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Old 09-29-2021, 11:56 PM
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Question about burnt smell

I am wondering if anyone else may have experienced the following issue. I had a faint sweet smell last few times that I run the engine. It was not overheating, started fine and I did not see any smoke. We motored in today and engine suddenly died after running for 5 minutes in gear. We tried to restart it and it cutoff after running for few seconds. At this point there was a distinct burning smell from the engine compartment - kinda like a burnt plastic. I did a quick check and did not see any smoke or any part that was too hot to the touch. So, I am thinking what should I look into here? My wild guess is to check the coil and replace it if it looks like suspect. Does anyone have any other suggestions what may be at play here?
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Old 09-30-2021, 08:26 AM
zellerj zellerj is offline
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Recently my starter and solenoid fried, and it smelled like the remnants of a house fire. Plastic smell might be the insulation of a wire that got hot because of a short. Check out the wires that connect to the coil.
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Old 09-30-2021, 09:52 AM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is online now
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Burnt plastic smell makes me think of wiring that is shorted to ground.
If the wiring is burning few summary tests of the various circuits should lead you to the problem.
For example see if coil + is grounded when the key is on (battery circuit breaker off)
Also if the coil has been leaking oil it will overheat.
A sort of long shot is internal shorting inside wiring harness "trailer plugs".
Once you get this sorted out fuse protecting the various circuits* would be a good idea. A fire on a boat can ruin your whole day.
*ignition, starter, electric fuel pump, so on

ex TRUE GRIT
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Old 09-30-2021, 10:25 AM
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Thank you guys for the suggestions. I will try to look for the short. I doubt its a starter/solenoid since the engine starts just fine. The coil did not feel hot when we got back to the mooring, but it did take us a while to get back under sail. The coil oil leak may be feasible. I did see some oil in the bilge, but I thought it was coming from the water pump that is due to a rebuild. My coil is about 6 years old. My engine is used only lightly - I never motor for more than 30 minutes or so at a time. Does anyone know what is a typical coil life time?
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Old 09-30-2021, 11:10 AM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is online now
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DO YOU HAVE AN ELECTRONIC IGNITION?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wisakedjack View Post
Does anyone know what is a typical coil life time?
If you have an electronic ignition and the coil does not have the correct amount of resistance (to little resistance) it can run at a to hot temperature and fail prematurely.

ex TRUE GRIT
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  #6   IP: 47.18.111.244
Old 09-30-2021, 11:43 AM
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John, I do have EI. Several years ago I worked through the starting issues and add a ballast resistor before the coil. At the time I replaced the coil and had no issues. I am still wondering whether the smell that I reported could be a result of coil overheating. Thinking back to last week sails when I only had a faint sweet smell, it only developed after running engine for a while. So, it may be consistent with rising coil temperature.
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Old 10-02-2021, 08:48 PM
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I think I know what the issue is. The coil seems to be fine. The Facet fuel pump did fail. There is no pressure in the output line (I have inline gauge that shows nothing). When I took a close look at the pump I saw black caked goo on the side. When I cleaned it out I saw burn mark there (see attached picture). I saw few posts on this forum with pictures showing exact same burns. Does anyone know the cause for this and how typical it is. My pump came with the boat, so it got to be at least 7 years old.

Name:  facet_pump.jpg
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Old 10-03-2021, 07:11 AM
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There was a issue a number of years ago with some faucet fuel pumps getting
over heated. Perhaps you may have one of these older pumps?

Best Art
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Old 10-13-2021, 06:39 PM
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Here is a follow up story. Hoping for some advise on what to do next...
I installed new Facet pump. Engine started right away and run for about 20 minutes after which I took the boat around the mooring field. At this point I am thinking I am back in business. I came back few days later to sail the boat. The engine started and run for about 10 minutes after which it abruptly shut down. I restarted it only to have it shut down in 30 seconds. I came back today to do a proper troubleshooting. Engine started again and cutoff after 30 seconds after which it would not start again. Here are the things that I tested:
1. Opened gas tank cap and tried to start again - no luck.
2. Checked spark from ignition coil - good
3. Checked spark plugs. They were not wet. Color was somewhat black, but not too bad. There was some rust on the threads.
4. Fuel pressure out of pump is ~4 psi. I disconnected fuel line from carburetor (after fine filter) and run the pump - got good flow. Looked at the fuel in the jar and it looked fine.
5. Opened plug on the carburetor and drained fuel - looked fine.
6. Removed flame arrestor - there was some fuel in the throat.

