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Old 30 July 2021, 14:46   #1
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Evinrude E-TEC30 idles ok, runs rough in gear

Just arrived in Cornwall for the family holiday.
E-TEC 30 was running fine on the river 2 weeks ago.
After launching today, it started immediately as usual and idles as normal, but with any throttle applied it sounds very uneven and produces very little propulsion.

The local workshop is fully booked for 2 weeks so I am on my own.

I would love it to be a fuel hose issue, but I know from experience the (new) VST holds enough fuel to run for a few minutes even if the hose isnít connected properly. The tank vent was open. I do think the fuel lines are old; I get black all over my hands when I connect the hose to the outboard.

The fuel is 1yr old but premium with 2+4 added. It hasnít caused any issues in the past few weeks. I have a VST fitted which I have not checked yet.

I have only run the outboard for about 5 minutes; maybe I need to run it at idle for longer to see what happens.

There is nothing caught round the prop and the prop feels ok.

I recently removed the casing to replace the TNT relay, but Iíve run the motor for 2 hours since then (trolling only) without issue. Iíve noticed a smear of oil on the leg since doing that job.

Iíve uploaded a YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/5kKkOxyakzA

It shows shows the boat in the water but still on the trailer:
Idle - Reverse - Idle - Forward - Idle - Reverse

Very grateful for any suggestions.
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Old 30 July 2021, 15:50   #2
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Start simple. Are the plug leads on and tight. Battery leads on and tight. Nothing blocking air intakes
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Old 30 July 2021, 18:39   #3
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Agreed regards keeping it simple. The priming bulb could be suspect. Normally the priming bulb is hard to press to prime which a good indication it's on its way out. The internal diaphragms disintegrate. I've even seen fuel connectors (not genuine Tohatsu parts) where the rubber 'o' ring has dislodged starving fuel. Quicksilver parts for things like priming bulbs are excellent quality. Also check the fuel tank vent.

You could check the spark plugs but from my limited knowledge of E-Tecs the plugs need to be indexed or it can run rough.

Anyway, hope you get it fixed.
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Old 31 July 2021, 15:07   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions.

Plug leads are on and tight.
I havenít checked the plugs themselves yet.
Battery leads are sound.
Neutral sensor is working correctly (apparently this can cause similar symptoms).
Nothing appears to be blocking the air intake.

Fuel feed appears to be working correctly but Iíll see if I can check it using a separate external tank.
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Old 01 August 2021, 02:44   #5
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From what I can gather the engine still runs above idle but goes rough?

My first assumption would be that a cylinder was playing up and I'd start with the plugs.

Use on a river suggests the engine when last used was just plodding along. You mention the fuel is a bit old and that you've added addition stuff to it?

If it were me and I apologise if you haven't done this as a matter of course but I'd have the plugs out and check if they look white, brown or black and I'd be expecting at least one to look black.

If that were the case then I'd hope it was nothing more than just fouled plugs, stick new ones in as its the easiest way to set a base level and then (assuming the car isn't a diesel!! And it's at least 3/4 full) empty the fuel can into it and stick some new fuel in. Then see if it has returned to running properly. If not, then that's when I'd begin investigating more complex and less common issues.

I'm also assuming this is a 4 stroke, EFI unit or the next step, after cleaning the fuel filter, would be to whip the carb off, remove the pot and jets and blast a load of MEK in like Wynn's carb cleaner from Halfords just in case there was a bit of muck in there but with an EFI and being away from home I'm not sure there is too much you can do other than remove every lead from its terminal systematically, clean, give a quick spray and put back.

I think that when you're away from home, have the pressure of being with the family on holiday and very limited on how far you can go the only course of action is to hope that the problem is due to something being dirty and to set about a step by step cleaning of everything you can that carries either fuel or electricity.
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Old 01 August 2021, 04:10   #6
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Ö.
I'm also assuming this is a 4 stroke, EFI unit or the next step, after cleaning the fuel filter, would be to whip the carb off, remove the pot and jets and blast a load of MEK in like Wynn's carb cleanerÖ.


Itís a 2 stroke DI, no carbs.
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Old 01 August 2021, 05:10   #7
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Itís a 2 stroke DI, no carbs.

Not much upside to trying to remove the carb then.

For me, I tend to like to check the fuel from the tank to as far through the engine as possible for anything simple and obvious and the electrics from the spark plug back.

My first port of call if the engine still runs is the plugs as they tend to give the most information most quickly.

My wild guess from what I've read and what I would have my fingers crossed for would be that one or more plug is sooty and that low rpm use combined with old fuel, with possibly excess 2 stroke oil for pottering and the additive put in has just messed them up and that new plugs, fresh fuel and a sound thrashing would solve the problem. Other than that, all I could feel I could do before giving up and returning to the family holiday would be to clean the fuel filter out and clean any wires and terminals up?
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Old 01 August 2021, 06:32   #8
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Without prejudice to the OP - I'd also ask is the engine a recent purchase? In so far as was it running well last season? What oil is he using and is the engine set up correctly for it. Plugs an obvious check - my old etecs where quite fussy about their plugs and insisted on very expensive ones - did someone do it on the cheap?
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Old 01 August 2021, 14:27   #9
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Thanks for all the suggestions.
I havenít managed to get the plugs out yet but Iím keen to see what condition they are in. I took the lower case off today and checked as many electrical connections.

Someone on the ETEC forum suggested that it might be running in SAFE mode possibly caused by an oil bubble. The treatment is two winterisation cycles. Iíve done this this evening and early indications are that it may have worked. Iíll know tomorrow when the tide is high enough to launch.

