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Old 22-09-2015, 03:23   #1
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Starting Woes

Hello everyone,

My dilemma is beyond my comprehension. My Roberts 25' Adventurer is powered by a small 10hp Vetus Diesel Engine Model M2.05 that is approx. 22 years old.

Up until last year it started without a problem then suddenly one day when returning from a sail I pressed the starter button and nothing happened. Panic set in as I continued to press the button repeatedly but to no avail. I quickly turned the boat around and headed back out to sea and "hoved to" so that I could investigate. I could see nothing untoward and after switching between the batteries for a few minutes it suddenly turned over and fired into life. I was then able to return to the marina feeling very relieved.

Believing it to be a battery problem I made sure that the charger was working correctly and checked both batteries before venturing out again. However, I have had a number of similar instances of the starter motor not turning over since that time until it has now got to the point where I am reluctant to venture out.

Please be aware, I've not just sat back and done nothing to try and resolve this intermittent fault. Firstly, I purchased a second battery charger so that now each battery has its own dedicated "smart" ctek charger. I also had both the starter motor and the alternator serviced and rebuilt and a new starter solenoid fitted. I have also, replaced the battery terminals and the battery cables and the battery selector switch. Finally, I purchased a new starter button direct from Vetus. On each occasion, the intermittent fault remains.

The only strange anomaly is that the engine has never ever failed to start when leaving the marina, it only ever happens when I attempt to return.

The ammeter always swings right over to the "-" side when I press the starter button but nothing happens. I might have to press it up to 20 times switching between batteries or even choosing to use both batteries before suddenly for no apparent reason, the starter motor will turn over and the engine immediately fires up.

I am desperate for any help or ideas that anyone may have. I feel that I have gone as far as possible with my investigations with the limited knowledge I have.

Thanks in advance

Greg
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Old 22-09-2015, 04:05   #2
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Re: Starting Woes

Although you have given a fairly decent description of the fault symptoms, some more questions are in order .

When the fault occurs, do you hear any clicking of the stater solenoid (this mounted right at the starter motor)?

If so, you still have solenoid fault or a battery supply problem.
If not, you have a wiring problem in the start button / solenoid circuit.

I suspect it maybe the later and would suggest looking carefully at any connectors and terminals in the wiring harness and instrument panel. After 22 years, there is good chance there is corrosion in a terminal or a connector.

If you are handy with using an electrical multimeter, we can talk you though a trouble shooting procedure but I suspect this isn't the case else you have had it fixed by now!
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Old 22-09-2015, 05:16   #3
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Re: Starting Woes

Hello Wotname and thank you for your quick response,

In answer to your questions. No there is not a clicking noise and I do know exactly what you mean. When I got the starter motor back from the auto electricians and the problem was still occurring I did return it to them believing that the motor/solenoid was still to blame but they "bench tested" both and found nothing wrong at all.

The second suggestion of yours appears the most likeley but I'm unsure where to begin. I do have a multimetre but I would place myself in the "novice" category when understanding and deciphering the various settings and results. I have made various attempts to use it on the wiring circuit but seeing the ammeter react when I depress the starter button makes me thing that power is flowing. Am I incorrect in this assumption because if so then I do need to investigate the wiring further.

I've attached a copy of the wiring diagram for information purposes.
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Old 22-09-2015, 05:20   #4
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Re: Starting Woes

Vetus 2.05 Wiring Diagram
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Old 22-09-2015, 06:23   #5
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Re: Starting Woes

There is a wire connected to the starter solenoid shown as yellow number4. connect another short wire to this and if you have the problem again short this to the red wires on the startermotor, this will bypass all the starter wiring. If this works the problem is a poor connectin in the start button wiring cicuit.
If the main fuse has any corrosion it could cause the problem.
If the sartermotor has sticking brushes or the sarter solenoid is sticking a sharp hit with something can get it going again.
If the startermotor was just bench tested by connecting to a battery it will not pick up an intermittent fault.
If it was dismantled then it was checked properly.
A bad earth can also cause this problem but you would hear the solenoid click in.
A bad battery can cause this by discharging while your sailing,
Good luck hope we can help furthur

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Old 22-09-2015, 06:35   #6
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Re: Starting Woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Shakeshaft View Post
Hello Wotname and thank you for your quick response,

In answer to your questions. No there is not a clicking noise and I do know exactly what you mean. When I got the starter motor back from the auto electricians and the problem was still occurring I did return it to them believing that the motor/solenoid was still to blame but they "bench tested" both and found nothing wrong at all.

