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Is there another way to check the engine hours on a boat besides the digital hour meter on the dash?

I'm looking at buying another boat where the hour meter is showing 400 HOURS!! The broker says that most likely the key was accidentally left on and ran the meter up. The boat definitely doesn't look like it has 400hrs on it. The broker said the owner died 2 years ago and the wife has used it once since then. The boat is a 2006 276SSI.

I was hoping there was another way to confirm hours, but don't think there is.

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Is there another way to check the engine hours on a boat besides the digital hour meter on the dash?

I'm looking at buying another boat where the hour meter is showing 400 HOURS!! The broker says that most likely the key was accidentally left on and ran the meter up. The boat definitely doesn't look like it has 400hrs on it. The broker said the owner died 2 years ago and the wife has used it once since then. The boat is a 2006 276SSI.

I was hoping there was another way to confirm hours, but don't think there is.

If you get a chance to take it to a dealer, they could hook it up to the computer and retrieve the hours stored in the ECM or whatever the computer brain is. My hr gauge read 800 when it was brand new. That was replaced at the 20 hr service. I keep a running tally in my head in conjunction with the new meter, but whenever I have it in for service, I have them verify when they hook her up. If that's not an option, I have no clue.

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Unless that tach is really messed up, the tach should not be able to add engine hours without the engine running. Key left in the 'on' position but without the engine running should not affect or add engine hours to the Faria tach/hour meter to my knowledge. (only adding hours when the 'hour glass' symbol is flashing. Like others have stated, hooking a DDT or CDS laptop to the the ECM will show the exact engine hours.

The 276 SSi/SSx is one sweet boat. Maybe the guy knew his time was coming an wanted to spend as much time on the boat as possible.

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Thanks, Shepherd. I was hoping you would respond.

So, how do you feel about a boat with 400 hours on it? Engine is a 8.1 Volvo. From the pictures the boat looks well cared for and it was stored high and dry, but 400 hours just seems like a lot to me.

Thanks again

Unless that tach is really messed up, the tach should not be able to add engine hours without the engine running. Key left in the 'on' position but without the engine running should not affect or add engine hours to the Faria tach/hour meter to my knowledge. (only adding hours when the 'hour glass' symbol is flashing. Like others have stated, hooking a DDT or CDS laptop to the the ECM will show the exact engine hours.

The 276 SSi/SSx is one sweet boat. Maybe the guy knew his time was coming an wanted to spend as much time on the boat as possible.

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Like others have stated, hooking a DDT or CDS laptop to the the ECM will show the exact engine hours.

Shepherd - question for you. When I bought my boat 2nd hand, neither of the Hobbs indicators were functioning. Looking to replace them, but curious if the ECM exists on 2002 model years, and do all marine mechanics typically have the DDT or CDS laptop (I don't know what these are) to run the diagnostic?

Joe at Cecilmarine has given me the quotes for 2 new hour meters, and indicates it is an easy replacement. Have you heard of these malfunctioning before, and is it "unusual" for both to fail? I am concerned that maybe there's more to the problem than just the Hobbs meters...

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Thanks, Shepherd. I was hoping you would respond.

So, how do you feel about a boat with 400 hours on it? Engine is a 8.1 Volvo. From the pictures the boat looks well cared for and it was stored high and dry, but 400 hours just seems like a lot to me.

Thanks again

I've seen boats with 800 hours on a small block V8 EFI, with no perceptible loss of power or wear. Rarer up here of course (40-50 for seasonal usage per year - often less) to see 400 hours on a boat of that age, but the 8.1L (496) engines have been reliable in my experience. All depends on how the boat was treated. If it was a salt water boat, I'd walk away.

Shepherd - question for you. When I bought my boat 2nd hand, neither of the Hobbs indicators were functioning. Looking to replace them, but curious if the ECM exists on 2002 model years, and do all marine mechanics typically have the DDT or CDS laptop (I don't know what these are) to run the diagnostic?

Joe at Cecilmarine has given me the quotes for 2 new hour meters, and indicates it is an easy replacement. Have you heard of these malfunctioning before, and is it "unusual" for both to fail? I am concerned that maybe there's more to the problem than just the Hobbs meters...

I've seen my share of Hobbs hour meters puke; generally reliable though. As Joe stated, they are an easy replacement. A tech with computer can get the actual engine hours from an EFI engine as far back as the mid '90's with no problems. Most techs don't pay too much attention to what an hour meter says anyway unless it agrees with what the diagnostic computer reads. Only way a person can cheat the actual engine hours at that point is by swapping out the ECM, and that is NOT cheap.

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Let me get this right. The boat is a 2006 and the owner died 2 yrs ago, so say 2008. And it was used once since the death. They would have had to average 200 hr a season. You didn't say where the boat was located but even if it was in a warmer climate, 200 a season is kinda hard to achieve. I can basically boat year round and I can only get about 50-60 hrs a year. I'm thinking the hr meter was screwed up from initial splash down. As I stated before, mine came from the factory with 800 on the gauge, so I knew mine was messed up right from the get go. I'd definitely get it hooked up to a computer to get to the bottom of it. You may discover that you have a real gem on your hands that's barely broken in. Here's hoping for the best for ya!

