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Spence
04-29-2010, 09:53 PM
Have a 1990 Tristar with 351 Windsor. Forgive my lack of technical knowledge...engine has 1000+ hours and Ive had it for 100+ hours and 2 seasons. I can change the oil, plugs, impeller, winterize and dewinterize, but thats about as far as my skills go.

This year when I dewinterized and tried to start it, the distributor spins but engine only turns over about half of the time when I try to start it. I took cap off and sanded the points but it didnt help. Whats my next move? Shouldnt sanding the points down fix this? Do I need to adjust the timing and can I do that (not much engine work experience) or would I have to have someone do it? Also, how much does electronic ignition cost and are they easy to install for someone whos got little experience working on engines?

I assume these are basic maintenance questions for this engine model..thanks for any assistance you guys can provide...

Matt L.
04-29-2010, 11:34 PM
http://www.pertronix.com/prod/ig/default.aspx

I have the Ignitor II. Super easy retro fit that is more than worth the money!!! I may go with the Ignitor III and Flamethrower HC 60,000 volt coil.

Reasonably priced, good stuff that I've been ver pleased with over the last 5+ years.

Later,

Matt

thatsmrmastercraft
04-30-2010, 08:06 AM
Have a 1990 Tristar with 351 Windsor. Forgive my lack of technical knowledge...engine has 1000+ hours and Ive had it for 100+ hours and 2 seasons. I can change the oil, plugs, impeller, winterize and dewinterize, but thats about as far as my skills go.

This year when I dewinterized and tried to start it, the distributor spins but engine only turns over about half of the time when I try to start it. I took cap off and sanded the points but it didnt help. Whats my next move? Shouldnt sanding the points down fix this? Do I need to adjust the timing and can I do that (not much engine work experience) or would I have to have someone do it? Also, how much does electronic ignition cost and are they easy to install for someone whos got little experience working on engines?

I assume these are basic maintenance questions for this engine model..thanks for any assistance you guys can provide...

When you say the engine only turns over about half the time, are you saying the starter isn't cranking the engine or the engine isn't firing?

TMCNo1
04-30-2010, 08:50 AM
Here are several choices, http://www.skidim.com/products.asp?dept=1113 and here is one of the EI/Breakerless conversion tutorials, http://www.tmcowners.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=3533&highlight=electronic+ignition

JimN
04-30-2010, 08:58 AM
Have a 1990 Tristar with 351 Windsor. Forgive my lack of technical knowledge...engine has 1000+ hours and Ive had it for 100+ hours and 2 seasons. I can change the oil, plugs, impeller, winterize and dewinterize, but thats about as far as my skills go.

This year when I dewinterized and tried to start it, the distributor spins but engine only turns over about half of the time when I try to start it. I took cap off and sanded the points but it didnt help. Whats my next move? Shouldnt sanding the points down fix this? Do I need to adjust the timing and can I do that (not much engine work experience) or would I have to have someone do it? Also, how much does electronic ignition cost and are they easy to install for someone whos got little experience working on engines?

I assume these are basic maintenance questions for this engine model..thanks for any assistance you guys can provide...

Sanding the points only helps if they're burned and not conducting as well as they should. Depending on how coarse the paper is and how much of the points material is removed, it can change the gap/dwell, so use only fine paper and don't be too heavy-handed with it.

joniron1
04-30-2010, 05:24 PM
Ive run a hot spark conversion for 2 years on my 1989 prostar 190 its $59 ,super easy install (5min) and nothing is changed that couldnt be undone ,i keep the points and condenser in my tool kit in case something goes out.My boat idles so smooth its hard to tell if its running,and i used to have problem starting the motor when it was hot.i would highly recommend this conversion they are on ebay search for hotspark.They also make kits for vintage motorcycles.

ahhudgins
04-30-2010, 05:51 PM
As already stated, you need to be a little more specific about the symptoms. What one persons calls "Cranking", another calls "Starting". When you turn the key and hold it in the START position for several seconds, is the starter cranking the motor over but it just won't start? Just a few simple suggestions: Make sure your battery is completely charged and the battery voltage is staying up when the engine is cranking. Pump the accelerator when it's cranking and make sure gas is shooting into the carb. DON'T STICK YOUR FACE IN THE CARB IN CASE IT BACK FIRES!!
The pointless ignition kit is very simple to install, the directions are pretty straight forward. I would check for gas at the carb and fire at the plugs first before doing anything else.

Mr_Woodcock
04-30-2010, 06:08 PM
Ive run a hot spark conversion for 2 years on my 1989 prostar 190 its $59 ,super easy install (5min) and nothing is changed that couldnt be undone ,i keep the points and condenser in my tool kit in case something goes out.My boat idles so smooth its hard to tell if its running,and i used to have problem starting the motor when it was hot.i would highly recommend this conversion they are on ebay search for hotspark.They also make kits for vintage motorcycles.

X2 Took a chance at it since it was only $59 bucks and it works amazing. Seems like its an exact copy or style as the Pertronix (licensed out). Pretty happy with it!

