Challenger suddenly stops

Challenger suddenly stops

Joined: May 20th, 2004, 6:23 pm

May 20th, 2004, 6:23 pm #1

I have a year 2k Challenger 2000 with a 240 EFI. It will be running fine and just stop dead. I have to crank it a couple of times before it catches and runs. It will then accelerate and run at full speed until it stops again. It takes about 10 minutes until the first stop and then the interval decreases to the point where it will stop at idle.

It stops as suddenly as if I had switched the key off or pulled the safety lanyard. But if I switch it off electrically it cranks instantly, which makes me think it might be a fuel problem rather than an electrical fault. It isn’t normal for fuel problems to happen that instantly, but it is definitely starved of fuel when it stops on its own.

My mechanic and I took it out yesterday and he went through all of the normal troubleshooting after it stopped. He found that he could blow both ways through the one-way check valve that attaches to the fuel line at the fuel pump. That probably isn’t the problem but he ordered a new one anyway since they are cheap. Otherwise he is mystified.

I replaced the fuel filter on the end of the fuel pickup and siphoned the bottom at the lowest point. I got a little gunk out but there was no water.

The only mechanic I can get to come to the house isn’t really up to speed on the EFI, but he is consulting with several people who know the engine. Does anyone know of anything that could cause the indications I am getting?
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 20th, 2004, 8:17 pm #2

What about a Lanyard Short or the Battery Switch? If the engine shuts off instantly, I would lean more toward an electrical open problem. It might not be out of the question for a fuse to be faulty. Although rare, a cracked fuse might work until it heats up. Another possibility is a loose battery connection. When the engine stops, does all the other electrical devices work exactly at that time? The next time it kills, turn on the blower or hit the horn to see if the 12 volt system is working.

I can't stress to you enough, this is a serious problem. You need the 240EFI to run for steering. Likewise, if you mess around and somehow fix it without really diagnoses it... it might reappear when you least expect it. Be careful!

This is what I would doo. Setup your jet in flush mode in your drive way. Run the water and start the engine. Very carefully, perform a wiggle test on all the wiring... one thing at a time. Be careful not to get shocked-grin. I would start with the battery, then the wire on the starter/ground, then the lanyard, then the neutral switch, then the wires inside the driver side dash etc... until you find the problem. I bet you can recreate the problem in this manner. Driving her on the water is unsafe as is and you really can't diagnose anything while cruising at 50mph anyway.

One other thing, make sure your oil tank caps are secure.

Let us know what you determine!

JetWild!!!
SpeedSter240EFI
Rj
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Wayne Lipe
Wayne Lipe

May 21st, 2004, 5:54 pm #3

Thanks for the input. The mechanic bypassed both the ignition and emergency lanyard switch and it still stopped.

If I just pull the lanyard while at speed the boat stops (of course) and it is just as instant as when it shuts itself down. The difference is that it will crank instantly if it stops because of pulling the lanyard or shutting off the ignition. When it stops on its own it cranks and tries to run but sputters to a stop. Usually on the second crank it barely runs for a few seconds and then comes up to speed. The mechanic has come to the same conclusion as I have that it is starved of fuel when it shuts itself down.

He spent time checking all of the electrical connections while running as part of his normal trouble shooting, but it isn’t likely to be electrical. Fuel problems usually manifest themselves as a gradual loss of power or a sputtering stop rather than the instant stop I get. The engine maintenance instructor at our Power Squadron had initially said it had to be electrical also, but after seeing the fuel starvation after it stops itself he now also agrees it has to be instant fuel starvation.

Oil cap it tight and both the main and aux tanks are full.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 21st, 2004, 7:49 pm #4

And, it's not the first time-grin.

I thought you stated you could be cruising along at 40mph and the engine suddenly stops, nothing about a slowing down to a stop. In this reply, you mention the engine slowing to a stop and after you start back up, it sometimes speeds up and other times it slows to a stop.

You have two different problems. What doo your plugs look like? Is there any indication of water or hot operation? Does your 240EFI has a real alterator or a stator charging system?

There are a ton of things which can kill an engine. It doesn't sound like the mechanic is isolating the true problems. If the mechanic can recreate the kill condition... why can't he figure out what is going on? Some are better than others and it is possible this problem is new. I can imagine all kinds of issues... what if the computer believes the engine is always operating at the rev-limit and retards cyc#2 to such a degree to kill it? What about bad gas, causing the fuel injectors to foul. Who knows, this one is a tuffy.

The solutions are to isolate the problems separately. If you have the stator charging system as employed on the earlier 240EFI versions... it is likely your idle is too low. If the engine starts and the idle does not make it up above or near 1,000 RPMs, the stator charging system can not produce enough juice to fire the injectors properly. After the injectors foul a bit, it gets difficult to restart and reach the RPM break even point. This is one problem which is different than your "kill" problem. If your fuel pressure drops the injectors won't work. Likewise, if the pressure is too high. These items must be tested when the problem occurs. It isn't going to be easy to diagnose this one, but I believe it can be done. And, hurry up... Summer is here!!!

Where doo you live? I wish I could help more.

These problems you are having is one reason why perhaps an OptiMax would have it over the 240EFI because they is the ability diagnose problems...

JetWild !!!
SpeedSter240EFI
Rj
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Wayne Lipe
Wayne Lipe

May 22nd, 2004, 2:21 am #5

Thanks for the reply.

I said that normally when you have a fuel starvation problem the boat doesn’t stop instantly. Mine does stop instantly, which caused everyone here to assume an electrical fault.

