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Old 05-19-2020, 10:15 AM   #1
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Engine Problem

We were heading out of the channel a couple of days ago when I got an alarm. It was 2 short beeps. Then maybe a 30 second pause, and then 2 beeps again. Oil pressure and engine temp gauges read fine for both engines. I had checked the oil, transmission and coolant levels before going out.

I opened the engine compartment to find light smoke which quickly cleared. Climbing down I could not see any ongoing source of smoke. However, the starboard drive/shaft was noisy. So, we immediately shut down the starboard engine and headed back to the dock on one engine.

I looked over the starboard engine carefully and couldn't see any obvious problem. The hoses and belts looked fine. I carefully felt the temperature of each hose and compared between engines to see if there was any obvious difference (I know, not very scientific). The belt looked ok. I felt the transmission to see if it felt hot, and it was barely warm.

So, I tried to restart the engine to further diagnose, but it would not start. It seemed like it wanted to start but just wouldn't keep running. I recalled that I did have a couple of stalls on the starboard engine at idle speed a couple of months ago, but fine since. So I'm thinking that the shaft noise that I heard may have been due to the engine misfiring, but it was not obvious.

I called a mechanic who immediately said that I must have overheated the engine and likely caused engine damage, but that doesn't make sense considering the temperature gauge was reading normal. A new water pump was installed about a year ago. Mechanic is coming out to diagnose later in the week.

I have gasoline engines on a fresh water lake. They are MerCruiser 8.1 HO.

So, wondering if anyone has ideas on what might be the problem or anything that I could check. Does the 2 beeps mean anything vs a continuous alarm?
Just trying to prepare for talking with the mechanic. The smoke was obviously the most disturbing part of this. Appreciate any thoughts.
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:20 AM   #2
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What year mercruisers and what does the manual say?
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Old 05-19-2020, 10:23 AM   #3
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A wild thought

How old are your risers? Mercruiser recommends a 5 year changeout. A failed riser can put water into the wrong place leading to a spot overheat (not seen at gauge) or hydro lock. Did you check your oil for any off color?
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:22 AM   #4
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Meridians came with ECM equipped engines- have the codes pulled to narrow down the faults.
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:34 AM   #5
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It is probably a “beep code” that will lead you to a general problem. You need to get the manual and look up the beep code.
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:59 PM   #6
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So I went to Google and typed in Mercruiser Beep Codes. Heres what came up:

Signal: Two beeps every minute
Possible Cause: Sensors / Open-Short in circuits
Corrective Action: Connect CDS to determine and diagnose the problem
Engine Usage available for user: Possible 90% available power (dependent on sensor). See dealer for diagnostics.

Looks like you will need to call a Mercruiser Tech.
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Old 05-19-2020, 01:00 PM   #7
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Thank you all!! You prompted me to go back and search the manual. Duh! I've lost faith in the manual because it's a thin little book that's never helped me before, but.....it says that 2 beeps indicates a sensor fault. Could that have caused something to smoke? I'd love to think this is merely replacing a sensor, but that seems to easy. And, I guess that I will need a professional mechanic with a diagnostic tool.
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Old 05-19-2020, 01:01 PM   #8
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It's possible the wiring to a sensor chafed and shorted, which could have caused the smoke as well as a bad sensor reading that upset the ECU.
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Old 05-19-2020, 01:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank60 View Post
Thank you all!! You prompted me to go back and search the manual. Duh! I've lost faith in the manual because it's a thin little book that's never helped me before, but.....it says that 2 beeps indicates a sensor fault. Could that have caused something to smoke? I'd love to think this is merely replacing a sensor, but that seems to easy. And, I guess that I will need a professional mechanic with a diagnostic tool.
The mechanic will (should) have a computer to hook up to the engine and it will most likely have a more detailed fault that will take him/her to the problem. Good luck.
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:16 AM   #10
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Code readers for cars are fairly universal,perhaps one of the auto units can be plugged into the read out socket on your engine?
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:52 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by FF View Post
Code readers for cars are fairly universal,perhaps one of the auto units can be plugged into the read out socket on your engine?
Mercury/Mercruiser has VesselView, which can display fault codes- but the vessel must have the VesselView hardware. Otherwise, they use a specific plug and reader to pull codes.
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Old 05-20-2020, 08:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
It's possible the wiring to a sensor chafed and shorted, which could have caused the smoke as well as a bad sensor reading that upset the ECU.



Chafed wires are actually a common issue on Mercruiser 8.1s. Check the wiring runs on the inboard side of the exhaust elbows.
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Old 05-20-2020, 08:26 PM   #13
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Code readers for cars are fairly universal,perhaps one of the auto units can be plugged into the read out socket on your engine?

You need a special tool because marine engines don't use OBDII ECMs . I have a Tech Mate that works great on MEFI and ECM 555 based engines like Volvo Penta and Mercruiser use. They cost about $500, if memory serves.
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:14 PM   #14
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Do not ever use this mechanic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank60 View Post
We were heading out of the channel a couple of days ago when I got an alarm. It was 2 short beeps. Then maybe a 30 second pause, and then 2 beeps again. Oil pressure and engine temp gauges read fine for both engines. I had checked the oil, transmission and coolant levels before going out.

I opened the engine compartment to find light smoke which quickly cleared. Climbing down I could not see any ongoing source of smoke. However, the starboard drive/shaft was noisy. So, we immediately shut down the starboard engine and headed back to the dock on one engine.

