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-   -   Mookie's got problems - and I need advice! (http://www.slednutz.com/showthread.php?t=4790)

Mookie Brown 05-09-2010 07:06 PM

Mookie's got problems - and I need advice!
 
I'm a reasonably good tinkerer, but I've got a problem with the boat I just can't figure out. Since there's a lot of awesome wrenchers around here, I thought I'd toss this bastard of a problem out for some feedback.

I've got a major boat elecrical problem! It's a Mastercraft '03 Prostar 209 with about 180 hours. It has the Indmar 350 MCX 5.7L engine.

I started noticing some weird electrical issues last summer, but they have gotten worse since then. At first, the raido would just shut off randomly from time to time. It would come back on just as randomly and it didn't seem to matter if the boat was running or not. I also thought the battery was starting to hold less and less charge because it would struggle to start. You know how a nearly dead battery sounds on a cold morning - the starter clicks and then barely turns, but the car starts? It was like that.

So, this spring I just bought a new battery and assumed my problems would be over. Wrong! In fact things are worse. About three weeks ago I went to the access without charging the new battery (bought that day) and the starter just clicked. So,I charged the battery up pretty good (about an hour) and tried again with success. Drove it for 30 minutes and ran the radio, blower and other accessories. Everything seemed fine until we stopped the engine for about 15 minutes. I then tried to start the boat and it was right back to what seemed like a nearly dead battery. Today, I went out to tackle this problem by starting with terminal cleaning. Everything is now spottless, the battery is fully charged and I can't even get the blower or radio to turn on, the clock to run or anything else! When I turn the key to on, the fuel pump kicks on with what seems like full power, but the starter still just clicks.

I am really baffled? Anyone had experience with this? Is there some kind of master electric control panel besides the breaker panel under that dash (nothing was tripped)? Voltage regulator?

CWPottenger 05-09-2010 07:26 PM

It actually sounds like a bad ground system. Being a non-metallic hull means there is no "ground plane" so the only "ground" is the engine and battery. if you have a bad connection or corroded connections on engine block you will get lots of wierd electrical gremlins. Especially starter issues. Starter requires a very good power circuit and if bad grounds you will not be able to pull enough current.

Powersledder 05-10-2010 06:30 AM

Bad ground or maybe bad alternator?

OCR 05-10-2010 02:23 PM

Most likely has the "floating ground" that Gm used, a real PITA.
Make sure that all the metal frame parts have a good ground strap connection.

MrSnowman 05-10-2010 10:00 PM

yea had issues while back with my boat check all your grounds on the motor and as well maybe check your alternator to see if its in need of changing except the battery should last more than 30min depending if you got a larger battery. I know I got a massive one and it lasted 4hrs before it died and just made it to the pier. but now that should be fixed and just going to try and get mine running this wk and maybe out on the water next weekend

Mookie Brown 05-11-2010 06:46 AM

Thanks for all the advice! I'll go back through the ground system and report back what I find.

The Baller 05-11-2010 09:41 AM

Just get a new boat.

Gotmud 05-11-2010 09:43 AM

And give Baller the old broken one.:bitchdrama:

The Baller 05-11-2010 09:44 AM

I like the idea. I think I would put a big bore kit in it.

Gotmud 05-11-2010 09:45 AM

Plenty of room for a turbo too.:stirpot:

Ultra Willie 05-11-2010 11:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mookie Brown (Post 100408)
Thanks for all the advice! I'll go back through the ground system and report back what I find.

From what I've read thus far, I don't think you have a problem with a ground, this all seems to point to a alternator. If it was a ground I don't think it would start, The main reason I say alternator is when the battery is charged, it starts and runs till the fuel pump drains the battery, then you charge the battery again, it runs till it gets drained again. If it were mine I'd go after the alt by checking it with a volt meter. Just my .02 cents

Mookie Brown 05-11-2010 12:24 PM

^^^ But even with a fully charged battery it won't start now. In fact, I can't even get enough juice to turn on the lights or blower right now. It seems like something that has gotten worse over time. I probably won't have time to look until Saturday, unfortunately.

