With EFI, No Use Pumping the Throttle

A buddy of mine looking at used boats recently went on sea trial with a salesperson who recommended pumping the throttle while starting the boat. Well, that would have been fine if boat had a carburetor, but because it was fuel injected, I told him the salesman was incorrect in his recommendation.

This late '70s outboard came with triple carburetors. We've come a long way: EFI is far superior to carbs in every way. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

This late ’70s outboard came with triple carburetors. We’ve come a long way: EFI is far superior to carbs in every way. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

I would have assumed everybody knew this, but for academics’ sake, let’s review. Pumping the throttle on an EFI system does nothing for you. Here’s why:

Carburetors have an accelerator pump that squirts fuel into the venturis while starting. This give the engine a little boost of fuel to catch. With EFI all you need to do is turn the key. EFI does the rest.

When you turn the key, the fuel pump runs for a short period. It will not keep running without sensing oil pressure, but this programmed function primes the fuel system and has the net effect of pumping the throttle — automatically. The computerized engine management system also feeds the engine a slightly richer mixture if the engine is cold. This is the same function as the choke on a carbureted engine, but again, it’s done automatically.

The advent of fuel injection on recreational boats was such a godsend, I nearly rejoice in it, and I have zero fond memories of carburetors. EFI makes boats more reliable and fuel efficient, with less required maintenance. It also makes boats safer: Because the systems are closed to the atmosphere,  there’s less chance for fuel vapors under the hatch. That also benefits the environment.

I’m elated the marine industry finally left carburetors in the dustbin of history. Now we just need to bring all the salesmen up to speed.

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