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Hunterb 06-01-2005 02:11 PM

solenoid wiring
Hi everyone,

Glad the board is back up and running !
I'm having a problem deciphering the starter solenoid wiring in my 1990 PS 190 with the Ford 351 Indmar motor. There are four posts on the solenoid that came on the motor when I bought it. The two main heavy duty terminals are no problem and the one from the ignition (yellow wire with red stripe) is fine. It's the other terminal that I'm not sure about. It is labeled with an 'S' and it currently has an orange wire connected to it that runs to the + side of the coil. Is this correct? I actually disconnected it on the weekend when I had the boat out because twice I had the situation occur where I started the motor and the starter motor stayed engaged and I had to pull the + cable of the battery to stop it. Since I disconnected it I have not had any problems and everything is working fine. Does anyone know where the 'S' terminal is supposed to be connected to?

Thanks for any help you may have.


bartel 06-11-2005 02:40 AM

Did you ever get this issue figured out? I'm currently having the same problem with my 85 and I have no clue.

bobski 06-11-2005 02:44 PM

I am also having the same problem, but the orange wire goes to the "I" post on the solenoid. I traced the orange wire back to a Bosch transistor that is connected to the coil. I am not sure what purpose it serves. I disconnected the orange wire from the solenoid and it starts fine. This is my third solenoid in 1 year. It seems like the orange wire is burning them out. When that happens the boat keeps trying to start and I have to pull the battery connection.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Hunterb 06-15-2005 06:38 PM

Hi again,

I seem to be having trouble with this web-site lately. It comes and goes and often is not available for some reason. I did reply to this but it is not showing up so I'll do it again and hope that it doesn't show up multiple times.

I did solve this problem. I disconnected the orange wire. I decided that the only time I wanted power to the solenoid was when the key was in the 'start' position. With the orange wire connected to the 'S' terminal on the solenoid and the + terminal on the coil it was getting power when the key was in the 'run' position. The other terminal on the solenoid is labeled 'I' and I connected the wire from the ignition key to that. I have no idea what the 'S' terminal is for but my motor likes it a lot better with it disconnected. My kids like it better too since I've stopped flinging them into the lake as I yank up the spotter seat to rip off the battery cable to stop the starter motor.

I never got a response as to where that terminal should be connected so for now I am leaving it unconnected. Everything works perfectly so I see no reason to change it now. The really strange thing is that the orange wire does look like a factory wire. Maybe a Ford dealer would know.

I hope this message works and I apologize if I'm repeating myself.


torbmi 06-16-2005 08:00 PM

Bruce - do I understand you to mean that the starter would keep running after you released the switch, even after the engine started?? -Rick

Hunterb 06-17-2005 06:16 PM

Yes that is what was happening, but only ocassionally not every time. I have a theory about that but it's lengthy. I have no idea what the 'S' terminal on the solenoid is for but with it connected to the + side of the coil it will cause the solenoid to stay engaged even with the key in the 'off' position. Several times I had the motor running and the starter motor still engaged and running as well. Not a great situation. My previous experience with auto electrics led me to beleive that it was a fualty solenoid when it happened the first time so I put a new one in. When it continued to occur sporadically I started to look at how it was wired, which led me to that odd orange wire.

Like I said, once removed, problem solved. :woohoo:


torbmi 06-17-2005 07:45 PM

Ah HA!. Same exact thing w/mine. '89 Tristar 190, 351. It started when I had the starter rebuilt. About every fifth start or so, it'll keep going - even if I remove the key. Pretty scary - the battery gets hot, etc. I can get it to stop by thumping the starter relay (aka solenoid) w/my fist. I put a new relay in, thinking that was the problem, but the same thing keeps happening. No one else had ever heard of this problem, and no one could explain it. The best anyone could come up with was that maybe the rebuilt starter was for some reason drawing too many amps, which in turn would cause the relay to stick. This sounded good, especially b/c I could get the starter to stop by hitting the relay.

So, I got a new starter from skidim and was going to put it on this weekend. But now I'm not so sure (I guess I might as well, b/c my wife already cleared it and there's no point in not taking advantage of the green light). What's your theory? And did you ever get it to stop by simply hitting the relay?


Hunterb 06-20-2005 01:41 PM


No I never got it to stop by hitting the relay, but then I never tried as I was too busy trying to pull the battery cable off. I found out what the orange wire is for, I think. I talked with a good Ford mechanic on the weekend. In the old days (70's) they used to run the extra wire from the solenoid to the distributer (+ side of coil) to give the spark an extra boost at start-up. This helps fire it up with the old point system, but I think it is not necessary with the new electronic ignition, which my boat has. Take that wire off and it will solve your intermittent stuck starter situation. I think it is intermittent due to varying current flow but that may not be correct. It doesn't matter as far as I'm concerned because when you take it off everything works perfectly.

Good luck with yours !! I hope this fixes it.

Bruce :toast:

T-Rager 06-20-2005 02:56 PM

I posted a response to your problem around the time that TT server went down and apparently it was lost. I will reprise the comments.

Your Ford mechanic friend is exactly right. The post on the solenoid that is wired to the + side of the coil is designed to provide battery voltage to the coil that bypasses the ballast resistor during cranking, thereby providing better spark. If you removed or bypassed the ballast resistor when you installed the electronic ignition module, this wire provides no benefit.

On the other hand, I cannot imagine how energizing + wire at the coil could cause the solenoid to activate the starter. It is totally independent of the solenoid winding that causes the copper disk within the solenoid to connect the battery terminal to the starter terminal. When cranking, battery voltage from the ignition switch is applied to the other small-gauge terminal on the solenoid ("S" I think, I'm working from memory here) causing an electromagnetic field to form and drive the copper disk to connect the solenoid's battery and starter posts. The copper disk also makes contact with a small electrode that energizes the wire to the + side of the coil. In my humble opinion, this is not likely the cause of your problem.

Hope this helps.

Hunterb 06-21-2005 02:34 PM

HI T-Rager,

Yes I agree, I'm not sure how that wire will cause the solenoid to stay engaged. It shouldn't. Not only will the solenoid stay engaged with the key in the 'run' position but it will stay engaged in the 'off' position as well requiring the battery to be disconnected to stop it. I really don't know why. The only thing I can think of is some kind of electrical loop. You're right and it probably indicates some other electrical issue as well but I think it would require someone with more electrical knowledge than I've got to figure it out. As long as the wire in question is disconnected the problem goes away and everything works as it should so that's good for me now that it's summer and what I really want to do is ski behing the boat and not be under the motor cover :)

Thanks for the input.


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