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That's what the broker told me. So, I'm not sure if it's the truth or not. I agree that the math doesn't add up. Especially considering the boat is not in a year-round boating climate.

Let me get this right. The boat is a 2006 and the owner died 2 yrs ago, so say 2008. And it was used once since the death. They would have had to average 200 hr a season. You didn't say where the boat was located but even if it was in a warmer climate, 200 a season is kinda hard to achieve. I can basically boat year round and I can only get about 50-60 hrs a year. I'm thinking the hr meter was screwed up from initial splash down. As I stated before, mine came from the factory with 800 on the gauge, so I knew mine was messed up right from the get go. I'd definitely get it hooked up to a computer to get to the bottom of it. You may discover that you have a real gem on your hands that's barely broken in. Here's hoping for the best for ya!

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I've seen my share of Hobbs hour meters puke; generally reliable though. As Joe stated, they are an easy replacement. A tech with computer can get the actual engine hours from an EFI engine as far back as the mid '90's with no problems. Most techs don't pay too much attention to what an hour meter says anyway unless it agrees with what the diagnostic computer reads. Only way a person can cheat the actual engine hours at that point is by swapping out the ECM, and that is NOT cheap.

OK, the follow-up is how do I know if my engines are EFI? Mercruiser has two models in the 5.0 size, one is their 220hp (which is what I think I have, not sure though) that is their Turn Key Starting system (TKS) which Mercruiser states "fuel injection convenience in a carburated engine". So, if this is the configuration on my engines, is there an ECM?

My reason for wanting hour meters functioning is more for my own monitoring - rather than keeping hand written logs. I would like to acurately know what the current total hours are, so I can keep that record plus new functioning hours meters for eventual resale purposes when I look to upgrade to the 350 or 370.

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my stbd hour meter has lost some of the segments in the hundreds digit. i'm told the Hobbs hour meters come in two wire and three wire. i have not crawled under the dash or removed the panel to find out which one i have. i am also told the meter may not have 12 volts as its input signal. i was planning to connect a new one to a 12 volt pwr supply to advance the hours to get the new one to the correct reading. anyone know if this will work?

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OK, the follow-up is how do I know if my engines are EFI? Mercruiser has two models in the 5.0 size, one is their 220hp (which is what I think I have, not sure though) that is their Turn Key Starting system (TKS) which Mercruiser states "fuel injection convenience in a carburated engine". So, if this is the configuration on my engines, is there an ECM?

My reason for wanting hour meters functioning is more for my own monitoring - rather than keeping hand written logs. I would like to acurately know what the current total hours are, so I can keep that record plus new functioning hours meters for eventual resale purposes when I look to upgrade to the 350 or 370.

MerCruiser carb'd models of your boats vintage can show the actual engine hours, or so I understand. We don't have the harness needed to connect to the distributor assy (or is it the ICM that needs to be have the harness connected to on Thunderbolt V types) as up here most guys don't care about hours; general condition of the boat is more important. Mainly due to the fact that only a small minority of boats get over 50 hours a season. NOTE: this is what I've been told by Mercury - I've never tried to access engine hours from the distributor or ICM personally.

On MerCruiser carb'd models, instead of a ECM (engine control module), an ICM (ignition control module) runs the timing, etc. An ICM of course is an austere version of an ECM. And an ICBM has an even more complicated computer yet, but I don't want to see any run time on them!

In short, if the engine cover reads 5.0L or 5.0L TKS, or on older models any reference to Thunderboat Ignition, it's carb'd. An EFI will plainly read 'EFI' or 'MPI' to designate fuel injection on the engine cover. And actual engine hours should be able to be retrieved from later model carb'd MerCruiser engines.

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MerCruiser carb'd models of your boats vintage can show the actual engine hours, or so I understand. We don't have the harness needed to connect to the distributor assy (or is it the ICM that needs to be have the harness connected to on Thunderbolt V types) as up here most guys don't care about hours; general condition of the boat is more important. Mainly due to the fact that only a small minority of boats get over 50 hours a season. NOTE: this is what I've been told by Mercury - I've never tried to access engine hours from the distributor or ICM personally.

On MerCruiser carb'd models, instead of a ECM (engine control module), an ICM (ignition control module) runs the timing, etc. An ICM of course is an austere version of an ECM. And an ICBM has an even more complicated computer yet!

In short, if the engine cover reads 5.0L or 5.0L TKS, or on older models any reference to Thunderboat Ignition, it's carb'd. An EFI will plainly read 'EFI' or 'MPI' to designate fuel injection on the engine cover. And actual engine hours should be able to be retrieved from later model carb'd MerCruiser engines.

Thanks! I'll ask my marina mechanic to look into this.

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Thanks Joey.

I sold the boat to a guy on Lanier (North end). Maybe you will see the boat out on the water sometime.

If I coulda unloaded my 310 I woulda been calling you on your 330... LOL

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