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Author Topic:   1985 Evinrude 150 Problems
whalersman posted 05-06-2003 08:50 PM ET (US)   Profile for whalersman   Send Email to whalersman  
I am going nuts trying to figure this out...

Running along about 3,000 or 4,000 RPS the motor decides to go back to idle... All of a sudden and if your not holding on to the steering wheel, it decides to go back to full speed....

This is a 1985 150 HP Evinrude with "no" S.L.O.
W. feature... This engine only has 375 hours on it and I believe this to be true from the original owner....

I do not get any warning horns going off that the engine is overheating or the VRO is not getting fuel... I have tested the temp sensors to make sure the warning horn works by grounding the wire and the horn does work.

The engine idles OK most of the time but sometimes it all of a sudden runs rough and sometimes it just dies... Other times it idles just fine...

Is there some kind of sensor that is telling the engine to stop running at near Full Throttle??? and then all of a sudden kick back in???

I have replaced all the fuel lines, fuel filter, and fuel bulb with genuine OMC parts. I have also used an external OMC 6 gallon tank with the same results.... I do not think it is fuel related..

What else can I check out?
Power Packs?
Some other sensor I know nothing about?

2 strokes should be easy.... Either Fuel or Spark..

When the engine is running, it sounds normal, and runs normal, then all of a sudden it misses or just conks out or back to idle....

I am going nuts and I don't have a good mechanic near buy as I live in a remote area....

Any suggestions on what else to look for or to test would much be appreciated...

Nuts Joe

captbone posted 05-06-2003 09:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for captbone  Send Email to captbone     
I do not know but I think fuel problem. The easiest way to find out is to clean the secondary filter on the motor and run it off a 6 gallon portable to find out if it is a fuel problem. Should narrow it down quick. My 2 cents
whalersman posted 05-06-2003 09:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalersman  Send Email to whalersman     

Yes, I did try an external 6 gallon OMC fuel tank with the same rusults....... I did clean and check the little plastic fuel filter in the engine also...

I thought it was fuel so I wanted to elimate the internal fuel system completely....


Peter posted 05-06-2003 10:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Peter  Send Email to Peter     
I had the same thing happen on a 1987 150. I believe it was one of the two power packs that went bad.
Sal DiMercurio posted 05-06-2003 11:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
Sounds like a power pack getting sick or bad plug or coil wires.
whalersman posted 05-06-2003 11:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalersman  Send Email to whalersman     
Thanks Guys,

I put new spark plugs in, QL77JC4 and gapped them to .030..... Still same problems...

How do you test a Power Pack???

How do you test a Coil Unit???

I did pull off each individual Plug wire and I heard the spark firing between the plug and the wire but the engine was running good at that time...

I'm an old timer VW mechanic but not an Outboard mechanic.... I know a veteran can tell when 1 plug goes as the engine does not run up to full speed and also a little rough... Yet, I have never had a VW do this.... Full speed, then idle, then Full speed without touching anything.....

And let me tell you, you had better be holding on to something with that 150 HP doing this.....


Sal DiMercurio posted 05-07-2003 01:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sal DiMercurio  Send Email to Sal DiMercurio     
WM, i'v found those 150s prefer NGK plugs far better performance, but I doubt it';s the plugs acting up, gotta be the pack or coil wires.
To test a pack, you have to give it to a tech & he has the correct equiptment.
If it were coil or plug wires, start the engine with the top off after dark, it will be a light show if they are bad arcing.
Still feel it's a pack, only thing is, if you buy new ones & it dosen't help, you can't return em, but if he [ tech ] tests your & the show bad, you will be certain thats the problem, only thing is, it's intermitent & you know how intermitent problems go, it never gos bad when someones watching, but put em back on & for sure the problem says, hello.
Clark Roberts posted 05-07-2003 06:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Don't rule out dirty carbs! A good cleaning may do the trick and it's easy to do. Some trash may be bouncing around and intermittantly clogging the high speed jet/jets.. In any case, cleaning the carbs is like chicken soup..."can't hurt"! Happy Whalin'.. clark.. Spruce Creek Navy
george nagy posted 05-07-2003 09:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
You can use a timing gun to test if the plug is getting spark.

