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83starsstripes
06-26-2011, 08:24 PM
okay so i have a 83 stars and stripes with the 351...it seems to have a mind of its own here last year i ended up with water in my oil so i did a complete rebuild and this year(all start a few years back)....it dont want to start. after sitting over night it will start fairly easy but will no idle until fully warmed up. if i head to the sand bar and shut it down u might as well forget about it starting up it will crank all day.. and if im lucky it will start but it has random times where it sparks and the nexted day it dont spark at all and all of a sudden it sparks the nexted day and runs like its brand new...? just installed new points and condensor and ignition coil this early summer.. retimmed it to 4 degrees i believe and also rebuilt the carb last year... when it runs it seems to run alright but shutting it off is a mistake... i did notice the ballast resistor is all cracked and peices of ceramic or whatever it is are gone... im assuming its just getting the points hot and trashing them??? has anyone else had this prob... rather annyoing and embarresing having a boat that dont run worth a darn

UofU2727
06-26-2011, 10:23 PM
Wiring problem? Maybe the wiring supplying power to the distributor has intermittent problems or a bad distributor? Just a guess at this point. I'd replace the distributor with electronic ignition anyways. Just a suggestion. Could be worse! I need head gaskets on my S&S but I'm letting it go for this summer and this fall I'm pulling the engine for a complete rebuild and adding some much need HP. Leaking oil between the heads and block last time out when I ran it a little hard. What can you say after 20+ years of work.

83starsstripes
06-27-2011, 12:13 PM
ya thats for sure...ours motor was real nice with only a small tranny leak and all of a sudden it just died at the dock and went to start it again and it wouldnt even roll over one of the cylinders was just fullll of water and the oil well you dont ever want to see that lol looked like chocolate milk extremly bad....i aint real sure what to do with this cause one day out of the weekend it runs like its brand new and the nexted day theres no spark and will not spark...from what i hear electronic ignition is the way to go everone says they get was better performance as in starts easier and idles smoother

oxberger
06-27-2011, 03:40 PM
83, I feel your pain brother. Here are some things that I've found that may help. I'm assuming since you're using the term sparked, that you've actually checked to see if you are getting spark or not when you can't start it. If that's the case electronic igniton is the way to go for sure. It improved my perfromance and I had a lot less headaches after that conversion. Check the cables makes sure all connections are good and tight and no corroded wires. If that checks out than I would think it's a fuel issue. How old is the gas that's in the tank? Check to make sure fuel is getting into the carb when trying to start after it's been running. I would check the fuel filter and/or fuel water separator. I know there is other stuff, but can't think off hand. Hopefully the other guys will chime in with some info. They helped me get mine running. Good luck and welcome to the board!

thatsmrmastercraft
06-27-2011, 04:24 PM
It sounds like you are dealing with a bad connection somewhere.

Typically points either work or they don't.........and once they go bad, they don't get better. An electronic conversion would be a great upgrade, but properly set points work well(set with a dwell meter).

I would start by removing, cleaning and replacing all battery connections including solenoid, starter and block ground. Then I would proceed to the electrical connections in the ignition system.

Timing should be either 6 or 10 degrees (not sure which). And it sounds like a new ballast resistor is in order.

83starsstripes
06-27-2011, 05:21 PM
i had timing at 6 degrees and dewell set with a meter and it fired right up but after warm up and shutting it down its just a mess after it warms up it will crank forever before refiring.....and yes i checked for spark and it had none... two weekends ago after doing all the tuning it started right up took it out no problems died at the dock and wouldnt refire nexted day it started ran crappy then sunday it wouldnt start at all absolutley no spark what so ever and then on monday it fired right up and ran like it was new...then the following weekend my dad had it out and shut her down at the sand bar and sat for hour or two and then it wouldnt refire and had to be towed home and now this weekend after messing around with points and what not it did start back up....the starter and solenoid are brand new as well as all the battery cables...replaced them all when i had the engine out this winter...past few years its been giving me all sorts of starting problems....also installed a new ignition switch and coil and still no change in anything...just cranks all day long with no spark... just dont want to spend a couple hundred bucks on the conversion kit unless it will work for sure....im thinking it should because i tested for power at coil and there was power there just points werent putting out the spark

