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Boat Starts Sometimes


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06-20-05, 04:32 AM   #1  
pwg
Boat Starts Sometimes

I have a 125 HP OMC inboard/outboard. The first problem I noticed was the voltmeter jumped around alot. Then the boat would not start, it was dead. At first whenever I lossened then tightened the battery clamps the boat would start, so I concluded that the battery cabels were bad. I replaced the cables, this did not help. The boats starts every two to five tries.

When it does not start it just seems dead. When it does start the voltmeter usually jumps alot between 13-16 volts. One time it started and the volt meter stayed still at around 12 volts. Whenever the boat starts there is plenty of cranking power.

I looked for lose wires but did not necessary find any. The battery is one year old. I also tried a different battery, this did not help.

What do your think the problem is?

 
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06-20-05, 08:41 AM   #2  
Alternator

I think the alternator has failed.

The voltmeter should always read in excess of 12.8 volts .

I get readings of 13 to 15 volts on a GM alternator with a voltmeter inline.

An equipped automotive parts store can test the alternator before purchase of a replacement...

 
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06-27-05, 06:51 AM   #3  
txtaz
PWG. Does it just click when you try to start it? Sounds to me like a starter or starter solenoid. Perhaps the ignition wire to the solenoid.
Wes

 
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06-27-05, 07:01 AM   #4  
pwg
No, it does not just click when I try to start.

More information! When I try to determine if I have power I flip the blower switch or pump switch. About once every 3-5 times when I flip either one of the switches there is power. When I have power the boat starts fine, but the voltmeter still flickers alot.

I also checked the tightness of many wires and cleaned those that appeared dirty.

 
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06-27-05, 12:02 PM   #5  
txtaz
pwg, if I'm understanding you correctly, you're saying there is NO powere when the boat does not want to start. I.E. The blower or bilge pump does not run either. If that is the case you have a bad battery disconnect switch. Flip it a few times and see what difference it makes. You might have loose connections ot bad contacts.
Wes

 
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06-27-05, 12:23 PM   #6  
pwg
In case I am not making myself clear the following is a typical cycle of what occurs.

1. I turn on either the pump or the blower if it has power the boat starts just fine.

2. After starting the boat once maybe twice at the most, I then have no power. The pump and blower do not work and the boat will not start.

3. I the flip the pump or blower switch 3-5 times, sometimes I power again right away sometimes not.

4. If I do not have power again right away I wait 1/2- to 1 hour and power is there again.

Where is the battery disconnect switch ( I do not have a flip switch for one) or what does it look like?

The battery is one year old. The battery cables are two weeks old. I tried a different battery and had the same results.

Thanks for your help. Hope you can answer my mystery.

 
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06-27-05, 02:23 PM   #7  
txtaz
Sounds like the battery disconnect switch to me. It is usually located in the engine compartment or battery well. They are usually red and has positions for on/off or 1/2/off. It disconnects the battery from the entire boat. Trace the wires from the positive side of the battery and the first thing you will find is the disconnect.
Good luck.
Wes

 
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06-28-05, 01:01 AM   #8  
pwg
Thanks for the advice I truly appreciate it. Is there any way to check the switch other than just buying a new one? How does a bad disconnect switch make the voltage gauge jump around?


Last edited by pwg; 06-28-05 at 04:22 AM.
 
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06-28-05, 05:25 AM   #9  
txtaz
Check the connections first and make sure they are tight and clean. Then cycle it a few times. See if that helps, if not replace it. The contactors in the switch can become corroded or pitted causing a bad contact, hence poor voltage to the boat.
Wes

 
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06-28-05, 09:07 AM   #10  
pwg
I went to the store to buy a battery disconnect switch. Looking at it seemed I do not have one of these switches now. I did not recognize it. Plus the instructions for the switches showed it between the battery and starter on the positve terminal The positive wire connects from the battery directly to the starter on my boat.

Any other thoughts?

 
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06-28-05, 10:18 AM   #11  
Intermittent

Bad ignition switch. Contact sufaces not always meeting inside the switch?
Replace the switch.

 
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06-28-05, 11:39 PM   #12  
Old Joe,
The blower and bilge pump are not typically wired throught the ignition switch (you don't want the ignition on when you use the blower to clear the fumes). But I think the problem may be in the wiring feeding power to the dash/console/whatever. If the fuses are by the controls, check the connections from there back to the battery/alternator.

 
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06-29-05, 07:39 AM   #13  
txtaz
Good call Phil, That's exactly what it is. Why didn't I think of it???
Ohhh well, good luck, tracing wires in boats are lots of fun.
Wes

 
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10-13-05, 07:21 PM   #14  
If you follow your ground wire (black) from your battery backwards to were it connects you will probably have either a loose connection or there is enough oil and gunk that your not getting a ground.Try disconnecting the ground and lightly sand off any paint or gunk.Get it down to bare metal the hook back up.I bet it works fine after that.

 
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