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Author Topic:   Plane problems HELP!!
way2cool01 posted 08-03-2003 10:27 PM ET (US)   Profile for way2cool01   Send Email to way2cool01  
Purchased a 2001 Dauntless about 3 months ago with a 115 4 stroke and I cannot for the life of me get this thing on plane no matter what I seem to do. The motor has been raised to the highest limit, so thats not going to help.

But with a full load of people (4) I can only get it on plane afer WOT and lots of patience and even then if I go over the quarter level on the tilt it starts to porpoise very bad and I have to back it off to the quarter level again.

What in the world am I doing wrong? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Do I need a new prop??

Thanks ...

Marlin posted 08-03-2003 11:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     
I assume you're talking about a 160 Dauntless. I think the 180 was/is also offered with a 115, but I have to think that would be insufficient for that boat. So if you have a 180, stop reading here.

If your 115 is a Mercury with the 2.07 lower unit ratio, it seems like most of us with that same setup are running stainless Vengeance 13.25 x 16 props with pretty good results. With that setup, you should be able to hit 5800-6000 RPM at WOT. If you're running an aluminum prop, you'll probably want an inch or two more pitch. From what you say, I'm guessing you're running too much pitch. What's your current prop, and what do you hit at WOT? The boat is not a record breaker in the time-to-plane category when loaded, but it shouldn't be too much of a slouch either.

Mounting the Merc 115 at the highest position is probably too high for a 160 Dauntless. Mine is mounted one hole up from the lowest position, with good results. When I was 2 holes up it ventilated too easily, and I had very poor trim range in both directions. Drop it so that the anti-ventilation plate runs at or just above the surface of the water when on a fast plane (like 4000 RPM). Settings for other outboard brands may be different.

The boat is definitely touchy in trim, and very small adjustments have a noticable impact. It's not hard to trim out enough to make the boat porpoise.

Okay, all that said, if you still can't get on plane within a reasonable amount of time, you should probably have your engine looked at. But I'm going with the prop idea for now.


RLSmith posted 08-04-2003 12:18 AM ET (US)     Profile for RLSmith  Send Email to RLSmith     
I have a 2000 16' Dauntless with a Suzuki 115hp 2-stroke. I have never had the slightest problem getting on plane even at max capacity (6). If I firewall the throttle it planes quickly. The prior owner mounted a foil on the AV plate but that couldn't explain such a drastic difference.

If you indeed have the 16' Dauntless, I suspect your engine is not delivering rated power.

Clark Roberts posted 08-04-2003 08:07 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Check all throttle linkages at engine and at helm for restriction/binding/misadjustment and verify that you are actually getting full throttle movement stop-to-stop! happy Whalin.. Clark... Spruce Creek Navy
way2cool01 posted 08-04-2003 08:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for way2cool01  Send Email to way2cool01     
Sorry guys, in my frustration I forgot to mention it was a 16 foot Dauntless. Thanks for the prop help, that might help and I guess I really do need to take it in and have the throttle looked over. Guess I get about 3700RPM at WOT.

Thanks for the help...

Lars Simonsen posted 08-04-2003 09:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Lars Simonsen  Send Email to Lars Simonsen     
I don't know what redline is on your motor, but I suspect it's way above 3700 rpm. You're barely into the powerband at 3700.
Marlin posted 08-04-2003 11:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marlin  Send Email to Marlin     
way2cool, you've got some serious problem if you're getting 3700 RPM at WOT. You're either propped with something insane like a 26" pitch or your engine running really poorly.

Or, Clark's right and your throttle linkage is mis-adjusted, you're not getting the throttle butterfly more than about 1/2 open, and with a 2-minute tweak everything will be wonderful! We'll hope it's this one.

bsmotril posted 08-05-2003 08:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for bsmotril  Send Email to bsmotril     
I think I'd pull the spark plugs and look for a cylinder that is not firing.
way2cool01 posted 08-12-2003 09:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for way2cool01  Send Email to way2cool01     
Thanks for all your Professional help. Great web thread for us die hard Whaler owners and fans. Will take your advice and put it to use, and cross my fingers that it cures my problems.
millerbr posted 08-13-2003 08:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for millerbr  Send Email to millerbr     
I recently put a ProPulse composite 4 blade prop on my 160 and it has drastically reduced the time to plane. The pitch is adjustable from 15 to 21 inch (marketing material all says 16-20, but the directions say you can dial it out one additional inch in each direction). I first tried it at 15 but the RPMs were too high, changed it to 16 and I'm back to around 5800 RPM. It did scrub a little top end speed going to a four blade, but that was an easy trade off to make for me. Good investment for the $136 I paid during a West Marine sale.
way2cool01 posted 08-13-2003 10:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for way2cool01  Send Email to way2cool01     
Outstanding, cant wait to get to the marine store and try out a new prop on this thing. Geez I sure hope it works. Waited all my life to get a whaler and now that I have one not sure I want to keep it..unless I get this plane problem under control. I can give up top end speed, heck I am too old for speed and besides if I want that I can hop in my Vette and get that kind of thrill. So sure hope a change of prop helps....And thanks guys. Great thread for great ideas and friends.


