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StudLEE
08-19-2012, 11:58 AM
I recently purchased a 1988 Mastercraft Tristar with 375 yrs on it.. it ran great the first month! Until 3 weeks ago when I blew the starter.. (because of it staying engaged) . Took it to a local marine shop, had the starter rebuilt, and new solenoid put in.. took it out the very next day with a brand new battery that was completely charged.. well on the 7 the start, the same thing happened, and ended up burning that starter.. the local marine has no idea. I read a thread on here from '05 about this problem on the 351's, but there was no conclusion to why this is happening.. can someone please explain this to me and tell me what I need to do!. Thanks to all..

j.mccreight@hotmail.com
08-19-2012, 12:07 PM
I had a similar thing happen, I replaced starter solenoid with a std auto parts house style and it worked for a few outings then the starter started staying engaged again, I replaced the solenoid with a motorcraft heavy duty and added a battery tender and have not had any more issues...

JimN
08-19-2012, 12:31 PM
I recently purchased a 1988 Mastercraft Tristar with 375 yrs on it.. it ran great the first month! Until 3 weeks ago when I blew the starter.. (because of it staying engaged) . Took it to a local marine shop, had the starter rebuilt, and new solenoid put in.. took it out the very next day with a brand new battery that was completely charged.. well on the 7 the start, the same thing happened, and ended up burning that starter.. the local marine has no idea. I read a thread on here from '05 about this problem on the 351's, but there was no conclusion to why this is happening.. can someone please explain this to me and tell me what I need to do!. Thanks to all..

"1988 Mastercraft Tristar with 375 yrs on it..."

Wow! 375 years is a long time, for a boat engine.:D

Why didn't you remove the battery cable at the battery?

That sounds like a bad ignition switch. Disconnect the crank wire from the starter and use a test light to verify that the voltage goes away when the key is returned to the RUN position. If not, you may have a bad switch. The fact that the rebuilt starter/solenoid does this could be the switch or the assist relay, located near the main breaker at the rear of the engine.

StudLEE
08-19-2012, 01:32 PM
Thanks j mccreight and Jim N.
Sorry Jim for the spelling error.. I noticed that after posting.. figured you guys would get the picture.. also figured I'd get some gruff over it.. oh well..
anyways.. I didn't pull the cable because I had no idea what was happening, even though it happened twice in a week.. it all was happening so fast.. next thing I knew.. I was a dead duck sitting in the middle of the river! Ill forward this information to the shop tomorrow. Thanks again!

JimN
08-19-2012, 01:35 PM
Thanks j mccreight and Jim N.
Sorry Jim for the spelling error.. I noticed that after posting.. figured you guys would get the picture.. also figured I'd get some gruff over it.. oh well..
anyways.. I didn't pull the cable because I had no idea what was happening, even though it happened twice in a week.. it all was happening so fast.. next thing I knew.. I was a dead duck sitting in the middle of the river! Ill forward this information to the shop tomorrow. Thanks again!

One of the items I would keep in my boat's tools is a pair of heavy gloves-if a starter engages and won't stop cranking, it's likely that the battery cable clamps or terminals will be hot enough to burn something and working with burned hands sucks.

tockit
08-19-2012, 02:07 PM
I had a similar thing happen, I replaced starter solenoid with a std auto parts house style and it worked for a few outings then the starter started staying engaged again, I replaced the solenoid with a motorcraft heavy duty and added a battery tender and have not had any more issues...
So what do you think's causing this, low battery voltage and a weak solenoid ???

JimN
08-19-2012, 03:08 PM
So what do you think's causing this, low battery voltage and a weak solenoid ???

Unless you test the voltage and tell us, we have no way of knowing.

BTW- low battery charge state causes starters and solenoids to die. Have the battery load tested correctly and if the starter is original and has never been touched, have that tested, too. 24 years in a marine environment is a lifetime of abuse.

StudLEE
08-19-2012, 09:53 PM
In my case, it was a brand new battery, fully charged (this i made sure of before going out that day), and a brand new solenoid. also the rebuilt starter. This was the first time taking the boat out with the new parts in. Still the same thing happened.. Is there any truth to what i read in the thread from '05, about taking the "special" orange wire off the solenoid that connects to the coil?

jfw432
08-19-2012, 10:50 PM
I've had this happen before too. My starter cables were hot to the touch after only 3-4 seconds of cranking. I bought new starter cables and a solenoid. My starter cables were old and junky. When I replaced just the cables, the problem went away and never came back so I just returned the solenoid. I'm not an electrical guy by nature so I'm not sure how that really affects it though.