83starsstripes
06-27-2011, 05:22 PM
what conversion kit would you guys reconmend for installing in it? dealer wanted like 200 bucks but i found one online that was like 59.99... just a little leary about how cheap it is

thatsmrmastercraft
06-27-2011, 05:39 PM
Pertronix makes a good unit. I sold hundreds of them when I did wholesale parts work. That is the only brand I have any experience with.

thatsmrmastercraft
06-27-2011, 05:44 PM
i had timing at 6 degrees and dewell set with a meter and it fired right up but after warm up and shutting it down its just a mess after it warms up it will crank forever before refiring.....and yes i checked for spark and it had none... two weekends ago after doing all the tuning it started right up took it out no problems died at the dock and wouldnt refire nexted day it started ran crappy then sunday it wouldnt start at all absolutley no spark what so ever and then on monday it fired right up and ran like it was new...then the following weekend my dad had it out and shut her down at the sand bar and sat for hour or two and then it wouldnt refire and had to be towed home and now this weekend after messing around with points and what not it did start back up....the starter and solenoid are brand new as well as all the battery cables...replaced them all when i had the engine out this winter...past few years its been giving me all sorts of starting problems....also installed a new ignition switch and coil and still no change in anything...just cranks all day long with no spark... just dont want to spend a couple hundred bucks on the conversion kit unless it will work for sure....im thinking it should because i tested for power at coil and there was power there just points werent putting out the spark

If you hadn't just replaced you coil I would think it was overheating. New doesn't always mean good, but it makes a person wonder. If the ballast resistor is shot, it could well be your source for heat. Have you put your hand on the coil when it won't start to see if it's hot as a pistol?

03geetee
06-27-2011, 06:07 PM
Just went through all of what you are describing last memorial day. Here is what I can do to help, take what I have said with a grain of salt as it may not be the same for you, but its worth trying...

My coil was shot, my ballast resistor was bypassed as it was supposed to but I feel that repeated short hot runs on an old coil finally caught up with her. Everything else was there....

-fresh plugs and wires proper gap
-proper timing 10BTC
-fresh carb perfectly dialed in no leaking into chambers when shut off
-fresh gasoline
-electronic ignition that has worked since I bought it last year
-newer cap, rotor and wires
-new cables from battery to solenoid and from solenoid to starter, all grounds clean and tight
-motor would fire right up when cold with three pumps on the throttle and run like a champ.
-idled perfect and at WOT from a dead stop she moved the hell out

After repeated hot start attempts with my stock starter my battery would drain itself to failure which in turn reduced the available current to the coil as well for starting. What I also learned is the PCMs do not send a full 12Vs to the coil if you are still using the resistor, which if you are running points you are.

My thought is the coil burned out and the starter was waaaaaay to much draw when cold anyway but enough to start it, but after some expansion and heat it was just too much. Coil also got hot and I think the oil filled coils can be trouble when you have other issues anyway.

OK THE GOOD PART!!!!

The minute I located a new internally resisted coil, I bypassed my resistor and hooked it up and the boat fired like a champ off the flick of the key. As the day went on it would get harder and harder to start the boat, but it still ran great. Draw from the starter and and oil filled coil just arent working. I recently picked up a new flamethrower II expoxy filled coil that is internally resisted and meant for harse high heat environments. I also grabbed a hightorque marine starter from ARCO because the culprit to me begins with the old starter not cooling enough between runs and zapping my juice. I feel this will cure what is screwing with my boat.

I will keep you posted but in the mean time at the very least grab the pertronix ignitor 2 and a flame thrower 2 coil and ditch that points stuff.

ALSO!!! Very important low voltage may cause your choke not to open fully when the ignition switch is in the on position, not the start position. Pull your spark arestor and make sure on these hard starts your boat is not being choked of air, a slightly closed flap makes a huge difference trust me. I cranked on my boat on and off for 5-10secs for a good minute and then noticed it seemed starved for air so I pulled the flap all the way open as it should have been and it fired right up. Check that too!

