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Tan
Tan, MerCruiser Certified Technician
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 8191
Experience:  39 yrs. experience with complete engine repairs both inboard/outboard and MerCruiser Certified Technician.
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i just bought a mercruiser 4.3 alpha 1 boat ,we have a problem

Customer Question

i just bought a mercruiser 4.3 alpha 1 boat ,we have a problem with starter ,on a workbench at lacus it works fine maybe a bit noisey but thrusting forward ok.when we put it back on engine it does not seem to engage.there are 3 wires 2 on starter and 1 on solonoide is that all wires needed
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Boat
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.

Hi my name isXXXXX will assist you.

The starter has 1 wire yellow/red 1 orange and 1 large red from the battery. Some have a purple. The wires that you are interested in are the large red wire the orange alternator wire and the yellow/red start wire from the key switch. The starter needs good voltage to the starter at least 9.5+ volts when cranking. Test the voltage on the large terminal for 9.5+ volts while cranking, if you do not have this amount of voltage the starter will not turn the engine and you are loosing voltage due to a bad connection, bad battery, bad batt cable or poor ground. Do these tests and post back with results. If you have 9.5+ volts and the starter does not start the starter is bad.

Tan, MerCruiser Certified Technician
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 8191
Experience: 39 yrs. experience with complete engine repairs both inboard/outboard and MerCruiser Certified Technician.
Tan and 3 other Boat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
i am afrai that engine might be siezed should you be able to turn engine using spanner on crank shaft end bolt .guy i bought boat from said engine running fine just starter needed attention.all the cables i coud see was2 red one to battery one to ingition switch and small one to solonoid
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
It is possible but you need to remove the spark plugs to turn the motor over with the bolt on the front of crank. If you are on the compression stroke of 1 cylinder you won't be able to rotate the engine. The wires you have should be just like the ones in the diagram.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
there is a small box which saeems to have been fitted by previous owner to which there are two red wires from in and then one wire coming out have you any idea what these are for
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
The red wires are battery 12 volts and most likely a circuit breaker between the 2 wires. D is the circuit breaker.graphic
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
would this just cut everything dead .i am having problems with getting boats engine started .i followed your instructions with starter making sure the volts were right and connectios were secure .starter turns but does not ingauge fly wheel
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
The 2 red wires could be for the power to the engine coming from the starter. This will not affect the starter engagement. If you tested the starter for voltage 9.5+ volts while cranking and you have that voltage the starter is bad.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
will try again .i think previous owner dabbled a bit with wiring when putting starter on found a white wire with end on but just goes into loom
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
OK
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
thank you for help goodnight
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
Your welcome.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
me again still no luck with starter it just not ingaging flywheel .starting to wonder if it the right starter. when trying on battery starter works fine
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.

Have you checked the voltage at the starter on the main terminal while cranking the engine? What was the reading?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
10.5 on my guage .i have engine number and starter number is XXXXX any way you can cross check them or do you think it has to be the right starter
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
Give me your engine serial number please. Did you take the reading at the starter terminal on the starter with a volt meter?graphic
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
engine no,oc60337 drive no.oa864476 starter3720 bristol pike benralem pa 19020 mer2630 had electrician with v/meter he said should have been plenty
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
No, the starter has to have 9.5 volts at the starter terminal while cranking not the volt gauge. If you have less than 9.5 volts at the starter terminal the starter will not work correctly. You can put another starter on and it will do the same thing we must verify that you have 9.5+ volts. If your voltmeter is reading 10 volts there is something wrong you should have 12 volts. The engine serial number needs 1 more number.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
that what i meant he was at starter with his meter. do you think replacing red wires from battery and ignition may help. i a bit green with regards XXXXX XXXXX if these circuit breakers were faulty would you be able to turn over starter or would it be dead
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
If the starter turns those breakers are ok. If you have good voltage at the starter and it won't engage the starter is bad. Does the starter sound like it is trying to engage? The serial number you gave me doesn't have enough numbers.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
no it just as though it is turning without engaging it the same sound if you hold key for 3 seconds or 10 sec that number was on top of cover .where would number be somewhare on block ,it dark here in scotland
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
Here is the engine serial number location.graphic
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
ok will look in morning .have you any more clues to what might be wrong
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
Starter or low voltage.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
so we might be losing voltage somewhereshould i buy new leads
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
Lets determine what the problem is before you start replacing parts.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
so what next will i mail you when i get engine number
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
Yes
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
had starter off again then back onto engine as soon as i connected battery the starter started whining but not cutting in that happened without turning ignitionkey //what have i done wrong
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
Check the wiring you connected something wrong.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
so is that 3 wires on top on top/positive connection .i just put wires back the way they were when got the boat
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
Orange is alternator charge lead, small red power supply to the circuit breaker and the large red wire comes from the battery. If any of these leads are touching the yellow/red it will engage the starter, if any are touching the bottom terminal of the starter solenoid they will engage the starter. The diagram is correct.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
there are a few wires not with colours shown on your diagram .,like purple wire you showfrom coil to solenoid .and yelow wire fromsolenoid to ignitionswith
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
The purple wire is not used on your engine. Th yellow/red wire is the start wire from the key switch. This wire is a must or you cannot start the engine.This is your start circuit for your engine.graphic
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
had elecrical engineer at boat today.starter seemed ok but not turning fly wheel ,something strange going on we were able to turn engine with crankshaft bolt then we tried it againit not turn . we took starter off and put lever into fly wheel turned it slightly .do you think engine might be siezed not been ablr to get at spark plugs
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
I thought we had rule that out awhile back when I said remove the spark plugs. If you can't get the engine turn over at the flywheel you could be on the compression stroke. The spark plugs need to be out to turn the engine over by hand. The engine might move a little but you need to turn a complete rotation to determine if engine is seized. If you turn the engine partially it still doesn't mean it is locked up completely. If the engine has water in the cylinders the spark plugs are rusty then we can figure on the engine being seized. This would explain the starter not working.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
got plugs out engine turming was very stiff to start off but not to bad so maybe engine ok .any other ways to check
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
Have you tried turning engine over with the starter? Does it turn over with the starter? Spray some lubricant in to the cylinders and turn over? Did the spark plugs look rusty?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
no not with starter on . the plugs were blackish but not rusty were quite tight to come out with corrosion.sorry to only be on line for short while but i work 8 am till 9,00 pm so dont get time to do very much to boat
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
Is the starter new or the original and does the starter make a grinding sound when trying to engage the engine. These starters have planetary gears that will strip and cause the starter to spin with no load but grind with load. # XXXXX the 3 gears are what strip.Diagram of 4.3L (GEN II) (2 BBL.)   GM 262 V-6 1993-1995 Mercury Mercruiser  0F000878 THRU 0F601126 STARTER MOTOR 8"(PG 260) 2-7-8" DIAMETER END CAP Diagram and Parts
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
engine turning over fine now ,i got plugs out and put wd40 in cylinders tryed starter again no luck .i have ordered new starter . fingers crossed .can you tell me if you can tell age of boat by engine number mines is 603377
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.

