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View Full Version : 1983 S&S fires but won't run...


roush611
05-18-2013, 10:04 AM
The boat will now fire without the assistance of starting fluid. It will no stay running though. It fires then immediately shuts off. It will continue to run if I hold the key in the start position but as soon as I let off the key it dies. I am hoping you all will be able to give me some tips that dont require spending money ha ha.

Link to video: http://youtu.be/VujMCXStARM

The only 2 things I can think of is bad fuel pump (I just took it apart the other day and it looked fine) or fuel pick up in the tank. I don't know how to check that though.

The boat has a newly rebuilt carb
New distributor
New starter
New plugs
New fuel lines
New battery

madcityskier
05-18-2013, 10:13 AM
If it "runs" with the starter engaged, you could be not running at all. If it really is then likely electrical, have you checked the ignition switch? Tried putting a little fuel into the carb to see if it runs when you know there's fuel. If it runs like that you'll know it's fuel delivery. That said, I've always had great luck dining the occasional points plugs rotor cap coil and wires. A little $, but really not much, at the very least inspect them all. Buddy was on a most last week with a loose distributor. Set them timing and all was right with the world.

roush611
05-18-2013, 12:01 PM
I have put fuel into the carb. The squirters are squirting fuel out when I give it throttle. The whole distributor is brand new so it should not need points. The ignition switch is brand new as well. Is there a dude that is associated with the ignition switch?

1redTA
05-18-2013, 12:07 PM
is your ignition coil wired right?

2010Prostar197
05-18-2013, 12:25 PM
Dwell on the points? Should be around 30 degrees. Ballast resistor which is near the coil? Initial timing? I assume the spark plug wires are in the correct order....I had one 180 degrees out that sounded like yours after changing out a distributor. Good solid spark? A ballast resistor gone bad lowers the voltage thus you might get a spark but not a healthy one that's required under cylinder pressure. Take a volt meter and measure what you have at the coil. Some have a fusible wire that opens up. Looks good from the outside but nothing at the coil.

roush611
05-18-2013, 02:00 PM
is your ignition coil wired right?

The coil is wired correct.

2010 how do I tell if I am 180 degrees out on my timing? There is a chance that the resistor is bad as it looks awful. I will check the voltage at the coil.

Thanks for the suggestions guys. I know I am close to getting this thing started but there is one stupid thing I am looking over.

1redTA
05-18-2013, 02:04 PM
Makes sense, the risistor is bypassed during cranking if I remember correctly

2010Prostar197
05-18-2013, 02:21 PM
I believe you are correct about the ballast resistor being bypassed while starting. Full voltage would seriously shorten the life of the points while running but helps getting the engine started. There is also a capacitor in the distributor that can cause problems. It buffers the spikes when the points open and close however if the distributor is new it is probably ok.

To check if 180 out you need to put the number one cylinder at top dead center on the compression stroke. Then go to the distributor and make sure the rotor is pointing to the wire that goes to number one. Then check to make sure the firing order with the rest of the wires matches what the engine needs. Usually 18465372 but it can vary depending on what engine you have

roush611
05-18-2013, 02:45 PM
I believe you are correct about the ballast resistor being bypassed while starting. Full voltage would seriously shorten the life of the points while running but helps getting the engine started. There is also a capacitor in the distributor that can cause problems. It buffers the spikes when the points open and close however if the distributor is new it is probably ok.

To check if 180 out you need to put the number one cylinder at top dead center on the compression stroke. Then go to the distributor and make sure the rotor is pointing to the wire that goes to number one. Then check to make sure the firing order with the rest of the wires matches what the engine needs. Usually 18465372 but it can vary depending on what engine you have

I think it might be the resistor. I measured the voltage while turning the boat over at the coil and I was only getting like 3-5 volts.

Anybody know what kind of resistor I need. I installed a new flame thrower coil last weekend. Would I have to change anything after that? I forgot to mention that in the new parts list

1redTA
05-18-2013, 03:09 PM
when I installed a flame thrower II I bypassed the resistor per the instructions and it gets 12 volts all the time

roush611
05-18-2013, 03:28 PM
when I installed a flame thrower II I bypassed the resistor per the instructions and it gets 12 volts all the time

I should mention that I still have a points distributor. Does this make any difference?

