View Full Version : jumped the gun, boat still not working

07-15-2005, 12:47 PM
So I thought a new battery and impeller was the solution to my problems. Turns out there is a bigger electrical problem. No matter what I do the starter doesn't seem to be getting enough power to crank the motor. It will crank it over, but very very slowly and when I did stuff such as cleaning the ground and all connections it got a little more power to turn the motor.

I got a new battery because I thought that the starter wasnt getting enough juice. New battery, same problem.

I had the starter rebuilt at my dad's friend's shop. Same problem

I bypassed the boat's cables with different cables straight to the starter and ground - same problem.

Now I'm starting to think that I might have engine damage from when it overheated. The guage wasn't quite at 240 when I caught it and immediately turned it off so I wouldn't think that would be the problem. Maybe the starter is still goofy and I need a new one? Anyone know what could be going on??? :( :confused:

07-16-2005, 12:56 PM
umm, anyone????

07-16-2005, 12:59 PM
Pull the starter and go have it tested at an auto parts store. Did you check your ground cables off the starter and make sure they are solid? For giggles you could pull the plugs out and turn it over, if you have water come out you have issues.

07-16-2005, 01:04 PM
Did you put a tester on your starter to see if you have good current there? Those old starters took a ridiculous amount of juice to spin them up

07-18-2005, 08:04 AM

A quick cheap test would be to go to an auto parts store (one like Auto Zone is real easy w/ returns) and get a new automotive starter, install it and see if that makes a difference. Make sure you leave the cover up for a while before you start it, and if it works, don't be tempted to leave it in. There's no spark protection in the auto starter. When you're done, take it back to AZ.

07-18-2005, 12:32 PM
I took the starter to my dad's friend's shop (he rebuilds starters and all that stuff). When he tested it, it was bad. After a quick rebuild it spun his testing unit just fine, but then when it got back on the boat it just did the same thing. Maybe the solenoids went out???

I checked the ground and cleaned it off and even bypassed the boat cables with another set from the battery to the ground/starting relay. I'll pull a plug or two and see if any water comes out this evening.

Workin' 4 Toys
07-18-2005, 05:48 PM
Perhaps a bad relay? We had a bad realy on our 86 and did almost the same. Thought it was the starter until we jumped the relay and found it was shot. Replaced it with an old ford style and was back in business.

07-18-2005, 07:56 PM
also replaced the relay with a new one but no luck. I'm running out of options fast and I really hope it's not a shot motor. That would make me very very sad and angry.

07-18-2005, 08:37 PM
You are doing a lot of good things, keep going!

Thinking out loud.

Does it crank at all? The stuff you are doing can really make a good battery bad quickly. I've done that and hope you have fixed the problem, but the battery is weak now.

If the motor somehow got tight when it got hot, then it would turn hard and slow, or if the battery got tired and not recharged it would turn slow also. Can you be sure the battery is fully charged and good? Or jump from a running vehicle? Measure the voltage at the battery when cranking. Still >12 volts, at the starter?

If you take all of the plugs out it should turn much easier. If not I'm getting worried, but 240 doesn't sound that bad.

07-18-2005, 09:06 PM
Ok, I took the plugs out and no water came from the motor :woohoo: I've tried a total of 3 different batteries and they all do the same thing - crank slowly. When the plugs were out, it seemed like it wanted to crank faster and faster but I didn't want to burn up the starter - so I didn't crank it for very long. Hard and slow would be a good way to describe how it turns. Any easy fix for that??? I've tried every electrical problem that I know of and it all results in the same thing. I have a feeling that this is the end of my summer boating fun. :( :(

07-18-2005, 10:00 PM
Bobby; You are having some bad luck! But everything has an answer! It still feels like the battery or cables to starter, can you jump start it?

I can't think of anything that would add extra drag to the motor. I guess you could take the fan belt off to see if there is something there adding a lot of drag.

Or as Jeff said check the current in the cable will confirm the battery and cable condition, including ground return.
Not that it takes a lot but I'm pretty stumped, may be time for professional help!

07-18-2005, 10:08 PM
No water = GOOD! If it were me I'd start with the cables. Do some research on here and LOTs of people have had symptoms like yours and it ended up being the cables. Replace the ground cable, hot cable from batt to solenoid and hot from solenoid to starter. Also, when you say relay do you mean the solenoid on the back of the motor (2 big post and one small one). Out of curiosity turn the key on and take a big screwdriver and lay it across both big posts. This will put automatic power to your starter and jump out the solenoid. If it turns over normal you might need a soleniod. My guess is you have cable issues. It's possible they are 20 years old.

