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Author Topic:   Yamaha Engine Alarm Interpretation
afinelli posted 08-12-2007 01:55 PM ET (US)   Profile for afinelli   Send Email to afinelli  
Have owned my 1989 Outrage 18 with 1989 Yamaha 150 two-stroke V6 for only a few weeks and everything has gone smooth as silk until yesterday. After an outing of about 23 nautical miles as I was approaching a boat ramp at very low speed (just above idle), an alarm sounded. Was it the overheating alarm? I could see the motor was “pee-ing” well, but I shut it off and raised it to check the water intakes. There was no visible blockage. Was it the low oil alarm? I had topped off the oil reservoir inside the center console at the start of the trip, so I have trouble imagining it was a low oil alarm after that distance. I checked the reservoir, and it looked ok, but to be honest, because of the sight lines I have trouble seeing the exact oil level when its not close to the top of the reservoir. (Wish I had thought about topping it off again right then and there – but I didn’t.) I lowered the motor to start it up again, but the alarm sounded as soon as I turned the key. So I raised the motor again and I noticed a sheared wire that, shame on me, I know nothing about and didn’t even know was on the motor. It comes out of an opening in the housing of the lower end on the transom side to a contact point higher on the shaft at what looks to me like a grease point. I don’t really understand the wiring diagrams in the owners manual I have, and there are no photos or drawings in the manual which illustrate this wire. It’s looks like a woven steel or aluminum strand type wire (as opposed to copper) with a black plastic cover. Anyone know what this is, and could the fact that it was sheared be the cause of the alarm?

Since I was so close to the ramp, I lowered the motor and started it again. It stared through the alarm, and shortly thereafter (15 to 30 seconds?) the alarm stopped. I crawled the last 150 yards to the ramp and of course didn’t bring the motor up to speed – so I don’t know if it would have responded to throttle.

Can anyone explain what was going on? Are there other alarms on this unit besides the low oil and overheating alarms that could explain what was going on?

P.S., I had the motor checked out professionally at the time of purchase -- and of course will have it checked again.
Thanks in advance for the feedback.

jimh posted 08-12-2007 04:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The best source of advice for interpretation of the meaning of alarms is the owner's manual for your motor. Generally if there is an alarm sounder there will either be a visual annunciator which will identify the alarm condition, or the cadence of the alarm will vary to signal different alarm conditions.

The small wire you observed which bonds the lower unit or gear case to the mid-section of the outboard motor is intended to maintain the two components at the same electrical potential in order to prevent galvanic corrosion. To the best of my knowledge it is not asssociated in any way with the alarm system.

rkatz posted 08-13-2007 10:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for rkatz  Send Email to rkatz     
I am not sure this will solve your problem, but I recently had a similar problem w/ my 130 Yamaha. I kept getting alarms, but at speed. Everything checked out ok. Changed the t-stats, poppit valves,temp. sensors, ...still had the problem. Finally, I took it to a shop where they acid washed the heads of my engines. This was extremely cheap. Haven't had an alarm since.
rkatz posted 08-13-2007 10:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for rkatz  Send Email to rkatz     
Another possibility is that the oil reservoir line to the engine is clogged. That happened to me some years ago. That was extremely tough to diagnose and fix, but I was able to do it myself. Good luck.
montauk madness posted 08-13-2007 11:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for montauk madness  Send Email to montauk madness     
I also have a 1989 Yamaha 200HP on my Outrage and had a similar problem. My alarm went off due to a low oil condition in the small secondary tank on the motor. Oil was not pumping from the remote tank to the smaller one.


Riptide23WA posted 08-14-2007 04:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for Riptide23WA  Send Email to Riptide23WA     
Your problem sounds exactly like mine did last month (twin 1992 Yamaha 200's). To make a long story short, it seems the poppet valve was malfunctioning, which apparently serves to keep the heads full at low rpms, which explains why it always happened to me when I was coming back to my slip - the engines were already warm, and the upper cylinder jackets would not stay full, thus setting off the overtemperature alarm, and activating the rev limiter...

I did have the poppets replaced with a newer style one, and have not had the problem since. But the yard cautioned me that if that didn't fix it, they might have to dig a little deeper, and look for blockage. So far, that doesn't seem to be needed.


sternorama posted 08-17-2007 01:05 AM ET (US)     Profile for sternorama  Send Email to sternorama     
The poppet valve sounds like something that should not be ignored...

With regards to oil transfer from the aux tank to the main tank... I know an owner who (on a similar vintage Yammaha) cleaned out the aux tank completely as a maintenance activity. He reported a sluggy deposit at the bottom of the aux tank. Pure speculation, but I could see how a sludge could cause a low oil alarm by interfering with the systems ability to transfer oil.

Verify that there is oil in the tank that is on the engine (main tank)-use a dipstick if you can't see into it. The manual also describes how to bleed this two tank system. Good luck.

westcoastwhaler posted 08-17-2007 02:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for westcoastwhaler  Send Email to westcoastwhaler     
I have a 80's 150 Yamaha and the alarm would go off randomly at higher speeds. My mechanic told me that the alarm goes off due to one of the following: Over Rev, Heat or Low Oil. I didn't get air, so over-rev was out. The pee stream was strong, so I didn't think it was heat. The resevoir under the cowling was full of oil each time the alarm went off. It turned out to be the oil pump in the block. It was leaking and at higher RPM's it could not keep up. Replaced the oil pump and have not had an alarm since.

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