JTR

83starsstripes
06-28-2011, 12:38 AM
Okay so i ordered pertronix ignition and a flamethrower coil...the original coil would he hot a all get out but ahanged it last season for similar reason ...now with this new kit I need to by pass that resistor...do I just unhook it or what? Hope this all solves my problem really sick of the problems

83starsstripes
06-28-2011, 12:51 AM
Also is there anything I need to no about installing it? And what is the timing supposed to be I thought it was 4 but I'm seein other number popping up I no when I have it at 10 it fires right up but close to four it cranks more and more? I don't think ten would hurt it tho it seems a lot more responsive to which it should be just don't want to burn it up

MasterKraftS&S
06-28-2011, 01:07 AM
I don't know nothing about nothin' BUT - Had the same problem last year and got by with a can of ether in the cup holder. Clearly not a spark issue for us. Found out this spring the choke was sticking closed. Fix the choke and it starts with a flick of the key now EVEN hot!. Have ALSO had the resistor go bad more than once - BUT that's an easy fix. I like to fix the easy stuff first and pay someone to do the rest. Just how I roll.

1redTA
06-28-2011, 06:58 AM
I ordered the petronix II with the .06 ohm coil and did away with the resistor. I just bolted the wires from either end together, as far as timing I set mine to ten and don't have a problem since I disabled the choke

chawk610
06-28-2011, 07:31 AM
Your RPM guage is grounded to your coil... if it has any kind of short in it it will intermittently kill the spark... I had that issue earlier this summer. Does the RPM guage work? Or does it jump around wildly?

83starsstripes
06-28-2011, 12:24 PM
it works i believe anyway its a nice and steady and ive had it hooked up on a good timing light which also read rpm and it was really close....all the ceramic on the ballast resitor is all crack and the coil inside is exposed... would it even run if that was bad?

83starsstripes
06-28-2011, 12:26 PM
i figured since the resistor was looking pretty iffy i would do away with the points and condesor along with the resistor and then put on the highout put coil so if that dont help any of the matters i have no idea

83starsstripes
06-28-2011, 12:30 PM
the lake we boat at has like 7 lakes hooked togeather by channel so to get to other lakes u have to idle through channels well the one channel is like a mile long im extremly lucky if i make it through with out a problem half way through i will get a irractic idle and since pontoons and what not idle to slow i have to constantly bump it in and out of gear and when i go to put it gear again she will die if im not watching it closly...it seems to me the longer i run it the worse things seem to get...its like somthing is overheating causing it to loose spark

thatsmrmastercraft
06-28-2011, 12:38 PM
That bad ballast resistor is probably the source of all your problems.

oxberger
06-28-2011, 01:18 PM
I agree with Pete, the ballast resistor is probably it and with the new stuff you have coming will take care of it. I do believe the correct timing is 10 degrees BTD. That's what mine is set at. Are you going to be installing the electronic ignition yourself and coil yourself? It's an easy job.

thatsmrmastercraft
06-28-2011, 02:54 PM
There were some engines that were 6 degrees, and the determining factor was the distributor cap style. That is all I remember, but someone is bound to have the info. Not a great difference between the two.

83starsstripes
06-28-2011, 08:32 PM
I sure hope this does the trick want to be able to enjoy the thing with no worries..and yes il be installing them friday...kinda excited to see what it will do now

83starsstripes
06-28-2011, 08:34 PM
I think il try somewhere between six and ten it starts great more towards ten rather then 6

cbryan70
06-28-2011, 08:51 PM
just simple but are you flooding the engine when you are doing hot starts? Is your choke set correctly? I did not catch if you checked the spark when you were having starting issues and if you do this may be the case. In MY case with my 79 I have to close the choke flap all the way and it will fire....others have to open it all the way. May try that fix when your having the problem. Just pop the flamearrestor off...takes 5 min.

rmasterson
06-28-2011, 09:06 PM
Guys,

I had the same issue with my 81 S&S. I tried everything. I switched coils, switched ballast resistors, put more resistance in, less resistance in, rewired everything, new coil wire, new spark plug wires, still the same issues. It was a terrible thing to be on the water and have to wait for the coil to cool down before it would start. I started carrying two coils so I could swap it out. I contacted everyone that I knew to contact and tried everything they suggested.... still nothing but trouble.

I decided to go with the DUI distributor (marine of course) and i have had nothing but great things to day about it. It wasn't cheap (best i can recall, I spent ~$400 on it), but IT IS WORTH IT. Here is the website.

http://www.performancedistributors.com/marinedui.htm

I promise I will update my rebuild project and you will see what mine ended up looking like. It is FINISHED now and we are playing on the lake almost every weekend.

