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Author Topic:   Evinrude 60-HP--Loss of Power
mcktimo posted 07-15-2015 08:34 AM ET (US)   Profile for mcktimo   Send Email to mcktimo  
[A 1997 Evinrude 60-HP, three-cylinder, two-cycle, carburetor, model E60TLUEA, with VRO2 fuel pump outboard engine] running at [an engine speed that caused the boat to move at] no-wake speed sounded good for nine seconds then rough for 12 seconds for the entire 10-minute ride to the boat ramp. Varying speed slightly didn't change the pattern. First time in for the season was the day before and it ran fine on a little trip to the beach. On the return trip it wouldn't accelerate so I eased back and limped home at low speed hoping that I wasn't starving a cylinder and scorching it. Now it is back in my driveway.

The fuel hose bulb bulb wasn't very hard; pumping it up didn't change things. The gas tanks were clean and dry with new fuel. None of the System Check lights came on, although they do cycle on for the self test. I can't be totally sure that the oil level went down since I only ran about three gallon of gas. I had oil in the first 6-gallon fuel tank but switched to the pure gas tank when it started acting up; no difference.

Got this engine last year, about 15 hours ago. Changed the fuel filter and rebuilt the carbs back then before I even used it.

So far the plugs look similar to each other, and the [peak pressure in the cylinders] is 140, 140, and 140-PSI.

What should I try next? Should I replace the fuel filter? Clean the carbs? Change the gas line from the tanks to the engine?

dgoodhue posted 07-15-2015 09:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for dgoodhue  Send Email to dgoodhue     
Are the carbs adjusted right? Is it burning excessive oil or VRO pump failed?

When I bought my whaler with a 1989 60hp Evinrude, it had the carbs recently rebuilt and installed by a mechanic. The engine really didn't like to idle or go slow for long periods of time, the plugs seemed to get fouled up, it would take a little once I got on plane to seemingly clear the engine out.

I bought a set of 70hp carbs and rebuilt them. I followed the factory service manual adjustment for 70 hp carbs and the engine runs so much better at low rpms and is easier to start. It no longer seems to foul up the plugs when going slow for long periods of time.

tedious posted 07-15-2015 12:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for tedious  Send Email to tedious     
If the timing was as regular as you describe (9 seconds OK then 12 seconds rough, stayed that way for a while) it sounds more electrical than fuel-related. If it were starved for fuel, or under or over-oiled, I'd think it would be consistently bad. I'm not really remembering how that motor is sparked - is it 3 individual coils? Could be that one is going bad.

Start it up on the muffs and see how it behaves. Note that if it is heat-related, as seems likel, you may have no troubles with it until it gets hot. If it exhibits the on-again, off-again behavior, then put a spark tester on it.


Jefecinco posted 07-15-2015 07:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jefecinco  Send Email to Jefecinco     
Recommend you check your fuel filter for water.


mcktimo posted 07-30-2015 04:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for mcktimo  Send Email to mcktimo     
Current status: [the engine] runs good at low speeds, push it to WOT it will spurt like it [is] going to go, then dies to a crawl with a throaty moan, then picks up again then dies--over and over. Pumping the bulb has no effect. Does the same at mid speeds.

So far: winterized by the book; used new fuel in clean tanks; rebuilt carburetors; changed fuel line; changed tank; new fuel filter; new plugs; checked spark; checked compression.

[I] took [the engine] to Diamond Marine, an Evinrude dealer in Ipswich MA for "dies at WOT." They repeated what I did, but never tested it at WOT. $360 later I put it in the Ipswich River and it is the same. Here is a video. [Someone] says [the cause of the problem] could still be fuel but maybe power pack or maybe stator. The engine is a 1997 60-HP (E60TLUEA) three-cylinder carburetor with VRO2. Not sure where to go with this as my vacation slips away.

Video URL:!49624&authkey=!ALtBG9knAzamxQ8&ithint=video%2cmp4

tedious posted 07-30-2015 05:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for tedious  Send Email to tedious     
Mck, I don't know if this guy is still in business. He worked out of a place called United Boater's Coop in Worcester MA. Last time I dealt with him was about 5 years ago, but he really knows his stuff with these older OMCs. He mentioned at one point that his dad was an OMC dealer in the Dominican Republic. Might be worth a try.

Raul Gonzalez - Marine Tech


mcktimo posted 07-30-2015 06:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for mcktimo  Send Email to mcktimo     
It is a puzzle on who knows these old motors. I thank you for your recommendation.
tedious posted 07-31-2015 08:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for tedious  Send Email to tedious     
Mck, I googled the name and came up with a Raul Gonzalez who works for this place:

I'm guessing this is the father as the guy I worked with didn't seem old enough to have a 30 year resume - it also turns out to be El Salvador, not the DR, my bad.

