Boat engine starts, runs a little then dies after a few seconds - Troubleshoot your engine
Here are 8 engine tests that will help you understand the cause behind your engine stopping right after starting. We also provide solutions & tutorials once the cause is identified. To keep the budget low, we start with the cheapest, easiest tests.
We wrote this because nobody wants their beautiful day on the water to be ruined by a malfunctioning engine, and whether you have a sailing boat, or a speed, pontoon, fishing boat, or personal watercraft, you want to be able to trust your boat motor.
Top questions about engine dying right after starting
Why does my boat motor start then die after a few seconds?
The source of the issue can come from different parts of your engine. So, do the tests listed above and you will be able to know what is wrong with your engine.
The first thing to look at is how long does your engine stay running before it stops. The answer to this could indicate an electrical issue.
Then look at your gas quality and fuel filter. After that, we recommend checking the carburetor and the oil switch. Finally, take a look at your input flow.
The fuel in my gas tank is old, what should I do?
Sometimes, if your gas is too old, it won’t burn properly, which could be the reason why your engine stops right after starting.
The solution here is simple, replace the old gasoline with fresh one and test turning your engine on again. If you don’t know how to drain your tank. Google “drain tank” + “your engine make, model”, this should help you find the right resource.
What to do if the fuel that has been through the filter contains debris?
This could mean that your filter is not working properly and is letting impurities through. The solution here is to replace the old filter with a new one, and try turning on your engine again.
What is the normal fuel pressure?
For many engines, the normal fuel pressure is 4 to 7 psi. If you are not within that, your engine is not getting the right amount of fuel. Try to replace it or clean its wiring.
How do I clean a clogged fuel line?
Among other reasons, a clogged fuel line can happen because of the fat content present in the fuel. You are in a classic situation where your engine is not getting enough gas, and therefore, stopping. Clean it by passing a sponge or piece of cloth through it.