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007Martini 05-30-2010 09:05 PM

1999 Maristar Electrical Issue
 
I was cruising today on the boat with everything working as expected. I than noticed the voltage gauge was below 12V and radically swinging from 10 to 12V. I slowed the boat to idle than it died.

Now things got interesting.

1. The boat started back up but not for long and died again.
2. The next attempt to started the boat tripped the ignition switch breaker.
3. Reset the breaker and tried again. The gauges (all) went completely dead including the engine light.
4. Checked all the usual stuff like battery connection, kill switch and main breaker.
5. The engine will turn over but no ignition.

I have no Mastercraft dealer with 400 miles so looking for some help on this fix.

1999 Maristar 210 with the LTR 350 and Northstar Ignition.

FrankSchwab 05-31-2010 01:14 AM

It really sounds like a power cable issue.

Measure the Battery Voltage with a voltmeter. If you don't have one, beg, borrow, or steal one.

If the battery's dead, take it in and have it charged/tested.

If the battery's good, you're going to have to do some diagnostics, following voltage and ground up to the ignition switch, and back to the engine.

Because the starter turns, you have 12V going at least as far as the ignition switch, and back to the starter solenoid. That's good.

When the gauges go dead, check an unswitched power accessory like the blower, bilge, nav lights, courtesy lights - do they work? If so, you have power getting to the dash, and likely have an issue with the switched power coming from the ignition switch.

There's a (IIRC) 10-pin connector on the front of the engine that goes to the cockpit. This connector carries all the voltage for all the dash and the ignition switch; you should notice a very big (8 or 10 ga) black wire and red wire coming from the connector. Wiggle it, and make sure its well connected.

The wires from this connector are connected to another 10-pin connector under the dash; on mine, the connector was on the backside of the footboard in front of the driver; you can pull it through the hole in the footboard (it's the biggest clump of wires). Wiggle it, and make sure it's well connected.

After this, things get complicated. Wires go everywhere. In general, 12V goes to the ignition switch. When in "Run", the purple wire should get 12V, providing power to the gauges and goes back to the engine to enable the engine computer. This wire goes everywhere, and run everything. It goes through the kill switch; your symptoms exactly match a bad kill switch. Find the connector under the dash with two purple wires, and jumper the wires together. See if things get better.

Good luck; let us know what you find.

/frank

JLeuck64 05-31-2010 01:23 AM

Charge up the battery.
Fire up the engine and check charging system.
I am thinking your alterantor is not charging. You described classic symptoms of a boat that was running on the battery alone. Battery can do it for a while until the voltage falls to low. It can even recover enough after resting to run the engine a little bit longer.

JimN 05-31-2010 04:09 AM

Look on the alternator for the charging lead. The terminal may have broken, due to excessive tension in the wire. If this happened, get a piece of wire that's at least the same gauge, a Heat-N-Seal ring terminal and a Heat-N-Seal butt connector and crimp them on, followed by heating the connectors to the point that they shrink and ooze the glue inside.

007Martini 08-02-2010 08:33 PM

All,
Thanks for the advice. The final issue was corrosion in the connector for the main bundle of wires going from the engine bay to the dash. The pins were cleaned on both sides and sealed with an electrical cleaner.

The symptom's of this issues were the challenge:

1. Gauges were erratic at idle and engine would die.
2. Sometimes the engine would not start, no power to gauge panel.
3. The wires to the kill switch were getting warm and sometimes blowing the ignition fuse.
4. Would not happen all the time.

I hope this help others.


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