2005 Amberjack 270 project

You ever have one of those times when you think the worst but then after really hard thought you realize you left out part of the equation, so there is no way to truly solve the problem. It all started about a month ago, I just finished installing the new Bennett ATP trim tab system. I launched the boat and was in the process of programing the system. It was high tide on the Cooper river and I was heading toward the Tail Race canal. Along the way are rice fields but I normally stay in the channel. As I was heading back I was watching the trim tabs raise and lower with boat speed. It was then that I notice a few floating plants which I thought strange and then more went by. It was now that I realized that I had missed a turn, I was out of the channel and in a rice field in a 27 foot deep V boat. I panicked and threw the 350 MPI into reverse. The nose of the boat went down, the engine died and the low depth alarm was going off. I raised the bravo 3 up and restarted the motor. I was able to get the boat out and back into the channel. Once on the channel, everything seemed like it returned to normal. So I was thinking no harm done. I hit the gas, the RPMs shot up to over 5600 (never did that before) and the boat felt like it was going to shake itself apart. I immediate dropped it back down to idle. I tried again but could not get over 2300 RPMs without a lot of vibration. I was able to make it back to the boat landing like this. After sitting around thinking about what it could be I came up with the following equation, High RPMs + vibration + lack of speed = engine coupler. Spending about a week calling around I was able to find one mechanic that worked on boats older than 10 years and he wanted $2000 just to pull the motor. So I invited some friends over to help me build a gantry and I will save $2000. Well for some reason I do my best thinking in the shower and construction morning was no exception. Instead of thinking about building, I was thinking about what lead me here. The equation. I was going over it. Something was missing but I didn't know what it was. Then it hit me. Maybe it was not the engine coupler. The 270 Amberjack has a 3 foot swim platform so if I forgot to lower the stern drive after coming out of the rice field....So lets look at that equation again with the missing piece high RPMs + vibration + lack of speed + excess steering to go straight = drive trimmed up too far. Launched the boat today after the small craft warning was lifted (it is my only day off until December) just to make sure and everything was fine.
 
New update. Fuel gauge is finally fixed. I read all the posts on about fuel gauges not working. Mine always showed empty. My first attempt to fix it was to reprogram the SC1000, this did not work. Next I pulled the sending unit and checked the ohms as the float moved up and down, this was within range. Next I checked the voltage, this read 0. My guess was a break in the line but where. For $24 I purchased a tone generator and probe. In less than 3 minutes I found the problem. A connector at the rear of the motor had a pin pushed out. Repaired the pin and reconnected all wires, turn the key on and now the fuel gauge reads full. I will reprogram once I empty the tank.
 
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Replaced the old original battery charger with a ProNautic 1240P and added 1 more battery (now have 2 dedicated house batteries and 1 dedicated starting battery). I had to make a new set of battery cables and run a new cable from the alternator. I went to the Charleston boat show yesterday and spoke with a stereo guy about the system in the boat. I only have 2 speakers in the cabin that work and none work on deck. He suggested to check the wiring because it was sub standard back then. Suggested I run new wire from amps to speakers.
 
New set back this week. Took the boat out and got about 1/2 mile down river when the boat seemed like it ran out of fuel. The fuel gauge read full so it had 100 gallons. I tried to start it and it would not start. I moved the throttle to about 1/4 and it would start but die. After a few tries, I was able to keep motor running by moving throttle back and forth so I decided to try putting it in gear. I was able to go about 100 yards before it died again. I connected the engine scanner and could find no codes. Now the motor would not start, it tried but no start. After checking everything again, I removed the distributor cap but everything looked good. I then thought the CF3 might be vapor locked so I reached down and gave the blue plastic drain plug a twist and guess what fell apart in my hand? Now I had water flowing into the boat, the water was cool then warm. I raised the out drive and the water slowed enough that I was able to roll some duct tape into a plug and shove it in the hole. This worked and slowed the flow to a trickle. The bulge pump was keeping up either way. After this, I tried again to start the engine. With the throttle 1/4 open it started and I immediately shifted into forward, I was able to move another 100 yards before the motor died, again the only way to keep it running was to move the throttle back and forth. Once the engine died, I found that I could not shift out of forward. (keep in mind, this is a new re-manufactured Bravo III drive). A passing boater was able to tow me back to the boat landing. After getting home, I checked the fuel for contamination. It was clean. Fuel pressure was at 35 PSIG. (the Bravo III is still stuck in forward but after reading some post they suggested to try to force the drive out of gear once running. I tried this but on luck it is still in forward). The motor starts again and runs but I am nervous about taking it out again. So I purchased a new fuel filter and water separator. Then I got thinking, since I was getting good fuel and good pressure, that might not be the problem so I purchased 8 new injectors. (Also got new blue water drain plugs to replace all old ones as well as some for back up). So now I am thinking that the electric fuel shut off valve might be bad but i will wait to check this part. Has anybody else had this problem, am I looking in the right places or should I move my attention elsewhere? After I get the motor working again, I have to tackle the Bravo III.
 
Southern your a tough Son of a Gun. Boats!!! Hope you get it all lined out and have a wonderful Summer. GOD speed for sure. JC
 
I pulled the motor from my Amberjack. While doing so, I noticed that the inlet water pick up hose comes out of a 90 degree connector from the transom. The hose then bends around the engine and goes to the raw water pump. I examined the hose and where it bends looks like a restriction. Like when you kink a hose. My though is placing a 90 degree fitting where the hose kinks to allow the unrestricted flow of water. Has anyone else noticed this? and doe this sound like a good idea.
 
It's been a while since I posted an update to the project. The new to me motor is in and running great. It turns over and starts faster than my tractor. I checked it and it has 218 hours on it. I think with the closed cooling system, it is going to see a lot more. The 9 and 12 inch MFD are remounted and I fixed the dash around them to blend in better. I am still trying to workout all the bugs in the new camera. I found the problem with the Bravo 3 out-drive (it was stuck in forward). Turns out, I welded the cone clutch and forward gear together. I did this on the last outing when I could not keep the engine running. I would start it with the throttle open but when I shifted it to put it in gear, the motor would die. I decided to shift it fast. Once I got the motor running again (at about 2000 rpm), I shifted straight into forward. I did this a few times then noticed I could not shift to neutral. Once I took the drive apart, I found the welded parts. I replaced the gear set and cone clutch. Drive was reinstalled and works great. The only thing left is a really deep cleaning and then taking out a second mortgage to fill it with gas.
 

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