Spence
04-30-2010, 10:58 PM
Ok, thanks guys, Ive got some more info that will hopefully clarify the problem and/or determine whether ive got multiple problems. When I turn the key, one of 3 things happens...

40% of the time, turn key, engine 'fires?', tries to crank (sounds like normal) and cranks up, no problem.
50% of the time, turn key, I hear what may be the starter 'whirring/grinding, but mostly whirring'...sounds about like a beefed up automatic can opener...engine does not 'turn over' at all
10% of the time, NOTHING, I mean, no lights on the guages, no sound when key fully turned, nothing...however, the gauges do read for psi, temp, fuel level, etc...

I checked and the battery is at 100% and the battery terminals are tightened.

Multiple issues? Damn its tough to describe engine problems to a mechanic without being able to make the sounds yourself, ha...thanks for the help...

thatsmrmastercraft
04-30-2010, 11:11 PM
Now we are getting somewhere. You need to first disconnect and clean both connections at the battery, at the starter and the ground connection at the block. Just tightening the connections is not enough if there is corrosion at these connections. If that doesn't make your engine crank (turn) over every time you hit the key, then its time to remove the starter and have it tested at an auto parts store, or preferably a starter rebuilder.

Once you have consistent cranking , then its time to check for spark and replace the points with new or an electronic conversion.

thatsmrmastercraft
04-30-2010, 11:14 PM
If you are dealing with bad battery connections, you may not be getting enough voltage to get a decent spark. In addition, you likely sanded enough material off the points to increase the point gap/dwell to make if difficult/impossible to start.

pkskier
04-30-2010, 11:20 PM
Could be a bad solenoid, which is on the rear of the engine. If the solenoid is faulty you will not get enough voltage to the starter.

thatsmrmastercraft
04-30-2010, 11:23 PM
Oops, I forgot to mention cleaning the connections at the solenoid too.

JimN
05-01-2010, 08:20 AM
It could be that the contacts in the solenoid are bad, too. If someone cranked the motor when the battery was discharged and then the battery was dead, the contacts would have gotten too hot and burned.

thatsmrmastercraft
05-01-2010, 12:14 PM
Yet another good point. For $12, I would just install a new one while you are cleaning up connections.

slickwater1
05-01-2010, 12:53 PM
I was having trouble with my boat starting, new battery, no help, new starter, no help, new plugs wires rotor bug, no help, new coil no help, new kill switch, no help, $12 Solenoid like brand new. boat would turn over and turn over but no start. didn't seem to be the problem. finally that is the only thing that was left. the boat turned over so much faster and fired no problem.

Spence
05-02-2010, 04:56 PM
thanks guys, awesome tips and this is getting me on the right track...the engine always fires now that i cleaned and checked connections at the battery and solenoid...however, the starter sounds like its not catching the flywheel and just grinding against the gears about 50% of the time and the engine wont turn over (im assuming that 'fires' and 'turn over' are different)....so im pretty sure i need a new starter, but we'll see after i replace it...(feel free to tell me otherwise if youve got other ideas)

whats the best place to order parts for this boat? I went to Pep Boys hoping that the 351 windsor would have same replacement parts as its automobile equivalent, but the distributor cap and the starter are different sizes and dont fit...so i assume i need to get everything from a marine website, and suggestions? Thanks!

thatsmrmastercraft
05-02-2010, 05:09 PM
I would either find a local re-builder to take care of your starter or go to www.skidim.com for a new starter. It could be that your starter drive is bad or your shaft is slightly corroded. You may not need a new starter. Your local re-builder will test it for you.

Simple terminology for turning over (or cranking) is when you turn the ignition key and the starter engages and makes the engine rotate.

Firing would be when there is at least some combustion going on - even if it isn't starting.

There are quite a few parts that are marine specific. I would order a skidim catalog ASAP and use is as your bible.

Matt L.
05-03-2010, 01:00 AM
1990 you say, that means corrosion. Last season I ran all new wire and connectors from the batts to the distributor, and then cleaned every connector up to the dash (on my 1990 MC 240SC). This was all due to some nasty corrosion on everything up to the coil. None of the factory wire nor connectors were marine grade. It was all common automotive crap. I was only getting 7.5 volts to the coil causing the Pertronics Ignitor II to malfunction. It needs at least 9.5V to function. I now get full battery/alternator voltage at the coil. I up sized everything at least one gauge, and went to 00 on the batt cables. Everything crimped, soldered, and self sealing shrink tubed.

WWW.genuinedealz.com is the best place ever to order marine grade wire and related items. Top grade stuff, awesome prices, fast, and free shipping. West Marine blows in comparison.

Just replace wires as you go. Don't pull anything until you have the replacement wire next to to ready to run. I learned the hard way.

Good luck,

Matt

Spence
05-11-2010, 11:10 PM
update - flywheel's teeth were worn down / rounded off so the starter wont always catch...bit the bullet and let the local mastercraft guy take a look at it...

83SuperSlot
05-11-2010, 11:32 PM
Sounds like you tried starting it a lot... it's definitely a battery/power issue. I had the same problem with my last boat. Check all connections and batt. Health.... good luck!