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  #1   IP: 89.251.61.34
Old 09-24-2007, 04:40 AM
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Common solenoid/starter problem solution

Many threads here detail problems involving either the solenoid or the starter- or both. I recently worked through one of my own (with my father-in-law, the best one could hope for) and wanted to share the troubleshooting and solution with everyone.

Symptoms: very often in starting the engine (almost every time), pushing on the starter button would result in a loud click but no running of the starter motor. After one, two or three (or more) pushes on the starter button, and with a loud click every time, the starter motor would eventually turn and the engine would start. These symptoms did not depend on engine temperature and could manifest themselves at any time of the day. I never had a "no start" situation but when ever I would get the click and no starter motor, my heart would skip three beats.

After checking the carbon brushes in the starter motor and cleaning all accessible connections (the starter motor ran like a champ on the bench and the solenoid never hesitated in sliding its piston back and pushing the starter gear forward) the condition remained the same once re-installed on the engine.

Engine check: we rigged a 12V lamp between the two large terminals on the back of the solenoid and tried starting the engine. Bingo! When we heard the loud click and didn't get the starter motor running, the lamp was not shining: no 12V current was arriving at the starter despite all indications that the solenoid was functioning correctly.

Solution: we took apart the back of the solenoid (see photos) to find that the heads of the large copper bolts were worn and that the large washer that is pushed-up against the two bolts in order to close the circuit was corroded. We rotated the bolts in their housings to expose fresh metal and cleaned-up the washer. Everything looked good but after further testing, the problem remained!!

Final solution: it turns out that the washer was only making occasional contact with the bolt heads despite our efforts. A second intervention involved placing fiber washers under the heads of the two large bolts (one washer each) to move them closer to the connecting washer. In this way, the contact is assured despite tiring springs and worn bolt heads.

In the first photo you can clearly see one of the larger copper bolts. The washer was placed where you can see the thin copper washer sitting over the square portion of the bolt. The same was done for the second large bolt, visible in the solenoid casing in the second photo.

You can also clearly see the large, corroded washer mounted between two springs on the central axis. This is what is pushed up towards the copper bolts when you press the starter button (or turn the key) in order to allow the full 12V coming from the batteries to reach the starter motor.

The piece I am holding between my fingers doesn't seem to be used in most of our A4 configurations while the hard-wired bolt directly opposite is the "S" post on the back of the solenoid.

Hopefully this explanation will be of some use to others with similar disquieting symptoms.

Kelly
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Old 01-15-2008, 11:29 PM
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kelly is the man!

I was having starter motor woes when I read Kelly's post. It took a while to realise that my solenoid had worn in exactly the same way his had - obvious in retrospect. My symptom was - total-nonaction when starter pressed, but amps went -15.
I removed and serviced the starter motor and solenoid, and yes, it ran on the bench, but not reinstalled. So I spaced the major contacts with some spacer (cut from a plastic lid of a coffee can actually) and bingo - no more problems. I couldn't believe how primitive that mechanism is, but hey, it works.
So thanks to Kelly. Now, onto the next job...
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Old 04-21-2008, 04:23 AM
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I'm coming back to this post as this last weekend the original "non-start" condition occurred again: three or four times I turned the ignition key and only got a loud click- the solenoid was throwing the Bendix forward but the starter did not engage.

I'll have to remove the solenoid again and see if my repair has failed or if corrosion has attacked the connections. Before that though, I'll be checking my connections at the control panel to make sure the few months of sitting on the buoy haven't done their nasty work on any connections there...

More later.

Kelly
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Old 04-21-2008, 01:13 PM
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hello kelly

take it from a 30 year knuckle dragger ,buy a new solenoid ,common as dirt at any parts house cost 15.00 us . fair winds albatross .
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Old 04-22-2008, 04:00 AM
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The new solenoid idea sounds good. I'm dealing with French parts houses so finding matching parts is always a challenge. Any tips on a part number or manufacturer? Should I just say "Delco starter" and everyone will get the picture?

