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hardycm
08-21-2004, 12:31 PM
:confused: I'm embarrassed to have to even post this question after seeing so many posts about what a quick and easy change the electronic ignition system is. I just installed it on my '88 PS 190 and can't get the engine to run. When I crank it, it fires and then immediately dies, almost like the kill switch is engaged (I know this isn't the case, as the previous owner disabled the kill switch).

As part of the install, I had changed my cap and rotor, but have reinstalled the original ones to eliminate that. Other than that I've made no other changes. I've confirmed the wires match the firing order, have checked and rechecked the electrical connections and the gap on the module.

What else should I look at? How can I ensure that the module is working correctly? I'm tempted to take it out and reinstall my points, just to make sure its not something else (the boat was running before I did this), but want that to be a last resort.

Thanks, Chuck

tph
08-21-2004, 01:59 PM
What brand of ignition did you buy? (Pertronix, Prestolite or ?) With the Pertronix, there are two plate positions depending on the rotation of the rotor shaft. Also, you may have to remove your ballast resistor depending on the impedance of your coil.

tph
08-21-2004, 02:37 PM
One more thing...The timing changed more than I expected on my engine. You may want to mark your distributor for its current position and then adjust the rotation a little bit either direction (clockwise and counterclockwise) and try to start the engine.

hardycm
08-21-2004, 03:26 PM
Thanks, Terry. I've got a prestolite kit -- there's only one way for the plate to go on there (unless you are 180 deg out of time, which I'm not). I'll try the timing -- first I'm going to try to verify all 8 cylinders are firing -- which I'm not positive they are.

JimN
08-21-2004, 05:19 PM
Check to make sure that the lead to the coil + is hot when the key is ON as well as crank, unless there's a separate one for cranking. The coil - goes to the old points, and also to the new system. If you've looked at previous opsts about solid state ignition, make sure you don't leave the key on for too long without the motor runnung.

Any time you do anything with the ignition, you should verify the timing. If you don't have a timing light, borrow one or buy one, they can be had for $35. I would get the kind with the adjustable advance, just because it's easier to see the timing mark on the timing indicator at 0 degrees.

hardycm
08-21-2004, 06:02 PM
Yep that checks out, Jim. How do I check the timing if I can't get the engine to run? I'm used to strobing it with it running...

JimN
08-22-2004, 12:02 AM
If you have spark, just check the timing as it cranks. There should be no difference between timing during crank and at idle. It's just a little trickier, although you could have someone else turn the key.

hardycm
08-22-2004, 12:46 PM
Jim,

OK, I've done a ton of testing and here's what I have confirmed:

I confirmed timing of #1 spark plug is close to TDC

I get spark at the distributor from all 8 wires -- I do get what looks like a double pulse on one wire -- not sure what that's about but don't think its the problem.

In run I get about 1.8 V to the coil. In start I get about 9 V.

It seems like when the key returns from start to run, it drops the voltage to the coil and kills the engine.

Does this make sense / seem possible? I've checked the wiring several times and it doesn't make sense. The ignition wire going to the coil is connected to the same wire that goes to the starter solenoid. So it seems that if I give 12 V to the coil, I'm also going to be running my starter. But if I don't give 12 V to the coil, I don't get spark,so what am I missing?

Please help me!!!! Chuck

JimN
08-22-2004, 03:11 PM
Look at your ignition switch for loose wires and bad terminals. The voltage to the coil and for cranking the starter comes from there and this is the path that needs to be checked. Since you have a voltmeter, check all of the terminals on the ign switch. It is possible for the ign switch to go bad, too. What does your dash voltage gauge read when the key is on? If this is lower than usual, I would then look at the safety switch.

hardycm
08-22-2004, 03:59 PM
Jim, the dash voltage guage reads normal.

I removed the leads from the coil and get 12 V in run and ~10.5 in start from the ignition wire (by itself), so it looks like the ignition switch is OK.

HOWEVER, when I attach the choke and distributor leads to the coil, the voltages drop to the level I mentioned earlier. Could the ignition module itself have an internal short?

hardycm
08-22-2004, 06:15 PM
More info...

While troubleshooting, I disconnected the orange wire from the solenoid to the coil (presumably this acts as a back up source of voltage for the ignition wire during cranking) and could get it to crank, but not fire (previously I'd get a few rev's after it fires and then it would die.) If I leave this wire orange wire attached, but remove the purple ignition wire, it behaves as it has been (cranks, fires and then dies). This leads me to believe that the purple wire isn't doing anything, or the right thing.

But remember, I measured it and got 12 V in RUN, so once again, its not making sense to me. I think I'll call Vince at Skidim in the morning and run it by him, since they sold me the part.

