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Old 05-21-08, 10:34 PM   #1
achilles555
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Default '88 Mercury 150 XR4 Beeping and Cutting Out - Need Help!

Hello all. For the past several months, I've been restoring a 1985 Charger Foxfire with a 1988 Mercury 150 XR4 on it. I finally had a chance to get it out on the water today (for the first time), and ran into some problems. I have done the following to this motor to date:

Replaced water pump.
Rebuilt fuel pump.
Replaced the oil lines.
Replaced 1 switch box.
Drained and replaced lower unit oil.

When I got her out on the water, I ran into some trouble. The motor starts fine, and idles beautifully. The boat comes out of the hole quickly, and rides great. The problem begins when I get her going past about 1/4 throttle. Once on plane, and at about 1/4 throttle, it runs perfectly and purrs like a kitten.

Once I push it to about 1/2 throttle, the throttle control/housing starts intermittently beeping beep - beep - beeeeep - beep, and the motor begins to run rough. There is no pattern to the beeping, but it doesn't stop. The motor itself stops running smoothly at about 1/2 throttle, and the prop in the water starts to make a "garble" sound, like the prop is not running in clean water. The further I push the throttle, the higher the RPM's go, but the boat does not pick-up any speed. It just runs really rough, and won't go any faster.

I tried giving it gas around a corner to see if cavitation was the problem, but it didn't change anything. I'm really at a loss as to what the problem might be. Can anyone out there help me figure this out? Thanks so much ac.
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Old 05-21-08, 11:05 PM   #2
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1fastlaser, da zooker, and a few others will help ya pal. just hang on buddy.
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Old 05-22-08, 05:25 AM   #3
1FASTLASER
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First off welcome to the forum. Second that beep is the engine alarm. What it sounds like is you have an overheating problem. Do you have a water psi gauge on it??? If so how is the water pressure??? Does it do this every time or is it intermittent?? Answers these and I gotta cvheck something on that motor and I will ge back to ya.
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Old 05-22-08, 06:20 AM   #4
achilles555
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Hi 1FASTLASER. thanks for helping me on this. There is a water PSI guage on it, but it is unhooked. When I had the lower unit off, it looks like the tube was supposed to feed down into the lower unit and hook into a fitting toward the front of the motor. i have just replaced the water pump on this thing, and the water coming out of the pee hole is steady and solid.

As for the beeping, I've only had the boat on the water once, but I'm guessing it is going to beep everytime. I stopped the boat and started her several times, and everytime i went up on plane, it started beeping.

thanks again for the help. ac.
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Old 05-22-08, 06:24 AM   #5
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Ok now mind you I am taking a stabb in the dark on this one right now. Have you checked T stats and pittot valves??? Sounds to me like you have a water flow problem causing an over heat alarm to come on and the motor goes into a safe run mode. It cuts the motor back to 2000rpm so not to due to much damage. Hookup the psi hgauge and lemme know what the pressure is. I'll bet ..........idling ..........its high which indicates a stuck open thermostat or a pttot valve not operating correctly
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Old 05-22-08, 07:55 AM   #6
Captmikestarrett
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I concur a sticky thermostat. That tube that hooks up in the lower unit is speedometer. A small hole in the leading edge of the skeg picks up water pressure to the speedo. 9 out 10 times it does not work and clogs with debris. A truly useless design.
The engine senses an error and will even shut down cylinders in safe mode.

The only other thing is the oil injection sensor but I think it does a fast beep. The upper oil tank cap sensor could also cause this issue. Check to see if it is cracked. Had that happen once and man it was hard to figure that one out.

1988 Merc have oil injection? I do not know.. my 1992 did..

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Old 05-22-08, 09:37 AM   #7
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Does it have a constant beeeeeeeep (temp) or intermintent beep, beep, beep (oil)? That motor does not have a safe and/or shut down mode. If its oil or temp related it will try ta run till it locks up, explodes or ya turn tha key off. Find out why your gettin' tha alarm first then ya can work on tha not runnin' part. It may or may not be related. Get temp guage workin (if its got one) and tha water pressure. Two most important gauges ya got............T
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Old 05-22-08, 09:53 AM   #8
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Just noticed ya had tha oil lines disconnected. If it was tha lines going ta tha big oil tank in tha boat you might have air in tha line so it will not pressurize tha main tank and pump oil inta tha small tank on tha motor. It will eventually purge tha air but ya gotta watch tha motor tank level till it does. Check tha level in tha small tank and like captn' said check tha cap for a crack and a workin float..................T

Best thing I can tell ya. Get yourself a "Gen-u-wine" MERCURY MANUAL for that motor..........if your gonna work on it yourself its money well spent.

Last edited by ally260; 05-22-08 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 05-22-08, 12:46 PM   #9
achilles555
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Default List of Suggestions. Which should I try First.

First of all, thanks to everyone that is trying to help. I really appreciate it! I have posted this question on a few different forums that I frequent, and I wanted to share a short list of some of the suggestions. Here goes:

1. The beeping is probably an indication that your oil pump is failing.

2. The running rough sounds like you've spun the hub on your prop.

3. Never replace only one switch box. If one was malfunctioning, it could have cross fired and perhaps damaged the other. Sometimes those switch boxes work perfect at the lower rpm ranges but then start doing really strange stuff at higher rpms.