Kelly
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Old 09-01-2009, 02:19 PM
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Starting Motor Rebuilt - Before & After Pictures

Hello all,

Used this thread to try and resolve my no crank issues, and had the original starter motor rebuilt and a new solenoid put in. It cost $107, and was a great investment, even if it doesn't solve the no crank issue 100%.

The boat is a 1974 C&C 27, with an Atomic 4, and apparently the starting motor had not been serviced before.

Here is the before & after shots...



Just thought I would share my findings...

PS: We have a facebook profile where we document the work we do on the boat. Silver Fox on Facebook.
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Old 09-02-2009, 09:37 PM
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Wow, I'd agree with it being a good start!
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"Twice Around" - '77 Catalina 30, #511 with original A-4, but she does have an MMI manifold.
Spring is just around the corner!!!

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Old 09-03-2009, 02:51 AM
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No pun intended, I'm sure...

Here is a picture of my starter when I opened it up. I'm amazed at the difference between Silver Fox's picture and this one. As far as I know, this starter was not maintained regularly.

Kelly
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Last edited by Kelly; 09-03-2009 at 04:01 AM.
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Old 09-15-2009, 01:08 PM
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No crank issue

Hi Kelly,

Wondering if you fully resolved the 'click sound instead of crank' issue, and if so what was the problem?

We still have the problem - intermittently, but enough that I cannot be confident of a start whenever needed.

We push the ignition button, and hear the dull click noise from the starter motor area, and nothing else. We push again and sometimes will get a crank, but more often than not another click noise. If the starter does engage it works just fine.

Usually after a 3 minute or so break, trying the ignition again will increase the probability of the starter motor doing what it is supposed to. We would get one or two functioning starts and then a third try and beyond will just get the single click noise. Until we let it be for a few minutes. Then we roll the dice again...

The battery is almost new and fully charged. All the wiring all seems good. The solenoid is new and the 35 yr old starter motor has just been refurbished.

My feeling is that it is the starter motor that is not working reliably. I think the new solenoid is working and pushing the starter motor gears into the flywheel and that is the click sound, but the starter motor is not running.

What do you guys think???

Thanks.
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Old 09-16-2009, 01:03 AM
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Check & clean ground to block, Check voltage draw at starter when trying to crank, cables may have corrosion in cables or in lugs if crimped that will cause low voltage when cranking, A bad ground or low voltage will cause arch spots on the solenoid washer
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:59 AM
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Silver Fox,

Your problem sounds difficult given you have a new solenoid on the starter, thus rendering my minor repair ideas unnecessary (unless the solenoid is faulty or used).

I'm sure the dull click (fairly loud, too?) you hear when you press the starter button is indeed the solenoid engaging the starter in the flywheel. I think your best test at this time would be to do as I did and wire a small light, or even better, a volt meter across the solenoid terminals as in "Engine check" from my original post. In this way you can actually see what happens when you get the click and determine with confidence if your problem is downstream, i.e. the starter/solenoid, or upstream and either in the wiring, switches (starter switch?) or batteries.

In other words, I think Sandspur is on the right track...

Best of luck,
Kelly
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:18 AM
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Sandspur has a point: Nigel Calder points out in his book that relying for DC ground return through a big black cable attached to the engine can be problematic, since among other things that design requires a very good connection between a good cable and the engine block. Checking and shining up that connection should be routine job every spring. I've seen a lot of rusty ones. He suggests a more complicated way of getting a better ground, but I doubt many of our small boats use that type of ground return system.

If that connection and the ground cable itself are good, then I agree with Kelly: I'd think I'd be checking all the wiring, switches and connections in the starting circuit to ensure sufficient electricity supply during cranking.
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Old 09-17-2009, 08:13 AM
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Electrical Investigation Pending...

Thanks for the quick & helpful responses.

Sounds like a unanimous decision that I will have to get down on my knees and contort myself around the undersides of the aft end of the boat trying to check the circuitry...

Good times!!!

SF.
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Old 10-12-2009, 04:28 PM
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It takes a hammer?