I can't remember what I did to stop mine but wouldn't hitting the breaker switch on the engine cut power to the solenoid?

madcityskier
08-19-2012, 11:18 PM
Think that would have to cut out on it's own. Isn't that just a reset breaker?

JimN
08-20-2012, 12:01 AM
In my case, it was a brand new battery, fully charged (this i made sure of before going out that day), and a brand new solenoid. also the rebuilt starter. This was the first time taking the boat out with the new parts in. Still the same thing happened.. Is there any truth to what i read in the thread from '05, about taking the "special" orange wire off the solenoid that connects to the coil?

Depends on where the other end of that wire is located. If it wasn't supposed to be there and/or was causing problems, they would have stopped putting it there a long time ago.

Voltage and current are two different things, but are inter-related if an electro-mecahnical device will be doing some kind of work. If that device is to be expected to do what it was designed for, there's a definite relationship between voltage and current, called 'power'. Ohm's Law states that P=IE, where E is Voltage, I is current and P is Power (call it Watts or Volt-Amps. For the sake of discussion, it really doesn't matter). If P is to remain constant, I must increase or decrease when E decreases or increases, respectively. When a battery is depleted to the point where it barely turns the starter, I has risen to a point that the heat from conducting this current will destroy a starter and/or solenoid. A battery may be able to deliver 800-1000 Cold Cranking Amps and that's far more than enough to weld most metals. The problem is that, when the voltage is so low, that's exactly what can happen- the solenoid's contacts get so hot that they weld together and keep delivering current to the starter. If they don't weld together, they can burn, like a bad weld that came apart . This keeps them from making good contact and delivering enough current to make the starter crank the engine. When I was at MC training, we discussed this extensively because of the huge problem where boaters don't stop cranking the engine until it's too late to stop the damage. A starter isn't made to crank forever- the engine should start in a few seconds. If not, it needs to be repaired because IT HAS A PROBLEM. If the engine was performing correctly, nobody would kill their battery or starter trying to get their engine to start.

Dino Don
08-20-2012, 02:37 PM
Mine was the ground cable was corroded and the connection at the block was not clean.

slick9191
08-23-2012, 12:10 PM
Mine was the ground cable was corroded and the connection at the block was not clean.

I had this same problem and just fixed it all. It was so annoying trying to figure out the problem in the first place but I'll just tell you what I noticed and did.

1) My stock battery power/ground were offset and small at that. The Power wire was about 4awg and my ground was about 8awg. This is your first big no-no. You can have a bigger ground, but not vise versa. I can only assume these wires were replaced like this... I couldn't think the factory would build the boat like this. Anyhow, I bought 0awg power/ground wire from Genuinedealz.com (http://shop.genuinedealz.com/Marine%20Grade%20Wire/) with new lugs. For the ground I sanded off some paint and rust from the block before mounting. I also bought new battery terminals.

2) I replaced the starter and solenoid from Skidim.com (http://www.skidim.com/products.asp?dept=1030) with the new style starter. It's smaller, apparently draws less of a current, and claims to be stronger than the old style. It comes with a new power cable that goes to the solenoid-- yes, the old one was skinner and rusting.

3) Solenoid was replaced from the same site, but I found that West Marine also had the same solenoid hanging on the shelf. I left the orange ignition wire connected.

4) I think the problems started in the first place because when I first bought the boat the guy had a trolling/deep cycle battery on there with about 300-500cca. A non-cranking battery mixed with battery circuitry probably blew either the solenoid or starter... or both. I replaced it with an Interstate 24M-XHD which is a 1000mca/800cca cranking battery.

I did drop about $400+ for all of this but a good electrical system is a happy electrical system // happy boat. You can play around with getting new lugs and terminals, adding some extra wire going from the starter to solenoid, solenoid to battery, block to ground to remove some resistance, and/or adding another battery in parallel to up the amp output.

I don't know if that shines any light or if I'm just repeating what you've already heard, but I hope it helps. Let me know how it turns out.

-Steve

JimN
08-23-2012, 12:34 PM
I had this same problem and just fixed it all. It was so annoying trying to figure out the problem in the first place but I'll just tell you what I noticed and did.

1) My stock battery power/ground were offset and small at that. The Power wire was about 4awg and my ground was about 8awg. This is your first big no-no. You can have a bigger ground, but not vise versa. I can only assume these wires were replaced like this... I couldn't think the factory would build the boat like this. Anyhow, I bought 0awg power/ground wire from Genuinedealz.com (http://shop.genuinedealz.com/Marine%20Grade%20Wire/) with new lugs. For the ground I sanded off some paint and rust from the block before mounting. I also bought new battery terminals.

