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pwillcutts
06-21-2006, 08:51 PM
I continue to have starting problems that only occur on the 2nd or 3rd start. :confused: :mad: Maybe this scenerio sounds familiar to someone(1990 TriStar w/Ford 351). :

The engine starts with an intial weak turn of the engine, but then catches. I'll take the boat out for hours, anchor for a swim(no radio on), then go to re-start and she gives an exhausted turn of the engine then dies.

Many tow homes already this season...UGH ! But yet the next morning I'll go down to the dock and it fires up again ? (with a slow inital turn, but it does start).

After help on another thread, I adjusted the timing, which seemed to work at first. But sure enough the same problem came back.

I just replaced the original alternator tonight with a new one from DIM. I jumped it to get it going after putting in the alternator, ran it around the lake to recharge the battery more. Came back to dock and shut her down to see how she'd start.....I got an initial start that was much stronger, with a good voltage reading above 13. Shut her down again to retest, then it had that all too familiar slow turn of the engine that seems to pull heavily on the battery....lights dimm...and she won't start....now the voltage is down to 11.

I Started the season with a brand new Die Hard deep cycle battery too. I think I'll go ask for another battery from Sears....

What next?? replace the wires and plugs. Any other ideas?? Any tips? Thanks!!!!!!!!

wesgardner
06-22-2006, 10:28 AM
Did you have the starter rebuilt? I had issues with starting and another thing I was told by my good friends at Mammock's Motor Electric here in town is that the wire from the "S' terminal to the solenoid must be PERFECT, well mine looked good but after pulling in a new one, my starting issues were much better ( I had both alt. and starter rebuilt)

I have also SOLDERED the ends onto my battery wires - no crimps here....

Have the battery load tested....MAKE SURE the grounds are good (as in where both alt. and starter bolt up - this is the negative side of the electrical "equation"

JimN
06-22-2006, 10:58 AM
Deep cycle batteries are for reserve power, not dumping a bunch of current during starting. You need cranking amps, not amp-hours of reserve. DO NOT start a motor with a dead battery. Recharge the battery first or your alternator won't last long.

To set the timing, remove the spark plugs and connect the timing light as normal to get it to 6 degrees BTDC. If you still have slow cranking with a new battery, you have a bad starter, solenoid, starter ground or something along those lines.

tommcat
06-22-2006, 11:13 AM
Deep cycle batteries are for reserve power, not dumping a bunch of current during starting. You need cranking amps, not amp-hours of reserve. DO NOT start a motor with a dead battery. Recharge the battery first or your alternator won't last long.

To set the timing, remove the spark plugs and connect the timing light as normal to get it to 6 degrees BTDC. If you still have slow cranking with a new battery, you have a bad starter, solenoid, starter ground or something along those lines.also check the battery cables and wires to the starter. corrosion will cause high resistance which gets even worse when hot. you could have 3 good batteries hooked up but if the starter cable has corrosion somewhere in the middle it will not crank over.

think of it like pinching off the garden hose, lots of pressure on one side but it just cant make it to the nozzle.

Kevin 89MC
06-22-2006, 11:38 AM
Jim's right, get that deep cycle out outta there. I chased a similar issue (would not turn over when warm or hot) a few years ago using a deep cycle. They're just not meant for starting big old car engines. Buy a regular automotive battery with the largest CCA that you can fit in the battery well, and you should be good to go. My Costco (Kirkland) battery has been working great all year.
Good luck,
Kevin

tommcat
06-22-2006, 12:37 PM
many deep cycle batteries are rated for dual purpose, deep cycle and starting. i run a ford dual purpose battery for my starter and an optima blue top for my accessories

pkskier
06-22-2006, 12:59 PM
A bad solenoid will also cause this problem.

pwillcutts
06-22-2006, 02:28 PM
Did you have the starter rebuilt? I had issues with starting and another thing I was told by my good friends at Mammock's Motor Electric here in town is that the wire from the "S' terminal to the solenoid must be PERFECT, well mine looked good but after pulling in a new one, my starting issues were much better ( I had both alt. and starter rebuilt)

I have also SOLDERED the ends onto my battery wires - no crimps here....

Have the battery load tested....MAKE SURE the grounds are good (as in where both alt. and starter bolt up - this is the negative side of the electrical "equation"

Had the starter check last year when this problem arose, and it checked out fine. It was rebuilt a few years back. I guess I'll pull it again and have them re-test it. I replaced the solenoid last summer too....but I'll check that wire you mention. My alternator only has two wires going to it, the positive one (orange maybe?) and an "excite" one. I'm at work, and can't remember the colors. How many wires whould be coming off the alternator?
thx!

pwillcutts
06-22-2006, 02:31 PM
Deep cycle batteries are for reserve power, not dumping a bunch of current during starting. You need cranking amps, not amp-hours of reserve. DO NOT start a motor with a dead battery. Recharge the battery first or your alternator won't last long.

