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Old 06-02-2011, 09:23 PM   #1
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1978 Ski Nautique Problem

Alright guys...I need some help here. My girlfriend's family has a 78 Ski Nautique with a 351 Commander in it. Here's the problem: We start it up and run it for 30-45 minutes and everything is fine. After it heats up for a while, it'll start to idle rough, and eventually sputter, and eventually die. If there is an load on it (someone skiing), When you give it gas to pull the skier up, it sputters and hesitates pretty bad. They just replaced the carb on it and have it tuned up, and her brother replaced the water intake hoses on it today. We took it out for a while, and it's doin the same thing. We tried to pull my girlfriend up and her brother gave it gas and it hesitated, and so she dropped. He left the throttle wide open and it took about 200 feet for the boat to actually catch up to where the throttle was. We've been working on it all day and can't figure out what the F the problem is. Any ideas?

Thanks!
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:35 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by dwalden2 View Post
Alright guys...I need some help here. My girlfriend's family has a 78 Ski Nautique with a 351 Commander in it. Here's the problem: We start it up and run it for 30-45 minutes and everything is fine. After it heats up for a while, it'll start to idle rough, and eventually sputter, and eventually die. If there is an load on it (someone skiing), When you give it gas to pull the skier up, it sputters and hesitates pretty bad. They just replaced the carb on it and have it tuned up, and her brother replaced the water intake hoses on it today. We took it out for a while, and it's doin the same thing. We tried to pull my girlfriend up and her brother gave it gas and it hesitated, and so she dropped. He left the throttle wide open and it took about 200 feet for the boat to actually catch up to where the throttle was. We've been working on it all day and can't figure out what the F the problem is. Any ideas?

Thanks!
when you say it heats up does the temp gauge go sky high? or what do you mean?
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:41 PM   #5
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Was this an issue before the carb was replaced?
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwalden2 View Post
Sorry, I was at her house and getting ready to leave when I posted, so I left out a few details.

The temp sensor has actually been out for a while, and they replaced it today. We were thinking maybe it gets hot and shuts down. Replaced the temp sensor this evening and ran it for about 30 minutes and the temp stayed around 155-160. It was dark, so we couldn't actually go out and try to ski or anything, but we're assuming it's still gonna do the same thing tomorrow when they try to run it.



I THINK they had the carb rebuilt instead of replacing the whole carb. I could be wrong on that one, though. I honestly can't remember.



It was doin something similar to this last year. It was more constant, though. Instead of sputtering and hesitating after driving it for a while, it would do it just about all the time. Now, it only seems to happen after driving it for 30-45 minutes.

I started thinking vapor lock, but it cranks right back up after it dies. Still idles rough/hesitates, but it starts right up.
does it run 100% for the first 30 minutes? because i'm thinking it might be that its not getting enough water.
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:26 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cantac09 View Post
does it run 100% for the first 30 minutes? because i'm thinking it might be that its not getting enough water.

It runs perfectly. Crank it up and gun it, and it's fine. Feels like nothing is wrong with it for the first little while. It can pull up a skier, stop, idle, gun it again and it's fine. It doesn't start doin all that until later. Like I said, they replaced the temp sensor tonight so they're gonna take it out tomorrow while I'm at work and run it for a while and see if the temp shoots up while they're skiing. We played around with it tonight and it seemed like there was plenty of water comin in to cool it. That's why I'm so confused.

They found some ethanol free gas and have been running it in it for the past couple tanks, but that hasn't helped. I thought maybe the ethanol has been gumming up the engine/fuel lines? They put some Sta-Bil through it last week but it didn't help anything. I'm lost on this thing.
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:28 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dwalden2 View Post
It runs perfectly. Crank it up and gun it, and it's fine. Feels like nothing is wrong with it for the first little while. It can pull up a skier, stop, idle, gun it again and it's fine. It doesn't start doin all that until later. Like I said, they replaced the temp sensor tonight so they're gonna take it out tomorrow while I'm at work and run it for a while and see if the temp shoots up while they're skiing. We played around with it tonight and it seemed like there was plenty of water comin in to cool it. That's why I'm so confused.

