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Old     (bigski52)      Join Date: Sep 2010       09-11-2010, 9:36 PM Reply   
I am in the market for a boat and found a 1999 Malibu Sunsetter LX. The boat caught my eye because it was around $4000 cheaper than other direct drives i've seen in that year model. The boat is at a dealership and they're telling me the boat needs an ECM. Everything in me tells me to shy away from that boat because it has to have other problems or the dealer would have put an ECM in it before resell. I would never buy a boat without test driving first but my brother in law has a 2001 Wakesetter VLX with the same motor. My question for you guys is can I take out the Wakesetter's ECM and plug it into the Sunsetter for a test drive? Isn't it just a plug-and-play part? I know a new ECM from Malibu runs about $1200 so what is everyone's opinion on the boat?
Old     (joesell)      Join Date: Apr 2001       09-12-2010, 2:33 PM Reply   
You already did the math. They're knocking $4000 off the boat for a $1200 part. And thats $1200 to you. they probably pay $600ish. So I would think, if that's the only problem, why didn't they just fix it and sell it at full price?
Old     (beleza)      Join Date: Mar 2010       09-12-2010, 3:22 PM Reply   
Old     (meathead65)      Join Date: Sep 2006       09-12-2010, 5:38 PM Reply   
The beauty of "losing" the ECM is that you lose all history from the time, rpm history, fault codes thrown, etc....sound fishy to me.
Old     (imscarlet)      Join Date: Mar 2008       09-12-2010, 6:20 PM Reply   
What if the actual fault is causing ECM's to blow?
Old     (bigski52)      Join Date: Sep 2010       09-12-2010, 7:06 PM Reply   
Yeah that's what I started thinking. It may have a short that's frying ECM's so I'm not even going to risk plugging in my brother-in-law's. The dealership looks legit because they sell new boats too just not new Malibu boats. Still, this looks a little too fishy for me.
Old    mojo            09-12-2010, 7:31 PM Reply   
just because a dealer sells boats doesn't make them legit. i've dealt with so many underhanded dealers that don't care about you or your boat whatsoever. have a conversation with them and tell them if they'll fix it you'll buy it with a certain type of warranty if something catastrophic happens within a given amount of time.
Old     (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       09-12-2010, 9:18 PM Reply   
ECM's go bad just like everything else. And the late model parts are being produced with cheaper and cheaper materials. It doesent mean there is anything wrong electricaly with the boat, but on the other hand there could be. I've seen a few go bad. Actualy I am looking at a possible bad ECM in my 06 Sanger. I am 90% sure that is the problem. 1200 is cheap. Mine is 1800 from Merc. Fortunetly the Guardian system that is built in to the Merc ECM is only knocking off 11% of my engine power. In severe cases the Guardian knocks out 90 to 95% of your engine power only allowing you to idle back in. I simply unplugged the alarm for now. Sanger puts a nice quick connect to make disconnecting easy, now I know why...
Old     (meathead65)      Join Date: Sep 2006       09-12-2010, 10:07 PM Reply   
Sparky, have you had anyone run the diagnostics to see what code it's throwing? We've done 2 Mercruiser oil pressure sensor replacements in the last two weeks.
Old     (mikeski)      Join Date: Aug 2003       09-12-2010, 11:38 PM Reply   
Last fall I was considering supercharging or replacing my motor. In my research I found there are a handful of aftermarket ECM programmers out there. I assume the boat has a MEFI 3 ECM? You could easily upgrade that to a MEFI 4b and install an open program from Larry's Marine Engine or Arizona Speed and Marine. Once you had the open program installed you can tune the motor yourself, or have somebody do it for you. I also found there is probably 10-20% more power available from our motors if we tuned them specifically for our application. The stock programs are good and they generally keep us from blowing things up but there is some room for more in that motor.

If it's a nice boat and it's exactly what you want I would plan on spending that $4k you saved on a motor, worst case scenario. Best case scenario, you find a good used ECM with a compatible program for $400-500, plug it in and it runs just like it should and you pocket the savings.

Sparky seems like a sharp guy, I would not be surprised if he "cracks the code" on his Sanger with an unlocked ECM and revs that Merc up a bit. There is much more knowledge around the Merc motors versus our Indmar and PCM's because the offshore guys are using the Mercs and most have them running on tweaked ECMs.

