Symptoms of a Bad Power Pack on your Outboard

Last Updated: October 22nd, 2021 | By: Gina

A small issue like a bad power pack on the outboard can prove to be fatal. Though this isn’t always the case, many other problems may arise too.

Some of us do miss this!

With proper maintenance and care the outboard motor may last for a good number of years but it’s crucial to check the coil stays in great condition.

A bad coil may lead to engine ignition issues further leading to misfires or zero spark at your plug.

I am not scaring you but want to ensure that you take care of any such power pack symptoms for eliminating the risks of any serious problems over time.

Signs Of A Bad Power Pack On Your Outboard

Prominent Symptoms of a Bad Power Pack on Outboard

When the engine goes out, turns on again and goes idle then it’s an indication of a bad power pack on the outboard.

On further inspection with an engine timing you will find that a bad power pack will have a weak spark leading to a low speed of the boat.

After your power pack has gone bad you will have issues with compression and the stator -stationary component of electromagnetic circuits in motors.

  • Hard Engine Start leading to Boat Shut Down

Though it isn’t easy to detect this issue but surely is a major sign that makes the boat shut down. After a few minutes of running the boat normally starts idling, cuts in, cuts off, or stops.

Even the engine runs at a slower rate than before limiting the speed to less than 2000 RPMs (revolutions per minute).

  • All Plugs are Working Fine

When there is corrosion, you will see greenish color after popping out some plugs of the motor. No corrosion and the boat still shuts down suggests a bad power pack.

If there is no green then just rub some alcohol and plug-in again. Bad wiring is eliminated this way as a prime cause for further tests.

  • Ignition Issues

Ignition problems will start when the power pack goes bad and it will heat up causing problems inside.

Engine runs nicely when the motor is cold but once hot will create ignition problems.

  • Everything is Working Well

As mentioned above also there could be problems relating to gear lube, compression, or stator leading to engine failure. Firstly, you need to check the compression.

If you face any fuel delivery troubles at the carburetor then clean it and test the engine. Just check the fuel pumping issues too.

The battery’s condition can be checked using a voltmeter and if it’s 12 V then a good one. Do examine the condition of the coils and replace them if they go bad.

If you see that the coils are racked or melted, then there are chances they won’t work well at all. For getting it to work coil replacement is essential. There could be several underlying reasons for coil damage: overheating, shorted coil, or may need repair just due to many years of usage.

  • Check Engine Misfires

Checking engine misfires, if you notice any! Even after the coil produces adequate voltage for starting the engine and it runs strangely then the voltage isn’t enough.

Resulting, misfire will occur and you will require a steadier voltage output for its proper functioning.

bad ignition coil symptoms

Do Some Tests

  • Multimeter Test

This is a simple test that helps in checking the power pack working.

1. Establish a connection of voltage adapter + a multimeter.
2. Maintain positive and negative terminals when you connect.
3. Connect the multimeter with power coils (orange)

After doing this the voltage difference is 150 Volts then it specifies a bad power pack.

  • Timing Light Test

A timing light can be attached to perform a spark test for testing the power pack’s condition.

A good power pack is bound to give a good spark while a bad one will produce a weak spark.

You may also require to search the power pack’s side to attach the timing light.

These tests will confirm about a bad power pack.

Do this after discovering a Bad Power Pack Onboard

A power pack is used to convert an AC current into a pair of DC currents. Two separate coils have current flowing through them. In this process the voltage will become – 500 VDC from 200 VDC (volts of direct current).

You can fix a bad power pack on your own or go for an expert to get it repaired.

All the connections have to be removed before you try to fix it yourself. Or you can go for a replacement too as explained below.

While you establish connections ensure that the wiring and sides are perfect and while doing this stay assured about a decent grounding point.

If still not comfortable doing on your own, professionals are always there to take care of everything

Is Complete Replacement Expensive?

If you order online replacement, say from eBay or Amazon for your power pack then it will turn out to be more reasonable than seeking professional help.

For a Johnson power pack you will have to spend $100 – $200 approximately, though cost will depend on the model you want.

Always check the best deals on Amazon before you invest.

Sometimes you may opt for getting it repaired from a shop and this may turn out to be heavily expensive costing $4000.

While a small repair shop may help you out with the repairs ranging between $1000 – 1400.

If you call someone at your home then the cost will vary but getting it done at home on your own will serve the purpose without taxing your pocket.

Check the Health of Outboard Power Pack Regularly!

Depending on the engine size and type a power pack may go bad due to any reasons. By any chance putting battery leads in a backward position may be the cause to let it go bad. Any loose connections are risky too.

Checking once every 6 months is just fine. You can check more often for any corrosion or leakages inside your outboard motor.

Concluding Lines

As rightly said – ‘Prevention is better than Cure’. So diagnosing a problem will surely cause least harm to your engine. This will also eliminate the chances of a sudden boat stoppage in the middle of waters. Sad but true, sometimes this could prove fatal too.

Checking your engine’s health will keep you well informed about any issues. Not only you will be aware about a bad power pack but about the functioning of other parts too.

So, save your time and money and remember what I said~!