I sounds much like a problem I was having with my old 1987 150 over a year ago.

When it slows again try hooking up the timing light to each of the spark plugs to see if there is the same "flash". If there is a difference between the "flash" of the light on some cylanders you can bet it is an electrical problem.

If the spark "flash" is low on all 3 cylanders on either side then it could be the powerpack. To test for this switch the left and right packs then test to see if the spark "flash" problem moves with the powerpack. If it does move then it is safe to say that it is the powerpack.

In my case it was not a powerpack it was something "upstream" such as the volt reg. or the stator. Since my engine was so tired anyway I bought a new one. However I did buy a new powerpack to run the test, and since they are not returnable I still have it. If it turns out that you need a powerpack I will sell you mine for cheap!

Good luck with your quest.

hauptjm posted 05-07-2003 10:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Another easy check: spark plug wires. On an 18-year-old motor, you may have dry rotted or chaffed wires that could be intermittently shorting out.
tlynch posted 05-07-2003 12:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for tlynch  Send Email to tlynch     
I am dealing with the same issue now!

It is definately a spark issue in my case as well. I think it is my powerpack and am waiting for the replacement in the mail.

It did what you described all last season and I couldn't figure it out because it was intermitant, and whenever I took tools out to check it, it ran like a top!

When it got cold last year the engine would start up but have no/little power to one bank of cylinders, out of anger I found that if I whacked the powerpack with a cleaning brush it solved the problem! This year I am replacing the powerpack! I hope it does the trick.

Only a powerpack from your year engine will work - up to 1984 they were all the same, then the 1985 had its own power pack, and then after that there are tons to choose from.

I found a good price at - $69 or so I think. They woudl be $107 or so at a dealer.

I have read about this problem on other forums as well - if it is not the powerpack then it is most likely the stator according to what I have read. I will let you know on Monday if replacing the powerpack worked.


Tom2697 posted 05-07-2003 12:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom2697  Send Email to Tom2697     
Sounds to me like a bad ground on a coil or power pack. Intermittent problems often result from corrosion to the ground or a semi-broken wire. Try taking all coils off one at a time and cleaning off all the corrosion. Then do the same to the powerpacks. See if the problem happens again. If it does, start checking the wires for one that is partially broken. It will not be broken completely the fact that it does run fine at times.
TampaTom posted 05-08-2003 09:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for TampaTom  Send Email to TampaTom     
I also think its a ignition problem but doubt its a coil (problem would be milder). Power pack or between. Could be a bad connection or short bringing down a bank of cylinders. My V4 idles on half the engine.
whalersman posted 05-08-2003 03:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalersman  Send Email to whalersman     
Thanks for all the input. There are many great ideas and suggestions here...

I finally got a hold of my Evinrude Master Mechanic. He was out of town for a couple of weeks. He said the same thing many of you have already mentioned, the Power Pack.. Of course it is hard to determine a problem over the phone, but he seems to think Power Pack also...

He did tell me the same thing George Nagy said about using the timing light to check for spark when the problem occurs...

Well, rather then waiting to go out and test run the boat, I bit the bullet and ordered 2 new Power Packs and 6 ignition wires... Here is my reasoning for this move:
I plan on keeping the engine for many years, if these are the original Power Packs and the original ignition wires, then they have already lasted 18 years.. The new Power Packs and ignition wires should then last another 18 years.
This motor only has 375 original hours on it so it should last for many more years barring nothing major should happen.
If the new Power Pack and Wires do not correct the problem, then the most likely culprit is the Stator or a remote chance of the Regulator. In any case I will have a new Ignition System except for the Coil units themselves at this time.

