator assembly and trigger assembly and found out that the trigger assembly is due for a replacement as he was getting readings of 1800 ohms which doesn't fall under the acceptable range of 1100-1400 ohms.

So, he will replace the trigger assembly and get back to me with updates.
Hopefully this is the only issue.
 
I wanted to update everyone that the problem has been resolved.
The mechanic just called me 2 days ago to come pick up the boat. I went yesterday and tried it and it was performing well.
I asked him what he did and he said that he changed the trigger assembly and the wire connections that it connects to (they were not in good shape).
And, now all 6 cylinders fire. Also compression across all 6 cylinders was 120 PSI (As per the mechanic).

I water tested it yesterday. I ran well. Jumped right on plane. I went up to 40 mph at around 5500-6000 RPM. But, I was still at about 80% throttle. I didn't go higher because I am a new boater and water was a bit rough yesterday, and also didn't want to push engine too much on first trial. But, what is a good/safe number to be at in terms of RPM and what is a good speed to expect at that RPM?

Now, I need to change my shift cable (the connection to the bucket broke as it was bent from previous owner) [docking without reverse is really hard]. I hope it is easy fix.

Anyways, wanted to update the group of what fixed the problem in case anyone faces a similar issue.

And thanks again for all the support.
 
Any tips on where to get this from? Part number? Can I use any generic control cable as long as the length works? Any tips on installation procedure are appreciated.
Just to finalize this thread and give anyone needing to change their reverse cable an update.

Part number was: OEM: 204170135
This part is discontinued and not easy to find, but I found a company that sells similar one. Company name is SBT. Here is a link to part:
Reverse/Shift Cable for Sea-Doo Challenger 1800/ Islandia/ Speedster/ Utopia

Regarding installation, I faced few difficulties, but the hardest one was getting the cable through the holes in the back. A helpful tip would be to use the old cable to pull the new cable by attaching the cables together (but it could get tricky at the back because they might not fit together). Another way that I used was to tie a good but thin rope to the old cable while pulling it out which will leave you with a rope in the path of the cable that you can now tie to new cable and will easily guide it through especially in the back (another hand that pulls the rope helps here).

I also found this youtube video, which is not for the exact same boat (the back section is quite different), but it was helpful nonetheless:

That was it.

Good luck everyone.
 
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