I looked over the starboard engine carefully and couldn't see any obvious problem. The hoses and belts looked fine. I carefully felt the temperature of each hose and compared between engines to see if there was any obvious difference (I know, not very scientific). The belt looked ok. I felt the transmission to see if it felt hot, and it was barely warm.

So, I tried to restart the engine to further diagnose, but it would not start. It seemed like it wanted to start but just wouldn't keep running. I recalled that I did have a couple of stalls on the starboard engine at idle speed a couple of months ago, but fine since. So I'm thinking that the shaft noise that I heard may have been due to the engine misfiring, but it was not obvious.

I called a mechanic who immediately said that I must have overheated the engine and likely caused engine damage, but that doesn't make sense considering the temperature gauge was reading normal. A new water pump was installed about a year ago. Mechanic is coming out to diagnose later in the week.

I have gasoline engines on a fresh water lake. They are MerCruiser 8.1 HO.

So, wondering if anyone has ideas on what might be the problem or anything that I could check. Does the 2 beeps mean anything vs a continuous alarm?
Just trying to prepare for talking with the mechanic. The smoke was obviously the most disturbing part of this. Appreciate any thoughts.

No way he understands that engines are cooked, without looking.

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Old 05-22-2020, 07:09 AM   #15
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I just got towed back to the launch ramp 2 days ago in my 17 footer with a 90 Mercury Optimax. It was also giving the 2 beep code.
I couldn't find anything on line or in the manual for a 2 beep. But a friend found something that also said it was one of the sensors and would have to get plugged into diagnostic software to figure out which sensor.
It's at the shop now, when I know more I'll update.

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Old 05-22-2020, 08:07 AM   #16
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I'd one occurrence with a Mercruiser where the beeps occurred and the engine went into limp mode. Bad plug connection in the harness. The mechanic said the fault indicator showed an overheat indicating a bad riser. Risers OK, plug not ok.

Two years ago we were cruising with some friends. The JD 6081 fault sensors put the engine into limp mode due to overheat. Indications according to JD book leaned towards a bad sensor. Oh oh, coolant level way down due to leak in keel cooler hose. Added all reserve coolant diluted way down with fresh water to top up system. Made it 55 nm to Petersburg where hose replacement took place.

Long story short, sometimes beeps are right.
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Old 05-25-2020, 02:19 PM   #17
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Find a certified Mercruiser mechanic with Rinda scan tool.
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Old 05-26-2020, 10:59 AM   #18
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Engine Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank60 View Post
We were heading out of the channel a couple of days ago when I got an alarm. It was 2 short beeps. Then maybe a 30 second pause, and then 2 beeps again. Oil pressure and engine temp gauges read fine for both engines. I had checked the oil, transmission and coolant levels before going out.

I opened the engine compartment to find light smoke which quickly cleared. Climbing down I could not see any ongoing source of smoke. However, the starboard drive/shaft was noisy. So, we immediately shut down the starboard engine and headed back to the dock on one engine.

I looked over the starboard engine carefully and couldn't see any obvious problem. The hoses and belts looked fine. I carefully felt the temperature of each hose and compared between engines to see if there was any obvious difference (I know, not very scientific). The belt looked ok. I felt the transmission to see if it felt hot, and it was barely warm.

So, I tried to restart the engine to further diagnose, but it would not start. It seemed like it wanted to start but just wouldn't keep running. I recalled that I did have a couple of stalls on the starboard engine at idle speed a couple of months ago, but fine since. So I'm thinking that the shaft noise that I heard may have been due to the engine misfiring, but it was not obvious.

I called a mechanic who immediately said that I must have overheated the engine and likely caused engine damage, but that doesn't make sense considering the temperature gauge was reading normal. A new water pump was installed about a year ago. Mechanic is coming out to diagnose later in the week.

I have gasoline engines on a fresh water lake. They are MerCruiser 8.1 HO.

So, wondering if anyone has ideas on what might be the problem or anything that I could check. Does the 2 beeps mean anything vs a continuous alarm?
Just trying to prepare for talking with the mechanic. The smoke was obviously the most disturbing part of this. Appreciate any thoughts.

A quick search on Google found this link. There are plenty of posts about Merc Cruiser gas engines.
https://www.offshoreonly.com/forums/...ult-codes.html

Please post back when you do find and fix the problem. It will help others.
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Old 05-26-2020, 06:25 PM   #19
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Damn! I'm so glad we have two great condition, carburated, 1977, 350 cid/255 hp Mercruisers; turning 71c Velvet Drive BWs that lead to 3 blade props. Engines hit recommended 5,450 rpm during [very lightly loaded] momentary WOT test [23 +/- knots]. At 1,900 rpm she cruises a relatively economical 6 knots [7.58 knots is calced hull speed]; 2.5 +/- gallons per hour. Simple is as simple does!!

Planing at 16 to 17 knots she uses 16 to 20 gph, depending on load. At the slower speed of 6 knots, when we do or do not tow our small runabout, the fuel usage seems no noticeable alteration.

Best luck with the beeps, boops from... as well as various diagnostic equipment needed for newer engines.
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Old 05-27-2020, 08:43 PM   #20
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Update

The MarineMax mechanic is coming tomorrow. The first mechanic that I called didn't tell me until a week later that he didn't have the diagnostic tool and that I needed to call someone else. So wasted a week. I'll post back the final resolution. I did carefully look over the engine visually, and I don't see anything obvious. I pulled the flame arrestor, and there did appear to be some black soot. So maybe I had a backfire/misfire that caused the smoke. Really hoping this is just a sensor replacement. I know it's wishful thinking.
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