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  1. #1

    Default 1999 Volvo Penta 5.0 won't start without starting fluid


    I have a 1999 FourWinns Sundowner 205 with the 5.0 Volvo Penta inboard engine. The boat was professionally winterized in 2019, never ran in 2020. This boat has always been a very, very good engine, starting everytime.

    This year, we started and fired instantly, we turned it off because there was no water & we left it for a few days before moving and cleaning the boat. After that it will not start unless you shoot some starting fluid down the carb. It starts on the first crank and runs without issue (running on the muffs). If you turn it off and try to start it, it will not start, just crank.

    My Dad swears it is bad gas and wants to purge the ~15 gals of gas & refuel it. But I disagree, it just doesn't seem like bad gas if it runs fine. Gas was last added in 2019, and we added fuel stabilizer when winterizing in 2019.

    What do you guys think? I don't think the gas is bad. Does anyone else know where we can start? My poor dad's mechanical skills aren't what they used to be, any help would be appreciated!

    Thanks for your time!!

    Last edited by linkupdated; 06-17-2021 at 09:22 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: 1999 Volvo Penta 5.0 won't start without starting fluid

    a couple of thoughts come to mind -before you go through emptying the gas

    Take the spark arrestor off pump the throttle should see two good streams of gas coming off the accelerator pump. if not there is likjely no gas in the carb could be sticking anitsiphon valve or fuel pump is not running during cranking (assumes electric pump)

    Choke closing?
    Look at the spark use a spark gap tester ($12 tool) to see if you are getting good spark could be that cap and rotor corroded while sitting etc . starter fluid may be easier to light of than gas ?

    Take the fuel sender out of the tank and look at whats in there , esepcially on the bottom of the tank before you pump it out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Island Heights, NJ,

    Default Re: 1999 Volvo Penta 5.0 won't start without starting fluid

    Then again.... water accumulating in gas tank tends to settle to the bottom (where the pickup is) and while the fuel filter/seperator will stop it, eventually, the compartment in the fuel filter/sep fills with water and water saturated fuel then merrily enters the carb. The fix... remove filter/sep (carefully) and dump it into a clear glass big mouth jar. If no water, contents will be clear.... if water, it will be cloudy.... it lots of water, then after about 20 mins a demarcation line will appear in the jar.... fuel ( octane reduced ) above the line, and water below.
    Refill the filter with clean fuel... reinstall... try to restart engine.... fuel filter/sep will do its job until it gets full of water and then you will have problems. Eventually you will get the water out of the fuel however, please note that if fuel is cloudy, it is compromised. Depending on how much fuel is in the tank, you can dump it (legally dispose of it PLEASE !!!_) or you can try to rehabilitate the fuel with one of the better additives and a dose of octane enhancer ( ethanol is used as an octane enhancer and when it absorbs water, the remaining fuel has a lower octane).
    Capt Bob
    1969 23ft ChrisCraft Lancer
    Merc 5.7L 260HP/ Volvo 280

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2021
    Northern California

    Default Re: 1999 Volvo Penta 5.0 won't start without starting fluid

    If you pump the throttle all the way at least once and it won't start without fluid. I would start with the choke or accelerator pump and work my way in to the carb. .
    Last edited by Bretbyron; 07-22-2021 at 01:47 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Longview, Wa, USA

    Default Re: 1999 Volvo Penta 5.0 won't start without starting fluid

    You have 2 year old gas, even if it's non ethanol it's junk. Drain your tank, change filters and try again.

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