I hope this helps and I hope i can save you half the headaches I went through.

Ron

rmasterson
06-28-2011, 09:14 PM
I'd say you will have similar good luck with the new Pertronix system. I believe it was the old ignition system that was giving me the issues as well. Good luck. If i can help, just let me know. I lived several very frustrating months doing the same things you are.

Ron

chico
06-28-2011, 09:30 PM
If your going to spend all that money on caps,electronic ignition,resistors you should just go for a new mallory electronic distributor,$355.00 from skiddim.If your distributor is more than 15 years old there could be issues with it.

thatsmrmastercraft
06-28-2011, 09:41 PM
Hey 83, I went through the thread again and I didn't see how many hours you have on the boat.

rmasterson
06-28-2011, 09:45 PM
That is why i liked the DUI distributor so well. It is all built into one. Coil and distributor. All you have to do is run a hot wire to it and a tach wire. I have plenty of the other stuff i tried first if anyone wants it.

rmasterson
06-28-2011, 10:01 PM
Here is the DUI on my boat. It was very simple to install.

http://www.mastercraft.com/teamtalk/picture.php?albumid=245&pictureid=3249

thatsmrmastercraft
06-28-2011, 10:59 PM
That is why i liked the DUI distributor so well. It is all built into one. Coil and distributor. All you have to do is run a hot wire to it and a tach wire. I have plenty of the other stuff i tried first if anyone wants it.

PM sent.....

83starsstripes
06-29-2011, 07:39 AM
There's around 1200 hours on it I believe and when it don't start it has no spark for whatever reason

TNPIG
06-29-2011, 09:25 AM
There's around 1200 hours on it I believe and when it don't start it has no spark for whatever reason
Sorry for the dumb question, but how do you check for spark? Also, can someone explain how you check the fuel pressure on the fuel pump. I have a new to me 84 S&S that runs great right now(knock on wood)...just trying to learn as much as I can in case I need it in the future. Thanks

thatsmrmastercraft
06-29-2011, 09:47 AM
Sorry for the dumb question, but how do you check for spark? Also, can someone explain how you check the fuel pressure on the fuel pump. I have a new to me 84 S&S that runs great right now(knock on wood)...just trying to learn as much as I can in case I need it in the future. Thanks

There are several ways to check for spark. The old way is to disconnect a plug wire, put a screwdriver in the sparkplug boot and hold it near ground while cranking the engine. Or you can put a spare plug in the plug wire and hold the threads against ground and look for spark at the electrode. Or you can get a spark tester which is a sparkplug with a clip attached so you can just clip it to ground.....much easier. Or you can put the inductive lead of a timing light over any plug wire or coil wire and look for the flash from the light. Whew:rolleyes:

83starsstripes
06-29-2011, 12:18 PM
i just kept one of the old plugs that was in it in the glove box and just pulled a wire off and thn grounded it,

TNPIG
06-29-2011, 06:01 PM
i just kept one of the old plugs that was in it in the glove box and just pulled a wire off and thn grounded it,
How did you ground it?

chico
06-29-2011, 06:54 PM
The best way to time it is to run it at 3800 RPM,set it at 30 deg.and your done.

j.mccreight@hotmail.com
06-29-2011, 10:24 PM
How did you ground it?

By touching the end of the plug to a placee on the engine thats has metal showing, a bolt or valve cover etc.

j.mccreight@hotmail.com
06-29-2011, 10:28 PM
Sorry for the dumb question, but how do you check for spark? Also, can someone explain how you check the fuel pressure on the fuel pump. I have a new to me 84 S&S that runs great right now(knock on wood)...just trying to learn as much as I can in case I need it in the future. Thanks

You would need a fuel pressure tester kit made for carburetor engines which is a lower psi reading then put inline between fuel pump and the carburetor and crank engine over for a few seconds and while running read gauge...

03geetee
07-01-2011, 10:25 PM
Okay the results are in, its about 922pm here in WI and I just put the cover on for the night. This starter kicks so much *** its not even funny. Boat starts with the flick of a key EVERY time, no chugging, loud groaning, dragging anything it just starts. I added an Interstate 24MXHD battery with 1000CCA which also helped, along with an epoxy filled Flamethrower II from Skidim.