2) I replaced the starter and solenoid from Skidim.com (http://www.skidim.com/products.asp?dept=1030) with the new style starter. It's smaller, apparently draws less of a current, and claims to be stronger than the old style. It comes with a new power cable that goes to the solenoid-- yes, the old one was skinner and rusting.

3) Solenoid was replaced from the same site, but I found that West Marine also had the same solenoid hanging on the shelf. I left the orange ignition wire connected.

4) I think the problems started in the first place because when I first bought the boat the guy had a trolling/deep cycle battery on there with about 300-500cca. A non-cranking battery mixed with battery circuitry probably blew either the solenoid or starter... or both. I replaced it with an Interstate 24M-XHD which is a 1000mca/800cca cranking battery.

I did drop about $400+ for all of this but a good electrical system is a happy electrical system // happy boat. You can play around with getting new lugs and terminals, adding some extra wire going from the starter to solenoid, solenoid to battery, block to ground to remove some resistance, and/or adding another battery in parallel to up the amp output.

I don't know if that shines any light or if I'm just repeating what you've already heard, but I hope it helps. Let me know how it turns out.

-Steve

Was the 8ga cable installed by the previous owner and was it supposed to power the starter? That's just stupid! 8ga is good for about 100A if it's no longer than about 8' and a starter requires a lot more than that.

slick9191
08-23-2012, 04:13 PM
Was the 8ga cable installed by the previous owner and was it supposed to power the starter? That's just stupid! 8ga is good for about 100A if it's no longer than about 8' and a starter requires a lot more than that.

The 8ga wire was the ground wire from the block to the battery. The 4ga wire was the power wiring from the solenoid to the battery. Mathematically it may level out as the resistance of the 8ga may be less since its a shorter wire than the power... but that would be for someone else to figure out. I just follow the rule of thumb which is you run the same gauge wire and the ground needs to be shorter than the power.

At the moment everything works but I'm about to wire a Perko dual battery switch, a 250amp breaker, and adding a wire from the alternator directly to the batteries (I'm a car audio guy so this is part of my 'Big 3' upgrade). Parts are just sitting in the boat waiting to install...

1redTA
08-23-2012, 05:48 PM
how about needing a shim? I have 2 gauge wiring + & - with clean terminals, dielectric grease and 13.5 volts my starter stays engaged also and it is a 1 year old ARCO.

JimN
08-23-2012, 08:01 PM
The 8ga wire was the ground wire from the block to the battery. The 4ga wire was the power wiring from the solenoid to the battery. Mathematically it may level out as the resistance of the 8ga may be less since its a shorter wire than the power... but that would be for someone else to figure out. I just follow the rule of thumb which is you run the same gauge wire and the ground needs to be shorter than the power.

At the moment everything works but I'm about to wire a Perko dual battery switch, a 250amp breaker, and adding a wire from the alternator directly to the batteries (I'm a car audio guy so this is part of my 'Big 3' upgrade). Parts are just sitting in the boat waiting to install...

There's no "leveling out"- the whole circuit needs to handle the current, as you know from car audio. If anything, it would be better if the ground cable was heavier, but 8 ga is too small for anything like a car starter unless it was one of the gear reduction jobs on a small car with an engine that's easy to crank.

slick9191
08-24-2012, 12:09 AM
how about needing a shim? I have 2 gauge wiring + & - with clean terminals, dielectric grease and 13.5 volts my starter stays engaged also and it is a 1 year old ARCO.

Shim for where? Did you already replace your solenoid? Does it turn off if you pull your battery cable and put it back on? My instinct is it's your solenoid.

JimN-- I was thinking of using a site like this http://www.gtsparkplugs.com/WireSizeCalc.html and seeing if 8awg@4ft would hold the same current as 4awg@8ft... but the 4awg still allows for slightly more current which would bottleneck. Ya, always use the same gauge wire.

JimN
08-24-2012, 08:15 AM
Shim for where? Did you already replace your solenoid? Does it turn off if you pull your battery cable and put it back on? My instinct is it's your solenoid.

JimN-- I was thinking of using a site like this http://www.gtsparkplugs.com/WireSizeCalc.html and seeing if 8awg@4ft would hold the same current as 4awg@8ft... but the 4awg still allows for slightly more current which would bottleneck. Ya, always use the same gauge wire.

