Lake Wedowee News Article

The New Normal for Proper Marine Engine Service

Cathouse Marine, LLC
Posted: 10/29/2015

Steve Northington

The problem we now face with modern Outboard and Inboard engines:
It was bound to happen! Several years ago, four stroke outboard engines, and Electronic Fuel Injection technology took the Marine Service Industry by storm. Service Centers without sufficient knowledge and up to date equipment of these new technically advanced machines were suddenly stuck, back in the Ice age. Popular service locations, along with knowledgeable technicians rapidly became “Old School” shops. Well, they quit making “Old School” stuff several years. Man, how time flies!

Fast Forward now about 15 years +/- a tad bit:
The once then “New” has now began to get a little age on it. I don’t mean that the technology is out of date, because it surely is not. What I do mean is that more and more, from a personal involvement perspective I see the “Once New” needing more attention when it comes to servicing. To keep this article from getting drug out way to far, let’s just discuss one particular part. The Fuel Injector itself. Let’s say, for instance your boat has a YA-MAHA/MERCURY Fuel Injected 4-stroke, 4-cylinder engine on it. Maybe it’s a 2005 model? Just for a moment, think about this! One fuel injector, per cylinder. Those fuel injectors are just MINI electric carburetors. Those Injectors are doing exactly what they are told to do. Like, inject a metered amount of fuel in to the cylinder it is responsible for. It does, or tries to do what it is told. Say, open 10 milliseconds at idle, change pulse width with advanced RPM and throttle position. Meanwhile, there is lots going on elsewhere on the engine.

Fuel Injector Failure:
Over the past few years, I have heard time and time again “This boat doesn’t quite run as smooth as it used to”. Or, “I’ve lost a couple hundred RPM in the last couple of years”. It’s easy to blame it on dirty pontoons, a bad prop or whatever else you can think of right? But what if, one of those ever so important Injectors was in need of service, and was only putting out 60% of the fuel it was supposed to? Or a couple of them were weak? Or, worse your Optimax, or HPDI Yamaha lost a cylinder from a lean condition from a bad injector! Would you be able to tell it was coming? Probably not, being that it happened VERY slowly over the last 10 years. Here is what really made me realize what was happening. Coming from the Performance world I know the importance of a balance set of fuel injectors. I was standing behind a Yamaha 150hp Four Stroke that we had just serviced. It had a little age on it, but it had just a little shake at idle. “Those Four stroke engines run mighty smooth”...Right? Nope. Not at this point it didn’t. Although this was not the customer complaint, it was only in for “Full Service”. So, I decided to remove the Injectors and have them completely serviced, just for my own knowledge.

What “Full Service” Means to me NOW!
Over the last several years, we’ve changed props, cleaned boat bottoms, or sometimes both just to get back previous performance! A while back, I realized that we were sending Fuel Injectors hundreds of miles away for service. Being that it was starting to get frequent, we decided to invest in very nice, state of the art equipment. We had the knowledge, but just needed the equipment. Let’s face it, we work on boats, so we see what happens first hand. Fast forward again, (about a year ago) we purchased what we needed. Well, that Yamaha that had the shakes got a full service re-conditioning on ALL of its four injectors. We flowed them before servicing them and it was absolutely terrible. We cleaned them, installed new filters, screens and O-rings. Flowed them again and what a difference it made. We made NO comment to the customer as to what we had done. The following Monday, we got a call from the customer! Exact words, “This engine runs just as good as it EVER did”. We continued to do this under the radar for about 10 times. I remember one Bass Boat guy with an Optimax saying, “I don’t know what y’all did, but I got my 200 rpm back”. Funny how that works. One day, we got tired of changing props on a pontoon boat, and all we needed to do was service the fuel system.

The Outcome?
This is something that you should really demand. We provide FULL EFI Fuel Injector service on Marine gasoline fuel injectors. Ask your local shop to make it part of YOUR expensive EFI Out-board motor service. Have your Injectors reconditioned at INJECTOR USA.COM Visit us on the internet, and tell your local shop. They are working hard for you also.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. All of the content is as I/we observed and believe as I did the work. This is something that I do daily and sincerely enjoy. I feel so blessed to have the many opportunities placed before me. Please go to the website, click on Contact Us with questions.

Steve Northington

Member Comments…

10/29/2015 2:38:13 PM
*Comment on "The New Normal for Proper Marine… - MartiniMan

Had the opportunity to watch Steve put his injector cleaner tool to work and the results were fantastic.  Having consistent fuel flow in each of the cylinders is essential to a smooth running and efficient engine.  Marine engines work very hard and injectors get plugged and mechanics can spend a lot of time searching for the answer by changing plugs, adjusting timing, etc. when the real answer is plugged injectors and inconsistent fuel flow between clylinders.  Give them a try, you won't be disappointed.  And by the way, the equipment will also tell you very quickly whether there is a problem and if not, no servicing is necessary.

10/29/2015 2:45:19 PM
*Comment on "The New Normal for Proper Marine… - CAT BOAT

I love my job!

10/30/2015 6:30:36 AM
*Comment on "The New Normal for Proper Marine… - Maddog

Great article Steve. I passed it on to my daughter and son-in-law for their Honda 90 outboard engine. Keep up the great work.

10/30/2015 10:50:45 AM
*Comment on "The New Normal for Proper Marine… - Summer Place

Even if it's true that you can not are still the best marine service  technician in my book. Thanks for sharing  this new technology with us .

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