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  1. #1
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    Default 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    i bought my boat about three months ago and it was running fine until i ran into a starting problem. About three weeks ago i was out on the water and i began to crank my boat and all i heard was a clicking noise from the motor, it finally cranked up. Now most of the time when i crank it all i hear is that clicking noise with an occasional crank every now and then. The guy i bought the boat from said he had replaced the solenoid this past summer. What could be the problem?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    Could be bad battery cables/connections, or a bad battery. Undo all the battery cable connections (both positive and negative cables) and clean them. See if that helps. If not, get the battery tested.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    Sorry I forgot to mention, I tried hooking it up to a different battery and it still wouldn't work, but I guess it could still be bad cables.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    Sounds like a bad solenoid.Or the connections are loose.Possibly the starter.
    Test light.The solenoid should have power across both lugs when the key is activated.
    No power on both(bad solenoid).Power on both(bad starter).J
    IF YOUR OUTBOARD DOESN"T START WITHING A FEW SECONDS THEN SOMETHING"S WRONG!!!!

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    NO communication,NO follow through. Incompetent staff.Nuff said!

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    Update on the starting problem. I bypassed the solenoid to crank the motor and it cranked right up. So im guessing i need to buy another solenoid. My next questions is this, do i need to buy one that is specifically for this motor or could i just pick one up at a autozone store? thanks

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    By bypassing the solenoid did you use jumper cables directly from the battery to the starter or did you use the original wiring and bridge past the solenoid? If you went from the starter to the battery you could still have wiring problems. If you bridged past the solenoid then the main wiring is OK but you may be getting a voltage drop on the switch circuit to the solenoid or the solenoid itselfis no good. You could supply 12 volts to the switch side of the solenoid circuit to test this.

    If you jumped from the battery to the starter any of the wires in the starter circuit could be the problem.

    Check all your connections first before you start replacing things. Negative cable where it attaches to the engine block can corrode. You may also have a voltage drop on the switch circuit to the solenoid. Cable ends and cables themselves can corrode. Replacing the solenoid will not fix these problems. Use a multimeter set to OHMS. You should have very little resistance in the wires.

    Any similar rating solenoid should do the job if you find it is the solinoid.

    Good Luck

  7. #7
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    Ok, I did bridge past the solenoid so how exactly do I check the voltage on the switch circuit to the solenoid. And if this is the problem how can it be fixed. Thanks

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    You can test it by running power to the switch side of the solenoid. If the solenoid works the problem is likely to be a voltage drop. You could use jumper leads directly from the battery or take power from the heavy positive battery terminal lug on the solenoid & bridge it to the small positive switch circuit lug.


    The other way is to test how many amps are in the positive switch side of the starter circuit. (NOT THE STARTER SIDE OF THE SOLENOID) . Iím not sure how many amps the solenoid need to work. Hopefully someone else will know. I would expect about 3 amps to 5 amps. Check the earth wire to the solenoid has a good grounded as well.

    If this is your problem. Three ways of fixing it.

    Repair the old wire. eg find a corroded connection, switch or wire.

    Run a new wire from the solenoid to the ignition switch & back.

    Fit a relay next to the solenoid to supply power using the old wiring. This is the quickest method. These relays require very little current to operate so even a weak signal from the switch will work. I can show you a diagram to help.

    Good Luck

  9. #9
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    If it's not too much trouble a diagram would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot for the help.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    Bridge between the + from the battery to the + switch wire. You can do this with a piece of metal or make up a switch wire. Make sure the ground wire has a good earth.

    I have a switch wire that I use to work the starter when timing the motor. It is just a length of wire with alligator clips each end and a push button that needs to be held in for it to work.

    If the starter works by this method its you wiring that is the problem. If not its your solenoid.

    Hope this makes sense.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    ok, i bridged between the + from the battery to the + switch and all i got was a clicking noise again so i guess its a bad solenoid. I really appreciate all the help, it made perfect sense and the diagram was helpful as well. Once i get a new solenoid i will update the situation. thanks again for the help.

  12. #12

    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    this is good stuff. I'm having similar problems and this helps ALOT.

  13. #13

    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    this is good stuff. I'm having similar problems and this helps ALOT.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    Balford2. If the earth wire is good it would seem you have a faulty solenoid. You may have already checked this but you can run a jumper wire from the negative battery terminal to the negative switch lug on the solenoid(Just to be 100% sure its not a bad earth). Bridge the same terminals as you just tested. If this doesnít work it has to be your solenoid.

    rgmatt.. Balford2 has run some other tests to isolate his problem to the solenoid.

    If you are having starter problems you will need to run through some simple tests to track down the problem. Iíll be happy to help you but it would be much easier if you would start another thread. Information on what motor you have, the problem and what you have tried so far are really helpful. It can get a bit confusing sorting out two issues in the one thread. But it is nice to know this thread has helped.

    Cheers
    Dean

  15. #15
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    Balford2. If the earth wire is good it would seem you have a faulty solenoid. You may have already checked this but you can run a jumper wire from the negative battery terminal to the negative switch lug on the solenoid(Just to be 100% sure its not a bad earth). Bridge the same terminals as you just tested. If this doesnít work it has to be your solenoid.

    rgmatt.. Balford2 has run some other tests to isolate his problem to the solenoid.

