Cable melted - Help!!


Old 06-22-05, 08:14 AM
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Cable melted - Help!!

I have an inboard motor on my 18 foot mark twain boat. I have used it 3 weekends and the then the battery cables melted. The repair guy said that the cables were on wrong. He replaced the cables and battery and checked to make sure that the starter and alternator were okay. He said they were. I took the boat out again and it wouldn't start at all and then the cables melted again. I had paid him over $400.00 for cables, battery and checking the alternator and starter, and now he is telling me that that he thinks the alternator is locked up. and that a person can check the alternator and the amps could be fine but if it locks up then there is no way you can tell that is going to happen.

Any body out there know about this?

I kinda feel like he is taking advantage of me being a female. I am not up-to-speed with boat repairs. With cars you can get the alternator tested at auto zone and they can tell if it is going bad.

Any help or input would be great.

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Old 06-22-05, 08:49 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 74
Cables Overheated

Booster cables overheat when cranking (current drawn) is high over long period of time.

I have never heard of the condition you describe - ie occurrence of high voltage or ashort while operating the engine.

Your mechanic is likely correct about the alternator being the problem if the output from it was not properly regulated.

Most alternators now have the voltage regulator built in to them, and I think the serviceman is attempting to describe that component failure to you. Akin to a too high voltage into a circuit, I should think. ( like a lightning strike)

The line heats up like a stove element, and could the problem could be intermittent, therefore not showing up during a test.

Does that help to clarify his diagnosis?

He was very pricey for the parts and labor so far more like $85 - get quotes to replace the alternator from others, phone around! He charges like an accountant. ( I am not a mechanic )
Old 06-22-05, 09:03 AM
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Thanks, that helps alot. I feel better already. I most definitely will get another quote before he does the work.

Thank again.
Old 06-22-05, 03:29 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 5,599
Second opinion from a non mechanic. Just some thoughts that could be totally wrong.
I have my doubts about the alternator being the problem. If there was enough current to burn up the cable the alternator would burn up I think. Alternators don't produce that much currnt and the cable tothe alternator would burn up also or maybe even first.
However, If the starter was stuck that would draw enough current. Perhaps a bad starter solenoid is keeping it energized.
Old 06-27-05, 05:49 AM
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Well, the boat mechanic said that he tested the alternator and starter again and it was fine and then all of a sudden the alternator locked up. He said that the selenoid is built into the alternator. He told me that if the alternator is putting out enought AMPs and it locks up then it would fry the cables. Again, i think i am getting screwed. He was thinking that the alternator would cost approx. $150.00, but my boat is a mark twain with an OCM or OMC (?) motor and that it is hard to find parts for that kind of motor, so he said the alternator is going to be around $500.00. I was going to take it somewhere else but i have already paid over $200.00 in labor the first time around and he is not going to charge me for the labor to put the alternator but at the price of $500.00 i think it is still getting paid labor. After he fixes it i will never never go to him again.

I am checking today just to see what the alternator would cost me somewhere else, maybe he is telling me the truth.

Thank for the help.
Old 06-27-05, 06:33 AM
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Sorry to hear of your problems.
Just my opinion, a fried, stuck, whatever altenator cannot fry battery wires. The alternator wire would go first being smaller. Also alternators do not have solenoids. NOW the starter/starter solenoid is something I would look at. Something is grounding out the wire from the battery to the starter. Do you have anything floating around the engine compartment that would short it out to the block? Are the connections clean and clear at the solenoid?
Hope this helps.
PS, If you guy doesn't know these things, get a new one.
Old 06-27-05, 06:37 AM
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Here is a link to the parts you may need

BTW, an alternator only takes a few minutes to put in.
Old 06-27-05, 09:25 AM
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Thanks Wes. I called around and found out that the guy working on my boat is wrong. So I called the mechanic this morning to ask him more questions and he said that the starter and the alternator is bad and a cost of $585.00. I told him that i would take it somewhere else. I am picking up my boat and taking it somewhere else.

I would love to save money and put the alternator and starter in myself but i have rib problems and i just can't do it. But thanks for the web site, it gave me a little more insite as to the cost of the alternator, which is in the same ball park as the other boat places i called.

Thank you.

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