The second suggestion of yours appears the most likeley but I'm unsure where to begin. I do have a multimetre but I would place myself in the "novice" category when understanding and deciphering the various settings and results. I have made various attempts to use it on the wiring circuit but seeing the ammeter react when I depress the starter button makes me thing that power is flowing. Am I incorrect in this assumption because if so then I do need to investigate the wiring further.

I've attached a copy of the wiring diagram for information purposes.
OK, it's late (for me ) but a few quick points.
Yes, the ammeter is indicating current flow but I am guessing this is the current for the glow plugs.
The most obvious point to check will be the 12 pin connector in the engine wiring harness for corrosion or poorly fitting contacts - but maybe you have already done this!

The next thing is to check the -ve side of the circuit; that is, the ground or earth wire from the battery to the engine chassis - ensure all terminals are clean and tight. Don't just look at them and wiggle by hand, remove them, clean them and refit them. You will be amazed how many intermittent problems are resolved by doing this.

The circuit indicates +ve side of the battery goes from directly from the battery via a main switch (Q) to the starter motor ( R ) and it's solenoid. Remove, clean and refit this big battery wire although if you have previously removed the starter motor, we will assume it is now clean and tight.

There is a small terminal on the solenoid with a yellow wire on it. This is the wire that ends up back at the start switch. Any time this yellow wire is connected the the earth or chassis or the -ve side of the battery, the solenoid should operate.

So try connecting this small terminal to the chassis purely for testing purposes, the solenoid should operate and the engine should turn over. If so, the fault is somewhere in the yellow wire going back via the start switch to earth. It is a bit hard to tell but it looks like the stop solenoid (S) needs to be normal for the start solenoid to get an earth to engage it.

What does the Pulse Switch (E) and the Pulse switch MB (D) normally do?

OK, as I said, it's late here and my head is hurting so I trust this is some help, I will check in again tomorrow if smarter people haven't solved your problem by then.
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Old 22-09-2015, 08:16   #7
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Re: Starting Woes

Thank you Sardean
Thank you Wotname

Your continuing advice and suggestions are very much appreciated and I am keen to get down to the boat tomorrow morning and have a jolly good look at this yellow wire that you both refer to, that is attached to my starter solenoid.

For your information, the 3 switches on the circuit diagram are actually Start, Glowing Plug and Stop as confirmed on the attached diagram of the Instrument Panel. I have never understood why they are labelled differently on the wiring diagram.

I do think that I should carefully go through the comprehensive list of checks that each of you have listed and then if I find some issues that I am unable to understand or resolve I would like to come back to you and see what options I might have available. The biggest burden, is that not many people deal with Vetus engines in Perth and a lot of parts are simply no longer available.

Thank you all once again, I really do appreciate this invaluable assistance.

Kind Regards, Greg
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Old 22-09-2015, 10:51   #8
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Re: Starting Woes

I would go through some of the excellent advice above before considering this: I had the same problem in Vanuatu years ago. I took everything apart. Did voltage and continuity checks on everything. Solenoid clicking fine. Even took the starter in to have it checked out. They tested it and said the starter was OK and that I must have missed something in the starter/ignition circuit (and acted like I was a dummy).

Put the starter back on and it still would not start. Took it off again and returned it to the (one and only shop in the country) and they took it apart. It had a couple of bad sectors on the armature and if the starter ended up there with the brushes it would not start. They replace that and I was good to go. So it would only not start intermittently due to chance - like Russian roulette.
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Old 22-09-2015, 11:28   #9
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Re: Starting Woes

I had precisely the same problem on my Universal 5424. I replaced the starter, batteries, cabling, and 1-2-Both switch, and still had an intermittent hot no-start problem.

The final fix has been to replace the wires to and from the panel. To be more specific, the panel including the start button gets power via a fused 12 gauge wire, from the starter + connection. Then the starter button goes to the starter solenoid via a 16 gauge wire, with another fuse holder inline. I replaced both wires, using new fuse holders. Sailors Solutions has quality fuse holders that use auto-type blade fuses, and are sealed.

To proceed, here is a test that I can suggest : Measure the voltage between starter + and ground, while the button is engaged.

Voltage drops but to 10 or 11V : solenoid has engaged, starter should turn.

Voltage does not drop : solenoid not engaging. Wiring to/from panel, button, or starter are suspect.