After taking the boat out for a great 1st sail the engine would not start. All we got was a "clicking" sound. Using trouble shooting found here we decided it was either the battery, only one in the boat, or the solenoid. This past Saturday 2 knowledgeable motor heads came to the boat with me. Battery tested great but still just the clicking when I pressed the starter button. The real engineer asked for a hammer. He told me to press the starter and he gently gave the solenoid a few taps. The engine roared to life. The question is do I just clean up the solenoid as descibed here or do I get a new one? Should I get an entire starter system?
Secondly I don't seem to have a raw water filter on the water intake. Can some one please recommend one that would fit.
Still new to an inboard but she sure sails nice.
Pat
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pallen58 View Post
The real engineer asked for a hammer. He told me to press the starter and he gently gave the solenoid a few taps. The engine roared to life.
I have this same problem. See http://www.moyermarine.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3602 . Today was the first day we had to use the hammer and our results were just like yours.

We took the boat up the river today and she'll be on the hard by the end of the week. One of the winter projects is to deal with the starter/solenoid problem. I think I'm going to get a new starter and solenoid and rebuild the old starter and solenoid as necessary, keeping it around for a spare. I'll lose the $100 core charge but I'll have the peace of mind that comes with being prepared.

Mark
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Old 10-13-2009, 02:43 AM
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The hammer may be the only real tool we need on our boats!

Question: does the hammer blow allow the starter to mesh with the flywheel by jolting the alignment between the gears? Or is this an electrical repair with improved current flow occurring somewhere due to the vibrations?

Curious Kelly
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Old 10-13-2009, 04:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly View Post
Question: does the hammer blow allow the starter to mesh with the flywheel by jolting the alignment between the gears? Or is this an electrical repair with improved current flow occurring somewhere due to the vibrations?
I've always understood it to be a mechanical solution, encouraging stuck parts to spring into action.

As for hammers on boats, see this new thread: http://www.moyermarine.com/forums/sh...ad.php?p=17372.
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Old 12-12-2009, 08:30 AM
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I have had exactly the same syptoms as Pallen 58. At the time, we were far from home on a three month cruise of the Great Lakes. I disassembled and cleaned the solenoid. I also used a small squirt of SailKote (the dry ptfe lubricant) on the solenoid plunger.

The repair worked for about 375 hours of running time.
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Old 07-29-2010, 01:28 PM
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Smile Mercury 228 inboard/outboard starter solenoid issue ( newbee)

I have a loud "CLICK" and am very new at this and am so glad I stumbled upon Moyer Marine website. I bought a Celebrity 188 bowrider with a Mercrusier 228 inboard outboard 1985 . I have been out to the lake a dozen times this year, no real problem just cold starting took a try or two. This worked well until I went on vacation for a week and left the plug in the boat. It rained and the rear area created pool in bottom of boat and I believe the starter and Solenoid were under water. I tested the battery when got back was dead, and was brand new in March 2010. Charged it and is holding 12 to 13 volts, I have same volts at the Solenoid connection but was worried I put the bolt on to tight, is it supposed to move within the solenoid? Also Starter is not turning over. I replaced the pos cable as it was corroded to the solenoid. I cleaned up where I could but did not take starter and solenoid off and look inside for water damage. What to do now?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly View Post
Many threads here detail problems involving either the solenoid or the starter- or both. I recently worked through one of my own (with my father-in-law, the best one could hope for) and wanted to share the troubleshooting and solution with everyone.

Symptoms: very often in starting the engine (almost every time), pushing on the starter button would result in a loud click but no running of the starter motor. After one, two or three (or more) pushes on the starter button, and with a loud click every time, the starter motor would eventually turn and the engine would start. These symptoms did not depend on engine temperature and could manifest themselves at any time of the day. I never had a "no start" situation but when ever I would get the click and no starter motor, my heart would skip three beats.

After checking the carbon brushes in the starter motor and cleaning all accessible connections (the starter motor ran like a champ on the bench and the solenoid never hesitated in sliding its piston back and pushing the starter gear forward) the condition remained the same once re-installed on the engine.

Engine check: we rigged a 12V lamp between the two large terminals on the back of the solenoid and tried starting the engine. Bingo! When we heard the loud click and didn't get the starter motor running, the lamp was not shining: no 12V current was arriving at the starter despite all indications that the solenoid was functioning correctly.

