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Old 05-20-2008, 09:46 AM
jblaiz jblaiz is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 20
Default 1990 Johnson 60HP VRO - loss of power

I've read hundreds of threads/forums, any help/thoughts on my issue would be appreciated, thanks!

I have a 1990 Johnson 60HP VRO (model no.: j60ELESM). VRO still intact. Entire head was rebuilt professionally two years ago - only put about 20 hours on the motor last year. Motor is on an '84 17' grady white tournament (permanent gas tank) - I always dutifully added gas saver/conditioner each time I added gas to the tank last year. Motor was fogged last winter. New plugs (not the "Q" Champions, the regular ones). Gas line has new RACOR (S3213) fuel filter installed along with new oil res. Water streams out of pee hole and exhaust. Temp sensor out of top of block is tan w/ blue stripe.

THE ISSUE: The motor starts and idles great - can troll forever with it. When the motor is powered up it will run at WOT sometimes for 10min/20min + and then will suddently drop down in rpm and perform like its in "SLOW" mode - however, this drop in rpm is only while in gear - if I put it in neutral it will rev up - so, i'm not sure if the engine is actually going into SLOW mode. After a while (sometimes 5 min sometimes 30min - after shutting down, starting up, the motor will run fine again in gear) No alarms sound - however, I have not noticed any "beep" when putting the key in the ignition, not sure if horn is connected. When I called the marina that rebuilt/sold me the engine - he said it sounded like a 'bad fuel' problem. Any thoughts are appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:54 AM
jblaiz jblaiz is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 20
Default Re: 1990 Johnson 60HP VRO - loss of power

Additionally: I've noticed that the diode on the temp wire appears to "split" - and one of the two splits ends at the diode - (see pic) - is it supposed to be like this? Has something been taken out of the loop? Any thoughts are appreciated!
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Old 05-20-2008, 01:46 PM
newt newt is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: NE Mass Coast
Posts: 73
Default Re: 1990 Johnson 60HP VRO - loss of power

jblaiz, your photo shows the bullet connector - not a diode. To check your warning horn, pull the bullet connector apart and ground out the wire to the engine block. When you turn the key, the horn should sound. BTW, don't ground out the tan wire from the temp sensor, because that won't do anything. You need to ground out the wire that goes into the wiring harness - looks to be red from your photo.

The simplest way to rule out a fuel problem is to run the engine on a small portable tank with fresh gas and see if you still have the symptoms. If you run fine on the portable tank, then you have a fuel problem.

Also, check the primer bulb when you start to notice the problem. Have a buddy squeeze the bulb as you run at high rpms and see if the problem goes away. If squeezing the bulb solves the problem, then you likely have a fuel delivery problem.
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Old 05-20-2008, 02:51 PM
jblaiz jblaiz is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 20
Default Re: 1990 Johnson 60HP VRO - loss of power


thank you! will do as suggested. I appreciate the help!
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Old 07-16-2008, 03:18 PM
otrlife otrlife is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 7
Default Re: 1990 Johnson 60HP VRO - loss of power

I'm having somewhat the same problem on a 86 VRO.on mine if I drop back to an idle for a few minutes it'll run good. I've ran sea-foam through it. thinking it may be varnish. Sometimes it'll run great for hours of running, then out of the blue it'll slow down to what feels like 3/4-5/8 throttle. I've checked timing/throttle sync./plugs/new fuel(in a different tank)oil flow. I'm begining to wonder if it's in a coil.
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:55 PM
jblaiz jblaiz is offline
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 20
Default Re: 1990 Johnson 60HP VRO - loss of power

FYI - (for anyone who cares or potentially runs into a similar problem with a similar engine) the red lever on the primer solenoid was cracked. Fuel was coming out of the crack when it was underload. After a summer of tinkering and replacing, problem found. Can't wait for next season! HA!!!
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1990, 60hp, johnson, loss, power, vro

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