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  1. #1

    2003 Honda F12X - Barely starts, won't idle, runs rough.....HELP!

    Hey all - my first post - have been following the site for awhile and have found all of your comments to be very helpful. Now....my problem:

    Have had the ski since new. Basically has always run fine - just a few minor things here and there. Used it one recent weekend and all was fine, ran like a champ. Put it away in the garage as usual. Two weeks later went to launch it - checked the oil and added maybe a quart. Started up fine, took off the trailer, seemed to idle fine, but could not get any RPM - just enough to get me back to the trailer (I am on the Colorado River - Calif/AZ). Hauled it up to the garage where it has been ever since.

    It will start, but runs REALLY rough - like an engine that is dieseling. Will not idle for more than a few seconds. Feathering the throttle aggressively will barely keep it running - it will occasionally rev like crazy (like it should, like it is fine). Changed the plugs, all get spark, no help. From reading the posts, was concerned about maybe an oil overfill - checked it using Nitro method - a little high, maybe, but took out a quart just to be sure - no help. Fuel pump makes the noise when lanyard is connected. If it was a carbuerated engine, I would say a fuel issue, but with all the electronics/injection, etc, in there.....I am lost. Cannot easily take it to the dealer/service facility as it is 200 miles away. What do you think? Pump shaft, waste gate, bad fuel, fuel pump?????? Thanks for your help.

    ALSO.....no codes that I can tell. No beeps or other indicators that anything is wrong until I mess with it so long that the battery gets week - then I get the battery low alarm.
    Last edited by Tldreyer; 10-20-2011 at 03:37 PM. Reason: Additional information


  2. #2
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    May need to do a compression test....... Sound like its running on 3 cyl.



    If you had a injector shorted it would tell you, if it was a sensor It would tell you. Check compression First then look into maybe the ECU or a ignition coil

  3. #3
    its true you may want to do a compression test,because it losing power and cant idle ,it could also be a fuel problem probly from sitting 2weeks you never know!

  4. #4
    Thanks for the quick post. When I replaced the plugs, I did the simple spark check by just turning the engine over while looking at the plug - all look good and uniform. I would think that would rule out the ignition coil? Could a particular injector be clogged or something - does each cylinder have a unique injector port - maybe it is just barely spitting fuel through and once in a while get enough in to make it rev?

  5. #5
    I have removed the fuel pump - checked/clean the filter - all looked fine, but I do not really know how to check the pump. I was thinking maybe remove the supply hose and plug in the lanyard/turn it over and see if fuel comes out? I just would have no way to really check to see if ENOUGH fuel was coming out.

  6. #6
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    You need to do a compression test........turbo engine should be in the 150-170 range

  7. #7
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    To do compression test you must remove all spark plugs and test each cylinder 1 at a time and when your cranking engine hold throttle wide open


    If all your cylinders are in the 150-170 range then its ok........if one is like 100 or 90 or nothing well thats your problem

  8. #8
    Unfortunately it will probably be a couple of weeks before I can get back down there (to the river house) to work on it, but I will perform the test and see what I find. I assume that a low reading in one of the cylinders is probably very bad? Like major engine work time? Those plugs are down there a ways - is there a special tester that I will need, or does a regular automotive compression tester work?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tldreyer View Post
    Unfortunately it will probably be a couple of weeks before I can get back down there (to the river house) to work on it, but I will perform the test and see what I find. I assume that a low reading in one of the cylinders is probably very bad? Like major engine work time? Those plugs are down there a ways - is there a special tester that I will need, or does a regular automotive compression tester work?

    No a automotive adaptor will not work, you will need to borrow one from a member on pwctoday.com

  10. #10
    SUCCESS!!!!! Just got back from the river and had a chance to work on the ski. Thinking it through for the past few weeks I decided that I would forgo the compression test for now and just concentrate on the easy things. From original post you can see it ran great one weekend, then has not run since. Seemed like a gas issue all along as the only thing I did was add oil - probably overfilled. Anyway.....to check the gas and the pump I disconnected one of the hoses and put the lanyard in. The pump runs for a second, gas comes out which I collected in a Corona bottle - pump obviously working fine. It was the fuel return line side I used - at least I guess that is what it is, as the fuel was running the opposite direction of what I would have guessed - back TO the tank. Gas looks like honey - maybe not quite that dark, but dark, with a lighter colored layer on top once given a minute to settle. Turns out, it was engine oil in the fuel. The layer on top, which I originally assumed to be water, was good gas. Anyway....I siphoned all the fuel, added fresh fuel, then continued pumping using the fuel pump directly into the Corona bottle. Afer pumping about 2 gallons out, the oil percentage became lower and lower until pretty much just pure gas came out. Fired it up and it runs great - no problems at all.

    Now......how did the oil get in there. BEFORE YOU GET STARTED....YES....I DO KNOW THAT THE OIL GOES IN THE OIL FILLER AND NOT IN THE FUEL TANK!!!!!! So - can I surmise that maybe because the oil was overfilled it somehow worked it's way up the cylinders into the fuel system and was returning to the tank via the fuel return line? Is that possible? Looking at the oil that was siphoned from the boat's tank, it looks good - no oil that I can see. Maybe I did not get it siphoned down far enough to actually get to the oil (which would be on the bottom of the tank), and had to remove the remainder via the boat's fuel pump which draws from the bottom of the tank, to get to the oil. It really seems like the oil was just trapped in the fuel system, between the tank and the tank (recirculating system, basically - gas goes from tank, through injectors, and the excess is returned to the tank, I guess). Anyway - it is fixed, it runs great, I learned a lesson about NEVER OVERFILL, but can anybody explain how the oil could get into the fuel system/fuel tank? thanks.

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