lhg posted 08-14-2003 12:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Propeller is not your problem, the engine needs service.
That Mercury/Yamaha 115 EFI is a pretty powerfrul engine from what I've heard. The engine is still under it's 3 year warranty so service will be free.
blackdog posted 08-22-2003 09:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
What prop are you turning? Did I miss that? Don't the 4 strokes turn less Rpm's than 2 strokes. I thought 4500 was WOT for them.
I turn a 14x17 3 - blade stock OMC on my 16 Dauntless- 115 Fitch at 5800-5900 @ WOT. Anyway, sounds like your Rís are way too low.
My uniformed novice opinion is you may have a combination things that may need to be adjusted.-
Perry posted 08-22-2003 01:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
blackdog, 4 strokes generally turn more rpm than 2 strokes. How do you like the performance of the 115 ficht on your boat? What is the top speed?
DaveH posted 08-22-2003 01:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for DaveH  Send Email to DaveH     
Blackdog and Perry:

No disrespect intended, but I do not know where you guys are getting your information! The 2002 Mercury literature states that the 115Hp EFI RPM range is 5000-6000. Please look things up on the web before sending the poor soul in the wrong direction.

Perry posted 08-22-2003 05:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
DaveH, The motor in question is a 4 stroke 115 EFI. Blackdog said he thought the redline for the motor was 4500 rpm and also assumed that 4 strokes turn less rpm than 2 strokes. I said that in GENERAL, 4 strokes turn higher revs than 2 strokes. My comment was directed at blackdog and the info is accurate. Please read the posts before opening your mouth.
blackdog posted 08-25-2003 08:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for blackdog  Send Email to blackdog     
I like the performance overall- Very stable dry ride sticks on turns. There is some initial bow rise when getting on plane but even with 4 guys and fishing gear it jumps on plane in less the 10 seconds. Top speed with full tank and 2 on board - Around 45 mph by the GPS. Thanks for the info on the 4 strokes
way2cool01 posted 09-03-2003 10:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for way2cool01  Send Email to way2cool01     
Thanks for the help, going to try a new prop and see what that does for me. Not the motor cause it just had a major tune up and only has 45 hours on the motor. If the prop dont help then may put it on the market and let somebody else try and get it on plane.

Swellmonster posted 09-04-2003 07:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for Swellmonster  Send Email to Swellmonster     

I still havent read where you determined your current prop size. Chances are real good it is the boats original prop and it would be sufficient. No way a boat would be put out to sell that only achieved 3700 rpm.
Like mentioned above, check you throttle to open fully, and your plugs. Sounds like possible motor issues...

jstachowiak posted 09-04-2003 09:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for jstachowiak  Send Email to jstachowiak     
I've read some funny stories about this particular topic and the story goes something like this:

Can't get the boat to plane and very sluggish performance. After numerous inquiries the mechanic discovers the trailer was still attached to the boat.

Not that this has anything to do with this problem, but sort of like making sure the product is plugged in before we start trouble shooting other possibilites.

"Not the motor cause it just had a major tune up and only has 45 hours on the motor." Just cause you just had a tune up doesn't mean anything. In fact did this problem surface after this tune up or did it exist before the tune up as well? Why a "major tune up" with only 45 hours? That is suspect.

This thread and description of problem is a classic case of not enough information and in the correct chronological order to determine the real problem.

RonB posted 09-04-2003 11:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for RonB  Send Email to RonB     
I took delivery on a 2000 18 Outrage with 50 hours on the 2000 Optimax 135. Although it did a respectful 4700 RPM at WOT I felt that something was not right. Maybe it was just a gut feeling, maybe it had more to do with low idle vibration but I had the dealer check it out. They found a faulty direct injector. My Optimax was doing 4700 RPM on 5 cylinders. As soon as it was replaced I felt an immediate difference at idle and of course at WOT which is now 5200RPM (within the range reported by Mercury for the 135 Optimax). I would have a dealer show you that the motor can do the reported WOT, otherwise you will never be able to eliminate the motor as the source of the problem. Ride in the boat with them. Take a day off from work if you have to. I found my experience to be a little humbling because I never realized how little a difference my 2 Stroke Optimax sounded while running on 5 cylinders versus 6 cylinders. I wonder how many boaters out there run under the same circumstances without realizing they have a problem. I thought a marine 2 stroke would behave similarly to an automobile engine if you decided to pull a plug. I was wrong.