Do you by chance have any instructions on how to bypass it? IE Wiring diagram..

2010Prostar197
05-18-2013, 04:06 PM
If the coil is designed to work without the resistor that would be fine.

3 to 5 cranking or running is way to low.

You can run without the resistor however the coil will run slightly hotter and the points will take more if a beating. In a boat that runs a handful of times compared to a car it shouldn't be to bad. Most people change points yearly anyways or at least should.

You can always jumper 12 volts to the coil and crank and start. Should tell you right away if you are on the right track.

JimN
05-18-2013, 04:07 PM
I should mention that I still have a points distributor. Does this make any difference?

Do you by chance have any instructions on how to bypass it? IE Wiring diagram..

Points don't live long when they get 12V, which is the whole reason for the ballast resistor. If you haven't seen it backfire through the carb, the timing may be close to correct, but if you have been cranking it fro a long time, make sure the carb isn't sending fuel to the intake.

If it wants to stop firing when you stop cranking, you have a problem with the wire that used to go to the ballast resistor. If you just disconnected the wire and left it free, that's the reason it won't run. Re-connect the resistor and try it.

Do you have a timing light? Use that to verify spark and yank the plugs, so you don't kill the starter and battery. If it slows down, recharge it- don't run it down. That's the easiest way to kill a starter and battery. If you have a second battery, use jumper cables to connect it in parallel to the one in the boat- the voltage will be the same as usual, but the current capacity will increase, letting them last longer. However, you need to re-check the wiring first, then verify spark and even then, crank only for a couple of seconds- never longer. If you crank it several times, let it cool down for about ten minutes (unless the air temperature is low).

j.mccreight@hotmail.com
05-18-2013, 04:44 PM
Pretty sure the Flame thrower II coil is not compatible with point ignition, you will need the flame thrower coil with points. To bypass resistor simply attach all wires of the resistor at a single location, but I would recommend getting the correct coil for point ignition and running the resistor OR changing to EI ignition and you still may or may not need to run the resistor, depending on which kit you choose. Points ignition normally like around 7 volts to operate correctly.
open the pdf it states clearly that II is not for points...

roush611
05-18-2013, 04:45 PM
Ok so I bypassed the resistor and have 12v at the coil. It is still doing the same thing as before I will turn it over, the boat fires right away and dies immediately. My timing is about right (well close enough to start), my point is gapped to .018, firing order is correct, the carb is getting fuel and I am at my wits end.

So essentially the boat will only "run" off the starter. The only other thing that I have read on the deep dark web is it could be an alternator issue. Could this be a carburetor issue? The carb when I purchased it was freshly rebuilt but came off an 88.

Here is another video where you can hear the boat actually fire a little better. You can notice that the longer I hold the key in the start position the longer it "runs" but as soon as i take my hand off the key it dies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDqGtd_gvX4

j.mccreight@hotmail.com
05-18-2013, 05:39 PM
Ignition switch is what I would pin out next, maybe its not wired correctly and when the key is released there are no wires in the "run" position hense it dies when released.

2010Prostar197
05-18-2013, 05:49 PM
Ok......

What does the voltmeter say on the coil in the run position versus the start/crank position of your key ??

Does the voltage drop or disappear when the key is in the run position??

roush611
05-18-2013, 06:04 PM
Thanks guys I appreciate all your help. I will double check the wiring on the ignition switch later. It is new so something may have got screwed up when wiring it up. (I did not do it I had someone else do it while I was working on something else.)

I will double check the voltage as well when I get home. There is zero voltage when it is in the run position though. When I turn it to start it goes to 6 then 12

2010Prostar197
05-18-2013, 06:36 PM
You found the reason why it won't stay running.

Could be a bad new switch but like you said it was probably something mis-wired being that it is new.

Keep us posted. I'm waiting to see video of it running!!

Table Rocker
05-18-2013, 06:58 PM
Thanks guys I appreciate all your help. I will double check the wiring on the ignition switch later. It is new so something may have got screwed up when wiring it up. (I did not do it I had someone else do it while I was working on something else.)

I will double check the voltage as well when I get home. There is zero voltage when it is in the run position though. When I turn it to start it goes to 6 then 12

That is significant information that is best shared as soon as it is known.