Ultra Willie 05-11-2010 12:42 PM

I take it , it's a chevy 350

Gotmud 05-11-2010 01:09 PM

Ok I just reread everything, i'm not a boat mechanic but I know a thing or 2 about cars. You said you cleaned the terminals when you put a new battery in and it worked until you stopped. Can you see the starter from where it's mounted? Could be corrosion on the hot wire to starter? I've had a bad starter cause weird things before, including draining the battery and causing slow cranking starts. I'd spend some time checking the starter myself, maybe your new battery worked until the starter got hot and drained the battery.

Ultra Willie 05-11-2010 01:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gotmud (Post 100438)
Ok I just reread everything, i'm not a boat mechanic but I know a thing or 2 about cars. You said you cleaned the terminals when you put a new battery in and it worked until you stopped. Can you see the starter from where it's mounted? Could be corrosion on the hot wire to starter? I've had a bad starter cause weird things before, including draining the battery and causing slow cranking starts. I'd spend some time checking the starter myself, maybe your new battery worked until the starter got hot and drained the battery.

Very true statement^^^^ I was also thinking that the pick up module in the distributor maybe shot, had that happen to a truck of mine.

Mookie Brown 05-11-2010 03:07 PM

Those things may also be true, but when I've had the charger on the batter, and it remains on the battery I can't get the radio or anything to turn on. That leads me to believe it may all be starting with the ground.

On another forum, a guy told me the main ground is hooked to the bottome of the block where it could have been wet before and at the very least humid many times.

Gotmud 05-11-2010 03:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mookie Brown (Post 100443)
Those things may also be true, but when I've had the charger on the batter, and it remains on the battery I can't get the radio or anything to turn on.

Well ok then..... Can you find the main ground on the engine?

Edit: First figure out if the ground is your problem. Take a set of jumper cables and clamp one end on the neg battery terminal, then run the other clamp to the exhaust manifold. Does everything work? That should tell you if you have a ground corroded or loose somewhere for sure, then you can track it down.

Mookie Brown 05-11-2010 05:20 PM

Mud - good call! I don't know why I didn't think of that. I'll try it tomorrow hopefully. Wife's birthday tonight so I'll be tied up this evening.

Ultra Willie 05-11-2010 09:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mookie Brown (Post 100449)
Mud - good call! I don't know why I didn't think of that. I'll try it tomorrow hopefully. Wife's birthday tonight so I'll be tied up this evening.

Hopefully she'll UNTIE ya by morning and I'll give ya a call. You lucky dawg. Hahahaha

Later Willie

DirtylilWolfess 05-11-2010 10:30 PM

Just tie? No chains or cuffs?

Damn.

Ultra Willie 05-12-2010 08:30 AM

Mookie gave ya a call at 8 AM, must have been getting untied yet.Hahahaha

Mookie Brown 05-12-2010 09:27 PM

Well Nutz, it's gone from confusing to boggling. I went out to the garage tonight to try Mud's jumper idea thinking it would immediately yield some kind of results - either there is a ground issue or there isn't. Too bad everything just worked when I turned the key! I didn’t touch anything first. DAMNIT! I turned the key to 'accessory' first and the radio, blower and everything worked flawlessly. Where they wouldn't even turn on before, now everything works like normal. The only slightly weird thing was when I turned the starter, it clicked, paused, then turned at normal speed and the engine started right up. Then, each time after that, the starter spun right away and totally normally. (Note: Forgot that water was going to spray wildly out of the exhaust all over my garage walls including the baseboard heaters. It did – big mess.)

So, I checked the voltage across my battery terminals and it was steadily 12.24 to 12.26 volts. I put the charger on it and let the radio run a while just to see if it would act weird. It didn't, and the charger finally acted normally. Before, when I ran the charger, the guage always said the battery was full and it wouldn't plunge down when I turned the starter (even though the starter would only click). Today, when I'd turn the starter, run the blower or any other thing using a fair amount of power, the needle would dive like normal.

Now I'm more confused than ever! The boat hasn't moved from its spot in the garage and the weather hasn't changed significantly enough to make a difference. Temps are similar and humidity is slightly higher. WTF???

DirtylilWolfess 05-12-2010 10:54 PM

Your boat must be the female kind. Seems all bitchy. Kick her ass.

I tentatively predict that it will work fine in your garage, but as soon as you get it out in the sunshine, she'll get all bitchy and not put out.