Moe posted 09-04-2003 12:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for Moe  Send Email to Moe     
The 115 4-stroke EFI is like modern cars... there's nothing to "tune-up" anymore, except for perhaps spark plug changes if Merc doesn't use platinum plugs (they don't on my 60 EFI). But there are plenty of shops willing to charge you for a "major tune-up" on either.

The major question is STILL whether this 5000-6000 rpm engine REALLY IS limited to 3700 rpm at WOT. Not trying to be insulting (we all make mistakes), but are you SURE you weren't looking at a speedometer when you saw "37" at WOT? If you ARE SURE it was the tach, I'd definitely be looking for a motor/rigging problem, as Clark and Larry recommend, rather than a prop pitch problem. It would take a pretty grossly mismatched prop to lug the engine down that far. If spark plugs are fouled and causing power loss, you'd be feeling uneven running, as you would with coil(s) breaking down.

When it comes to planing, from what I see of it, the Dauntless 160 is a short, stern-heavy boat, that's going to be more likely to have problems getting the stern up and bow down both to plane, and to prevent porpoising with any trim out. That seems to agree with Marlin's experience, "The boat is definitely touchy in trim, and very small adjustments have a noticable impact. It's not hard to trim out enough to make the boat porpoise."

The shortness puts the bow's weight back further where it doesn't have much lever arm to push down on. I'm guessing the 300 lbs of fuel and tank are mounted are mounted fairly aft in the floor due to the short boat length. The helm seat looks like it's mounted further aft than on the Montauk. With oil, the 4-stroke is over 400 lbs, about 60 more than the carbed two-stroke, back BEHIND the transom. And to top it off, the rear seats are also at the transom, and would have a major impact, especially if those 4 passengers are all adults.

It seems to me that this type of boat is the ideal candidate for a fin on the motor or trim tabs on the boat. You'd definitely want to avoid bow-lifting props with large blade rakes. Stick with the aluminum Black Max or stainless Vengeance, as Marline recommends.

Hope this helps,

way2cool01 posted 09-09-2003 09:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for way2cool01  Send Email to way2cool01     
Thanks for your arrogant pompous help about nothing. Its people like you that drive people away from seeking help from others on this forum. Course you have all the answers and I hope someday your found face down 65 miles offshore without a PFD. What a jerk. I didnt think you had the time to answer with all the work around the trailer park. So light up another cig, open a beer, and answer a few more questions buttwipe.
Oh by the way, I live in Jacksonville and would love to meet you!!!!

JM_190 posted 09-10-2003 09:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for JM_190  Send Email to JM_190     
I don't know if this will help you, but I run a Nantucket 190 with the 115 4-stroke. Redline is 6000+ rpm. It needs to turn 4000 rpm on my boat to stay on a plane. Top end is 40-42 mph. Is it possible that your throttle linkage is not adjusted properly and not opening all the way? Mine was not set right on as delivered from the dealer. Good luck.
jstachowiak posted 09-17-2003 10:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for jstachowiak  Send Email to jstachowiak     
Sorry, sorry, I certainly did not mean anything by my comments. Just thought I would pass on some information I have read on other sites other than this one. I thought the trailer one was funny.

I would hope by now you have discovered the problem you originally posted about.

As someone else posted the "major tuneup" you mentioned, what does that mean? As well, in the normal sequence of problem solving the tuneup could be the problem if the problem appeared after the tuneup, yes?

As well, we all need to know what the problem ended up being. Any ideas, yet? I personally cannot believe it is the prop, you would have to be seriously over proped to lose that much RPM. You gain about 200 to 300 RPM with every inch of pitch smaller. So if the motor is supposed to turn 6000 RPM with, say a 17" pitch prop, you'd have to be turning a 24" pitch or larger prop to be turning 3700 RPM. Doesn't add up.

Again, sorry for ruffling your feathers. I launch at Vilano boat ramp, Trout Creek and Orange Park. I do hope to meet you, so I can apologize in person.

FYI, Merc mechanics in Jax, Lighthouse Marine and Julington Creek Marina have gotten the best reviews. I personally used Julington Creek and can say that the guy who worked on my old 1979 90HP knew what he was doing.

jstachowiak posted 09-24-2003 08:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for jstachowiak  Send Email to jstachowiak     
So, way2cool01, any answers yet on your Plane Problem?

It would be nice to know what you found out so we can all learn from the experience.

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