It is so nice to be able to just run the blower, flick the key and walla you are off. People with this issue please check all other things first, but if you can spare 118.00 from marine parts source and get one of these please do yourself the favor!

JTR

j.mccreight@hotmail.com
07-01-2011, 10:30 PM
Glad you got her purring softly

83starsstripes
07-01-2011, 11:38 PM
Installed ignitor and flame shower coil...best thing I've ever bought runs fantastic flick key and she fires right up..... so snappy now ...true test is tomorrow with full day of boating

03geetee
07-02-2011, 08:03 AM
Installed ignitor and flame shower coil...best thing I've ever bought runs fantastic flick key and she fires right up..... so snappy now ...true test is tomorrow with full day of boating

High five! Keep us posted I will too. If I run into any trouble later in the week I will suspect that the alternator is in need of a rebuild if its not recharging that battery correctly, but so far so good!

With a dialed in Holley and a good ignition system you will feel that 351 do some serious work out of the hole!

JTR

83starsstripes
07-04-2011, 07:16 PM
After use all weekend long it never died once or gave me any troubles starting...the only thing i noticed was a little bit of a miss at low rpm which i believe is prob fouled plugs from all the cranking and flooding going on earlier this summer other then that she purs and has one heck of a hole shot..got to love the rumble of the 351!!

TNPIG
07-04-2011, 11:54 PM
I have a 84 SS. This is my first Summer with it. I've noticed that after running a while, it gets harder and harder to start. Normally, I just pull the throttle back a couple of times and it fires right up. After running a while, it takes quite a few more cranks to get started. Any advice for a newbie? Thanks

Dball
07-05-2011, 01:55 PM
I have a 86. I just did the ignition upgrade and it runs great. But after running for a hr or more and I shut it down it won't restart. It hardly even cranks like I have a dead battery let it cool for a hr or 2 and fires right back up. But it did this before the upgrade. I replaced the solenoid this weekend and still have the same issue.Yesterday we were out and a buddy was driving I told him not to shut it down but he did anyway:mad: and it wouldn't crank. Reached down and felt the starter and she was scalding hot I think my next step is to replace it

oxberger
07-05-2011, 02:12 PM
Before you replace it, double check you cables and wires. Make sure the connections are clean and tight and the casing on them are good. Good luck!

03geetee
07-05-2011, 02:21 PM
Read my post above a page or so back, a good battery, good leads and an ARCO starter are one hell of an upgrade! That thing will really surprise you how fast it cranks that ol 351 compared to your oldy. Besides less stress on my battery is less stress on all my other things it powers.

Best 118.00 I have spent yet.

JTR

SilviaMan
07-05-2011, 03:27 PM
My '76 had an issue with a hot restart also. I upgraded the coil, got rid of the points and still had an issue. I am not much of a carb guy so I asked a buddy. He told me to check the fuel level in the bowls. Low and behold they were both set low. After setting them up where they should be boat starts great!
Just something to check.
My holley has plugs you pull to set the level... there are plastic sight plugs available to keep from getting gas everywhere.
(I put the sight plugs in before heading out and removed them once we were back from the lake... I guess the ethanol in the fuel likes to turn them into jelly. so I would not leave them installed)

TNPIG
07-05-2011, 08:29 PM
My '76 had an issue with a hot restart also. I upgraded the coil, got rid of the points and still had an issue. I am not much of a carb guy so I asked a buddy. He told me to check the fuel level in the bowls. Low and behold they were both set low. After setting them up where they should be boat starts great!
Just something to check.
My holley has plugs you pull to set the level... there are plastic sight plugs available to keep from getting gas everywhere.
(I put the sight plugs in before heading out and removed them once we were back from the lake... I guess the ethanol in the fuel likes to turn them into jelly. so I would not leave them installed)

Could you please put in newbie terms what you are talking about in regards to fuel level in the bowls. How to check, how to adjust, etc. Thanks

sam196370
08-18-2011, 11:14 AM
I just bought a '79 S&S which hadn't been in the water for 2 years, after new belts, hoses, dist cap, plugs...cranked it and it ran nicely although distributor was moving around and same thing, when I turned it off it wouldn't start right back up, when it did it wouldn't run smoothly above 1000+/- RPM.
I'm planning on replacing the coil (current one looks OLD), new wires, fuel pump, raw water pump, impeller...it sounds like the ballast resistor should be bypassed?