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View Full Version : Starter/Solenoid/key switch???? Issues


wesgardner
07-22-2006, 10:13 PM
OK, today the starter wouldn't crank at all, however, I COULD jump between the big terminal on the solenoid and the terminal coming from the neutral safety switch whereupon the solenoid would engage and the starter would crank the motor normally.

SO I replaced the solenoid out of hand as I thought it was time but while doing so, I was wondering what the orange wire does? It seems to go over to the coil? I also jumped out the neutral safety switch so that is not part of the issue...

Anyhow - the solenoid still will not pull in and the starter won't run when the key switch is activated....I CAN jump between the wiring as stated above and everything starts fine - this leads me to believe it's the key switch - does this make sense? I'm a little hot and bothered and something is just getting by me here - HELP please. What else is in the starter circuit ? Seems I hear a very, very faint noise when I activate the key switch - nowhere near as loud as the typical solenoid "click of death" Furthermore, I dropped the key switch out of the panel and jumped between the yellow wire ("S" terminal) and the big fat red wire.....I get the same muted noise as when I just turn the key switch to "start"

Got any ideas????

Bongo
07-23-2006, 12:19 AM
While I didn't diagnose mine the same way, I had a similar problem. I replaced or tested a heck of a lot before coming to the emergency kill switch. It had gone bad. It is part of the circuit for the key switch. I connected the two leads to the kill switch together and everything ran fine. (I eventually replaced the kill switch.)

If I recall, they were purple wires. My boat is the same year as yours, though an '89 ProStar.

Good Luck. Debugging electrical circuits is a lot of trial and error for me.

Bongo

rektek
07-23-2006, 02:00 AM
While I didn't diagnose mine the same way, I had a similar problem. I replaced or tested a heck of a lot before coming to the emergency kill switch. It had gone bad. It is part of the circuit for the key switch. I connected the two leads to the kill switch together and everything ran fine. (I eventually replaced the kill switch.)

If I recall, they were purple wires. My boat is the same year as yours, though an '89 ProStar.

Good Luck. Debugging electrical circuits is a lot of trial and error for me.

Bongo
Wes,
you've done all the hard work by exposing the circuits, grab a volt meter and make some voltage checks, if everything is working right you should have [see attached] obviously it's not, you either have something else faulty in the circuit or you have a faulty connection.
pm me with your voltage checks.

cheers
Jeff

bigmac
07-23-2006, 08:29 AM
If you jump the solenoid and it engages, I'd consider that to be a functional solenoid. I would think that it's either a) bad ignition switch b) bad neutral safety switch c) a fuse in the starter relay circuit d) safety tether switch.

I had this happen on an outboard I have. At the switch, I checked voltage yellow/red terminal and ground and with the key turned got 12 volts. I jumped the purple, then red, to the yellow/red and got nothing. I bypassed the neutral safety switch - still nothing. I followed the wire to the solenoid and found an inline fuse - which had blown.

As Bongo mentioned above, don't forget to bypass, or at least check continuity of, your safety tether.

BIA Wire Color--------------------Where it is used

Black-------------------------------All Grounds
Black with Yellow stripe--------------Magneto/short to Kill
Gray--------------------------------Tachometer signal
Yellow with Black stripe--------------Choke
Red---------------------------------Unprotected(12V+)from battery
Red with Purple stripe----------------Protected(+12V)from battery
Purple-------------------------------(+12V)from ignition switch
Tan---------------------------------Overheat sensor to warning horn
Pink---------------------------------Sending unit to fuel guage
Yellow with Red stripe----------------Ignition switch to starter solenoid
Yellow------------------------------charging stator to rectifier
Lt.Blue with White stripe-------------Trim up
Green with White stripe--------------Trim down

wesgardner
07-24-2006, 09:31 AM
Hey All,

It's amazing what a good night's sleep will do - one thing it won't do is fix electrical problems...however, wit ha clear head I tracked it down to almost certainly being the key switch - the neautral safety was jumped out of the circuit when I did the test, so there really just isn't anything else...plus yesterday morning when I went down to "operate", it started a couple of times with the key switch, but failed more than I few...I've ordered a key switch, we'll see how that goes

Thanks to all for the moral support and encouragement

Wes

wesgardner
07-27-2006, 09:32 AM
I'm quite sure it was the key switch - the new one arrived from skiDIM and I installed it last night - I've tried starting it about a dozen times with success, so at this point I'm pronouncing it FIXED

Once again, thanks for all the moral support

Hunterb
07-27-2006, 11:53 AM
Wes,

Glad to hear it's fixed. One question you had was about the orange wire going from the solenoid to the coil. The purpose of that wire is to provide a full 12 volts to the ignition system when cranking. Once the motor starts and the key is in the 'run' position the ignition system receives about 9 volts. The idea was to extend the life of the points. If you have converted to electronic ignition you can remove the orange wire as far as I know.