4. If one of the switch boxes is still malfunctioning it could fire a cylinder out of order and detonate a piston.

5. The high speed side of your stator could be shot.

6.
Sounds like a slipping prop-bush.

7.
I'd check the ignition switch, oil level sender (blue wires) or overheat ClixOn switch (one tan wire, other side runs to ground). If you can, isolate (disconnect) the YEL/BLK wire under the hood from said unit. If problem persists, check control box and ignition switch for irregularities.

8. A sticky thermostat.

9. A bad oil injection sensor.

10. Check the Thermostat and Pittot Valves.

11.You have an overheating problem.

So this is the list that I have to work from so far this weekend. Is there anything here that I can knock-out quickly? Is there anything here that is obviosly incorrect? Let me know what you guys think about the solutions.
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Old 05-22-08, 01:02 PM   #10
achilles555
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1FASTLASER - I have not checked the thermostat or the pittot valves. I will add that to my list this weekend. The alarm isn't constant, so I'm not sure that it is an overheating problem. It is Oil Injected, so I think that might be the root of the problem...but I don't think an low oil module would cause the motor to run in safe mode (which actually SOUNDS like what it is doing).

Captmikestarrett - It does have oil injection. Could a bad low oil sending unit cause it to run in safe mode? Is there a safe mode?

ally260 - It is not constant. It is beep - beep - beep - but not really with any specific pattern. Very sporatic.

After looking around last night, I discovered something interesting. It may or may not have anything to do with this.

There are 2 brown wires coming off of my oil sending unit. They are not connected to anything. My console has an oil temp/pressure (i think)) guage that has 2 brown wires coming off of it. Those are not connected either. The wire that runs between the oil sending unit and the console is still there. Maybe I need to connect the wires and see what happens. I cannot imagine that the oil temp guage alone would cause the motor to go into safe mode. Anyway, it's something cheap to try. I also have a new sending unit that I could install, but don't want to take the old one out until I'm sure it's no good.
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Old 05-22-08, 02:07 PM   #11
ally260
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There is NO safe mode. Just a warning horn (beeper). Not constant then its gonna be oil related problem. Its an older motor anyway just get rid of all tha oiler stuff and premix. Then ya got no worries 'bout oil or no oil. Don't know what wires your talkin' 'bout but there are no wires going from any thing on tha motor related ta tha oil goin' to tha tha dash. No such thing as oil temp/pressure guage related to a 2 stroke Merc. If your gonna be doing all this checkin' stuff with tha motor runnin' ya might wanna through a little oil in tha fuel tank. Like maybe 100 ta 1 or so mixture just in case it is tha pump. Tha not runnin' so good can be any number a things but I think ya need ta cure tha alarm problem first. Back ta square one. Check tha motor tank cap n float. Fill tha motor tank up and see if tha alarm goes away...............T

PS, Don't plug anything in if ya don't know for sure what it is and/or what it does...
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Old 05-22-08, 06:19 PM   #12
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I agree with ally and He is correct on NO safe Mode.DEFINATELY disconnect the oiler and start premixing. That would be the very best thing to do. After rereading what is going on again I agree with alley. GET THE ALARM problem first. Then we can nail the rough running problem. By disonnecting the oiler tank and premixing your motor will live a helluva lot longer.
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Old 05-22-08, 09:23 PM   #13
achilles555
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OK - I took the prop off, and it doesn't look like anything has been spun, unless I am missing something. I have posted some pics of the prop here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/24479981@N03/

As for the beeping, I have a new oil sending unit. I am going to replace over the weekend, and see if that helps.

One other thing, when I left the cap off of the reserve tank on the front of the motor, I accidentally forgot to close it back before running it again. It lost some oil, but not much. I looked at that tank again tonight. It is full, but not to the brim. Maybe if I fill it all the way up, that will alleviate the alarm.

I am leaning toward the stator being bad as the cause of the poor performance past 1/4 throttle. I think that might be the problem. I would sure hate to drop $200 on a stator if it's not the real problem, though.

Any other advice out there would be greatly appreciated. AC
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Old 05-23-08, 08:37 AM   #14
Captmikestarrett
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Got this off the Merc mechanic site.

An intermittant "beep...beep...beep" sound has to do with oil injection. A steady continuous " beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep" has to do with overheating. Oil injection on all outboards produces an intermittant beep when there is either a problem with your motor not getting oil, oil tank level sensor is bad, or your oil level in the tank is low. When the oil tank is low, you have roughly 30 to 45 minutes running time before being empty. Regardless, when you hear the intermittant "beep...beep...beep" sound, always make sure you know the answer (low oil or no oil) before continuing to operate motor further. If you dont understand the oil warning, your motor is doomed from continued operation if the oil injection system has failed.

One other thing I have seen is the link arm and plate for VRO oil unit mounted backward.. Yes mounted backwards. So when you accelerate it cuts oil to engine and VRO sensor goes off.

I had a bad repair shop work on mine once and they did that. Wrench my own now.

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