Back to your original problem, it's a bit bizarre. Have you done a basic "link and sync" on the motor? If you can get ahold of the factory service manual, it's an easy process, other than setting the WOT timing which you should not need to do anyway. It's much easier than rebuilding carbs, which you have done.

Can you also please clarify some of the history - was the motor running fine for you last year? You indicated about 15 hours of use, and I can't imagine you spent all that time with the funky behavior.

Finally, I don't know if you'd have interest, but I do have a set of carbs for the 70. I bought them because I had an earlier version that did not have the adjustable idle air bleed, but I never got around to using them before I sold the motor. I know you probably don't want to add a variable right now, but once you get back going, let me know if you'd like them. These will bump you to 70 horses over your current 60 - Dave Goodhue did it with good success.


goldstem posted 07-31-2015 01:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for goldstem  Send Email to goldstem     
These motors are not that old and not that big of a puzzle. There are many who should still know how to work on them. If it really runs well at low speeds, and all three plugs really have spark, than you probably still have a carburetor [problem] [Or, the problem could be the] fuel pump. [Or the problem could be] the leaf valves. [Or the problem could be] a cracked block. These are all unlikely. Carburetors are likely [to be the cause of the problem]. There isn't much more to an classic [two-stroke-power-cycle outboard engine]. I currently have a 1988 three-cylinder two-carburetor not-loop-charged Mercury 50. The prior owner had [problem] like yours. [The prior owner] replaced the entire ignition system, then finally had the carburetors rebuilt--and presto. Good luck.
contender posted 07-31-2015 08:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for contender  Send Email to contender     
mck, how long has the boat been sitting? Ethanol fuel sitting in the carburtorss will block the jets. These motors' carburetors are very easy to rebuild. Do one at a time and clean them out. Next is your vent open on the fuel tank could be starving the motor. Try another fuel line some times the valve in the bulb will go bad, only replace with a factory one if this is the problem. OMC carburetor motors built in the 1985 to 1992 years were bullet proof. [The cause of the running problem] has to be something simple if you have good spark and fuel flow. Good luck to you
tedious posted 08-01-2015 06:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for tedious  Send Email to tedious     
Unless I am missing something the carburetors have already been rebuilt once, maybe twice, although since the folks who are now $360 to the good didn't even check to see if the problem was fixed, one might be skeptical about what they actually did. Perhaps the original poster can clarify.


mcktimo posted 08-01-2015 10:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for mcktimo  Send Email to mcktimo     
Here is a better URL to the video: I put the throttle at WOT and don't touch it.

Tedius, I have done the basic link and sync and asked the Evinrude mechanic to verify it. The motor ran great last year. I was very happy with it. The 70 carburetors sound great. I wondered what was the difference in the models. Let's see later.

Goldstem, I am stumped and the Diamond Marine Evinrude guy is too. I should maybe explore how to diagnose the leaf valves as that is the only thing you mentioned that I haven't explored. The carbs have been cleaned and rebuilt (twice). I thought I had eliminated the fuel pump as a possibility since when I pump the bulb at WOT slow down it makes no difference. When I pump the bulb with the carburetors disconnected gasoline spurts out of all three fuel lines equally. Cracked block? Wouldn't I see leaking or have low compression?

Contender, this is a 1997 but it certainly is similar to my old 1982 50-HP Johnson which ran every year for the 27-years I had it. Carburetors, switching tanks, and switching fuel lines--all that has been tried. I should go back and grab it from the yard and borrow a known working tank and line.

I don't know how you can fix problem that shows up at WOT without running the boat at WOT. They just re-did what I did. I thought a certified tech would have a tank or special prop to test at WOT but I guess they don't. Jeff at Diamond Marine could have come with me for the ride at his local ramp but now I have to wait for him to try it in the water with vacuum guages.

tedious posted 08-02-2015 07:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for tedious  Send Email to tedious     
Tim, good you're up to speed on the link and sync. The "leaf valves" which are more commonly referred to as reed valves are easy to diagnose, although it does involve taking off the carburtorss again, and I think the manifold behind them, as well.

If you have factory service manual it will show you what to do, but basically you're just looking for mechanical damage to the reeds such as cracks, or anything that would prevent the reed from sealing against the seat. A problem with a reed valve is a reasonable possibility, in my opinion - I am guessing that you have one cylinder that's not making power at full throttle. A visual inspection of the reed block would seem to make more sense before getting out on the water with vacuum gauges.