Last edited by mikeski; 09-12-2010 at 11:42 PM.
Old     (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       09-13-2010, 6:47 PM Reply   
Meathead, yes. I have my own Mercruiser Scan Tool. Code 37, low block pressure. Done everything possible. It's looking like a bad ECM at this point...I am looking into options and am open to suggestions and leads for aftermarket options...sorry for the H/J
Old     (justintime)      Join Date: Mar 2009       09-14-2010, 12:22 AM Reply   
a bad IAC dose not show on the scan tool only mercs computer program, and that can put it into 11%
Old     (meathead65)      Join Date: Sep 2006       09-14-2010, 11:02 AM Reply   
Sparky, have you changed the oil pressure sensor? And if so, was the sensor referenced by serial number to the motor? We have seen issues with superceeded part numbers not always coming up correctly in some aftermarket lists.
Old     (tre)      Join Date: Jul 2002       09-14-2010, 11:57 AM Reply   
How exactly do they know it only needs an ECM if they have not ried to replace it? Red flag! massive red flag! And what heppened to the ECM? Is it there? If not, where did it go? That would be even more of a red flag. Maybe the boat has 1400 hours and they don't want you to know. very very strange indeed.
Old     (cwb4me)      Join Date: Apr 2010       09-14-2010, 12:10 PM Reply   
ask yourself this question. why doesn't dealer replace ecm? he would have no doubts from buyers then. the only logical reason is he knows ecm won't last because other problem is causing ecm to blow. common sense says if it sounds too good to be true. it's something missing in the story. then after you buy it they say well we didn't know that was wrong. what if this boat sunk? it would be an electrical nightmare till you could unload it.
Old     (justintime)      Join Date: Mar 2009       09-14-2010, 12:59 PM Reply   
oil pressure sensor will beep every 2 minutes and put you into reduction mode i think 10%, need to check the guardian service manual

you have 2 of them
Old     (joesell)      Join Date: Apr 2001       09-14-2010, 4:24 PM Reply   
I still stand by my original reply.

I can't even come up with a scenario where this is going to work out in your favor. Most (not all)dealerships are run by blood sucking bandits. They don't care about you, or your boat. They care about taking your money, and making a profit.

If everything was on the up and up, they would've put a new ecm in it and sold it for what it was worth. Because after all, that's what they do. They fix boats, buy boats, and sell boats. If it could be fixed cheap, and sold for a profit, they would do just that.

Save your money, find a boat that runs, and enjoy the rest of this summer, and many more to come.
Old     (justintime)      Join Date: Mar 2009       09-14-2010, 4:44 PM Reply   
most shops do not employ proper TECHNICIANS
Old     (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       09-14-2010, 5:38 PM Reply   
Meathead, its block water pressure, not oil pressure. (code 37)
Old     (justintime)      Join Date: Mar 2009       09-14-2010, 5:45 PM Reply   
thats the one on the oil cooler, they had problems with them

unless the oil cooler lines are blocked
Old     (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       09-14-2010, 8:04 PM Reply   
^^^Yes its located on the trans oil cooler housing but its for raw water block pressure. Nothing to do with the trans or cooler lines tho...
Old     (justintime)      Join Date: Mar 2009       09-14-2010, 9:02 PM Reply   
uhm i know this

they always clog with debris
Old     (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       09-14-2010, 9:10 PM Reply   
I wish it was that, been all over everything twice. Either the new sensor is bad or the ECM. I'm hoping its the new sensor. Going to check new sensor output tomorrow. Sometimes I forget to suspect new parts...
Old     (justintime)      Join Date: Mar 2009       09-14-2010, 9:17 PM Reply   
better buy the computer program and throw the hand held scanner out

or buy the test harnesses and use the scanner

you also have plugs that fit into the harness that completes the path, read up on it
Old     (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       09-14-2010, 9:24 PM Reply   
^^^Funny I had an hour and a half conversation with a 35 year marine mechanic this afternoon. He is regarded as the top Mercruiser tech in this whole area. I specificaly asked him about the laptop computer program versus the Rinda/Mercruiser Scan Tool and he said that for my boat there is virtualy no difference regarding diagnostics... Is that what your master technician manual tells you? To throw out the Merc Scan Tool? LOL
Old     (justintime)      Join Date: Mar 2009       09-14-2010, 9:36 PM Reply   
obvious he never used the new new one

it tells you voltages, sensor reads and you can record the progress, at all SPEED's, hich you have to do to get it done right the first time

i have used them all, CDI electronics one is the best out there

never trust the scanner also, they will lie just like the sensors

if you did not check for 5V and the ground, then you skipped step1!

as in diagnostics test, yes the same

but as in recording,graphing, those things, the scan tool can not do it, sorry


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