Bruce

JimN
07-27-2006, 12:05 PM
Wes- if this ever happens again, you can connect the post on the solenoid with the yellow/red wire to a voltage source, like the battery cable, using a test lead or other small gauge wire. Make sure the key is off when you do this.

wesgardner
07-27-2006, 03:27 PM
Thanx guys, yes, I've converted to EI....

wesgardner
07-28-2006, 09:19 AM
Well, it's NOT fixed, it did it again last night....

Here's the circuit - NO kill switch (was removed along time ago), neutral safety switch (at the trans. - there isn't anything at the throttle/shifter), new key switch, new solenoid, new wire for "s" terminal...

I can jump from the "s" terminal on the solenoid to the big hot wire wit ha screwdriver and it'll start fine. To me this means the solenoid is working and the starter is working...

Somehow, there's not enough or intermitent voltage being supplied thru the key switch????

Me and a couple of EE's who rode with me last night were all scratching our heads.... something's just too easy....

JimN
07-28-2006, 09:42 AM
That's the problem with EEs. They scratch their heads when there's work to be done.
Should have taken a mechanic instead. :D

Look at the plug where the motor harness meets the boat harness. Look at the motor's grounding bolt (or stud, etc) and make sure it's tight and clean, there are no bad terminals and the starter bolts are tight. Do a wiggle test on all of the wires. If you have any doubt about the contact of the starter to the block, remove it, clean the mating surfaces and reinstall it. That mating surface and the bolts are the starter's path to ground. The safety switch won't affect the ability to crank, just have spark.

wesgardner
07-31-2006, 09:27 AM
Here's what I've done - haven't had time to test it yet - I ran in a new #10 wire from the large battery terminal post on the solenoid forward to the proper terminal on the key switch (is it called "battery" on the switch) and then a new wire from the "s" terminal on the key switch back thru the neutral safety switch. I am "back feeding" my switch panel (nav., blower, etc.) utilizing the existing wiring harness.

We'll see how this goes....the only thing interupting the path now that's not new is the neutral safety switch...I'll check up on those grounds as well....

rektek
07-31-2006, 03:14 PM
wes,
with a fluke meter and a few jumper leads you and your EE friends should be able to figure out the voltage drop in 15 minutes as long as it's failing. do you have a wiring diagram yet ?

Jeff

wesgardner
07-31-2006, 03:23 PM
No wiring diagram - we did a test and got 5.7 volts on the "old" wire returning from the key switch to the solenoid...that;s what prompted the running in of new wiring

That wasn't any fluke either....

wesgardner
08-01-2006, 01:23 PM
Took the ole gal out last night and she started like a new one!

JimN
08-01-2006, 02:15 PM
But, how was the boat?:D

wesgardner
08-01-2006, 02:18 PM
Oh ouch, yup, the boat ran really well too....

Fancy new look on the site....ooooooo,,aaaaahhhhh, very nice

lav
08-17-2006, 10:25 PM
hey guys i hope this is the proper place for this question?

anyhow i own a 2002 x star with 136 hrs on it the solenoid is acting up
takes 3 or 4 ing .engages before it will turn
i read on here people have replaced this with an automotive solenoid with no issues thinking of going this route but a auto mechanic friend feels with so little hours starter may not be to far behind solenoid
just looking for some other input on this
easier to spend $20 as opposed to $170 plus shipping
thanks in advance

JimN
08-17-2006, 10:31 PM
Double post- needs to be deleted.

JimN
08-17-2006, 10:31 PM
lav- it could be that the Bendix hasn't been lubricated as it should have and is sticking. It could also be caused by trying to start the motor with a battery that's close to being depleted. Either way, if you remove the starter and lubricate the Bendix shaft, it may come back for you. If not, I recommend taking it to a motor rebuilder or auto electric service shop. It's a lot less $ than a new one and they should have no problem doing it to Coast Guard spec.

lav
08-17-2006, 10:36 PM
thanks for the suggestion i will try to lube it tommorow
batteries are both good load tested them first
you dont think it is a good idea to replace with automotive type solenoid is this due to the sealing of it to make it explosion proof?

wesgardner
08-18-2006, 11:46 AM
The STARTER needs to be marine, the solenoid I believe is same/same as the automobile, at least that's what I'm currently running...

Try the lube trick... also make sure the mating surfaces where the starter bolts up are CLEAN, a bit of sandpaper works well here...this is the negative side of the electrical "equation" and ++CAN++ cause issues by not providing a good ground, so take the 2 seconds just before you reinstall the starter and clean 'em up...

Have a great weekend

Wes

afkvrts
08-30-2006, 12:26 AM
Hey all... Im having similar problems. I have a 94 maristar and have just removed and replaced the damper plate. (See my posts about it.) After putting it all back, it wont crank. I jumper it and it cranks. I have checked out a few things so far but am pretty bummed and need help.

I get power when the ignition is in the "start" position on the sensor on the tranny, which is right below the starter, (I think this is my nuetral sensor it has two yellow wires going to it) On the top stud on this sensor I get power on the bottom I dont. Interestinglly I had a hard time determining if power was going from this sensor up to the power dist block where the 50amp button is.