At this point I removed carburetor and took it home to clean up. I also got a new set of spark plugs. Going back to the boat tomorrow after cleaning carb. Since the issue started with bad fuel pump I am going on assumption that this is fuel related. Does anyone have any other suggestions on what may be going on and what else I could try. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 10-13-2021, 10:34 PM
TimBSmith TimBSmith is offline
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Your approach thoughtful....how does carb look?

Especially with fuel pooling.

Other issue is quality of fuel and running clean fuel from alternative source to test once carb is cleaned. Wonder about water. What do you see in fuel filter bowl?

Sounds like you may be running rich with plugs sooty. Link a picture to help make this clearer.

Might check your fuel filter bowl, pull bolt, drain until clear, just to see what is collecting.

You should be close. Thanks for sharing your diagnostic and work here.
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Old 10-14-2021, 12:01 AM
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A failing (or failed) coil behaves in this manner.
Try checking for spark immediately after a shut down.

ex TRUE GRIT
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Old 10-14-2021, 12:16 AM
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Tim, I did collect fuel from the carb bowl. It looked ok. I don't see any signs of water or foreign residues in my fuel. I do know that my fuel is not fresh. Most of it is 2 years old (my boat stayed on the hard last season). It did have stabilizer added. I've been burning it this summer and I added about 5 gallons of fresh one this summer. I did some comments in other threads and got an impression that this still should be ok. I will try to run the engine from a portable tank using fresh fuel.

John, I will check the coil tomorrow. I actually have a spare one I could try. Makes me wonder though what are the chances that both fuel pump and coil failed almost at the same time?

Thanks again for your comments. I am about a week from boat haul out and still need to unstep my mast. So, I am in a tight spot and any help is greatly appreciated. Will update about my progress
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Old 10-14-2021, 12:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wisakedjack View Post
John, I will check the coil tomorrow. I actually have a spare one I could try. Makes me wonder though what are the chances that both fuel pump and coil failed almost at the same time?
)
Any chance the key was left on for a spell while troubleshooting when the engine wasn't running?
On my boat the only time the key was in the slot was when the engine was being cranked or was running.
Also you could poke around with a volt meter after shutdown just to be sure you are getting power to the various components (key, coil +, OPSS, fuel pump)

ex TRUE GRIT
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Old 10-14-2021, 01:03 AM
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While unlikely I can't entirely rule the possibility that key was on while engine was not running. I've fried my coil before by leaving key in, so I do watch for this. I will check the voltages. Thanks.
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Old 10-14-2021, 10:46 AM
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How’s your oil pressure?
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Old 10-14-2021, 11:01 AM
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Ando, when the motor was running oil pressure was 40-50. No change compared to what I had before.
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Old 10-14-2021, 04:08 PM
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I think the comments about the coil are on target and should be followed, My boat was on the hard for two seasons due to covid w/stored and stbilized fuel. At launch it was running little rough and would die at idle or just quit. Using my stick transfer pump I drained the bottom two gallons - looked and smelled odd. Drained other 9 gallons and replaced w/fresh fuel - ran fine after that.
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Old 10-14-2021, 04:34 PM
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I just got back from the boat and unfortunately no progress was made. Here are things that I did:

1. Cleaned carburetor and replaced spark plug (I am attaching picture of my old ones). Unfortunately I could not get RJ12C one that I used before. I used RJ12YC instead, which seem to be a bit longer. I saw discussion on MM forums and it seems RJ12YC should still be ok.
2. Checked spark from coil, which looked ok. Since I had a new coil I replaced the old one.