If I were in your situation, this is what I would do. Get a length of wire long enough to reach from the positive terminal on your battery to your ballast resistor and put an alligator clip or crimp on terminal on each end. Unhook the 12v "in" to the ballast resistor and make sure it doesn't touch anything that is grounded, cover it in electrical tape if you need to. Attach your jumper wire you just made to the positive terminal of your battery and the other end to the same end of your ballast resistor that has the wire going to the distributor. Crank the engine and see how you do. With this setup you know you are getting voltage to the coil. If it starts and runs, move the wire to the other side of the ballast resistor and see how it goes.

DO NOT LEAVE 12V GOING TO THE COIL FOR VERY LONG ESPECIALLY WHILE NOT CRANKING. I have seen exploded coils from this and it is messy and you have a new coil you probably don't want to replace. Your coil is a 1.5 Ohm coil and needs a ballast resistor.

When you have no idea what the problem is, you want to eliminate as much as possible. Using a jumper to the ballast resistor eliminates all the other wiring between the battery and the coil. Get the thing running with the jumper wire and then start looking for your ignition switch problem.

roush611
05-18-2013, 08:47 PM
OK. I am back home and I am getting no voltage at the coil as stated earlier. It jumps to about 7 when turned over.

Here is the ignition switch as currently wired. the two purple wires are going to the acc/on terminal, the orange wire is going to the st terminal and the yellow/orange wire is going to the batt terminal. If I remember right the boat originally had a 4 way ignition switch. Do I have the wrong switch?

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y266/roush611/null_zps71ae54be.jpg (http://s7.photobucket.com/user/roush611/media/null_zps71ae54be.jpg.html)

Table Rocker
05-18-2013, 08:55 PM
I think if you switch the red and the yellow/red wires your problems will be solved.

2010Prostar197
05-18-2013, 08:59 PM
I believe my 89 Supra Comp TS6M had 3 terminals.

Try the jumper to the coil for short term and see if it stays running. Plenty of places to get 12 volts from.

2010Prostar197
05-18-2013, 09:03 PM
After a closer at your picture the two purple wires are connected unless you put new terminals on. Try reversing the wires as suggested and see if you have voltage on the coil in the run position

roush611
05-18-2013, 09:33 PM
After a closer at your picture the two purple wires are connected unless you put new terminals on. Try reversing the wires as suggested and see if you have voltage on the coil in the run position

I remember when the person who put the switch in installed it he asked for a new connector because I think the original was a 4 way switch.

occva
05-18-2013, 09:34 PM
I think if you switch the red and the yellow/red wires your problems will be solved.

+1. Recently worked on my ignition switch.

Table Rocker
05-18-2013, 09:54 PM
+1. Recently worked on my ignition switch.
Yes, red is BATtery and yellow w/Red is STart

JimN
05-18-2013, 10:24 PM
I remember when the person who put the switch in installed it he asked for a new connector because I think the original was a 4 way switch.

Do you have a multi-meter? First, look at the switch to see if the terminals are marked. If it has any markings, maybe it will have Bat, Ign and C. The yellow wire probably goes to the solenoid and the purple is ignition, but it could be that the yellow and purple are reversed and the red in on the wrong terminal. Make sure that you have continuity between the terminal for Battery and Ignition only when you turn the key to the Run position.

roush611
05-19-2013, 12:20 AM
I will switch those two wires in the morning an report back. Thanks again for all the help.

88 PS190
05-19-2013, 12:46 AM
Does this boat have a yanlard? Text book safety lanyard awitch, on start it gets power to coil which goes off in run.

JimN
05-19-2013, 06:59 AM
I will switch those two wires in the morning an report back. Thanks again for all the help.

Don't just swap wires, verify where they're supposed to go.

Table Rocker
05-19-2013, 08:39 AM
In the pic he posted you can see a terminal marked BAT with a yellow/red wire and a terminal marked ST with a red wire. The red wire needs to be on BAT and the yellow/red wire needs to be on ST unless his boat has had some creative rewiring.

JimN
05-19-2013, 08:46 AM
In the pic he posted you can see a terminal marked BAT with a yellow/red wire and a terminal marked ST with a red wire. The red wire needs to be on BAT and the yellow/red wire needs to be on ST unless his boat has had some creative rewiring.