The only other thought I had would be to try a run with the cowling and intake silencer off, and observe what's going on with the carburtors and linkage when the surging is occurring.


jimh posted 08-02-2015 07:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
How did you check the spark? Please describe the process you used.

The fuel system seems to have been thoroughly investigated and received a lot of repairs, but the ignition system hasn't been given too much analysis.

The spark voltage may increase with increasing engine speed, and at some point reach a voltage so high that it leaks to ground before getting to the spark plugs. Try operating the engine in darkness with the cowling off, as you might be able to see visual evidence of the spark jumping to ground.

jimh posted 08-02-2015 07:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
After watching the recording of the engine trying to accelerate at

I tend to agree with the assessment that fuel delivery is the problem.

crabby posted 08-02-2015 08:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for crabby  Send Email to crabby     
One possible sign of bad reed valves is fuel "spitting back" through the carbs, possibly more so at higher speeds.

Although it might be a fuel issue, have you double checked the spark advance mechanism? This is a mechanical advance on the old 3 cylinder OMC engines and is pretty obvious on the port side of the motor. I would also double check it using a timing light. At low speeds there is little to no advance, but at higher speeds it increases quite a bit and produces symptoms similar to what I saw in your video.

mcktimo posted 08-02-2015 05:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for mcktimo  Send Email to mcktimo     
I am a little at a loss to test things at WOT. I just can't imagine standing back there with a timing light while my wife navigates the bay. It would be easier to check and see if the carbs are spitting back so I think I will grab the boat from the Evinrude dealer on Tuesday and try that. I think I will also turn it off when it is struggling at WOT and pull the drain plugs on the carbs and see how full they are at that point.
mcktimo posted 08-02-2015 05:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for mcktimo  Send Email to mcktimo     
To test the spark I set up a little jig that would hold the plug tip 7/16" from the block and compare that they all were the same pop and strong color.
jimh posted 08-02-2015 11:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
An in-line spark tester would reveal the spark under running conditions. If you used an in-line spark gap tester, you could see if there was a loss of spark when the engine bogs down.

20610 LISLE In-line Ignition Spark Tester
20610 LISLE In-line Ignition Spark Tester

crabby posted 08-03-2015 02:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for crabby  Send Email to crabby     
As Tedious suggests, run with the cowling off and observe. You could have someone else drive the boat while you are back there looking things over. Pick a calm day and just be careful. Remove the intake silencer before you leave the dock so you can see if there is anything spitting out of the carbs.

An inductive timing light usually has sufficiently long leads to allow you to clip it over a wire and still have easy access to move about; the ignition timing marks are near the front of the motor. You should also be able to observe if the mechanical linkage for the timing advance is actually moving (it's out in the open on the starboard side of the motor (sorry, not the port side as I mentioned in my previous post)). The linkage should be move as you advance the throttle whether or not the engine is running so you can check that part at the dock.

dgoodhue posted 08-03-2015 02:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgoodhue  Send Email to dgoodhue     
I watched your video. I wonder if it is the power pack, which has a rev limiter. It seems to cut the power cleanly. I have an aftermarket one from my 89 60hp (if I can find it) if you wanted to borrow.

I would not expect the motor to drop power so quickly by losing intermittently a coil. I just don't see the carbs being so messed to cause the engine run like that. Maybe a dying fuel pump?

mcktimo posted 08-04-2015 09:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for mcktimo  Send Email to mcktimo     
I have one question on calling it a fuel problem but perhaps I am wrong.

I have sometimes run the engine after inadvertently disconnecting the fuel line at the engine. My recollection is that it would run for quite a long time (maybe 20 seconds) at WOT before the carb bowls emptied and it died.

I have checked that each carb bowl is full after I limp home and they are.

So if it is a fuel problem before the carbs that starves the bowls wouldn't I get more than 4 seconds of power at WOT before it dies?

knothead posted 08-04-2015 03:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for knothead  Send Email to knothead     

I've had power packs go bad on two different OMC motors and from your description, the power pack doesn't seem to be the issue. Buy the inline spark tester and check for spark on all cylinders, you may have a coil going out as the motor heats up.

Good luck


tedious posted 08-05-2015 07:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for tedious  Send Email to tedious     
Mck, you are right about your fuel comment. I don't see any way that your symptom could be caused by the carb bowls being starved for fuel. It's either not fuel at all or something downstream of the carb bowls. That also rules out the fuel pump.

At this point, replacing the power pack might make sense, if just to rule it out. They are not that expensive.