So here is what was happening. Engine turns, but does not start. Its not even firing now (old coil or new). I tried to spray some starting fluid into flame arrester and all I got was a weak cough on next start. I checked voltage on coil '+' terminal when cranking. It was just below 9V on last try. I do have an extra ballast resistor before the coil. The battery got drained a bit today (12V) after all the cranking. At the end spark looked weaker, but should still be good enough. The only thing that I did not try was running from a portable tank using fresh fuel. I am planning to try it tomorrow. I don't have high hopes though since the engine did not fire on starting fluid. Even though my fuel is old due to boat staying on the hard last season it should at least fire up. May be run rough as Sam mentioned. But I suspect the problem is elsewhere. I still think its kinda odd things deteriorated to this point when at the start it seemed clear that it was just a fuel pump failure.
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Old 10-15-2021, 12:47 AM
JOHN COOKSON JOHN COOKSON is online now
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In order for your engine to start and run you need fuel, spark and compression delivered to the cylinders. The spark needs to be delivered at the correct time and the choke need to be functioning correctly.
Which of these are you lacking?
It would be helpful if you would start a new thread with your observations and diagnostic tests. You'll get more responses and suggestions if you start a new thread.

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Old 10-15-2021, 10:28 AM
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Next time you check for spark do it via a plug wire to eliminate any issue with arching under the cap and a good spark path.

Do double check the wires for correct order twice! Maybe the rotor was left out?

When cleaning the carb what are you setting the float at? AND are you SURE the seal under the bowl top is absolutely sealed against the emulsion well? You should not have fuel puddling in the throat which introduces fuel not mixed with air properly and creates a bad burn leaving soot on the plugs.

Since it ran poorly before something you have done or overlooked is now amiss.

Confirm spar and firing order and try clean fuel after draining the carb and any lines left attached for the test. Gravity feed of a couple feet is sufficient for low RPM testing.

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Old 10-15-2021, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wisakedjack View Post
... I checked voltage on coil '+' terminal when cranking. It was just below 9V on last try. ...
This seems way too low. When you checked the spark, was it a snappy blue one or a weak yellow? A weak yellow spark in open air will likely not fire under compression, as the breakdown voltage of the plug's gap goes up as the pressure goes up (Paschen's Law).

12V on the unloaded battery also sounds pretty low too.

Since you have a ballast resistor, one trick you can try is to use the normally-unused "R" terminal on the starter solenoid. This terminal has a direct connection to the battery "+" during cranking, and is open circuit at all other times. If you connect it directly to the coil's "+" terminal, it will bypass the ballast resistor during cranking (when the voltage is at its lowest) giving you a hotter spark for starting, then revert to normal while running.
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Old 10-15-2021, 04:56 PM
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Just a couple of comments - if the hotter rj12c plugs are not available I would default to THE RIGHT SIZED j8C which used to be the standard recommended plugs by Universal. Point two - since you changed the fuel pump you probably lost "siphon" from near bottom of tank, the fuel pump "pushes" better than it draws and the height of the fuel level in the tank may be too low for the pump rise? I would prime all the lines with fuel [I used a turkey baster] and give it a try - it worked for me. [ For kicks I would still pump out the bottom two gallons of fuel which after a couple of years is a fuel/water mix to some degree.] This all assumes you have needed good spark first which sounds like you initially had. Check all your battery/power/ground connection for tightness or visible or invisible corrosion. From your failed starting fluid diagnostic test I think you may be missing "fuel delivery" and/or "spark". After all of this and the other forum suggestions I probably would question the EI integrity. Good luck.
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Old 10-16-2021, 03:24 PM
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This summer I helped a friend with his boat with some of these issues. The fuel pump is powered from 2 sources. One from the starter being activated, once the engine is running the oil pressure sensor powers the pump. My friends boat had a bad fuse from the oil sensor to the pump. Pushing the starter button filled the carb and let the engine run until the fuel ran out. It was hard to start again until activating the starter filled the carb again. Check if the fuel pump is running while the engine is running, not when using the starter?
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Old 10-16-2021, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Neptune View Post

When cleaning the carb what are you setting the float at? AND are you SURE the seal under the bowl top is absolutely sealed against the emulsion well? You should not have fuel puddling in the throat which introduces fuel not mixed with air properly and creates a bad burn leaving soot on the plugs.

Dave Neptune
I am not sure how I should set the float. I do check that the float assembly is parallel, but I never made any adjustments. What is the emulsion well? I can't find any mentioning of this in the manual. Dave, can you, please, clarify?
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Old 10-16-2021, 10:27 PM
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Float...yes I was taught to eyeball and check level on both floats

Here is picture from my last maintenance..

https://photos.app.goo.gl/tM3AnVdWCrgccPan6

I had to be very careful not to displace the rod that anchors the floats. It is not peened and can slip out if held at sharp angle.
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