Since most boats and cars with these engines use 2 ga or larger, what's the point? Battery cables AREN'T 8 ga or 4 ga. Maybe in a Honda Civic, but not with a 5.7L engine. Don't use either of those gauges- just buy real battery cables, not linear crystal oxygen-free copper Stinger/Phoenix Gold/SoundQuest power cable for amplifiers. Just battery cable with the ends that are crimped and preferably, soldered.

If you do use a cable size calculator, enter 300A or more. If you leave the voltage drop at 2%, the only sizes that will work at 8' are 0 and 00. Cable isn't sized for typical situations, it's sized for worst case and these starters can draw 350A- more if the tining is advanced too much or something else makes the engine harder to crank.

GoneBoatN
08-24-2012, 12:19 PM
This is why I love these forums... Very educational. :popcorn::popcorn::popcorn:

slick9191
08-24-2012, 02:11 PM
Since most boats and cars with these engines use 2 ga or larger, what's the point? Battery cables AREN'T 8 ga or 4 ga. Maybe in a Honda Civic, but not with a 5.7L engine. Don't use either of those gauges- just buy real battery cables, not linear crystal oxygen-free copper Stinger/Phoenix Gold/SoundQuest power cable for amplifiers. Just battery cable with the ends that are crimped and preferably, soldered.

If you do use a cable size calculator, enter 300A or more. If you leave the voltage drop at 2%, the only sizes that will work at 8' are 0 and 00. Cable isn't sized for typical situations, it's sized for worst case and these starters can draw 350A- more if the tining is advanced too much or something else makes the engine harder to crank.

Very good points Jim... it's obviously been a while since I've messed with these things. I think I put in 100A when testing, but you're right about being able to draw 300A or more in tough scenarios. Another red flag I have when testing electrical systems is touching a wire and feeling if it's hot-- if it's hot you have a resistance problem. Well, hopefully this shines some light for some people. Thanks for the help Jim.

JimN
08-24-2012, 04:14 PM
Very good points Jim... it's obviously been a while since I've messed with these things. I think I put in 100A when testing, but you're right about being able to draw 300A or more in tough scenarios. Another red flag I have when testing electrical systems is touching a wire and feeling if it's hot-- if it's hot you have a resistance problem. Well, hopefully this shines some light for some people. Thanks for the help Jim.

You can make a 1/0 cable terminal hot with a starter if you crank for more than about 5 seconds- I don't recommend putting a finger on it and keeping it there for any starter cable testing. I already melted my thumb print off when I touched a raw water pump that was running dry and I don't plan to smell more of my own flesh burning anytime soon.

The problem that many find hard to grasp is that voltage drop causes the failures. Ohm's Law states that P=IE, where P is power, I is current and E is voltage. If P is to remain constant (and it really, really wants to remain constant), I must increase if E drops. Best-case scenario, a starter will draw about 150A, less if it's the gear reduction type. So, 150 x 13.8 = 2070 (Volt-Amps), sometimes called Watts for these discussions. If E drops to 10.5 (very typical and the reason points ignition systems bypass the ballast resistor completely), I increases to 197+ Amperes. Again, this is best-case. Fairly typical- the starter draws 300+A, so at least double the current. If the cables and terminals are old & corroded, the standing voltage won't be 13.8 and when cranking, it will drop far below 10.5, increasing the current flow to levels that melt solenoid contacts, cable insulation, wire loom, armature wire, etc.

byronic
08-24-2012, 04:58 PM
I thought the Ohm's law was E=IR ,where R is restiance,expressed in Ohm's, hence the name.
P=IE sounds more like the power law,where are the Ohms? Has it changed since I learned it 55 years ago?

JimN
08-24-2012, 05:12 PM
I thought the Ohm's law was E=IR ,where R is restiance,expressed in Ohm's, hence the name.
P=IE sounds more like the power law,where are the Ohms? Has it changed since I learned it 55 years ago?

I just didn't call it the 'Ohm's Law Power Circle' and you probably learned it more formally than I did. I doubt there has been any reason to change it.

StudLEE
08-29-2012, 11:53 PM
Hey guys.. well i picked the boat up last week, but havent had time to run it or work on it due to 2 kids with ear infections, a terrorist for a 2 year old, and shift work.. after hee hawing around for a week, contemplating weather or not to change out the ignition switch because my local marine shop covered the cost of a second rebuilt starter and new solenoid. they claimed it was a faulty solenoid which caused it to happen again.. anyways.. picked up a new switch today, installed it in about 30 min. and hit the lake! was out for about 2 hrs with the family, stopped and started it maybe a half a dozen times.. so far so good! leaving tomorrow morning to hit the cabin in da northwoods for hopefully a fabulous weekend! Thanks to all who helped out! Great website here! Great people, with endless information!