Please let me know what to do...

-A
Post here or on my other thread. Thanks.

http://www.tmcowners.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=10107&page=4

JimN
08-30-2006, 12:44 AM
This is a duplicate post due to the site being slow. PLease delete it.

JimN
08-30-2006, 12:45 AM
Jiggle the throttle while you crank it without putting it in neutral. If it engages, you need to adjust the shift cable, usually shortening it.

afkvrts
08-30-2006, 01:46 PM
Thanks JimN I will give that a try. I also want to know how to test the sensor on the tranny.

Thanks again.

-A

wesgardner
08-30-2006, 01:50 PM
Probably the easiest way is to "jump out" the neutral safety on the trans. do this by removing one wire from the switch and securing it on the same terminal as the other wire...

JimN
08-30-2006, 03:09 PM
If you want to test the switch itself, use a multi-meter and set it to Ohms, then attach one lead to each screw terminal. If you put it in neutral and it's reading open but you have continuity in forward and reverse, the switch is good.

Hunterb
08-30-2006, 08:50 PM
JinM, Is that switch backwards from mine? Mine has continuity in neutral and is open when in gear, which prevents the starter from operating except when the shifter is in neutral. At least I'm pretty sure that's the way mine works.

Bruce

JimN
08-31-2006, 12:00 AM
It could be, I've seen both types.

afkvrts
08-31-2006, 02:15 PM
THANKS FELLAS !!!!

It was the an adjustment on the neutral switch, jiggling the shifter a little and moving it slightly twards reverse and my LT-1 fired right up :)

Im so happy. Thank you again, it feels real good to have completed this repair with no problems and a running boat.

-A

87 TriStar 190
09-06-2006, 12:51 AM
I have been having issues with the starter not engaging on the initial turn of the switch. At first I could get it by turning the ignition switch several times. At one point I noticed that if I moved the throttle back and forth, it would fire and start. Standard procedure became if it didn't fire right up, just cylce the trottle lever until it did. It got worse and took more cycles. After reading some posts, I disconnected the neutral lockout and did a continuity check on the switch. It's normally closed in the neutral position and open in forward and reverse. The switch checked out OK. Just as a test, I jumpered past the switich by connecting both wires to one terminal. In the last two outing, it's started 100% on the first turn of the key. Since the switch checked OK by itself, should I worry about a marginal circuit and low votage, or should I just be happy and replace the switch and count on it working. Do those go bad very often? I have 915 hours on the boat.

On other question. I have read about putting in a #10 ground wire. I know big ground wires are a good thing. Between what components should I be looking at, or is that all ground wires? Can anyone offer suggestions?

JimN
09-06-2006, 08:54 AM
If you can get it to start by moving the throttle and the switch checked out OK, it's a mechanical issue, not the switch itself. The cable has stretched and needs to be adjusted.

Where are you talking about putting in the 10 ga ground wire- to the dash? The size of the wire is determined by the load it will carry and it's length, nothing else. Having a larger wire won't hurt but if there's no objective reason for it, I wouldn't bother.

87 TriStar 190
09-07-2006, 12:43 AM
This may sound like too simplistic of a question, but I've never adjusted the cable. Any directions or advice? I have heard that shift/throttle cables can break. It works really smooth. Any risk?

Thanks again for your help.

Hunterb
09-07-2006, 03:54 PM
I had the exact same issue with my boat. I think what happens is that the contact that is inside the neutral start switch gets a build up of carbon on it. By moving the shifter back and forth it essentially 'resets' the switch each time and eventually it will make contact and away you go. I managed to make mine work all summer by taking it off, holding the little ball in and squirting a bunch of Mercury Powertune in it and letting it soak for a while. You can buy a new one from SKIDIM for $15.00 as well. Those switches do go bad quite regularly. Make sure your cable is adjusted properly first and if that doesn't fix it you can try my haywire method of fixing the switch or simply put a new one in and you should be good to go.

Bruce

JimN
09-07-2006, 08:54 PM
How does a neutral safety switch get carbon on it? It's a spring loaded ball switch and it has a range of motion, moved by the shift lever. If anything, it may corrode.

To check for cable play, remove the cable from the shift lever and center it (you'll feel when it's centered). Try to start it. It will probably crank with no problem. If you need to wiggle it when it's in the center position, replace it, then check the cable for play later.

87 TriStar 190
09-08-2006, 09:39 PM
JimN, your diagnostics were dead on. I turned the adjustment device out two turns. I moved the throttle to all different positions, then to neutral and worked every time. Thanks.

Is the switch something I should remove and clean. I'm thinking as long as it is working perfectly, leave it alone. Your thoughts?

JimN
09-08-2006, 10:11 PM
If the switch goes bad, you'll know it. Leave it in there and enjoy your boat.

87 TriStar 190
09-09-2006, 01:21 AM
There was about 3/8 to 1/2 inch of movement at the transmission end with I moved the cable in and out and the throttle lever did not move. Is that normal?