But it doesn’t start the same way after it stops on its own as it does if I turn the ignition off or pull the lanyard. If I break the ignition it restarts instantly. If it stops on its own it requires 2 or 3 cranks to start running, and takes a couple of seconds to get to idle once it catches. After that it accelerates normally and runs normally until it suddenly stops. The only thing that could explain the difference between starting after I turn it off myself and starting after it stops on its own is fuel IMO.

The mechanic can’t duplicate the failure. We just run the boat until it suddenly stops. Once it stops the first time it is a fairly short interval before it stops again, so it is possible for him to try things to see if it helped. He said the plugs look OK. It idles at 1000 RPM and starts crisply except just after a failure.

I have also ruled out heat. The problem first started on a cool morning a couple of months ago. We removed the engine cover and left the hatch open, so it acted like a large air scoop. We were able to run about 5 minutes at 30MPH before it quit again. With that much cool air being circulated I don’t think it is a heat problem. We were ignominiously hauled home by Tow Boat US.

I guess what I really need is to find something that would stop the fuel flow instantly and subsequently allow it to start and run again. I haven’t been on the board for a while, but last year it seems the shop manuals were available for some other models on CD but not the Challenger 2000 with the Mercury engine. Does anyone know whether that has changed?

I’m in the Tampa Bay area at Indian Rocks Beach.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 22nd, 2004, 8:55 pm #6

The symptom might be enough for them to tell what is going on. Does your 240 have an alternator?

Can your mechanic measure the fuel pressure during the test? I would change the fuse to the fuel pump, easy and inexpensive.

When the engine kills, I bet the boat really jerks with the sudden lack of power and steering.

I'm in Wisconsin, so I wouldn't be able to help. You might want to check with the guys over on the www.jetboating.net board. They might be able to help you. However, I never heard of this problem before.

Good luck and I hope you find the problem(s) soon!!!
R
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Wayne Lipe
Wayne Lipe

May 25th, 2004, 3:55 am #7

I appreciate the input. I assume it has an alternator – sure would be nice to have a shop manual. I’ll ask the mechanic to pick up a fuse before he comes over with the new one-way check valve.

It stops with the same J turn at the end as it does if you just cut the power suddenly. Not much fun on a busy weekend on the intercoastal.

I’ll try the other board and get back if we ever solve this.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

May 26th, 2004, 9:54 pm #8

I have a year 2k Challenger 2000 with a 240 EFI. It will be running fine and just stop dead. I have to crank it a couple of times before it catches and runs. It will then accelerate and run at full speed until it stops again. It takes about 10 minutes until the first stop and then the interval decreases to the point where it will stop at idle.

It stops as suddenly as if I had switched the key off or pulled the safety lanyard. But if I switch it off electrically it cranks instantly, which makes me think it might be a fuel problem rather than an electrical fault. It isn’t normal for fuel problems to happen that instantly, but it is definitely starved of fuel when it stops on its own.

My mechanic and I took it out yesterday and he went through all of the normal troubleshooting after it stopped. He found that he could blow both ways through the one-way check valve that attaches to the fuel line at the fuel pump. That probably isn’t the problem but he ordered a new one anyway since they are cheap. Otherwise he is mystified.

I replaced the fuel filter on the end of the fuel pickup and siphoned the bottom at the lowest point. I got a little gunk out but there was no water.

The only mechanic I can get to come to the house isn’t really up to speed on the EFI, but he is consulting with several people who know the engine. Does anyone know of anything that could cause the indications I am getting?
Note to self... Check the Fuel Separator, If you find it extremely RUSTY, Change it!

Honestly, the picture you posted on the other board shows your fuel separator is beyond it's life expectancy. I would say beyond 9 lives-grin.

Let us know if it cures your problem.

Rj
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George
George

May 26th, 2004, 10:09 pm #9

I appreciate the input. I assume it has an alternator – sure would be nice to have a shop manual. I’ll ask the mechanic to pick up a fuse before he comes over with the new one-way check valve.

It stops with the same J turn at the end as it does if you just cut the power suddenly. Not much fun on a busy weekend on the intercoastal.

I’ll try the other board and get back if we ever solve this.
My gosh have you described my 2001 Seadoo Speedster problem to the finest detail. I just bought the boat and am heart sick about the problem. I live in Bradenton, Fl. and if you find the problem please let me know. I am also going to have this looked in to locally and if I find the cure I will likewise let you know. Please e-mail me so we can keep up.

gswitzer@tampabay.rr.com

Thanks so much.

George
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Joined: May 20th, 2004, 6:23 pm

May 30th, 2004, 4:54 pm #10

I’m a bit embarrassed about the fuel separator. 4 people looked at that engine including a mechanic and our Power Squadron engine maintenance instructor and none of us looked on the other side of the engine for it. The fuel system and hoses all seemed to be on the left side.

The mechanic never showed up with the little filter or check valve that screws into the primer pump. I tend to go with what the mechanic was told at the dealer that it is a check valve. It doesn’t come apart to take a filter and doesn’t appear to be something you replace often. If it is a check valve it could cause the sudden stops if it is freezing.

West Marine doesn’t carry the separator so it will have to come from the dealer too. It had no water in it and I am guessing it couldn’t have caused sudden stops without water. It surely needs changing but a cruddy filter isn’t going to cause the boat to run like a top and then suddenly stop.

Unless the valve that attaches to the pump is bad I’m afraid the engine is coming apart unless I can get a better idea from someone knowledgeable about that engine. I’ll get back if I ever solve the problem.

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