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WakeWorld Discussion Board » >> Boats, Accessories & Tow Vehicles Archive » Archive through April 21, 2006 » help! boat wont start « Previous Next »
By dj (dizzyj) on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 10:12 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I installed a couple of amps for my stereo over the last week. Last night, I tried it out for the first time (battery was disconnected for the install). I hooked my fake a lake up, hooked tha battery up, and fired the boat up.

boat fired up first time. stereo came on, everything worked great! I listened to 2 songs, then shut her down.

An hour later, I go to fire her up again and the starter is barley cranking.

I charged the batt up. hooked it up, without the stereo hooked up, adn the starter just clicks (although all the guages work).

I checked to make sure that I did not wire constant to the remote leads on the amps.

What could be wrong here? A short killed the batt? bad starter? any other ideas?

By Cody (loudontn) on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 10:53 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Sounds like your starter may be stuck.

If you can tap on the starter with a little force with something firm but not hard (the handle of some screwdrivers works well), then try to start it, see if that works.

By Rod McInnis (rodmcinnis) on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 11:00 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
A multimeter is so valuable in situations like this that I recommend that everyone have one. $20 or less will buy a digital multimeter that will be sufficient for your needs.

The first step in a situation like this is to measure the voltage at the battery. From the description it sounds like the battery is dead. If you measure the voltage at the battery and it is 12.5 volts or more then you can establish that it isn't dead. If it is 11.5 volts or less then it is dead. If it is between 11.5 and 12.5 its questionable, needs more testing.

If you have good voltage at the battery when it is just sitting there then measure it as you try to start. It is normal for the battery voltage to drop as low as 10 volts during starting, but anything less than that is an indication that the battery can't deliver the amps the starter is drawing. This could be because the battery is bad and not delivering as many amps as it should or because the starter is bad and drawing a lot more than it should.

If the battery voltage remains high (above 11 volts) but the starter doesn't operate then measure the voltage at the starter. Touch the negative meter lead (black) to the engine block (Unpainted surface, perhaps at a starter bolt) and the positive lead to the large bolt holding the battery cable. If this voltage reads low, but the battery was okay, then either the starter relay is bad or the battery cable is bad (or perhaps just not tight on the battery).

It would certainly be unusual for the battery to go bad in an hour. It can happen though, especially if the stereo installation caused the battery to be drained in that hour it sat. It is fairly common for a battery that is at the end of its service life to be totally destroyed if it is discharged to the point of being "dead".

If you don't have a volt meter then a quick check would be to turn on a light and watch it as you try to start the engine. If the light dims, almost going out then the battery is dead, or the battery cable is loose. If the light stays bright then the battery voltage is good and it is likely to be either a starter or starter relay problem.

By Cody (loudontn) on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 11:05 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I don't think it's his battery, since it keeps clicking and his gauges work. If it just clicks once and sound as if it's tired and wears out, then it may be the battery. I think his starter is hung up.

(Message edited by loudontn on March 24, 2006)

By adam Curtis (acurtis_ttu) on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 11:06 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I agree with cody, the starter is probably just stuck. or the solenoid is going bad? IF you can start the boat at the starter the solenoid is probably bad, if it still clicks then it was just stuck. What I mean by starting the baot at the starter is (attempt at your own risk, doing this could and probably will spark a little) You cna jump your starter. I'll use a knife blade or screwdriver. connect the main power (red) to the yellow wire (should be a bit smaller). MAke sure the key is in the on position and the boat should fire right up.
By dj (dizzyj) on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 11:32 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I do have a mulimeter

batt read over 12, even while trying to crank (didnt drop, which was weird). I pulled it out to be tested just in case tho. Ill check the starter to see if its stuck.


By Craig Strait (yosquire) on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 11:57 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Iím In complete agreement with Rod's diagnostic procedure. If there is no voltage drop on the battery and there is clicking, this tells you the solenoid is throwing. However, the starter is not spinning. It could have a dead spot in it.

I would try turning the starter motor a few degrees, to get it out of it's dead spot. If the fly wheel is exposed, and the starter gear is engaged, you can use a screw driver to pry on the teeth of the flywheel against the engine block to get it to turn. (if the flywheel is not exposed, You may have to remove the starter to do this) -- if you have to remove it, you may save this after checking your battery cables/connections. (a bad connection still hasn't been ruled out completely)

If the starter works after spinning the shaft a few degrees, it does have a dead spot. I'd replace it so you don't end up stuck on the river.

(Message edited by yosquire on March 24, 2006)

By Brad Spooner (spoonman) on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 1:16 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Great post Rod. very little amperage is needed to make gauges work. Rapid clicking by the starter solenoid can indicate low voltage or amperage. Throwing sparks in an enclosed space with the possibility of fuel present is very unwise.Please do not try to "jump" the starter.
By dj (dizzyj) on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 4:52 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
and the winner is Cody!

Except that its not just stuck, its rusted. I had some water in my bilge last time I went out from my ballast drain being clogged. The voltages at the starter were fine, so I took it off and it poured out rusty water.

The stereo install was just a red herring

By Cody (loudontn) on Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 12:47 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Glad I could help, good luck!
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