2001 Seadoo Utopia 185 Stalling Problem

drxlcarfreak

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2001 Seadoo Utopia 185
#1
Hi guys, we just bought our first boat which is a 2001 Seadoo Utopia 185 with the Mercury Optimax engine. We have had it out about 4 times now, and everything has worked flawlessly. Today was the longest we have had it out, and at around 2 hours of riding, it started bogging/stalling at mid throttle. I tried looking through the threads here, but could not find a similar issue.

At idle it would work fine and start up very quickly after every stall. Full throttle was fine as well. When I would slowly throttle up to around 3500-4k rpm it would get on a plane, but the engine sounded like it was bogging. If I went closer to full throttle, it sounded good again, but if I slowed the engine down from there, it would stall on me. If I noticed that it was stalling I could actually jam the throttle back to WOT and the engine would catch again.

What should I start looking at to find the problem and fix it? I am not experienced with carburetors, but I don't think that a jet could be clogged since it works great at WOT still. Could a jet be stuck open and flooding at partial throttle? The guy I bought it from has ridden it all season and has not had this issue at all. He is a friend so we trust that he is telling the truth. The spark plugs were replaced about 3-4 months ago.

Thanks!
 


Dr Honda

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#2
Since you are talking about carbs... I'll assume you have the 210 Merc engine. But, just to make sure, can you post a picture of your engine?


If it is the 210.... yes, the carbs could have an issue with the jets. When it transitions from the low to high circuits, is it's hardest time. There are a few air bleed systems, and that could be where the problem is. Also... the ignition system switches from one set of charge coils to another. SO... if it feels like its stuttering, opposed to going flat... that could be the issue. (and a more common thing to happen) OR... the bleed system, or the choke could be going bad.

So... lets make sure you have the 210, because if you have the 200 Opti, or 240 EFI... the diagnosis is totally different.
 

drxlcarfreak

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#3
From glancing at it, there seems to be 3 sets of carbs? I was not aware that there was a second set of coils. I believe it is the 210, that's what I bought it as at least! Here is a pic of the engine!

20181008_074204.jpg
 

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#4
Yep... that's the 210hp with carbs.

This is a strange one.................................. (thinking)

OK... just asking a few questions to wrap my mind around it...

1) Was it sitting for a while between the last time it ran good, and now?

2) Did it happen while you were out? (start of the day was good, later was bad)

3) I know you said it was a bog... but is there any stuttering to it? If so, is it a jerky stutter, or more of a popping stutter?

4) Will it continue to run at full power without an issue?

5) Will it idle without issue?

6) EXACTLY where in the throttle position is this happening?

7) does it seem more linked to a throttle position, or a specific RPM?

8) What is the idle, and peak RPM's?
 
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drxlcarfreak

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I can get you most of the answers.. Some of them I will have to get back out on the water to try.

1. Nope. Only 2 days. This is the longest by far that we have ever ridden it though.

2. Yep, it was good for the first full hour to 90 minutes and started doing it on the way back in.

3. I'm not sure that I'd call it either of those honestly. It sounded like the engine was really straining and the boat was slowly slowing down if I held it there. It seemed like all cylinders were still firing, but maybe to lean or rich to have the proper power at that range.

4. Yep, full power was fine.

5. Idle was absolutely fine. It took quite a bit getting it back on the trailer since I am still getting used to a jet boat, but it was strong the whole time.

6. Its hard to tell, but I would say the 40-60% range. When I am on a plane I keep it around 75-80% and drop it back to ride the waves a bit easier, that's when it stalls on me.

7 & 8. I will have to get back on the boat to check these. I was more concerned with getting us back to a dock than diagnosing the issue. I am going to guess specific RPM, but it just happened to coincide with the throttle position the way I was riding.

I did take the air box of yesterday just to see how hard it would be to get the carbs off to clean them. I took a couple pictures. They looked cleaner than I expected honestly. Would it hurt to take them off and do a thorough cleaning? The previous owner had the boat just for this season, but said he only sprayed carb cleaner through the intake as it was too hard to get off the engine.

20181008_181914.jpg 20181008_181930.jpg 20181008_181950.jpg 20181008_182352.jpg
 

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#6
Thanks for the pics. The throats look great. No build up at all. AND, as an FYI... spraying carb cleaner into the carbs, while mounted on the engine will do nothing at all. (other than clean what you see)

Unfortunately... I'm thinking that the carbs need to come off the engine, and have a proper cleaning. But, since this happened while out... it really feels more electrical to me. Like you have a bad switch box. Normally with fuel related issues (other than water getting into the system) it's a problem after it's been sitting for a while.

On your engine, it does switch between the low RPM and high RPM charging coils, and the switch box takes care of that. If your high RPM coils are starting to fail... they may not be putting out enough power to run the ignition at the transition point. But that transition is at 2500 rpm. But it sounds like this is happening at a higher RPM.