JimN
08-22-2004, 08:53 PM
The purple wire has 12V when the key is on. This is the power supply for the ignition system. It goes dead during crank, since the crank lead is a different wire and is the source of voltage at that time but when the key comes off of crank, it energizes the purple wire again. The reason the purple goes through the ballast resistor(you didn't disconnect this lead, did you?) is that points will burn up with 12 volts
(or the 14.4 the alternator should be putting out) on them but the resistor drops it to around 10 and they can survive this.

hardycm
08-23-2004, 06:06 AM
Yeah Jim, that sounds right to me. Remember, I put in points, so I removed the ballast resistor completely. I took the wires from both ends of the resistor and then ganged them together on the + lead of the coil.

It sounds like everything is working about right, just that I don't actually get 12 V at the purple wire when its on the coil itself. This could be b/c there are other paths to ground in the system (i.e. through the choke, coil, etc.) but I don't think that should reduce my voltage at the coil by that much. Still pondering this, but thanks for the help so far!

One thing I am thinking of trying, just to see if this 12V in run is the problem is to run a separate, swithced wire from the battery to the coil. During crank, I'll have someone turn it on and see if that allows me to sustain ignition. Do you see a problem with this? Obviously if I don't get it running I need to turn off that switch right away so I don't burn up the ignition, but it may tell me if the wire is the problem.

Chuck

BrianM
08-23-2004, 08:23 AM
It sounds to me like you may have gotten a bad modual. Both me and another guy in my club got bad moduals the fisrt time around. Ours both came form DIM.

Did you buy your electronic from Discount Inboard Marine? If so it sounds like they had a bad batch of them. If so they will make it right.

Mine wouldn't run after it got to operating temperature. My friends boat had the same symptoms as yours.

Put the points back in. If it runs good then you know the modual is bad.

hardycm
08-23-2004, 11:49 AM
Thanks, Brian. That makes me feel a little better knowing these systems aren't foolproof. The points will go back in tonight, then we'll see whats up.

I bought the module from Discount Inboard Marine and talked to Vince today. He didn't have any other ideas, but didn't mention that they've seen this before either.

Nice '88 by the way. Mine's red.

Sledneck
08-23-2004, 08:23 PM
I got the kit from Ski DIM too.. no probs.. did you bypass the ballast resitor as / the instructions.? **edit** nevermind.. I see in your previous post that you did..

I had a similar problem.. I had to jump 12v to my coil from the battery to get it to start.. Turned out to be a combination of bad connections at the battery and a faulty teather switch..

but sounds like you've ruled out both of those posibilities too..

well I'm no help.. :confused:

hardycm
08-24-2004, 12:15 PM
You're closer than you think, Sledneck. I put the points back in last night and still no luck. Finally got frustrated and removed the dash and jumpered from the ignition switch to the coil directly (bypassing the existing wire) and viola it started right up. I put the elec. ignition back in and it works fine, too.

The amazing coincidence is that I would have had this problem despite doing any work on my boat. It was running last time I loaded it on the trailer. I guess 350 miles on the trailer finished off whatever was giving me intermittent problems.

I'll tackle the short tonight, but I finally know where to look -- I think!

PeteS
07-12-2005, 01:11 PM
I'm sure glad I stumbled across this thread before taking my boat down to the water. Since I installed my electronic ignition, I noticed difficulty in keeping the boat running after restarting from running a while, although cold starts were never a problem. After some thinking and discussion with DIM, it all started making sence.

I had forgotten to bypass the ballast resistor going to the coil upton the initial installation, therefore the initial start up was fine since it came from a different power source, but once the power from the ignition took back over (when the key was released), it would stall. The way the resistor works, as explained to me, is as it heats up, the output voltage becomes more regulated. Therefore, the boat would cold start and run fine because the regulated voltage from the resistor was still high because it was cold. Once it heated up, and the voltage was down, the engine would die immediatly once the power coming through the resitor took over. Is this making sence?

The BIG problem is this: last night I bypassed the resistor simply by splicing the two orange wires together, eliminating their contact with the white resistor, assuming that one end came from a 12v source, and the other went to the coil (not knowing that acutally the other end went to the solinoid). This was a stupid, stupid, electrical mistake obviously. I did this in my garage, and using a multi-meter confirmed that I was still getting power to the coil while turning the key to crank, and negated the fact that when the key was ON there was no power to the coil (which, of course there should be I'd guess). When what I actually did, was disconnect both the coil and the solinoid from their 12v source after the engine was running. One end of the orange wire goes to the solinoid, and the other goes to the coil, after getting their 12v lead from the purple ignition wire, all of which after passing through the resistor. All of this, I just found out after reading the thread.

Needless to say, when I get home tonight I will bypass the resistor correctly, and fix my boo-boo before hitting the water. Although, I could have imagined my frusterations at the launch if I hadn't had read this this. Thanks to all with info, JimN, and the man with the orginal problem, Hardycm. Another ironic item is mine is an '88 Prostar as well! Thanks!

