Go Back   TeamTalk > Maintenance Tips, How-tos and Refurbishing Topics > Electrical

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-16-2009, 09:56 AM
Sidewinder Sidewinder is offline
TT Regular
Join Date: Oct 2008
Boat: Sidewinder
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Posts: 92
Need '79 351 starter info asap please as I'm trying to winterize


I'm in the process of winterizing my '79 Skier and can't get the starter to turn off.

The engine is a 233 hp 351 Mercruiser. I just installed a new starter / alternator and can't get the starter to disengage once I turn it to the start position regardless of whether or not I turn it to the run position or the off position. Any ideas?

I've doubled checked the wiring with pictures I look before pulling the old starter / alternator and have cleaned / inspected all of the connections except for the ignition switch on the dash as I'm having a difficult time removing it for inspection. Thinking there may be some corrosion in the ignition switch, I sprayed some WD-40 through the key hole and worked the key back and forth numerous times, but it doeasn't seem to have made a difference.

To stop the starter I have to remove one of the battery cables from the battery and it arcs/sparks quite a bit.

Do any of you have any ideas and/or advice on how to "hot wire" the starter by bypassing the ignition switch iot get the engine running long enough to run anti-freeze through it / fog it?

Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2009, 10:57 AM
JimN's Avatar
JimN JimN is offline
MC Master Poster
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 13,156
It could be the solenoid that's sticking, or the Bendix. The Bendix is supposed to be lubed annually, FYI. If you didn't change the wiring, it hasn't changed on its own. That WD40 won't do the ignition switch any good, either.

Spraying WD40 through the hole doesn't get it where it needs top be and it's the wrong kind of lube, anyway. WD40 has cutting oil in it, so use it where it can't damage parts through wear. Remove the starter, rotate the gear so it climbs up the shaft, use white lithium grease but visually inspect it first. If it's badly dusted, use WD40 just to free it up but have it rebuilt before next year, or replace it with a gear reduction starter for that motor. These are much lighter, more reliable and higher torque. The Bendix shaft still needs annual lube, though.
Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2009, 10:59 AM
thatsmrmastercraft's Avatar
thatsmrmastercraft thatsmrmastercraft is offline
MC Master Poster
Join Date: Sep 2008
Boat: 1977 Stars & Stripes
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 18,579
The solenoid is probably sticking. Simple and inexpensive replacement.

FOR 302, 351 & 454 STARTING AT $450 DELIVERED
Email - [email protected]
Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2009, 07:05 PM
Sidewinder Sidewinder is offline
TT Regular
Join Date: Oct 2008
Boat: Sidewinder
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Posts: 92
Hey guys,

thanks for your help / advice - greatly appreciated as I was in the midst of trying to winterize it prior to heading out of town in a few days for a week. Long story short, it's working and the boat is winterized!

I removed the starter and lubed the Bendix as it didn't have much / any grease on it - despite the fact that it's new. Re-installed and it still wouldn't disengage / turn off.

When a helper showed up we tried to start it 3-4 times (as opposed to when I was just trying to bump it over to see if everything was going to work prior to his arrival) and the problem seemed to work itself out. I suspect the pinion gear might have been catching / getting resistance from corrosion on the flywheel because when I removed the starter and turned the key when it wasn't bolted to the bellhousing it would turn off when going from the start to run position.

Does that make sense? Would the starter keep trying to engage if the pinion gear didn't return to the disengaged position? If so, why / how? I'm curious.

Thanks again!
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:27 PM.