Does your boat happen to have some sort of security system, or safety system that could be fucking with your electrical system?

My car did something similar to me.

SnowAttitude 05-13-2010 07:05 AM

I have vintage sleds like that, work great in the garage, and wont start on the trail.LOL

I would still clean and check your connections, grounds do strange things.


On a side Note;
I had this happen on my 97 Bonnie. just recently.
about 3-4 years ago. I had a shop tune up my car and threw a new battery in.
Didnt seem to start as good, or as fast.(I was driving about 200 miles a day to get to work, I didnt have time to do it)

Last winter I found out that Excide made a lot of Bad batterys at that time,(poor/low voltage) so I bought another battery, the kid said you need this battery, I said NO,I want that big ass one,(Old School).

Well my guages acted weird, car was doing strange things, didnt seem to run right. Took it to a guy and he said it's your battery, it's to Big, HUH
The car is protecting itself by draining off power, so it wont damage the puter. That's why at idle or at a stop light, the voltage guage/others would dive down, car ran bad, to drain off power. You Dont need a big ass battery, because most new cars, if you cant get them to start in a few try's more then likely they wont start.
I thought he was wrong/full of it..., but I put the old battery back in, and the car works fine, the car hasnt done one strange thing since.
Now I heard from several people that say, on new cars Never put a battery in that is bigger then what the Mfg recommends.

Gotmud 05-13-2010 07:31 AM

That's interesting.

Brian Lee 05-13-2010 07:33 AM

Im wondering if there isnt some kinda short thats fucking with you. Years ago had a old J10 4X4, if i hit a bump, or when it decided to, it would just die. After 1 month of that crazy shit, i took it to a friends shop and said WTF. It took him 3 days of chasing wire to find a little rub spot that would wiggle and to a ground and short the hole system out dead as shit. Sooooooo maybe you got a simple hidden short some place in the wiring loom???????

Gotmud 05-13-2010 07:39 AM

Maybe, just maybe, think about this for a minute. Does your wife like boating?:poosy:

Powersledder 05-13-2010 08:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gotmud (Post 100512)
Maybe, just maybe, think about this for a minute. Does your wife like boating?:poosy:

Maybe she let wolfie loose on your wiring harness? (remember wolfie is a gremlin)

DirtylilWolfess 05-13-2010 08:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Powersledder
Maybe she let wolfie loose on your wiring harness? (remember wolfie is a gremlin)

Fuck you. When have I ever displayed gremlin behaviors? I seem to recall your gremlin thread being about Mookie.

I also avoid the big city like the plague.

Maybe Mookie had sex with his boat and it caught a case of the gremlins too. Being as new as it is...the gremlin could be fucking with some sort of computerized control on his boat?

Powersledder 05-14-2010 08:24 AM

Oh ya, forgot mookie was the gremlin, well that explains everything. It's probably like Dr. Jekl and Mr. Hyde, whatever he fixes during the day he turns into a gremlin and fucks it all up again at night.

Wolfie, you're small enough to be one anyways and you're probably often mistaken for one

DirtylilWolfess 05-18-2010 10:15 PM

Yes, Mookie is the gremlin...

And no word on his boat...

Did you give up Mooksie?

Mookie Brown 05-19-2010 10:45 AM

No - but thanks to Ultra Willie, I'm working off a new theory. He strongly suspected the alternator, which I doubted that at first. After thinking about it more, here's an alternator scenario that I'll be able to test tomorrow.

Last summer, if the alternator was starting to fail, the battery needed more and more charging before we'd go out every time. Then a few weeks ago when I put the new battery in and charged it for a while, we were able to drive around with no problems, but it pretty well drained the battery. Ultra Willie suspects that a few days later when I went to turn on the blower and radio, the battery was too drained to do anything - even get LED lights to pop on. (He had an interesting battery theory about needing a minimum amount of juice for a battery to do anything - in other words, the battery won't discharge energy in a linear way. There is some threshold where the battery goes from functioning somewhat normally, to not at all. Some kind of protection mechanism???)

After quite a lot of charging, now all the electrical things work normally again. Measured 12.25v across the battery terminal and that seems pretty normal.