My gut tells me this is a problem with the timer base movement and the carb openings - either the timer base is getting hung up before getting to full advance or the link and sync is incorrect - no offense. Did you follow the factory service manual in doing the link and sync? Some of the aftermarket manuals are junk, and frankly I don't have much confidence in the shop that took your money and didn't even check to see if the problem was fixed.


mcktimo posted 08-06-2015 09:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for mcktimo  Send Email to mcktimo     
Got a call yesterday that Jeff at Diamond Marine in Ipswich actually put it in the water and did some tests (unspecified). Said the bowels [I am fairly sure that the service agency was talking about the carburetor bowls--jimh] only hold an ounce each. Jeff thinks my analysis is wrong and has determined it is the fuel pump. We'll see. I don't really want to pay him again without knowing it works. I probably should get the old one back, right?
dgoodhue posted 08-06-2015 10:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for dgoodhue  Send Email to dgoodhue     
The fuel pump is going to be pricy if you still have VRO.
jimh posted 08-06-2015 11:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
A new fuel pump is much less than a new outboard engine.
dgoodhue posted 08-06-2015 06:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgoodhue  Send Email to dgoodhue     
The prior repair attempt that the mechanic performed didn't seem very thorough. I don't know if I would trust his methods and I would question if he is just throwing parts at the motor. The list price for an BRP fuel pump is $500. With labor this easily could cost $600-700.
tedious posted 08-07-2015 08:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for tedious  Send Email to tedious     
Maybe it's time for a candid conversation with Jeff about how the previous repair attempt did nothing but put money in his pocket. Is he willing to eat some of the cost, or maybe waive that previous bill, if the fuel pump doesn't turn out to be the problem?

At a minimum, you should get an explanation from Jeff about why he thinks [the cause of the problem is] the fuel pump and how the failing fuel pump could cause your symptoms, which are pretty specific and unique. You seem to be pretty savvy about this stuff and he should be able to explain it in a way that makes sense to you.

mcktimo posted 08-07-2015 09:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for mcktimo  Send Email to mcktimo     
Turns out [the cause of the problem with the Evinrude 60-HP engine losing power] was the fuel pump. When Jeff (of Diamond Marine) watched the video it pushed him back to thinking it was a fuel problem; the slow repetition of surging and dying out did not seem to be electrical to him. When he took it out, he too pumped up the bulb when it was dying and it had no effect; so the common wisdom that if pumping the bulb has no effect, you can rule out the fuel pump turns out not to be true for these VRO2 type pumps.

My mistake was to only check the choke at low speed. I though I was verifying that it wasn't stuck on but Jeff choked it at full-speed-dying-out and it came back to life. That was enough for him to decide it was the fuel pump.

I spent the afternoon fishing in beautiful Ipswich Massachusetts $1,200-poorer and with four weeks of summer having slipped away. About $368 of [the $1,200 spent] was Jeff repeating what I'd already done, plugs, fuel filter, re-build carbs, change out the tank and hose. You see this kind of "professionalism" all over our culture, from medicine to mechanics. The next $832 was 3-hours of labor and the VRO2 pump marked up 25% over what you can get it for from I don't think they got rich off this job. Between two trips to put it in the water, they probably spent more than six-man-hours.

I learned a couple of things about diagnosing. Turns out there was no magic solution of high speed tank or fancy test equipment. The two likely scenarios that I didn't want to get wrong were power pack or VRO2 pump. I could have bought both of those high price items, a coil, carburetor kits, tank, hose and filter for less than 1/2 of what I spent at the certified technician. I shouldn't have chickened out, I was afraid to be just an (expensive) part replacer. Oh well. Thanks for all your help. Happy boating.

jimh posted 08-08-2015 07:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Thanks for the follow-up report that identifies the ultimate remedy to the problem of loss of power on your Evinrude 60-HP engine.

According to SHOP.EVINRUDE.COM, the retail price of the fuel pump on your Evinrude E60TLEUA engine, part number 0435560, is $500. I believe that at some time in the past it was possible to buy individual repair components for the VRO2 fuel pump, but I don't believe that option is still available. At today's shop labor rates, it would probably not be cost effective to pay for the labor to tear down the old fuel pump and install new components in it. Buy an entire new fuel pump assembly was probably the best option for remedy of the problem with the existing fuel pump.

jimh posted 08-08-2015 07:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
ASIDE: I am not ready to indict the practice of modern medical doctors based on the methods of repair of a two-cycle classic outboard engine by a mechanic.
knothead posted 08-12-2015 05:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for knothead  Send Email to knothead     

Thanks for letting the forum members know what the problem was and how it was resolved.

Some of us geezers still have old two stroke carburetor engines and threads like this can help us diagnose problems on our increasingly older motors, thereby saving us some money and frustration.

As to your bill with the "mechanic" at the marina, all I can say is "If I'd known then what I know now".


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