Solution: we took apart the back of the solenoid (see photos) to find that the heads of the large copper bolts were worn and that the large washer that is pushed-up against the two bolts in order to close the circuit was corroded. We rotated the bolts in their housings to expose fresh metal and cleaned-up the washer. Everything looked good but after further testing, the problem remained!!

Final solution: it turns out that the washer was only making occasional contact with the bolt heads despite our efforts. A second intervention involved placing fiber washers under the heads of the two large bolts (one washer each) to move them closer to the connecting washer. In this way, the contact is assured despite tiring springs and worn bolt heads.

In the first photo you can clearly see one of the larger copper bolts. The washer was placed where you can see the thin copper washer sitting over the square portion of the bolt. The same was done for the second large bolt, visible in the solenoid casing in the second photo.

You can also clearly see the large, corroded washer mounted between two springs on the central axis. This is what is pushed up towards the copper bolts when you press the starter button (or turn the key) in order to allow the full 12V coming from the batteries to reach the starter motor.

The piece I am holding between my fingers doesn't seem to be used in most of our A4 configurations while the hard-wired bolt directly opposite is the "S" post on the back of the solenoid.

Hopefully this explanation will be of some use to others with similar disquieting symptoms.

Kelly
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Old 09-07-2010, 04:00 PM
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Almost new starter and solenoid

This is a follow up to my posting last fall. We put a new solenoid on the starter last fall and until this point we had good starts. Two weeks ago we were heading out with friends for an evening sail and of course no start. We did still enjoy the Bailey's.
The next day the resident mechanic ran some tests and said I needed a new starter and before I could so "huh" he had it off. At one point it had been submerged in water and I can't tell you what I said the insides looked like. He had me take it to his starter expert who re-built it in a day. It sure makes the rest of the engine look good.
Now I have issue of hearing the solenoid engage but don't always get a start. After several button pushes it fires right up. From this forum it seems I need to check the voltage during the start sequence. I have good voltage and all new wires/ cables from the re-wire this past winter/ spring. And the voltage at the battery and solenoid are over 13.
The other opinion offered to me was that I have new teeth trying to engage an old fly wheel and that it just isn't meshing at this point.
Any thoughts?
Thanks
Pat
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Old 09-07-2010, 04:08 PM
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Talking

A voltmeter is not the best tool for measuring the battery's ability to deliver amperage on a start up. Try testing the battery with an automotive type load tester.
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:12 PM
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I would think that a good digital meter could measure the sag in the dc
when the starter was engaged. You would have to measure a good vs bad battery to get an idea.

You need to make the vdc measurements when the starter is engaged. Amps are used when there's a load, in this case when the starter is engaged. 2 6 vdc lantern batteries connected in series will also give 12 vdc, until the starter is engaged.

Steve
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:27 PM
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This is a strong reason for having both amp and volt meters. Of course we cannot measure the amperage draw unless the starter actually engages and does it's job. In my previous post I was only suggesting that the battery be eliminated as the culprit first. BTW starter draw should be about 130 amps.

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Old 09-08-2010, 02:43 AM
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It's always flattering to have an old thread "resurrected".

A problem like this can be as simple as a poor connection to ground. Double check (clean) the main connection to ground on your engine. You mention a recent re-wire but this merits attention none the less.

In your no-start situation, do you hear the loud "clunk" of the solenoid throwing the starter gear forward but no starter whirring? Or do you get the starter to turn but with no engagement? If it's the first case, the previous comments are all valid. For the second I would think you have an alignment problem or compatibility question between the starter and the flywheel.
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Old 09-08-2010, 05:38 AM
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You mention new wiring -- did you also replace the starter switch? One year I was having troubles and part of the solution was a new starter button (the other was a new wire from that button).

A quick test of your wiring would be to bypass it all by jumping from the hot lead on the starter to the little terminal your starter wire is attached to. Because I was having so much trouble tracking down my problem I got a "remote starter switch" for about $12 at the auto parts store.

-jonathan
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