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brohem
04-04-2005, 11:05 AM
I finally bought my dream ski boat 2 years ago and the only problem I have is that my battery will not charge while I run the engine. When I test the volts at the battery terminal I am receiving 12.4, but this is not enough to charge the battery. I had the alternator rebuilt, installed it, and I have the same problem, to little charge. I took the alternator back, they tested it, it tested fine, and they told me it could be the voltage regulator. I took off the voltage regulator and took it back to the shop where the alternator was rebuilt and they hooked both up to a testor (with me watching) and they both tested fine. The alternator put out 14+ volts and the voltage regulator was hooked up to the circuit.
When I rebuilt the engine, I cleaned and moved the ground cable, but I still have the same freaking problem. The amp meter on my dash stays slightly over to the negitive while the engine is running (even at high rpm) and what happens is that by the middle of the day on the lake, I have a dead battery and I have to hook up a second battery to keep on skiing. This stinks!

Electrical problems are my weakest area of knowledge, and I am at a loss to problem-solve this any further. Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated!

Tom in KY

jsonova99
04-04-2005, 11:11 AM
Welcome to the board. Are you sure that the battery is good? I know I always get burned by the simplest variable in the equation. Otherwise, you got me. I hate dealing with electrical problems, too.

brohem
04-04-2005, 11:24 AM
Man that was a quick reply! I have had the same problem for 2 years now and the boat came with a 2 month old automobile battery and I purchased a deep-charge or deep-pull marine battery when I bought the boat thinking the 1st battery was the problem. Not so. Both batteries hold charges, but the boat won't recharge either of them. I have to recharge both batteries the night before heading to the lake=big bummer.

I am nervous about taking it to the dealer for a look-see. They have been a MC dealer for about 2 years and I am afraid the mechanics there wouldn't know a thing about a 23 year old MC, not to mention I could buy a new X-10 for what they would charge to fix it!

Tom

sfitzgerald351
04-04-2005, 12:03 PM
Hmmmm... where did you relocate your ground cable to? I'd think you'd just need to trace back the voltage to the battery and figure out where it drops. If you have 14 at the alternator while running but only 12 at the battery it would sound like you need new battery cables or at least clean the connections up. I put new cables in my 1984 and it made a world of difference (though my problem was getting enough juice to the starter). Something to try, though I'm sure you'll get some more expert opinions from others shortly.

martini
04-04-2005, 12:23 PM
You may have a bad wire leading from the alternater to amp guage or from the amp guage back to the battery for charging. The way an amp meter is set up, in my opinion, is not a good way to charge a battery. This is because of the distance it has to travel to get to the battery. If you were to switch to a volt meter, you could basically have the charge wire go directly to the battery, instead of having to go all the way up to the dash and back. I would start by checking voltage at the alternator and work your way back. It is the only way to know where your problem is. Another note on the volt meter option is the original wiring harness will have an unused lead, tied up in the harness, specifically for converting to this type. Just a thought. I would check out www.skiboathelp.com for a diagram of the wiring set up. Good luck.

AirJunky
04-04-2005, 12:53 PM
I've seen similar problems on a friends older boat. Last summer, we replaced the connectors on the battery end of the cables & things were sweet for the rest of the season. We had cleaned & cleaned them more than once. But the problem was the corrosion between the connector & the cable..... which was tough to see till we pulled the connector off to replace it.
The connectors we used were bought at a high end stereo shop. They look like billet with a screw down to secure the cable. Cost was like $40, which I thought was high till the problems never showed up again.

sfitzgerald351
04-04-2005, 12:56 PM
Yeah, I'll second the connectors. After I put in the new cables 4 years ago I still ended up replacing the battery end connectors this year again. I guess I didn't do such a great job soldering them up the first time.

brohem
04-04-2005, 03:00 PM
I can't believe how fast the replys have come. This board rocks! Thanks sfitzgerald351, arijunky, martini and jsonova99. New posts on the wires and terminal cleaning it is before I do anything else. Sfitzgerald351, does your boat really have a 454 in it? Dang, that must be some pull! Does your whole boat except the prop come out of the water when you hit it? How many horses? How many times have you had to have your arms re-attached?

sfitzgerald351
04-04-2005, 03:09 PM
The 454 is fun, but to be honest a new boat with EFI 351 in it actually has more 'pull' to me. But I can drop a few skiers in the water and pull them all out no problem. We just figured out that the motor was rated at 325-335HP and who knows how much torque. It's fun, but drinks gas like a frat boy drinks beer.

Nova Scotia Skier
04-04-2005, 03:41 PM
Thanks brohem for starting this thread and welcome. My boat is doing the same thing, but not quite as bad. I will have to take the suggestions from the guys too. Thank you everyone. :toast:

jwchapman
04-04-2005, 04:04 PM
I had the same problems w/my 88 TriStar (351W) last summer. Turned out to be the starter. It seemed to keep draining the battery and/or keeping the battery from being charged. I pulled the started and had it tested - it was clearly in very bad shape. Put on a new one (MARINE) and the boat worked fine the rest of the summer. Most auto parts stores can test any starter - but make sure you get a marine starter if you need to replace it. Good luck.

jsonova99
04-04-2005, 04:07 PM
I had the same problems w/my 88 TriStar (351W) last summer. Turned out to be the starter. It seemed to keep draining the battery and/or keeping the battery from being charged. I pulled the started and had it tested - it was clearly in very bad shape. Put on a new one (MARINE) and the boat worked fine the rest of the summer. Most auto parts stores can test any starter - but make sure you get a marine starter if you need to replace it. Good luck.