This motor is very clean with no corrosion. I have pulled off some ground wires just to make sure they were clean. Wiring appears to be in good shape but with the new Power Packs, the wiring to the Coil units will then be new so it will rule out this wiring at that time.

george nagy,
Thanks for the offer on the Power Pack but as mentioned here, and unfortunately for me, for a 1985 Evinrude, they only made one Power Pack and it is part #582651. No other Power Packs will work.

Let us know if the Power Pack corrects your problem.

I will let everyone know what happens once I get the Power Packs delivered and installed.

Thanks for all the help, I feel better about the outcome of my engine problems now..


whalersman posted 05-16-2003 04:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for whalersman  Send Email to whalersman     
Well, I received my 2 new Power Packs yesterday and installed them. Today I took the boat out and did not have any problems at all.

It looks like my problem must have been 1 of the Power Packs.. Finally!!!!

I have not received the Ignition wires as yet but am going to install them once they arrive.

Now my real fishing trips can take precedence.

Thanks again for all the great input.


GeneNJ posted 05-16-2003 08:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for GeneNJ  Send Email to GeneNJ     
I'd prove which pack was the problem by replacing it one at a time. The good one will make a handy spare.
tlynch posted 05-17-2003 11:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for tlynch  Send Email to tlynch     
I replaced my problemed power pack as well, and the problem seems to be gone as well. I have not had much time to test it out, I will let you know as soon as I am positive everything was fixed by replacing the pack.


kingfish posted 05-17-2003 07:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
On a similar subject, (1992 Evinrude 225 very clean, less than 500 hours), if you guys are still here, I'm starting to get some intermittent missing at mid range speeds that I don't know whether I should worry about going out in big water with or not. Seems to idle OK, and seems to run OK at and near WOT; but at mid range speeds it will run fine for a while then it feels like a cylinder or two drops out then it smooths back out. Sort of bounces back and forth between those two conditions, but only seemingly at mid range. New and accurately gapped plugs this spring, 30 hours or so ago, as well as a can of engine tuner and new fuel filter at the same time. Probably three or four tanks of gas run through since winter storage.

Does this sound like a recognizable symptom to anyone?


tlynch posted 05-17-2003 11:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for tlynch  Send Email to tlynch     
Well -

First you have to find out if it is a fuel or an electrical problem.

You can use a timing light to test each of the plugs one at a time for spark while the enigne is 'missing'. If all plugs have spark then it is a fuel problem. If it is a spark problem then pay attention to which cylinders have the problem - this will help in diagnosing the problem.

To test if it is a fuel problem you could start by hooking up a small 3 gal tank and see if the same problem occurs.

If the engine has spark on all cylinders and the external tank does not work, then it is a fuel problem within the engine such as a problem with the carbs.

Before doing any of this - check your fuel water seperator for water and see if this helps.


kingfish posted 05-18-2003 09:29 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Thanks, Todd-

Checking the f/w seperator was the first thing I did. I'll start on the other things.

Why would the engine miss in mid-range and then flatten out and run smooth at high range?


hauptjm posted 05-19-2003 11:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
kingfish, that almost sounds like a timing problem. I'm not sure how that would occur in the middle of your power band. Fuel problems usually are most noticable at higher speeds where the demand is the highest.
kingfish posted 05-19-2003 01:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
Thanks Jim-

I haven't thought it was timing because in the power band where the stuttering occurs, it isn't consistent like it typically is with timing; all the cylinders will fire for a while then one or two drop out for a while. Then OK for a while, then misses.


hauptjm posted 05-20-2003 10:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
It really sounds like an ignition problem. Can a coil go bad intermittently? Maybe the optical sensor (does the '92 OMC even have this?), again go out intermittently? When my optical sensor went out, it went kaput, not slowly. The engine was totally disabled. The good news was it was a $35.00 part and easy to replace. KF, can your generation motor be diagnosed on a computer? If so, check around to see if there is a mechanic that might moonlight and plug you into their laptop. I have often thought of buying the adaptor and software to do this myself.

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