For background, the engine is 2011 and I bought it 18 months ago. There isnít much history but within the first few months I had to replace the impeller and VST. I stupidly havenít had it serviced.

It last ran at 25 knots last October and was perfect. This year Iíve used it about 5 times on the river at 5-8 knots. Ideal for getting coked up Iím sure.

Iíll put in some fresh fuel tomorrow and post an update.
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Old 01 August 2021, 16:07   #10
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Originally Posted by AdamB1 View Post
Thanks for all the suggestions.

I havenít managed to get the plugs out yet but Iím keen to see what condition they are in. I took the lower case off today and checked as many electrical connections.



Someone on the ETEC forum suggested that it might be running in SAFE mode possibly caused by an oil bubble. The treatment is two winterisation cycles. Iíve done this this evening and early indications are that it may have worked. Iíll know tomorrow when the tide is high enough to launch.



For background, the engine is 2011 and I bought it 18 months ago. There isnít much history but within the first few months I had to replace the impeller and VST. I stupidly havenít had it serviced.



It last ran at 25 knots last October and was perfect. This year Iíve used it about 5 times on the river at 5-8 knots. Ideal for getting coked up Iím sure.



Iíll put in some fresh fuel tomorrow and post an update.


Normally if it goes into SAFE mode, youíd get either a message or lights & an alarm, depending on which instruments you have.
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Old 02 August 2021, 01:43   #11
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Why the refusal to check the plugs? Surely it's the default first step before anything else?
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Old 02 August 2021, 02:25   #12
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They do need to be indexed so not as straightforward as it would appear
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Old 02 August 2021, 03:19   #13
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If you do want to do them see if you can mark the outside of the plug and the head with a mark and then turn them back to the same place
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Old 02 August 2021, 03:40   #14
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I had a brief foray into ETEC maintenance for a friend a few years ago where the plugs needed to be indexed.

I found marking the plugs themselves very hard because of them being recessed a little, and of course the plug spanner covering them.

But I ended up scoring one flat of the plug hex with a file, deep enough to be seen easily, then scoring a similar mark up the outside of the plug spanner relative to one flat on the inside. I could then line up the plug spanner with the same flat on the plug each time and know where it was.
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Old 02 August 2021, 03:46   #15
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Isn't indexing as easy in concept as marking the plug for the electrode opening to face the injector when correctly tightened? So first step as Neil above says... mark the injector posn on the plugs as they are now and pop them out to look at condition and where the marks are relative to the electrodes.

I would fit new plugs anyway as even if this type are more than most they are a cheap (ish) and easy first step compared to workshop time.

I don't know the spec but there is an allowed variance on the indexing and I understand with correct spec plugs they should coincide in position/torque within the range..

Not had an Etec but did consider one a while back on a hard boat we didn't buy in the end so looked into the spark plug change out of interest as I'd heard it referred to as complicated.
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Old 02 August 2021, 04:00   #16
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Isn't indexing as easy in concept as marking the plug for the electrode opening to face the injector when correctly tightened? So first step as Neil above says... mark the injector posn on the plugs as they are now and pop them out to look at condition and where the marks are relative to the electrodes.

I would fit new plugs anyway as even if this type are more than most they are a cheap (ish) and easy first step compared to workshop time.

I don't know the spec but there is an allowed variance on the indexing and I understand with correct spec plugs they should coincide in position/torque within the range..

Not had an Etec but did consider one a while back on a hard boat we didn't buy in the end so looked into the spark plug change out of interest as I'd heard it referred to as complicated.


Yup itís that easy, no mystique involved. IIRC youíre allowed 60deg either side of nominal, so a 120deg arc. I just used a black marker pen as previously mentioned. I would also change the plugs.
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Old 02 August 2021, 04:22   #17
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Once all the plugs are marked and out, it has to be logical if they need to be set correctly, to double check that they were set correctly in the first instance?
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Old 02 August 2021, 06:04   #18
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Iím not refusing to check the plugs, I just donít have a long enough socket and I canít get a spanner round them.
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Old 02 August 2021, 15:22   #19
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Thanks to all of you who have offered suggestions to help me resolve this fault.
Iím pleased to say it seems to be fixed, and the solution was unusual so I will document it here for future ETEC owners.

The symptoms were very rough, lumpy running and revs would not exceed around 1000rpm on a 2011 Evinrude eTec 30.

The outboard had been running perfectly 2 weeks ago, but had only been run at low speed for the past 5 or so running hours.
There was an unusual oil seep and a coating of oil in the lower case. I did not realise this was relevant at the time.
The tachometer warning lights gave me no useful information, but once I was able to start her up on the water hose, the lights on the EMM itself showed a Low Oil / Overheat warning. It was actually running in SAFE mode hence the rev limit and shaking.
The engine had not been running long enough to overheat and the impeller was replaced around 5 running hours ago.
The oil level was ok but upon close examination I found an air bubble in one of the oil lines.
A member of the ETEC owners club forum suggested performing two winterisation cycles to clear the bubble. This did the trick and the next time I started her up, the engine ran perfectly.

It turns out that if there is an air bubble (or any oil delivery issue) the ETEC will compensate by temporarily pumping extra oil. This explains the coating of oil on the inside of the case and the oil seep. It didnít, however, clear the air bubble. Clearly winterisation does something different which does clear it.

Thanks again for your help and support. I hope one day I can contribute as much as I get out of RIBnet.
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Old 02 August 2021, 15:32   #20
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So pleased you're sorted.

Enjoy your break, hope the weather improves.
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