07-18-2005, 10:51 PM
Bri's comments about the cables would be a first check at this point.

Does it kind of turn over unevenly and make a hissing or blowing air type of sound? I think you mentioned the motor got hot. I wonder if your timing could have moved around on you? You could try rotating the distributor counter clockwise (retard the timing) and see if that allows the motor to turn more freely.

Check all your electrical connections, I just went thru this nightmare on mine. You could have some voltage drops. Don't rule out your ignition switch, I found mine to be fried and replacing it gained me 3 volts of extra juice to the starter.

07-18-2005, 11:17 PM
Before I gave up on it tonight I did a couple of things. I got 2 huge cables from one of my dad's other projects in his shop (they are bigger than the boat cables) and hooked the negative end from a new battery to the ground, and touched the positive end straight to the starter- bypassing everything. The result- the exact same thing. I tried it with a second battery that had been juiced up - same result. I think I must come to accept the fact that my motor is damaged and in need of a rebuild. Luckily the neighbor across the street from my dad's shop rebuilds motors and transmissions so I could have it professionally done in a short amount of time, if it should come to that.

I've tried everything. Tonight was the kicker. If it can't start up on a new battery while bypassing everything to the starter, it just ain't gonna happen. :(

07-18-2005, 11:37 PM

I dont think I would jump the gun just yet and say the motor is damaged. There has to be a logical reason for your problems. How long did you run the boat after it overheated and how hot is overheated?

Get your multimeter and start testing everything. First see how many volts you get to the starter while cranking. Then see how much pull the starter puts on the battery by testing the battery and seeing how far the battery goes down in volts.

I'd be more inclined to say you have an electrical problem than a motor problem at this point. Have you checked your grounds on your block which go to the starter?

07-19-2005, 12:01 AM
I've cleaned the ground on the motor twice and used brand new cables that go from the battery straight to the ground and straight to the starter , bypassing all potential electrical problems and it still turns slow. I'm not sure what else I can do.

07-19-2005, 12:04 AM
oh, and i turned the boat off immediately when I saw the guage reading almost 240

07-19-2005, 12:11 AM
oh, and i turned the boat off immediately when I saw the guage reading almost 240

I ran my boat with no impeller, no water in the engine, and a blown out exhaust for a good 45 min (donít ask Iím an idiot) before someone offered to tow me. New plugs/oil/impeller and itís almost as good as new. A little smoke at startup but thatís it. I have a hard time believing that 240 for no more than a few seconds ruined your engine.

07-19-2005, 12:16 AM
oh, and i turned the boat off immediately when I saw the guage reading almost 240

I'd be really suprised if that toasted the motor. How many hours on it?

Again, don't throw in the towel yet on your motor. At this point it might make sense for you to find a good BOAT mechanic who knows something about this style of boat to look at it for you. There assesment will be much less than the cost of a new motor and could save you 3-5k.

07-19-2005, 12:45 AM
the boat has 580 hours. I'm not real sure if there is a good inboard mechanic in the OKC area. I know of a guy in Norman but he is a criminal and I wouldn't see my boat for 5 years and it would have parts stolen off of it. If anyone knows of a good OKC inboard mechanic that would be great.

07-19-2005, 02:48 AM
Things that cause a starter motor to turn the engine over slowly are resistance. This can be of the electrical or the mechanical variety. All starter system diagnosis begins with the battery.

Assuming you have a good battery you can use a volt meter to check the following:

Place the Black lead of the voltmeter on the negative terminal of the battery and leave it there. Place the red lead of the voltmeter on the starter motor cable where it attaches to the starter. Now crank the engine, you want to see close to battery voltage at this time. If you don't you know there is electrical resistance some where in the positive side of the circuit. It may be a cable or relay or connection. The way you find it is to move the red lead of the voltmeter back to the next connection in positive side of the circuit and crank the engine again. You will find the source of resistance when you see the voltage value change from a low voltage back to a normal value. Remember you are expecting to see close to battery voltage on the positive side of the circuit leading up to the load (the load being the starter motor). You can expect to see a few tenths of a volt drop across connections and up to a half a volt or so across a starter relay, solenoid etc. but the higher the voltage the better.

To check the ground side of the starter circuit you still need to leave the black lead of the voltmeter on the negative terminal of the battery. Place the red lead of the voltmeter on the starter motor case. One of the bolts used to mount the starter to the engine will work also. Crank the engine and you want to see close to zero volts. A few tenths of a volt is also normal. If you see a high voltage you know you have electrical resistance on the ground side of the circuit. The steps to find it are to move the red lead of your voltmeter along the ground circuit towards the battery. You have found the problem when the voltage changes from high to low. Your mostly looking for poor connections or a bad ground cable here.