Was it just constantly drawing a current? Interesting.

AirJunky
04-04-2005, 04:13 PM
More than likely the starter just drew a LOT of current to get the thing to spin the motor. I've had this problem with a pickup a few years ago.

brohem
04-04-2005, 06:17 PM
I forgot to mention that the person I bought it from had an automotive starter in it and I had it rebuilt into a marine starter. I have had the same problem before I had the starter rebuilt and after. Sorry, I forgot to mention that in the opening statement.

adirondack
04-05-2005, 07:23 PM
I have an 86 and I had a similar problem with charging when I first got the boat in 2003. I traced the problem to two plugs in the wiring harness. One of the plugs was on the back of the motor and the other one is inside the dash behind the tach. Both of the plugs had gotten corroded over the years and there was enough resistance that when the alternator was charging there would only be 12.6 volts at the battery terminal. I had over 14 volts at the alternator. After pulling the plugs apart and cleaning everything up with contact cleaner and putting it back together, the problem went away. Later when I had some time I went and cut out the plug at the back of the engine and hardwired the harness into the terminal strip.

Skiufool
04-19-2005, 11:46 PM
I was just going to get on here and post a message regarding EXACTLY what this thread is about! I have an '84 SnS and I have had the same problem the last few times I've taken the boat out.

My boat has left me stranded twice because of this problem. I took my alternator out and had it tested and it tested fine, it has the internal voltage regulator (not like most automotive alternators). But I still only have 12.5 volts running to my batteries (I have 2 batteries - 1 for the engine and 1 for my stereo, with a battery selector switch). I've isolated both batteries and get the same voltage across both batteries. I've racked my brain trying to figure out what's wrong. I was thinking maybe the alternator isn't big enough to power both battery systems, but that wouldn't explain why I still get only 12.5 volts when I isolate the batteries.

I have an electrician coming over to check it out for me this week, but it was good to hear that I'm not the only one going through this! I'll let you know what he finds...if he finds anything!

Thanks for posting this thread...this is killing me!

erkoehler
04-20-2005, 12:31 AM
Its like we are mind readers on here, the solution to all problems can be found on the Mastercraft board!

Leroy
04-20-2005, 01:09 AM
The easy thing with electrical problems like this is you can trace to see where the problem is. Leave the ground and start moving the positive from the 14volt alt until you reach the 12.4v battery. Somewhere there will be a bad connector or wire. Then move the ground to the battery negative or to the engine to see if the ground connection is weak. You should find over >1v problem in the loop somewhere.
While the starter may pull heavily on the battery when starting, unless it is pulling current all the time the battery should charge back ~14v.

erkoehler
04-20-2005, 03:30 AM
TTAdmin,

I think this is another prime example of something for a FAQ section.

:twocents:

NeilM
04-20-2005, 10:12 AM
The easy thing with electrical problems like this is you can trace to see where the problem is. Leave the ground and start moving the positive from the 14volt alt until you reach the 12.4v battery. Somewhere there will be a bad connector or wire. Then move the ground to the battery negative or to the engine to see if the ground connection is weak. You should find over >1v problem in the loop somewhere.
While the starter may pull heavily on the battery when starting, unless it is pulling current all the time the battery should charge back ~14v.

Yep. Don't assume any piece of wire is in good shape. Corrosion can get in under the insulation through a tiny perforation, or the wire could have been pinched somewhere, causing a point of high resistance. Start with the obvious - clean all connections with a wire brush, including the under-dash ones.
Those of you with an Ammeter (not a voltmeter) on the dash with this problem -- that harness is your prime suspect.

BrianM
04-20-2005, 10:34 AM
How about the regulator? This is a symptom of a bad regulator in some cases. They are not all that expensive ( about $20) so may be worth replacing to eliminate this possibility.

martini
04-20-2005, 10:45 AM
members on here have already given the best recommendations and it seems the advice seekers are still looking for one answer, well here it is again......get a voltmeter and test everything, starting at the alternator and work your way back to the battery. It really is not that difficult, you will find your problem area.

brohem
04-25-2005, 10:31 AM
I just want to thank everyone for the input I have received. This board is kick-***! I took my boat to the lake last weekend for the first time this season and it started right up, ran great, and I had the same problem with the battery not charging. With all of this input, I will begin to follow some of the troubleshooting instructions and try to find the problem. If I find the problem, I will let you all know what I find and what I did to find/fix it.

Thanks again everyone!

Tom '82 S & S

scramblerkid
05-11-2005, 10:59 AM
My 76' S&S was doing the same thing last year. I even replaced the motorcraft with a single wire delco (gets rid of a few wires). My problem ended up being a bad ignition.