To me... it sounds like there is an air leak, and it's really leaning out the engine at it's hardest point to fuel (around 60% throttle) This is where the "Back Draft" comes into play. It's leaning out the mix... but if something is wrong... like the air valve is open... it could be too lean.
 

drxlcarfreak

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So I just got back from taking it out again tonight. To follow up with your previous questions, it idles at 1,100rpm, and full throttle is 5,500-5,700 I saw peak. I will say, the mph was not quite as high as I saw previously, down to 50-51 vs the 53-54 I saw on the test run. Though the tank is fuller now than it was before as well. I am not sure how much of a difference that weight makes.

It ran fine on the cool motor. I couldn't duplicate the problem. After about 25 minutes of riding the problem arose again. Going from low to high throttle it seemed okay, but just a bit laggy after I noticed the issue. Like engine speed and boat speed were both slowly dropping while maintaining position. When I went from high throttle to lower it to around 50% it would drop to 4k for a second and then just drop down to 2k and then slowly work back to 4k before dropping back down and repeating. It almost felt like idle surge but in reverse.

Fair enough. A thorough cleaning is the cheapest diagnostic item I can do. I also am starting to think electrical as well because it didn't seem to do it every single time this time. Though, we didn't have it out very long this time. I will say, we did put 17 gallons of regular 93 in it on the trailer the ride before this issue happened. This was the first time I ever put gas in. I believe the P.O. always got gas on the water since he had a dock. Could the ethanol at the gas pump be messing with it (I am guessing that gas on docks has no ethanol)?

One thing that the wife asked that I ask was we just started using the battery cut off after we are done so the battery doesn't drain. I don't think it is at all related, but at this point I guess it cant hurt to ask!

Is there an air diagram somewhere I could review to check lines for air leaks? What is the air valve? I need to find a copy of a service manual so I can read up on these issues. My thinking is if its an air leak large enough to lean the engine out, wouldn't it happen at all times, not just when the engine is warmed up?

Thanks again!
 

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#8
A weak battery can cause all kinds of issues... but it sound like yours is fine.

There are a few diagrams in the Merc manual. If shows the bleed system, the choke system... and the Back Draft system.

In the past... yes, the dock fuel would have been alcohol free... but around Pitt... that has gone away. Talking to the guys who run the Tow Boats... they have al said that the dock fuel is exactly what we get on the street. I personally have no issues with Ethanol fuel. It makes more power, and is more stable running. Yes, it attracts water. But if your fuel system is sealed up properly... that's not an issue. But, to the point of your question... if you have water in the fuel... it would get worse... and would not run OK on a cold engine. SO, I don't think that is the issue. WIth that said... you can drain the filter, and carb bowls.


Hummmmmmmm.......... On that thought.... you may simply have a plugged up fuel filter. On the bottom of the lift pump, there is a tiny filter. (the bottom fitting) Those plug up, and cause surging issues. I would change your filters and see what happens.
 
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drxlcarfreak

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#9
Yeah, I think that the battery is fine. I have a volt meter on the charger port and it sits at 12.4-12.5. I recently discovered the cut off switch, and saw how much fun changing the battery will be so, i wanted to do all I can to make sure that the battery doesn't drain on me.

Any idea if the repair manual is in the premium membership here? I'd rather support the forum than buy a digital copy off of ebay.

Fair enough, that's good to know. Glad I don't have to pay a premium to get the dock fuel. In my car I love ethanol, at least with fuel injection like you said I can tune it to get much more power than I could on straight pump gas. I can drain all that when I pull the carbs to clean them out.

I can certainly do that, to rule it out. Though I feel like I would notice that at all higher speeds, not just at a weird throttle position, but hey changing a filter is never a bad idea anyways. I am guessing I can get part numbers from the Factory Service Manual. Any idea where an affordable supplier is?
 

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Yes.... if you are a supporting member... there is a pre 2001-1/2 manual that has the 210 in it. If you join even for a month... it helps this place stay on-line. I'm not the person in charge of that... but I think it's only $10.
 

drxlcarfreak

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#11
Thanks! I signed up and have been looking through the manual to familiarize myself to the engine. I am having trouble finding part numbers for the filters you mentioned. I thought that they would be in the manual, but no dice.

I am also thinking to replace the air valve for the backdraft system that you mentioned. Are these a clean or a replace thing? If they are a replace thing, then any idea of a part number for that while I have the carbs out?

Thanks again!
 

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#12
Unfortunately... the manual doesn't have parts numbers. BUT... it shows you the part, the location, and the proper name. From there... I go to Boats.net and look up the part. I'll make it easy for you. Here's the entire power head section....


Mercury - Jet Drive Parts - SportJet by HP & Model - 210 CARB Jet Drive Powerhead - 0E384500 THRU 0E433153 - USA - Cat.# 90-881770 OEM Parts - Boats.net


And here's the filter.... (#35)

Mercury Jet Drive Parts - SportJet by HP & Model 210 CARB Jet Drive Powerhead OEM Parts Diagram for Fuel Pump Assembly - Boats.net


I personally don't like how small that filter is, for the size of this engine. On my Merc, I took it off, and put on a normal brass fitting. Then, I put a large automotive "In-line" filter just before the pump. But, for a quick test... just replace it, and your larger spin-on filter.
 

drxlcarfreak

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Awesome thanks! It does look pretty small for a 210hp motor. Ill give this a shot and report back!
 

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