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starter doesnt engage on first try

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  • starter doesnt engage on first try

    My 165 hp mercruiser, 84 vintage, doesn't engage right away when I crank it. It clanks a couple of times and then usually after 2 or 3 tries it starts right up. On some cars I know they need shimming for the starter to engage properly, is that what I need to do? Is there a kit for this issue or do I have to just cobble something up? Or is this something else?

    Thanks for any help.


  • #2
    Re: starter doesnt engage on first try

    Originally posted by phileepo View Post
    My 165 hp mercruiser, 84 vintage, doesn't engage right away when I crank it. It clanks a couple of times and then usually after 2 or 3 tries it starts right up. On some cars I know they need shimming for the starter to engage properly, is that what I need to do? Is there a kit for this issue or do I have to just cobble something up? Or is this something else?

    Thanks for any help.
    This could be a couple things really. First, check to see that your battery is fully charged. If it is, then check for loose or broken connections at the starter or the keyswitch. If that checks out, then I'd venture a guess that your starter is on the fritz. I'm guessing that "clank" you're hearing is the solonoid trying to engage the starter motor, or the gear engaging the flywheel, but not turning the flywheel. These, just like car starters, will get flat spots on the armature, and the brushes will hang up on the flat spots. If that's the case, replacement is necessary.

    Don't beat on it with a hammer! That's a hillbilly way of getting it to work, and yes, sometimes it will work. But what happens if you're out on the water somewhere and the thing finally gives up the ghost? You'd be screwed, that's what!

    As mentioned, check your connections and make sure they are all clean and tight. Look for broken terminals. Check your voltage at the battery and at the starter. Check for loose starter mounting bolts too. If everything checks out, then replace the starter.

    Ripper

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    • #3
      Re: starter doesnt engage on first try

      Appreciate the reply but before I shell out the dough, I have recorded a short video of the problem. Prior to this clip the engine started 5 or 6 times with no problem, mainly because I wanted it to act up, but it did finally start acting up for me. I just had the battery tested at the parts store, it checked out ok, also had the battery on a charger until fully charged prior to this. You can hear what sounds like the bendix engaging the flywheel but then binding up or something. Does this sound like starter to you guys?

      http://youtu.be/EQXAaJPJFuM

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      • #4
        Re: starter doesnt engage on first try

        I moved your post and watched your video

        Check your cables. I would look for corrosion and ALSO see if they feel warm....... if the cables are corroded on the inside your Resistance goes way up and you might also have to replace a cable...... a sure sign of corrosion is the wire being black on the inside under the jacket.

        90% of those problems are dirty connections, loose connections or corroded wires.
        This is a great link to boat specifications http://boatspecs.iboats.com/
        Please, shop iboats first!!

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        • #5
          Re: starter doesnt engage on first try

          Originally posted by Bob_VT View Post
          I moved your post and watched your video

          Check your cables. I would look for corrosion and ALSO see if they feel warm....... if the cables are corroded on the inside your Resistance goes way up and you might also have to replace a cable...... a sure sign of corrosion is the wire being black on the inside under the jacket.

          90% of those problems are dirty connections, loose connections or corroded wires.
          I did check all the connections (at battery and at the starter) and cleaned them all super good and all are tight. Both the power and ground cables from the battery are like new. So this problem "could be" the starter itself?

          Comment



          • #6
            Re: starter doesnt engage on first try

            I had the same problem with my starter on my 3.0. I ended up replacing it. Mine would make a clicking noise several times before starting. Yours is acting much better than mine was. I would have to turn the key repeatedly just to get it to turn over.

            Comment



            • #7
              Re: starter doesnt engage on first try

              Is this a "new to you" boat? If not, is this a new issue?

              It certainly sounds like a weak electrical connection somewhere. Either a bad battery or bad cables. It COULD be the starter itself binding due to worn bushings I suppose... but it sounds more like an electrical issue to me.

              Comment



              • #8
                Re: starter doesnt engage on first try

                OK sounds like the solenoid is working . I suspect that the copper bolt (where the heavy battery cable attaches) inside of the solenoid is burnt and pitted and not making good contact when the solenoid engages. To fix you might be able to pull the starter, open up the solenoid and turn the bolt the bolt over. I t should be seated in a square hole so you should be able to turn it 180 degrees for a new surface. The other surface that moves is a copper washer that you may be able to take off and turn over. Use a file to clean it up if necessary, NOT sandpaper. Let us know what you find.
                Terry
                87, 4WINNS H 190
                470/Alpha I

                Comment



                • #9
                  Re: starter doesnt engage on first try

                  Originally posted by Fishermark View Post
                  Is this a "new to you" boat? If not, is this a new issue?

                  It certainly sounds like a weak electrical connection somewhere. Either a bad battery or bad cables. It COULD be the starter itself binding due to worn bushings I suppose... but it sounds more like an electrical issue to me.
                  This is a new to me boat. Also my first boat and I don't really want to be stranded somewhere. I am going to try pulling the starter and moving the bolt around like the last poster mentioned. I will update.

