• Welcome to the Checkmate Community Forums forums.

    You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions, articles and access to our other FREE features.
    By joining our free community you will be able to:

    » Interact with over 10,000 Checkmate Fanatics from around the world!
    » Post topics and messages
    » Post and view photos
    » Communicate privately with other members
    » Access our extensive gallery of old Checkmate brochures located in our Media Gallery
    » Browse the various pictures in our Checkmate photo gallery

    Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

    If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact support by clicking here or by using the"contact us" link at the bottom of the page.

1998 Mercury 200 EFI wants to start, then stops cranking


New member
Hi all,

I have a 1998 mercury 200 EFI that has given me intermittent starting issues all season. I have taken to 2 mechanics, 1 couldn’t figure it out the other claims they couldn’t replicate the issue and it started fine for them. When I turn the key the first time, it either fires right up, or cranks for about 1/2 second then stops. From there it will crank, and gets much closer to starting when I open the throttle all the way (in neutral), but right when it sounds like it’s about to light off, it stops cranking. I’ve tried spraying ether and seems to make no difference. Is there some type of safety feature where it stops cranking if the throttle is too far forward (to limit RPMs)? I’m guessing the reason it gets closer to starting with the throttle opened is flooding/choke issue. Here is what I’ve checked so far:
- confirmed good fuel pressure
- confirmed good spark
- new spark plugs
- checked bleed valves
- good compression
- fresh gas
It feels like it’s something electrical with stopping the motor from cranking prematurely before it’s running. Once it’s going it runs fine. Bit of a rough idle at first sometimes but after that it’s fine. Is there a simple way to bypass any safety feature related to throttle position to confirm that’s the issue?


Well-known member
Having a thought on this one; Disconnect the idle stabilizer and advance module. Do a linkage synchronization by the book (this is critical for success). Set idle timing at 4* ATDC, WOT at 22*. Adjust idle speed at upper throttle plate (behind VST) for 650 RPM in forward, on the water.


New member
Jimway, thanks for your reply. I was doing some research, sounds like the idle stabilizer is located on the top port side of the engine is that right? Small black box? I have a SELOC manual and can look in there too.

Do you think that playing with the timing could fix the hard to start issue, or more the rough idle? I have set timing before on a car using timing light etc., similar process?

Agreed I will need to bump up idle speed. I knocked it down originally as it was close to 1k RPMS, but now it sometimes dies when I shift in gear.


Active member
It could be possible that your starter issue and running issue are separate problems. Something to check for the poor idle and clonking out when put in gear issues is your primer bulb and fuel supply hose. Very small cracks in the hose or primer bulb can let air in and cause all sorts of running issues.