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Capt. Martyn
Capt. Martyn, Captain and Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 2
Experience:  USCG Master - 18+ Years Marine Experience w/ Cat, Cummins, Detroit, Volvo, Merc, & Most Outboards
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Boat wont start...starter pinnion will engage (one hard click

Customer Question

Boat wont start...starter pinnion will engage (one hard click on turn of key at starter), but wont crank engine...battery recently charged...also put help battery on to ensure enough cca. mercruiser 5.7 V8. Can crank engine at flywheel.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Boat
Expert:  Capt. Martyn replied 5 years ago.
If you can turn the engine manually, and the battery is new and fully charged, you either have a problem with your cables, your cable connections, or your starter. Make sure all your cables are in good shape, and that the ends are not corroded. Also make sure that the connections are good and tight. This is most likely your problem. Use a little sand paper, or a wire brush to clean the contact at the battery.

If all of these things are right, it is time to look at the starter. Starters go bad all the time in a marine enviroment. The starter may still work, but can be too weak to start the motor. Starters can be rebuilt, but there are plenty of aftermarket units available for around $200.

Let me know if this does not solve you problem.

Thanks,

Martyn
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Now...i have bypassed the slave sylinoid with gator wires to ensure not bad slave sylinoid. So my problem should be between slave sylinoid and the starter correct...what is the best way to verify 12 volts are getting back to the starter/starter sylinoid?
Expert:  Capt. Martyn replied 5 years ago.
Did you check the cables, including the ground? Also, you might want to double check that it is not in gear. There is a neutral safety switch. These also go bad from time to time. I am assuming that yours is alright because you said the bendix pinion was engaging.

There are two solenoids, one on the engine, and one on the starter motor. The one on the starter motor is also responsible for engaging the bendix (pinion). If the starter is getting 12 volts it should spin. If it is engaging the pinion gear, then it is getting electricity to that point. The solenoid on the starter is hardwired directly to the starter. You can check the input lug on the solenoid/starter for 12 volts, but it won't tell you if you have a weak cable or connection.

Another way to check a starter is to use jumper cables (big wires) to jump it directly to the battery. You will need to connect the ground (black) cable to the frame of the starter, and the positive (red) cable to the larger lug on the starter soleniod. You should be able to use the key switch to spin it. (you can also jump 12V+ to the small terminal on the starter solenoid to spin it, but it will spark a little in your hand) If this works, you have a problem with the cables. If it clicks and engages the pinion, but does not spin, you probably need a new starter. Let me know if this helps.

Thanks,

Martyn

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Capt. Martyn
Capt. Martyn
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USCG Master - 18+ Years Marine Experience w/ Cat, Cummins, Detroit, Volvo, Merc, & Most Outboards