                  Comment



                  • #10
                    Re: starter doesnt engage on first try

                    In your video -- It seems your bendix is engaging but the motor wont turn over ( intermittently ) due to lack of turning force. The turning force is created by current flowing through the starter motor windings and armature which in turn create a revolving electromagnet That could be a bad internal starter connection of the the main current path which include the contacts inside the solenoid mentioned above , the brushes and anything alse in its path internal or external to the starter. It could also be a malfunctioning winding or armature which you will not see with a visual inspection.


                    You could have the starter tested for free at many auto parts stores.

                    If it was mine I would do the tear down that you hav planned & see what happens.

                    for the starter tear down -- I have a few suggestions;

                    1-- Check the starter brushes for wear. If they are flush with the spring loaded arms that hold them thay are worm & will limit the current flow due to the assocaited weakened spring contact pressure. This is sometime diagnosed by tapping lightly with a hammer when the starter is not turning but the bendix gear an ignniton key are engaged -- ( as shown in you video )
                    2-- Look for and interanal corrosion that might have been moisture induced.
                    3-- Check the solenoid contacts and flip the bolt mentioned above
                    3-- Grease the Armature shaft ends and other lube points with white lithium grease or similar.

                    If all that does not help a new starter may be in order. Just be sure your cables & battery are in good order and or get the starter tested before spending the $.

                    Comment



                    • #11
                      Re: starter doesnt engage on first try

                      So I pulled the starter and took it to NAPA for a test and it passed the first time. So I asked them to retest it since it sometimes starts and sometimes doesn't. Good thing I did because the next two times it failed and had an armature field error. So then the confusing part started as he looked up a replacement starter using the number on the casing which is 1108391. He found it for only 49 bucks and I am like ready to order it but after talking to him a minute he says that is an automotive starter number. So I am like ???? He then also gets confused because my starter has an extra bolt on it that goes to an L bracket that connects the rear of the starter to the engine block and the one he is looking at on the computer doesnt have the extra mounting bolt for the bracket. So it looks like even though the number is for a vehicle, the starter casing is for the mercruiser.

                      So he looks up Mercruiser starters and everything he looks up doesnt cross reference right and the one starter he thinks is the right one, at $239 doesnt show the back side to show the bolt and the numbers werent absolutely right so he's like wtf?????

                      And just to make things a bit more confusing, my boat is an 84 Sierra which is from a small boat manufacturer from WI and the engine that it has, a 165 HP Straight 6, 250 c.i. Mercruiser were only made according to his book and some places I looked online from 76 to 81. So I left without ordering anything and am thinking about just having this starter rebuilt at a local rebuild shop. My guess is that Sierra bought a bunch of Mercruisers and put them in new boats until they ran out so that would explain the year issue.

                      So I guess my question is, Is this part number 1108391 an auto only starter and if it is, why would it have the extra bolt. And does anybody know what the part number of a truly marine starter for this thing is? Any other thoughts would be helpful as well.

                      Comment



                      • #12
                        Re: starter doesnt engage on first try

                        Getting it rebuilt at a local shop is a good option if they are a good, reputable company who knows what they are doing. If you want to buy a new starter, I believe any of the inline starters are the same. In other words, a starter that fits an inline 4 (3 liter engine) will fit your engine as well. Here's a place online where you can buy a new starter for only $61.90. (If I'm wrong about that, someone will correct me shortly!)


                        Does this look like your starter?

                        Comment



                        • #13
                          Re: starter doesnt engage on first try

                          It looks like it but it doesnt have the extra mounting bolt on the casing behind the solenoid. Mine also has 9 teeth, not 11 although the write up says it will fit older style 9 tooth models. The price looks good but I would feel better if it said it would replace the starter for inline 6's, it doesnt, it also doesnt list my part number as a replacement. So I am still a bit unsure. I appreciate your help, any other ideas. I tried calling DB electrical already but they were closed today.

                          Comment



                          • #14
                            Re: starter doesnt engage on first try

                            Originally posted by Fishermark View Post
                            Getting it rebuilt at a local shop is a good option if they are a good, reputable company who knows what they are doing. If you want to buy a new starter, I believe any of the inline starters are the same. In other words, a starter that fits an inline 4 (3 liter engine) will fit your engine as well. Here's a place online where you can buy a new starter for only $61.90. (If I'm wrong about that, someone will correct me shortly!)


                            Does this look like your starter?

                            At first I wasn't sure but I looked at the iBoats list of starters and it looks like your right, every inline model of mercruiser engine lists the exact same part numbers. In fact, almost half of all the engines they ever made use the same starter so it looks golden to me. I just wonder about the 9 to 11 tooth difference but I can ask when I call them and since the starter weighs about half of the original, that extra mounting bolt shouldn't make much of a difference. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, love the price and it looks like a great modern upgrade to a classic starter.

                            Phileepo Out.

                            Comment

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