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Charles, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 3707
Experience:  US Navy (Ret) Certified Mercury Marine Tech with over a decade of repair experience.
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2003 140 4 stroke outboard warning lights are hesitating to

Customer Question

2003 johnson 140 4 stroke outboard warning lights are hesitating to come on And I have to wait to crank the engine
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Boat
Expert:  Jason replied 12 months ago.

Hi Keith, my name is Jason.

I don't quite understand you, what kind of problem are you having?

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
When I turn my key to the on position I have to wait for the motor to beep and run through the warning lights before I can crank it. The time I have to wait is anywhere from instantly to several minutes
Expert:  Jason replied 12 months ago.


In a nutshell you have either a poor electrical connection at the battery, at the key switch, or a bad key switch.

Where you would start is by removing both battery cables, sanding down the cable ends until everything is clean and shiney, reattach them, and then see if there is any difference. If not, move on to the key switch. You will have to look and see how your key switch is wired into the boat. Sometimes they are factory plastic connectors, other times they are butt splice or oring crimp type connectors. If it's the plastic connector type simply unplug it, check the plug for corrosion, and reseat it and see if it makes a difference. If you have splice type connectors, you would cut out the old connectors and re-splice it with new connectors. If there is no change after doing the splicing, then you would replace the key switch. Does that all make sense to you?

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
I have already sanded down all connections and replaced the key ignition switch
Expert:  Jason replied 12 months ago.

Well that was a bit of a waste of my time, why didn't you tell me all that ahead of time?

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Skipped over the what have done so far and my browser would not back up and reload the page
Expert:  Jason replied 12 months ago.

Are you still with me?

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Back here now
Expert:  Charles replied 11 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** will assist you.

Remove and check all of the connections going to the ECU on the engine. Make sure that they are clean and tight. Also remove and check all fuses on the engine. Take apart the connector between the engine harness and the boat harness on the engine. Ensure that it is all clean and tight as well.

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