    If you are having starter problems you will need to run through some simple tests to track down the problem. Iíll be happy to help you but it would be much easier if you would start another thread. Information on what motor you have, the problem and what you have tried so far are really helpful. It can get a bit confusing sorting out two issues in the one thread. But it is nice to know this thread has helped.

    Cheers
    Dean

  16. #16

    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    thanks I'll start a new thread in the merc forum

  17. #17
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    Update, I installed another solenoid and the motor cranks up just fine, i really appreciate all the advice, it really helped out alot. However, i ran into another problem after getting that straitened. After installing the solenoid, when i go to trim the motor down all i hear is a clicking noise coming from the back of the motor and nothing at all happens when i try to tilt the motor up. If i need to start a new thread about my new problem i will, but would could be the problem? Thanks

  18. #18
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    The trim gets its power from the battery side of the solenoid. You may have left a wire off when you fitted the new solenoid. The clicking sound is the relays for the trim. Relays and solenoids are essentially the same. A small current is used to switch a larger current. The low current circuit is working but the larger current isnít getting power. Usually there are two relays, one for up and one for down. If neither direction works but you can hear them switching the main power is probably missing.



    Iím not at my usual computer or near my boat. I have a better look later today.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    ok that makes sense, However i am sure that I connected all of the wires to the solenoid when i installed it. I only hear the clicking noise from the relay when i try to trim down but no clicking at all when i trim up. I will look at it again and inspect all of the wiring from and to the trim. Before i replaced the solenoid when the motor would start every once and a while, but not all the time, the trim worked, and eventually when the motor would not start i could trim the motor down fine but it would not budge when i tried to trim it up, im not sure if this is a coincidence or what. But i am just wondering what step i need to take next. Thanks again for all the help.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    It may be a coincidence. If you are running an old battery which is low in power it can damage relays & starters. Not enough power getting to them for then to work properly so they heat up.

    I donít have a wiring diagram of your motor. Some of the motors have a circuit breaker in the trim circuit, between the solenoid & the relay. Mine does not so I have no idea what it would look like. The trim relays on my motor (1998 75hp) have plug fittings for the wires. I could check a faulty relay by swapping the plugs around in the relays. If the trim didnít go up but would go down before the swap it should now go down & not up after swapping the wires.

    From what I can see on the wiring diagrams in the manual there are usually 3 wires connected to the "A" terminal on the solenoid.

    1. The main heavy wire from the battery.
    2. A wire that supplies power to the rest of the boat.
    3. A wire that supplies power to the trim. This wire goes to the relays or the circuit breaker first.


    I think your best bet, after checking for the missing wire, is to use a multimeter or a test light to trace through the circuit to see where the fault is. Id probably start at the trim motor to see if it is getting any power in either direction.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    Sorry its taken a while i didnt have much time to look at it. but i feel studid now ha, i did leave a wire off of the solenoid when i installed it. However the motor will only trim down not but not up, when i try to trim up nothing happens not even the clicking noise. Does this mean one of the relays is bad?

  22. #22
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    Balford2,

    I have run into this problem before and I found that I had a bad relay. The relays are two black boxes that eventually lead to a green wire and a blue. You can switch the relays around to see if you get a reverse effect or trim up if it doesn't change anything than the relays are fine and you wont have to switch them back because they are the same. To make sure your weiring is good to the trim motor try switching the green and blue wires around and you should have the opposite effect pushing down will make your motor go up just make sure you put it back. Problems could be corrosion on your trim switch on the controls from water intrusion, pinched wire to the motor or a bad relay. I had a bad relay due to a bad switch on the control handle causing the relay to work even if the button wasn't pressed. I heard you can find a match to the relay at napa for a fraction of the cost, but the trim switch might be more difficult to find because they have stopped producing them. You can find an after market two way switch and wire it to your dash but check with your local mercury dealer or ebay for the switch that is in the handle. Let me know if you have any questions once you get to not knowing were to go from that point.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    Thanks ward107 for the help. I switched the relays around and nothing changed (would only trim down and not up), and i switched the green and blue wires around and when i tried to trim down it went up and when i trimmed up nothing happened.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    Balford2

    It seems like your trim switch on your controls is bad. See if you can find a replacement switch at the merc dealer or an after market you can wire from the blue and green wires. I have read a few people disassembling and cleaning the switch and a few put an in-dash switch. The switch has been discontinued but your local marina might have one laying around, that is how I got mine. Now this is similar but fits a newer gen control PN# 87-18286A43 is available but I am not sure full compatibility. You might be able to get a used set of controls on ebay also. Cost wise I would relocate the switch if no luck finding the replacement. Ebay has many mercury dash mount switch kits available.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: 1998 40 hp Force outboard (Mercury) starting problems

    I really appreciate the help, I am first going to try to disassemble where the switch is and take a look for loose wires to the switch and what not, and if no luck I will probably just purchase a switch to mount to the console. If I do this, do I just wire the new switch to the blue and green wire where it connects to run up to the existing switch? (hope that makes sense). Also, would a switch work if it just says a mercury tilt trim switch or do I need to get one that strictly says force?

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