To set the timing, remove the spark plugs and connect the timing light as normal to get it to 6 degrees BTDC. If you still have slow cranking with a new battery, you have a bad starter, solenoid, starter ground or something along those lines.

I set the timing to 10 degrees BTDC, where there was already a line drawn from someone's previous timing job. This is also what the manual said for my year. Could old plugs and wires cause these symptoms??
thx!

Bruce Carr
06-22-2006, 02:49 PM
Check your ground cable connections as well. The ground wire will bolt up to your engine block somewhere towards the front of the engine. Corrosion between the ground wire terminal and the cast iron block is pretty common.

Also, when you pull the starter, check the bearing located at the end of the starter housing (near the bendix gear assembly). Those bearings wear out fast because they get alot of abuse and they are exposed to bilge water being slung up by the flywheel which tends to displace what little grease was applied when the starter was assembled. When this bearing gets worn, it allows the armature to deflect and drag on the field windings.

oxberger
06-22-2006, 03:09 PM
After trying those ideas, if you should still have a problem, try replacing the condenser. I had a similar problem, and after going through the electrical system (battery, cables, wires, grounding, alternator) and even the starter I still had the problem. The only thing I did not check or fix was the condesner. After the suggestion by a mechanic friend of mine to replace that, I did, and haven't had any problems since. Just my .02. I hope you get it fixed soon!

rektek
06-25-2006, 09:32 AM
Starting and charging problems can be diagnosed in 30 mins or less.
changing parts in hopes of fixing the fault is not part of the diagnostic tree.

you need to learn [it's not hard] or hire someone to help you. BBQ and beer can be forms of payment. :woohoo:

Verify and reproduce the problem [you've done that]

verify the battery condition, diagnosing a electrical problem with a bad battery is a poor start. no pun intended

check your starter draw [the amps it takes to turn your motor over]
crank the engine with ignition disabled.

check your voltage loss from battery pos to B+ post on the starter.

check your voltage loss [also known as drop] from battery neg to the engine block on a non painted surface.

High starter draw = faulty starter and or mechanical problem in the engine.

voltage drops over 1 volt and I would start looking at poor connections and or faulty battery terminal connections including the crimps.

volt meter, inductive meter and a few hand tools is all you need.

pwillcutts
06-25-2006, 06:11 PM
Starting and charging problems can be diagnosed in 30 mins or less.
changing parts in hopes of fixing the fault is not part of the diagnostic tree.

you need to learn [it's not hard] or hire someone to help you. BBQ and beer can be forms of payment. :woohoo:
volt meter, inductive meter and a few hand tools is all you need.

Thanks Rektek. Kinda Funny, I just got back from NAPA AGAIN....and finally the guy at NAPA asked if I needed help.....& when I told him the symptoms he had the same response as you. He's been seeing me buy timing lights, tune up kits, solonoids, etc, and finally suggested to me that He would come over with a meter and test the cables and starter for me. His guess is that its the starter....caused by heat from the manifold....his car has similar issues because the header is located so close to his starter.

So a follow up question....IF it turns out that I need a starter....What should I get? I see the DIM only has rebuilt ones for my 351, but Overtons has brand new starters that appear to be a match. It seems obvious to go for a new one over a rebuilt....but if the quality of Overtons' new starter is poor maybe not??

THANKS! Hope to clear this up before a family reunion fast approaching on the 4th of July !!!!

AHudgins
06-25-2006, 07:19 PM
As stated already, you need to check all of the connections on the battery, alternator and starter. Pay very close attention to the ground connection to the motor block (no paint or rust). If you don't have one, borrow or buy a digital volt meter. Make sure the battery voltage is up to 12V when the engine is off, and goes to at least 13.2V when the engine is running.

JimN
06-25-2006, 08:11 PM
If the starter is bad, get it rebuilt. A lot less $ and if the place is any good, they can do it to Coast Guard spec.

pwillcutts
06-27-2006, 10:10 AM
Starting and charging problems can be diagnosed in 30 mins or less.
changing parts in hopes of fixing the fault is not part of the diagnostic tree.

check your starter draw [the amps it takes to turn your motor over]
crank the engine with ignition disabled.
.


I tested the starter draw by turning the key. The engine would crank but not start. Is this sufficient or do I need to disable the ignition still?

JimN
06-27-2006, 10:56 AM
If you take the boat out, go back and let it sit, then try to start it, does it turn over OK? If it does, the alternator is probably charging. If the battery hasn't been load tested, take it to a place that can do that. If the current draw test on the starter didn't show anything out of the ordinary, you may have gas leaking out of the carb, into the intake manifold, loading the cylinders. Remove the flame arrestor and look for dripping gas at the base of the carb. Back the timing off to 6 degrees BTDC and see if this helps.