AHUNTER
07-12-2005, 11:54 PM
The directions tell you to disconnect the resistor attached to the same bracket that holds the coil. What you actually need to do is join the purple and red wires that are attached to the resistor. You don't even need the resistor so you can clip the wires and attach them.. THe guys at SKIDIM were great at getting to the bottom of this.

PeteS
07-13-2005, 08:50 AM
While bypassing the ballast resistor yestedray on the 12v going to the ignition coil, I noticed another orange wire coming from the resistor, heading to what appears to be the starter solinoid. This orange wire was using the same ring terminal as the orange wire heading to the coil, and both of which were on one side of the resistor.

My questions is this, when bypassing the resistor, I removed all wires from the resistor, 12v in from ignition, and the two orange wires on one ring terminal (one heading to the coil, one heading to solinoid), and put them on the positive post of my coil. I was wondering if the solinoid REQUIRES voltage that has passed through the ballast resistor, or if the regular 12v ignition voltage will be fine, like I have it now?

I just don't want to fry the solinoid, or wherever it goes. I'm guessing it wouldn't be a problem, since the starter is used so briefly that 12 volts as opposed to 9 wouldn't make a difference, but I'm just making sure. Thanks!

BrianM
07-13-2005, 09:25 AM
I just don't want to fry the solinoid, or wherever it goes. I'm guessing it wouldn't be a problem, since the starter is used so briefly that 12 volts as opposed to 9 wouldn't make a difference, but I'm just making sure. Thanks!

No worries Pete, your good. That is how mine is and over 50 hours with no problems.

PeteS
07-13-2005, 09:37 AM
No worries Pete, your good. That is how mine is and over 50 hours with no problems.
Thanks Brian, I can't believe I missed this during the orginal install. Remember when we were talking about why you may have been getting 100 or so more RPM's then me?

We may have just found out why, as my coil may have only been putting out 8 or 9 volts and at WOT, the electroin ignition just may have not had enough juice from the coil. Thanks again.

PeteS
07-13-2005, 11:13 AM
After browsing some post on this subject from the past, I found another fact. The orange wire going from the solinoid to the coil, supplies additional current to the ignition system during crank to help start the motor - without passing through the resistor, so it supplies a full 12v.

So, theroretically the orange wire from the solinoid could be disconnected since now the coil will be running with the full 12v during starting and running.

I may however just leave it connected, because I'm thinking that during starting the draw is quite high, and having an additional source of 12v wouldn't hurt.

torbmi
07-13-2005, 11:26 AM
Check out a previous thread about the starter engaging and not stopping, even when the key is removed. Two guys who had that problem fixed it by disconnecting the orange wire, which apparently is no longer needed once an electronic ignition is put in. No one was certain on why it would happen, but something about the extra current supplied by the orange wire would cause the solenoid to get hung up, and continually crank the starter motor. This happened to me several times, and it's an awful thing to have happen - everything heats up very quickly, and if you don't get it to stop, real trouble could result.

Check out http://www.tmcowners.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=3132

PeteS
07-13-2005, 11:40 AM
Check out a previous thread about the starter engaging and not stopping, even when the key is removed. Two guys who had that problem fixed it by disconnecting the orange wire, which apparently is no longer needed once an electronic ignition is put in. No one was certain on why it would happen, but something about the extra current supplied by the orange wire would cause the solenoid to get hung up, and continually crank the starter motor. This happened to me several times, and it's an awful thing to have happen - everything heats up very quickly, and if you don't get it to stop, real trouble could result.

Check out http://www.tmcowners.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=3132
Thanks for the response, Torbmi. I read the thread on your issues prior to my post, and it was concern of mine after hearing your experiences. The only one thing that lessens my fears is that a couple of people, BrianM above mentions it, has left the orange wire connected and not experienced any problems.

Although, if disconnecting the orange wire doesn't cause any negatives during starting, but could prevent my starter from continually cranking, then it may not be a bad move. To be honest, I'm not quite sure what to do. It seems as if you are very convinced that your problems stemmed directly from stray, inconsistent current coming back from the coil? Could you tell me more about the theory, it's interesting and concerning? Thanks again!

torbmi
07-13-2005, 01:18 PM
I am by no means any sort of expert, I'm just trying to figure it out like everyone else. I've talked to the guys who rebuilt my original starter (the one that Ford discontinued in '91 or so because it was a bad design), Vince from skidim, and I've scoured this and other boards.

I still have points, condenser, etc., and removing the orange wire is not an option with this setup (admittedly I haven't tried it, but from the other threads I read it seems that w/the electronic ignition you don't need the extra current at startup, but w/the points you do).