They found some ethanol free gas and have been running it in it for the past couple tanks, but that hasn't helped. I thought maybe the ethanol has been gumming up the engine/fuel lines? They put some Sta-Bil through it last week but it didn't help anything. I'm lost on this thing.
but if it was a fuel problem you would think that it would be instant not take 30 min to start sputtering. you got a weird problem.
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:48 PM   #9
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but if it was a fuel problem you would think that it would be instant not take 30 min to start sputtering. you got a weird problem.
EXACTLY. Haha. We can't figure out what the heck it is.
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:51 PM   #10
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EXACTLY. Haha. We can't figure out what the heck it is.
well good luck. get back at us when you figure it out.
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:56 PM   #11
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Thanks. Will do. I'm hopin they get it figured out while I'm at work tomorrow so I can get some wakeboarding in this weekend.
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:14 PM   #12
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I don't know why but for some reason I am thinking electrical or maybe they put the distibutor in wrong if they removed it.
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:21 PM   #13
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I don't know why but for some reason I am thinking electrical or maybe they put the distibutor in wrong if they removed it.
Hmmmm...possibility.

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Originally Posted by m3bassman View Post
sounds very similar to a proble we had on our welcraft. took the boat place 2 seasons to fix the damn thing, partly because they are plain stupid. do you smell fuel at all when it is acting up?
I know I smelled it today, but we had just filled it up a little earlier, so I figured he might have spilled some or something. I honestly haven't paid that much attention to that any other time. What was your problem?
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:35 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by m3bassman View Post
well i wasnt there when it was fixed and my mom cant remember and my dad is busy working in his office so i wont dare bother him tonight but i want to remember that it was something in the fuel system. we too had the carb rebuilt with no change. ill go see if my dad is too busy here and hopefully get back to you.

No rush. It's bed time for me, anyway. . Thanks, though! I'll check back in the morning.
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:40 PM   #15
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I've had spark plug wires that were cracked do this kinda thing. Runs fine, then heats up and sputters (it's grounding on something)

I don't know.. take a look, actually found this at night one time.. saw the spark.
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Old 06-03-2011, 02:50 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by m3bassman View Post
ok so he was chipper in there so i asked and said after all was said and done they replaced the fuel filter and bingo! its been running like a champ since. try that, should be quick and cheap! we both agreed that your symptoms are identical to what we experience so it is worth a shot!
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I've had spark plug wires that were cracked do this kinda thing. Runs fine, then heats up and sputters (it's grounding on something)

I don't know.. take a look, actually found this at night one time.. saw the spark.

Thanks guys. I told him to check all of that this morning. I haven't heard anything from them, so I don't know if they got it runnin or if they've checked those or not yet. I've been at work all day so maybe they got it runnin. I'll find out tonight I guess. May have to spend my Friday night goin over there to help work on the boat.
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Old 06-03-2011, 02:57 PM   #17
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Sounds like you just need to cut your ties, accept that it's a lost cause and just give me the boat, I'll dispose of it for you

How's the spark plug gap? Distributor cap and rotor?
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Old 06-03-2011, 03:11 PM   #18
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I'd check the plug wires with a multimeter and check the plugs.
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Old 06-04-2011, 09:11 AM   #19
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Does it continue to runrough after you start it back up or does it smooth out? If it is still rough I'd still be looking at vapor lock. Check the routing of the fuel lines and see if some insulation is neded.
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Old 06-04-2011, 10:19 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macgyver View Post
Sounds like you just need to cut your ties, accept that it's a lost cause and just give me the boat, I'll dispose of it for you

How's the spark plug gap? Distributor cap and rotor?
Distributor cap was just replaced. They replaced the plugs a couple years ago...way before it started acting up.

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Originally Posted by dexterdog View Post
I'd check the plug wires with a multimeter and check the plugs.
They checked the plugs yesterday and everything seems fine. Checked the wires for cracks or anything weird and didn't find anything.

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Originally Posted by JDCPA View Post
Does it continue to runrough after you start it back up or does it smooth out? If it is still rough I'd still be looking at vapor lock. Check the routing of the fuel lines and see if some insulation is neded.

Yea, it still runs rough unless you park it for a little while and everything cools down. There's a fuel overflow outlet on the side opposite the gas cap, would that not act as a release valve, too?


I've got a wedding to go to today so I won't get to help em with it, but whatever they did to it yesterday really screwed it up. They took it out this morning after they replaced the coil and it died on them and woudln't crank back. Got back and realized it was out of gas. All the gas leaked out somewhere. When the Bilge pump kicked on it was mostly gas coming out. This is according to my girlfriend who is NO WHERE CLOSE to mechanically inclined.
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