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Mookie's got problems - and I need advice!

Boats and Outboards

 
 
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  #1  
Old 05-09-2010
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Default 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?

Last edited by Mookie Brown : 05-09-2010 at 08:32 PM.
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  #2  
Old 05-09-2010
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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.
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Old 05-10-2010
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Bad ground or maybe bad alternator?
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  #4  
Old 05-10-2010
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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.
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  #5  
Old 05-10-2010
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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
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  #6  
Old 05-11-2010
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Thanks for all the advice! I'll go back through the ground system and report back what I find.
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  #7  
Old 05-11-2010
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Just get a new boat.
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  #8  
Old 05-11-2010
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And give Baller the old broken one.
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Old 05-11-2010
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I like the idea. I think I would put a big bore kit in it.
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  #10  
Old 05-11-2010
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Plenty of room for a turbo too.
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Nobody on this site likes Ski Doo except Dirty Harry, and he's better at making babies than buying or fixing sleds, so you don't want to listen to him.
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  #11  
Old 05-11-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mookie Brown View Post
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
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  #12  
Old 05-11-2010
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^^^ 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.
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  #13  
Old 05-11-2010
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I take it , it's a chevy 350
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Old 05-11-2010
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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.
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Originally Posted by Rubi View Post
Nobody on this site likes Ski Doo except Dirty Harry, and he's better at making babies than buying or fixing sleds, so you don't want to listen to him.

Last edited by Gotmud : 05-11-2010 at 02:12 PM.
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  #15  
Old 05-11-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gotmud View Post
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.
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Last edited by Ultra Willie : 05-11-2010 at 03:33 PM.
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  #16  
Old 05-11-2010
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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.
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Old 05-11-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mookie Brown View Post
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.
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Originally Posted by Rubi View Post
Nobody on this site likes Ski Doo except Dirty Harry, and he's better at making babies than buying or fixing sleds, so you don't want to listen to him.

Last edited by Gotmud : 05-11-2010 at 04:27 PM.
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  #18  
Old 05-11-2010
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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.
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  #19  
Old 05-11-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mookie Brown View Post
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
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  #20  
Old 05-11-2010
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Just tie? No chains or cuffs?

Damn.
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  #21  
Old 05-12-2010
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Mookie gave ya a call at 8 AM, must have been getting untied yet.Hahahaha
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  #22  
Old 05-12-2010
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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
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  #23  
Old 05-12-2010
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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.
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  #24  
Old 05-13-2010
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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.
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Last edited by SnowAttitude : 05-13-2010 at 08:10 AM.
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  #25  
Old 05-13-2010
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That's interesting.
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Nobody on this site likes Ski Doo except Dirty Harry, and he's better at making babies than buying or fixing sleds, so you don't want to listen to him.
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