Yup- I didn't see the markings and the red & yellow/red need to be reversed. The back of the switch is marked for all wire positions- I have to wonder how it was mis-wired. Best way to avoid this is by removing one wire at a time. If the old switch wasn't marked, that's different but the wires' functions should be known before proceeding.

Table Rocker
05-19-2013, 08:54 AM
Yup- I didn't see the markings and the red & yellow/red need to be reversed. The back of the switch is marked for all wire positions- I have to wonder how it was mis-wired. Best way to avoid this is by removing one wire at a time. If the old switch wasn't marked, that's different but the wires' functions should be known before proceeding.

It certainly would have saved him some head scratching, starting fluid, etc. I think he might have to talk to his friend who wired the switch for him.

Thanks for all your help on this site Jim.

roush611
05-19-2013, 10:07 AM
I don't know if it matters but the one wire is not red, it is orange and runs directly to the fuse above the ignition switch. I followed the yellow/red wire yesterday and it goes to the back of the boat and goes into a wiring harness.

j.mccreight@hotmail.com
05-19-2013, 10:34 AM
take your dvom, remove wires from switch then check for voltage at both wires, the orange then the yellow with red tracer. Which ever wire that has constant battery voltage is the BATtery wire and other will be for STart, MY boat the orange is BATtery and the yellow/red is STart. Your purple wires are OK where they are on the ACC/IGN terminal.

roush611
05-19-2013, 03:20 PM
I would like to thank all of you for your help. It wound up being the two wires on the ignition switch that were switched.

Here is a little video for y'all.

http://youtu.be/CWIUDsMwFEM

JimN
05-19-2013, 03:45 PM
It certainly would have saved him some head scratching, starting fluid, etc. I think he might have to talk to his friend who wired the switch for him.

Thanks for all your help on this site Jim.

You caught the cause in your first post after seeing it- I didn't add anything.

JimN
05-19-2013, 03:45 PM
I would like to thank all of you for your help. It wound up being the two wires on the ignition switch that were switched.

Here is a little video for y'all.

http://youtu.be/CWIUDsMwFEM

Good. Now, change your oil and filter- it has gas in it.

2010Prostar197
05-19-2013, 04:06 PM
Nice to see and hear it running!!!

Lumbergh
05-19-2013, 04:09 PM
Love the sound of an inboard on the hose.

madcityskier
05-19-2013, 08:15 PM
I would like to thank all of you for your help. It wound up being the two wires on the ignition switch that were switched.

Here is a little video for y'all.

http://youtu.be/CWIUDsMwFEM

That tandem trailer looks badda$$.

j.mccreight@hotmail.com
05-19-2013, 09:58 PM
I would like to thank all of you for your help. It wound up being the two wires on the ignition switch that were switched.

Here is a little video for y'all.

http://youtu.be/CWIUDsMwFEM

Glad you got it sorted out...

Table Rocker
05-19-2013, 10:12 PM
Great to hear it fire up and run, thanks for posting it. I am sure you are a proud owner and you should be. You will know that boat inside and out before you are through. (I mean that in a good way)

roush611
05-19-2013, 11:02 PM
Thank you all for the help! Would not have started with out you guys. Well at least not as soon ha ha.

Jaxon4
05-25-2013, 04:43 PM
The boat will now fire without the assistance of starting fluid. It will no stay running though. It fires then immediately shuts off. It will continue to run if I hold the key in the start position but as soon as I let off the key it dies. I am hoping you all will be able to give me some tips that dont require spending money ha ha.

Link to video: http://youtu.be/VujMCXStARM

The only 2 things I can think of is bad fuel pump (I just took it apart the other day and it looked fine) or fuel pick up in the tank. I don't know how to check that though.

The boat has a newly rebuilt carb
New distributor
New starter
New plugs
New fuel lines
New battery

I had a similar problem..mine was the ballast resistor went bad and the kill switch went bad. Put a new resistor in and bypassed the kill switch...fires up and runs great now!!

mikeg205
05-25-2013, 04:53 PM
Hey thanks for the video - and congrats on a simple but crucial fix... :)