So after checking all this and you haven't found a problem yet? I would take a look at the starter motor amperage during cranking. This is more a specialized electrical meter so you may want a repair facility to step in at this point. High amperage draw during cranking can be an indication of mechanical resistance (high being over 250 amps). Mechanical resistance can be in the starter motor or the engine. Sorry to end this very long post on such a low note. I hope it helps some...

07-19-2005, 09:06 PM
i really appreciate the help, but after all i've done, i really really doubt that it could be an electrical problem. I've tried everything more than once and even tried some extreme measures by using a gargantuan battery. The only thing that has shown any kind of improvement was when I put marvel mystery oil in the cylinders and it freed them up. I think we all know what that means.

07-19-2005, 09:16 PM
You really seem to think it's the motor. Are you mechanically inclined enough to pull the heads and have a looksey? That down time might be worth the 3-4k you are going to pay for a new motor without checking it out.

07-19-2005, 09:22 PM
oh i'm not gonna get a new motor. this one will be rebuilt if it comes down to it. i'm just super frustrated and looking at the worst in things right now.

with access to my dad's shop at his house (where the boat is now), I have everything necessary to have the motor out of the boat and stripped to a short block within a couple of hours. i'm going to have the motor guy from across the street come take a look and see what he thinks this weekend.

07-19-2005, 09:54 PM
Bobby- if you want to see if the resistance is mechanical, remove the plugs and put a wrench on the crankshaft pulley bolt so you can try to turn it clockwise. If it turns without an excessive amount of force, it may be OK. If it's really hard to turn, it may just be a spun bearing. This is hardly the end of the world and isn't terribly hard to fix. If you're mechanically inclined (and it sounds like you and various family members are), pulling the motor, draining the water and oil, and pulling the bottom end off shouldn't be a big deal. The parts are easy to get, aren't very expensive and it's an easy motor to work on. If you do end up doing the work yourself and have wanted to get a bit more juice out if it anyway, this would be the perfect time to change to a more aggressive cam, maybe an intake manifold and if it's coming apart completely, have it bored out a bit oversized. Also, if it overheated and you have the heads checked for warpage(they do this when they get really hot), they can be flattened easily by any good machine shop. If they shave more than .007", the compression goes up and you may need higher octane gas, but when the compression goes up, you usually get more power, too. Add to this the effect of the intakemanifold, boring oversized, cam and maybe a valve job, for the price of a long block, you would get a lot more motor for the dollars spent.

If the motor was run for a long time without water, it should be magnafluxed to see if there are any cracks, too. This should happen before any other work is performed.

07-19-2005, 09:59 PM
When you overheat, the piston rings collapse, etc., and you lose compression. your motor should spin like crazy from the starter. Get a compression check. 240 should be cake for a motor.
I would try JLeuck64's advice. It sounds like a weak starter or solenoid. :twocents:

07-20-2005, 05:52 AM
Are you sure your timing didn't slip? That would definitely cause a slow crank.

Workin' 4 Toys
07-20-2005, 08:59 AM
Is the starter installed properly? If a starter is TOO TIGHT, it might give you a similar symptom. Perhaps it needs some shims.

07-20-2005, 01:03 PM
Are you sure your timing didn't slip? That would definitely cause a slow crank.

I will look into those suggestions this evening.

Kevin 89MC
08-12-2005, 01:29 PM
Any updates? An easy way to check if it is timing: pull the ignition coil wire off and crank it over. If it spins easier, you're timing is too advanced. If it cranks the same, do a compression test, or better, a cylinder leakdown test. I've never done the leakdown, but from what I'm told it's not too hard, and more reliable than just a compression test. A google search will explain it.
Good luck, let us know how it turns out.

08-12-2005, 02:01 PM
I know you have checked the VOLTAGE when cranking, but have you checked the AMPERAGE draw? I would get a clamp on ammeter or borrow one, hook it to the cable running to the starter, try to start it, see what it draws. I am still not convinced reading it that it is not the starter. Just because it spins not being connected, doesn't mean it's good. This is fairly easy, and if I am right, you are saving your summer!!!!!

Workin' 4 Toys
08-12-2005, 03:36 PM
I do believe he found the solution. And correct me if I am wrong, all he did was pour Marvel's mystery oil into the crackcase. Yes, strange, but I think I recall he starting a new post with his solution.

08-12-2005, 03:37 PM
The last I remember, he was going to change the oil again, and he should be back on the water.