Is this your engine serial number and if so are there any letters in the first digits?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
oc 603377 sorry
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.

The engine falls between 1987-92 OB527955 thru OD714106 and your number OC603377 would put you around the middle 1989-90.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
here we go again .bought new starter .engine now turns over .noticed that oil was milky looking so bought pump changed oil still not totaly clean but will change it again changed filter .put new spark plugs .cant get engine to fire is there a primer did not know if spark was getting to plugs so took one out and turned engine over no spark
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
here we go again .bought new starter .engine now turns over .noticed that oil was milky looking so bought pump changed oil still not totaly clean but will change it again changed filter .put new spark plugs .cant get engine to fire is there a primer did not know if spark was getting to plugs so took one out and turned engine over no spark
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
Check that the kill switch is connected, then check for 12 volts at the coil purple wire key on.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Wher would we find the kill switch.
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
graphicThe kill switch will be close to the key switch or the controls.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No kill switch on this model. Any other ideas.
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
Did you check the purple wire at the coil for 12 volts? Disconnect the gray wire from the coil also. If the tach(gray wire) is shorted it will kill the ignition. Check the grounds on the ignition module and the distributor. Here is the trouble shooting procedure for the ignition system.graphic
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
it poor weather here so not able to check volts.what ur thoughts on my oil boat getting me down bought lots of problems .it says on side of boat about blowers is that just for vapours
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
The blower is for fuel vapors in the bilge. Fuel vapors are heavier than air so the blower sucks the vapors out of the bilge to help eliminate the hazard of fire or explosion. As for the water in the engine you could have a cracked engine block,cylinder head or blown head gasket. There is always the chance the water could have gotten in the engine through the carburetor, if the flame arrestor was left off or the engine could have sunk on the trailer by the bilge filling up with water.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
there is a blower switch on dash but nothing happens when switched on.only way to find out about oil will be to strip it down i take it
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
I would pressure test the engine block for leaks or get the engine running before tearing the engine down to determine where the water is getting into the motor. Check the voltage at the blower motor when the switch is turned on. If you have voltage the blower is bad.
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
Since the subject has changed from the original subject you will need to open another question. Post my name or request me in another question and we can continue.
Tan, MerCruiser Certified Technician
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 8191
Experience: 39 yrs. experience with complete engine repairs both inboard/outboard and MerCruiser Certified Technician.
Tan and 3 other Boat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

now got spark to plugs but not starting there is no kill switch on boat .anything i can do to make sure fuel is getting through or pump working

Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
Crack the fitting loose at the carburetor turn engine over till you see fuel. Tighten the fitting soon as you see fuel. Run the engine on an auxiliary fuel tank to be sure the engine is ok.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
boat still not starting ,the way previous owners have it wired is this ,they have red wire from battery to starter ,a red wire from key ignition switch to starter ,a wire from altenator to starter .i put wire from coil to small left side solinoid .on your drawings you show wires into clutch assembley there is only wires to leg on mine . what wires should be on ignition switch .
Expert:  Tan replied 3 years ago.
The key switch wires should be purple ignition, yellow/red start. red or red/purple battery.

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