Anyway, I never had the problem until I had the starter rebuilt. I had that done b/c the boat's an '89, and the starter seemed very hesitant. The rebuild guys, who are well known here in Sacramento, said it needed a lot of cleaning out, and put in new brushes and some other parts. When I put it back in the boat, it sounded a lot better. Problem was, I was getting no spark. I didn't figure this out until I had tried multiple times to get the engine to crank, and in the process of repeatedly turning it over I probably did some sort of damage to the newly rebuilt starter. It was during one of these sessions that I first encountered the problem of the starter not stoppping when the key was turned off (and actually even taken out of the ignition).

When I finally fixed the no-spark problem (new points), the boat fired right up. Timing was set, and I was good to go. EXCEPT - when on the water, the starter would do the same thing every third start or so - I would get it to stop by hitting the relay with my hand. I replaced the relay, but it would still happen. So, the overall consensus was that the starter was drawing too many amps, which for some reason would make the relay hang up every third time or so.

So, I bought a replacement starter from skidim, which is supposedly a much better design, and draws far less current in its normal operating state than the original one did in its operating state. I still have the orange wire (the coil bypass) hooked up, and I've now started it about ten times with no problems at all.

As I said - I am no expert, and no one ever went out on a limb and said "this is definitely the problem" - it's just the only theory that at this point, no one has been able to debunk. I hope it's the end of this problem.

For all the guys out there who have had this problem, which starter do you have? The original "plunger" style one, or one of the new ones?

PeteS
07-13-2005, 01:35 PM
Thanks for the detailed response. Please know that I understand your position on the issue, and thank you for the info.

My goal is to re-wire my boat tonight in such a way that it performs well, and doesn't act up, and I'm simply trying to figure out the best way to do that. The problem you and others have run into and solved, raises a concern to me. Does the orange wire from the solinoid to the coil serve another function besides providing the coil additional current during cranking? Does it pull current when the boat is running for anything related to the solinoid or starter? Thanks again.

torbmi
07-13-2005, 01:47 PM
No idea. I did read in a manual I have (it's a PCM manual, not Indmar, but a lot seems to be the same) that the orange wire is there to provide extra current during start-up.

torbmi
07-13-2005, 01:48 PM
And I agree - if taking that orange wire out of the loop fixes the problem, and causes no other problem, it's definitely the way to go.

BrianM
07-13-2005, 02:34 PM
Does the orange wire from the solinoid to the coil serve another function besides providing the coil additional current during cranking? .

Nope. That is the only function. That being said I wouldn't remove it. Just take out the ballast resistor and tie the wires together. That what I did as per the instructions and no problems.

Cloaked
07-13-2005, 05:57 PM
Another great troubleshooting thread that I'll archive with the thread that has the pics and step-by-step instructions....

My boat runs so much moRe gOOder with the electronic gadget.... It fires almost instantly.... :headbang:

skiboy
07-14-2005, 11:20 AM
Do these electronic kits make that much difference? If the points are changed every season, would you ntice the difference? Just a thought.

Cloaked
07-14-2005, 06:51 PM
Do these electronic kits make that much difference? If the points are changed every season, would you ntice the difference? Just a thought.Yes (IMHO).

I'm sold on the electronic ignition. Since I swapped over it seems the points had to slave (comparatively) to do their job, compared to the electronic gadget. Upon initial cold start is where I noticed the difference. Each to their own though.

$0.02

hardycm
07-14-2005, 09:34 PM
OK, the irony continues because now my ignition is really acting up. Here's the story:

After returning from a long weekend (10+ hours on the boat w/ no problems) I went to start the boat the next weekend and it cranked fine but just would not fire. It seemed to try to fire a few times, but just wouldn't stay running more than about 2 seconds. I checked spark at the coil -- nice and hot. I had fuel in the carb. I got home and took the timing light to each cylinder. I had spark at each cylinder (though on some cylinders it looked like I was getting a double or triple spark). I looked at voltage to the coil and had 12 V in both start and run. I tried to start it at least a dozen times and got nothing. Finally I decided to check the internals of the distributor. I took off the cap & rotor, took out the electronic ignition, checked to make sure weights & springs were all OK, then put it all back together. I decided to try one more time and guess what? It started. I ran it for 5 minutes and tapped on every wire and connection with my screwdriver handle to see if I could make it miss, cough etc. and got nothing. I'm leaning toward a bad module in the ignition. Anyone have any other ideas? I plan to try to start it again tomorrow and see if it still works. These intermittent problems are a pain!

Oh and Sporty, my prob was definitely a short in the purple wire to the coil -- it was just a coincidence that I was doing the elec. ignition install at the same time.

hardycm
07-14-2005, 09:35 PM
Sorry, meant PeteS, not Sporty

Cloaked
07-15-2005, 06:08 PM
Sorry, meant PeteS, not SportyGlad you're on the trail.. IMHO, I'd return it to SD and they will be glad to assist the transaction. Fine bunch of folks.... They will usually do a hot swap through the mail...

Good luck my friend...