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Old 04-14-2016, 12:18 PM
Tristar87 Tristar87 is offline
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Boat: 1987 Tristar
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1987 Tristar - Not Cranking, No Clicking

Guys, I picked up this 1987 Tristar recently. I was told by the previous owner someone messed with the wiring but it had since been fixed. It also had water up to the floorboards late last year. I am not getting the engine to crank and there is no clicking at the solenoid when I turn the key.

I picked up a new starter, electronic conversion kit, disty cap, plugs and wires, and battery. I installed everything and bypassed the ballast resistor. I am not getting the engine to crank or click. The lights and accessories will light up but nothing when I turn the key. I have ruled out the ignition switch since I am getting 10.2V at the coil positive connection. The lanyard is already bypassed and should allow the engine to crank regardless.

When the wiring was previously fixed it looks like things were done incorrectly, however I was told the boat running after fixing the wiring. The first picture I am posting is the original distributor cap/coil and ballast resistor connections with the point setup. This cap has the clip downs. A single purple wire was coming out of the distributor to the negative post on the coil. There is also an orange wire going to the ballast resistor and then to the positive coil connection. There is a grey wire coming out of the loom and is the tack lead connected to the "positive" terminal on the coil. Finally, there is a purple/pink wire going to the ballast resistor and then to the carb. You can faintly see the four wires that are coming out of the loom under the coil. Based on this original setup I think the orange wire is the battery power from the ignition, grey wire is the tach lead, and the purple/pink wire is the exciter wire or the choke? and last wire is the oil sensor blue.

Now onto the current setup with the electronic ignition and new disty cap. Vince sent me an excellent wiring diagram I have not seen on here before - see attachment. I connected the black wire coming out of the distributor cap to the the negative on the coil. I connected the red wire coming out of the cap to the positive on the coil. The grey tach is on the positive coil (not sure this is correct according to the wiring diagram). I also removed the orange wire going to the ballast resistor and sent it straight to the positive on coil. The purple/pink wire I left going to the ballast and then to the carb.

I have a feeling my problem is the ground or the ground wire. It was siting in water and may have corroded but the connection on the backup the engine looks good. Vince and I also bypassed the neutral safety switch by putting both white wires on the same post on the trans. I also have confirmed that the connections from the starter to the relay are correct and have a picture of that as well.

Today when I get out there I am going to jump the battery negative to the ground to make sure it is not the ground wire corroded. I have an ohm meter but don't know how to measure resistance on the ground. I think I have read it has to be ZERO not .9 or something small. Where else can I take reading to isolate the issue?

Thanks in advance for your time and help. I hope to get this thing fired up soon.

Bill

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Wiring Diagram_87 Tristar.pdf

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  #2  
Old 04-14-2016, 06:05 PM
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thatsmrmastercraft thatsmrmastercraft is offline
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Didn't have time to go through your post thoroughly but two things jumped out. You need a minimum of 11.5 volts at the coil positive to make the electronic ignition work. You should also remove and clean all battery connections with a wire brush. Looking good can be very misleading. I will be back on here late for a more complete answer if you still need it.
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Old 04-14-2016, 06:39 PM
Tristar87 Tristar87 is offline
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Boat: 1987 Tristar
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Cranking

Well I tested the relay switch and was getting 12.5v in but nothing was coming out. I assume that the out side of the relay to the selenium should be hot with 12.5 with the key in the in position? So I tapped the selenoid cable to the battery side of the relay and it it kicked the selenoid/starter. So can I say that the relay switch is the problem? Or is it possibly the ignition switch? The ignition switch is getting 11.6v in the on position. I'll be back out there in the morning.
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Old 04-14-2016, 07:45 PM
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thatsmrmastercraft thatsmrmastercraft is offline
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You are on the right track, If you are getting battery voltage to the S terminal on the solenoid with the key in the crank position (small wire from ignition switch) and the solenoid isn't engaging, you have a bad solenoid.
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Old 04-14-2016, 08:56 PM
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Jerseydave Jerseydave is offline
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Wow, heavy corrosion. The distributor must have been fun to remove?

First I would remove ground cable from engine block, clean the paint off the mounting surface with a file and also clean the cable end. Re-install and try it.

You may also have a bad kill switch at the throttle lever. You may have to bypass it.

How's the starter itself look? If it went underwater you should send it out and have it rebuilt.
Copper hates being under water.
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Old 04-14-2016, 09:05 PM
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thatsmrmastercraft thatsmrmastercraft is offline
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Another thing to do is check the resistance of the battery cables. They can look fine but have corrosion inside the casing and cause problems. Use an ohm meter. Google the resistance chart for size and length of wire. There should be very little resistance.
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  #7  
Old 04-14-2016, 09:31 PM
catamount catamount is offline
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Yes, consider replacing your battery cables. You can get the raw materials pretty cheap online, if you can learn to crimp (easy). I was having similar problems until I replaced all of the heavy cables on the boat.

Also, have you tried moving the distributor yet? Mine looked like yours (well, not quite that bad) and I had to use a slide hammer on it to even get it to move. First things first, I think I'd throw a new starter in there. One of the Arco gear reduction jobs.
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Old 04-14-2016, 09:42 PM
Tristar87 Tristar87 is offline
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Boat: 1987 Tristar
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I have the brand new Arco in there now. So that means it's the relay correct? Once I install the new relay then I'll make sure the EI and Flamethrower II are bypassing the ballast resistor. I'll drain the gas and put fresh gas in. I should have just bought the Mallory disty with the EI built in. I am very doubtful as well and may just order it. Well try and get her fired up and go from there.
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Old 04-14-2016, 09:59 PM
Tristar87 Tristar87 is offline
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Should I wait to get a new distributor before cranking it?
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  #10  
Old 04-14-2016, 11:46 PM
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paco_06 paco_06 is offline
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Distributor is just a housing, gears and bearings. You've got all the good stuff for it already. The new ones are nice, but I think you'll be OK as long as everything in that one feels tight. Make sure your advance springs and the rest of the mechanical advance is in good shape.
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