View Full Version : Still won't start (and other troubles)

03-29-2005, 11:45 AM
So I went in search of the kill switch last night at the suggestion of some members. I found it, plain as day, right next to the ignition. I pulled it out, and discovered that it had been bypassed by the previous owner. At least I think it has, because the wires were clipped off and twisted together, covered by electrical tape.

Then, I pulled a spark plug and attached the wire to see if there was any spark. I turned the engine over, and held the plug to various engine block areas. No spark. BUT, then another problem happened. When I released the key from the start position, the engine was still turning over. I even took the key out, and it was still going. Panic time - I dove back to the battery and removed the negative cable to make it stop. I waited ten minutes, reconnected it, and started to work on it again. Still trying to make sure I was grounding the plug to find out if I had a spark, I turned the engine over. no spark, and then a while into it the starter kept going even when the key was turned off and taken out. Another dive to the battery to disconnect. I stopped my "work" at that point.

So - now I have a copule of problems (at least). No spark, and this new "starter won't quit" thing going on. The starter was rebuilt last week by a reputable marine shop, and I put a new starter relay in. Any thoughts out there? The coil? The solenoid? Should I throw in the towel and bring it into the shop? Thanks. -Rick

03-29-2005, 04:11 PM
I didn't see you report what year your boat / engine is. Maybe it is in another post (I didn't see it in your profile). Anyway, I am aware of the basic troubleshooting steps if you have an older boat with points ignition. I won't go into it here unless / until I know it is appropriate.

Please provide specifics on year, make, model of engine. I have an '87 Prostar with the Ford 351W and might be able to help if it is close.

03-29-2005, 04:21 PM
Oops, sorry. It's an '89 Tristar, Ford 351. Sounds pretty close...

03-29-2005, 04:50 PM
I don't understand what the starting issue is in terms of catching and running, but if the starter runs on after you turn it back to the ON position it is either a switch or the selonoid hanging...not a good problem to have. I would have someone check the switch or if you know how to use a multi-meter there are many threads you can search on to see what is the proper readings.

Nova Scotia Skier
03-29-2005, 08:16 PM
This probably is not your trouble, but I will share it in case it is. Also maybe it will help someone else. Last spring mine wouldn't go. No spark, just like yours. Checked many things, but it ended up being the thing(can't remember name right now) under the rotor button. It came apart and all the magnets came out. Hmmmm. :confused: Anyway, I put it back together but it lacked power and the tack on PP varied a lot. These magnets go in only 1 way. All poles must point same direction.
I put them in properly and now it works fine. The magnets are hard to put in by the way.
It may not be your problem, but it is a place to look. :twocents:

03-29-2005, 08:22 PM
Dude, this is going to sound bad :( is your battery in right?? I will say that I did this once and it acted like yours (not the mastercraft) it was an honest mistake and could happen to any one. Now that I said that dont tell anyone ok?. But you might want to check that and then dont tell anyone if thats what it was.

03-29-2005, 10:09 PM
Like was stated in the above post, you either have a bad key switch, or a bad solenoid. Did you say that you had replaced the solenoid, if so, i would make absolutely sure everything is wired right. You could by-pass the key switch by using a jumper wire from the hot side of the solenoid to the small post where the key switch wire hooks up. If the solenoid still hangs up after doing this, its more than likely the solenoid. Once again, I would make sure everything is wired back correctly. As far as your no fire problem. You should check or replace your points, rotor, and cap. You can get a tune up kit from a mastercraft dealer with all the components. You will need a feeler guage and a screwdriver to do this. Im not sure what the gap should be on your points, but Im shure someone here can tell you. If your key switch is bad, this could be causing firing problems as well. I would definitely fix the starter issue before pursuing the no fire, if that starter turns over too much and gets hot, it won't last long.

east tx skier
03-30-2005, 10:44 AM
Dude, this is going to sound bad :( is your battery in right?? I will say that I did this once and it acted like yours (not the mastercraft) it was an honest mistake and could happen to any one. Now that I said that dont tell anyone ok?. But you might want to check that and then dont tell anyone if thats what it was.

When I first got my 84 jeep, I didn't bother to look where the battery cables were coming from/going to. The negative had a red jacket and the positive a black one. I figured it out eventually. Glad I didn't blow myself up.

03-30-2005, 11:54 AM
Thanks for the input so far. I am positive (no pun intended) that the battery is in correctly, and that the cables were hooked up properly. I checked them about ten times during this fiasco.

04-01-2005, 11:20 AM
UPDATE: Ok, here's the latest: The starter relay is likely bad, and for some reason gets stuck in the "on" position after some moderate cranking. So, I will replace that. But, I was able to get a spark from the coil, but not after the distributor. Not surprising, since when I took off the cap, it was pretty pathetic in there. So, a new cap, points, etc. is on order, and hopefully we'll be up and running by Sunday. And since I pulled off the cracked dash plate in order to check the kill switch, I figured I'd fix that too - hope to pick it up this afternoon at TAP plastics. They're cutting a new one for $30. Thanks for everyone's help.

04-08-2005, 02:06 PM
Ok, final update (hopefully). Changed out the points, rotor, condeser, and cap. And plugs, too - thanks for the box wrench idea (although I felt pretty stupid not figuring out that one myself). Vrooooom. All seems well, and I'll time it this weekend, and off to the lake I go. Due to the overwhelming advice from about ten of you guys in another one of my posts, I will make the change to electronic ignition at the end of the season, but I just couldn't wait. Thanks for all the help - I'm very happy I found this board.

04-08-2005, 02:36 PM
Glad you got the happy vroom noise! Enjoy your ride this weekend. My boat is still wrapped up in the driveway and will be for some time by the looks of it....

04-08-2005, 03:23 PM
Now that it's runing again, throw those points into the trash & get an electronic ignition conversion kit. It'll be the best $90.00 you spend.

glad you're able to hit the water already.... I'm looking at another couple weeks.