IIRC, the NAPA guy was going to come over for the starter test. What happened with that?

To recap, did you clean the battery terminals, remove and clean the engine ground point, check/retighten the solenoid connections, make sure the solenoid ground is good? Also, look at the cable ends on the starter for discoloring. If they get really hot, they'll turn kind of a metallic blue/grey. This indicates a heavy load, either from a bad starter, battery or bad grounds. Check the resistance of the pos and neg cables going to the motor. Look for corrosion at the ends and if there's a lot of white powdery stuff coming out of the jacket, replace the cables. This indicates that the corrosion has reduced the cross-sectional area of the cables and this will cause a significant voltage drop and that kills starters, solenoids and batteries.

pwillcutts
06-27-2006, 02:35 PM
If you take the boat out, go back and let it sit, then try to start it, does it turn over OK? If it does, the alternator is probably charging. If the battery hasn't been load tested, take it to a place that can do that. If the current draw test on the starter didn't show anything out of the ordinary, you may have gas leaking out of the carb, into the intake manifold, loading the cylinders. Remove the flame arrestor and look for dripping gas at the base of the carb. Back the timing off to 6 degrees BTDC and see if this helps.

IIRC, the NAPA guy was going to come over for the starter test. What happened with that?

To recap, did you clean the battery terminals, remove and clean the engine ground point, check/retighten the solenoid connections, make sure the solenoid ground is good? Also, look at the cable ends on the starter for discoloring. If they get really hot, they'll turn kind of a metallic blue/grey. This indicates a heavy load, either from a bad starter, battery or bad grounds. Check the resistance of the pos and neg cables going to the motor. Look for corrosion at the ends and if there's a lot of white powdery stuff coming out of the jacket, replace the cables. This indicates that the corrosion has reduced the cross-sectional area of the cables and this will cause a significant voltage drop and that kills starters, solenoids and batteries.

Thanks Jim. I replaced the cable ends at the battery terminals and had Sears test the battery. Before getting the Napa guy to come over, I bought a meter, and gave it a go myself. Voltage was exactly the same from the Battery to the point where it connects to the solonoid. (I replaced the solonoid the other day because I cracked it overtightening the nut). I took off the negative ground on the engine block, cleaned it, and put it back on. I tested the voltage at the starter B+ post while cranking the engine, and noticed only about 1/2 the voltage at that point compared to the battery reading. So I took off the starter with the cable attached from the solonoid end and am having it tested today. I would have done this chore earlier in the diagnosis process, but I just had it tested last summer and it was fine. Sooooo.....I'll let you know what the results are from the starter shop ASAP.
Thanks again for all the input!

rektek
06-27-2006, 09:50 PM
http://i.pbase.com/o4/48/283448/1/62594144.eWfZ3N9W.voltagedrop.jpg

take a volt meter on VDC 0-20 scale or set to auto, crank the engine and write down and post the readings from:
A to D
A to B
A to C
B to C
E to F

pwillcutts
06-29-2006, 02:03 PM
PROBLEM RESOLVED !! :woohoo:
It was the Starter after all ! I had tested it just last summer, so I assumed it was not the problem. But the meter test showed the power drain there, and so I took it to the shop, and it needed a re-build. The guy said water had gotten into it and rusted it up pretty good....so it was turning but with lots of resistence. $80 later, I got it back into the boat and she fired right up !!! :headbang: Just in time for the 4th of July weekend!! Feeling sort of stupid that I didn't just check the starter out to begin with....but hey, thanks to everyone here I learned how to time my motor & meter test the electrical. And while I probably didn't need to spend the money on the new alternator, battery and solonioid, I guess I've got peace of mind that they're new parts now (in my 16 yr old MC!!)!! (and I still have the old ones as spares!) :D
THANKS AGAIN!

oxberger
06-29-2006, 02:26 PM
Way to go! It may have taken the long way around to get it resolved, but now your cooking with gas. Have a great 4TH!

JimN
06-29-2006, 03:38 PM
pwillcuts- if you look at previous posts, you'll see the recommendation that the motor box is left slightly open during storage and condensation is the reason. Every year, starters and alternators go bad from this and it's due to winterization steps that are left out

Glad to hear you got it fixed.

pwillcutts
06-29-2006, 03:56 PM
pwillcuts- if you look at previous posts, you'll see the recommendation that the motor box is left slightly open during storage and condensation is the reason. Every year, starters and alternators go bad from this and it's due to winterization steps that are left out

Glad to hear you got it fixed.

Thanks Jim. Good tip. I haven't done that in the past....and can certainly see how the starter could rust up during the winter. Maybe I'll just take the whole Engine box cover off for the winter, especially since I just re-upholstered it. thanks!