Voltage drops below 10V : suspect batteries or battery large-gauge cabling.
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Old 22-09-2015, 11:52   #10
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Re: Starting Woes

Hi Greg:

I think what you need to do is to do a voltage drop test on your system. It sounds a lot more complicated then it is. You will need a digital Multimeter (DMM). First measure the voltage across the posts of the battery. If the battery checks fine then check from the negative post to a known ground on the battery. remember 2x4. I forget if this is correct but the negative side should have no more then .2v of drop and the positive side shuld have no more then .4v of drop. The next test is from the positive post of the battery to the positive lug on the starter. By performing these tests on all the connections you will be able to find where/if the voltage drop is located. Here is a good basic video on it Also you can look in Nigel Calder's book on how to perform the test.
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Old 22-09-2015, 12:02   #11
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Re: Starting Woes

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
OK, it's late (for me )

There is a small terminal on the solenoid with a yellow wire on it. This is the wire that ends up back at the start switch. Any time this yellow wire is connected the the earth or chassis or the -ve side of the battery, the solenoid should operate.
Hi Wotname with the greatest respect to someone who goes to the trouble of helping others and gives great advice , please check your advice with regard to yellow wire and small terminal , I think you meant say positive side of battery.

I beleive yellow wire to chassis or earth would be a dead short.
So this does not happen disconnect the yellow wire from terminal on starter then bridging that terminal (not the yellow wire) to plus or minus wont cause any damage .

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Old 22-09-2015, 18:50   #12
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Re: Starting Woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sardean View Post
Hi Wotname with the greatest respect to someone who goes to the trouble of helping others and gives great advice , please check your advice with regard to yellow wire and small terminal , I think you meant say positive side of battery.

I beleive yellow wire to chassis or earth would be a dead short.
So this does not happen disconnect the yellow wire from terminal on starter then bridging that terminal (not the yellow wire) to plus or minus wont cause any damage .

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Morning now but more confused

I hear you but can't quite tell from the circuit provided exactly what is going on

Initially I thought the connectors (A & B) were shown with the wiring going to the pins exactly as shown and the numbers purely giving the colours however now I am sure the numbers represent the pin numbering on the connector as well as the colour coding.

The circuit shows the the solenoid on the starter motor ( R ) having one side connected to +ve and the other side is the yellow wire and presumably on a small terminal thus the yellow wire needs to go to -ve in order to operate the solenoid.

So assuming the numbering on the circuit matches the numbering on the connector then the start switch does actually provide +ve to the solenoid on the yellow wire. Therefore the drawing of the solenoid must be slightly inaccurate.

I trust the OP reads your post and this one before taking my previous and probably inaccurate advice above. Else he will be sailing his Roberts 25 across the country to bash my brains out.

So the start solenoid engage circuit should be:

+ve from battery
battery switch (Q) on
circuit breaker (Z)
pin 1 on connector (B)
pin 1 on mating connector (A)
start switch (F) normally open contact (RHS)
pin 4 on connector (A)
pin 4 on mating connector (B)
start solenoid on starter motor ( R ) small terminal (yellow wire)
though the solenoid coil
-ve though chassis
battery -ve.

Now providing the battery is good, the starter motor and solenoid is good, when the battery switch (Q) is on, the circuit breaker (Z) is not tripped and the start switch - button- (F) is operated, the circuit is complete and the motor will turn over.

Any problems must lie in the above circuit or its components.

OK, that is resolved, let the OP work though it and if necessary call on the internet sparkies

To the OP, sorry for the misinformation last night, brain too old, too tired...
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Old 22-09-2015, 18:54   #13
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Re: Starting Woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sardean View Post
Hi Wotname with the greatest respect to someone who goes to the trouble of helping others and gives great advice , please check your advice with regard to yellow wire and small terminal , I think you meant say positive side of battery.
…….
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Thanks for bringing this to my attention
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Old 22-09-2015, 19:03   #14
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Re: Starting Woes

Dear exMaggieDrum, MarkSF, Charlie, Wotname & Sardean

I am truly overwhelmed at all the excellent suggestions and advice that you have imparted. I have printed hard copies of all your responses and will be reading them through carefully as I undertake a comprehensive check of the various connections as you have all advised.

I do possess a multimeter but it is only a cheapish one and I am wondering whether I should be investing in a "fluke" or similar in order to give myself the best chance of finding this (and future) faults.

I do own a copy of "Calders Mechanical & Electrical" and will read through that again as Charlie suggested. exMaggieDrum mentioned the starter could still be defective. I did take the starter motor back to the auto and marine electrician that overhauled it and he did strip it down and check his work but could find no fault. I would have purchased a new one but unfortunately they are now obsolete. He assured me that everything was in order and I have to accept his word on that.

When I return from the boat later today, I will certainly be updating everyone on my progress.

Regards, Greg
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Old 22-09-2015, 19:14   #15
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Re: Starting Woes

Before you get too complicated, check and see if there are any plastic multi wire connectors to the engine /panel etc. There usually are. These often corrode on the pins etc inside the connector and cause this problem out of the blue.
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