Tomorrow I'll have a chance to dump it in the water and test while running. I believe I'm supposed to get 1.5v to 2v higher than battery voltage at idle. Is that correct? Does anything less indicated a bad alternator? Is the voltage regulator connected to the alternator?

OCR 05-19-2010 11:04 AM

You should get not less than 11.4 - 12 v at idle and 14v at higher rpm.

Mookie Brown 05-26-2010 02:26 PM

Well, I think I'm getting somewhere. I've checked voltage both running and not. When not running, voltage was 12.5V and it hit right at 14.45V when the engine is on and running. I also checked voltage from the battery lead to the engine block ground post - figuring if the ground cable from battery to block was bad, I'd see it - and the voltage was consistent. Since it seems like the ground cable is good, I checked voltage from the lead on the starter to the ground post on the block and that was good too.

Earlier today when I had it in the water, I turned the key, the starter clicked and then finally turned and the engine started. Once I got home and tried to turn it over a few more times, the starter only clicks. Everything else electrical seems to work, so I am beginning to think this whole thing was just a bad starter. I've cleaned all the connections and pounded on it with a hammer and still can't get it to free up.

Thoughts?

Brian Lee 05-26-2010 05:01 PM

Its fairly cheap to change out a starter.

blue avenger 05-26-2010 08:42 PM

starter solenoid? have the auto parts store test it.

Mookie Brown 05-26-2010 09:16 PM

Don't think they sell the solenoid separate on this starter. About $200 for the new starter and solenoid.

I took my starter to the parts store, we found the replacement part. Then, I took it back home and since I had some time on my hands, re-installed it. Wouldn't you know the damn thing worked every time. Although it did pause at times it shouldn't. At this point, it couldn't be anything but the starter. My plan is to just go buy the other starter and keep the necessary tools in the boat along with the new starter for now. When this one gives up the ghost, I'll change it out.

If something else happens, I'll post. For now, the radio only seems to be cutting out at high rpm. Who the heck knows what's going on there, but it seems unrelated to the starting issue.

DirtylilWolfess 05-30-2010 02:49 PM

Maybe Gerbil farted out a strange-ling in your boat.

Mookie Brown 05-30-2010 06:38 PM

Replaced the starter and now there are no engine operating problems. Cant believe the way it went out. Really fooled me for a while. Radio still cuts out randomly, but appears to be unrelated to voltage. I think I'll wire it direct to the batter with a switch to eliminate any gremlins along the way.

rickfly 11-03-2013 02:54 PM

did you ever think your key switch has poor contacts? have seen them fail and cause odd things to happen. a decent battery should read at least 12.8 vdc nat rest with a charge, and a charging system at idle should be above 13 vdc with 13.4-13.8 at fast idle. grounds are very important, use some antiseize on the connections after scrubbing the crap and cleaning them, make sure the top of your battery is clean and not bleeding current from post to post. to clean it use a rag wetted with water and baking soda and then wipe it with clean water and a rag.

OCR 11-03-2013 04:17 PM

Two year old zombie thread, but that's OK as you probably did not look at the post dates.

Rubi 11-12-2013 09:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rickfly (Post 125494)
did you ever think your key switch has poor contacts? have seen them fail and cause odd things to happen. a decent battery should read at least 12.8 vdc nat rest with a charge, and a charging system at idle should be above 13 vdc with 13.4-13.8 at fast idle. grounds are very important, use some antiseize on the connections after scrubbing the crap and cleaning them, make sure the top of your battery is clean and not bleeding current from post to post. to clean it use a rag wetted with water and baking soda and then wipe it with clean water and a rag.

I think that's timeless advice concerning undiagnosed electrical problems.

Mookie Brown 11-21-2013 03:27 PM

And it should be noted that Mud nailed the diagnosis within the first dozen posts or so!

Gotmud 11-22-2013 08:15 AM

Starter wire corroded? WTF we don't have a "pat yourself on back" smiley? ???



On a side note..... Harry, look 9 posts up from this one. Its your buddy!:deadhorse:

Dirty_Harry 11-22-2013 09:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gotmud (Post 125573)
Starter wire corroded? WTF we don't have a "pat yourself on back" smiley? ???



On a side note..... Harry, look 9 posts up from this one. Its your buddy!:deadhorse:

:bananafu::bananafu::bananafu:


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