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Old 25-08-2013, 20:43   #1
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How todetermine if the starter switch is defective.

I have a Catalina 30, 1986, Universal Diesel. Today when I tried starting it, the engine would not turn over. The Solenoid clicked and voltage stayed high.. I turned it off and tried it again. Still nothing. The third time, no problem. It turned easily and started. Later in the day I had the same problem. It's odd that at first attempt I get nothing. But on second or third attempt it works perfectly. Its almost like something is loose or jammed. Could it be the starter switch? How would one check that? Any idea on anything else that could be causing something like that?

Thanks.
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Old 25-08-2013, 20:50   #2
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Re: How todetermine if the starter switch is defective.

The problem could be in the solenoid. I sounds (you mention a click) like it is pulling in but there doesn't seem to be enough juice passing through it to drive the starter motor. Check all of your connections in the starter circuit to make sure you don't have a high resistance connection and if you don't find the problem, try replacing or repairing the solenoid. I have taken solenoids apart and cleaned the contacts with a good burnishing file.
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Old 25-08-2013, 22:31   #3
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Re: How todetermine if the starter switch is defective.

If the solinoid clicks, its sounds like the high amp contacts inside the solenoid are a bit pitted, which happens over time. Odds are if the solenoid is bolted together, its possible to field repair the contacts.
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Old 25-08-2013, 22:49   #4
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I would replace the solenoid if I were you. Repairing contacts temporary at best. Especially on a boat. If to want to test the switch turn off the battery switch and check continuity when you turn the key. Or put your meter across the switch with battery on and turn the key. Voltage should drop from 12-14 volts dc to close to zero. Then have someone test voltage across the solenoid from battery to starter. If voltage drops to zero and starter doesn't turn you could have a bad starter.
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Old 26-08-2013, 01:36   #5
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Re: How todetermine if the starter switch is defective.

Definitely check the solenoid's contacts. It could also be that the brushes of the starter motor need replacing.
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Old 26-08-2013, 20:23   #6
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Re: How todetermine if the starter switch is defective.

I have a similiar issue - engine controls about 12 foot cable run from the engine. Key wouldn't turn it over. Multimeter showed 14 volts at the relay when I turn the key but no sound of starting. Attaching a wire to electrical fitting on back of solenoid then touching it to the battery got me started.

I thought it was a bad relay and bought a replacement and a spare. Installed the spare but no help. Reading this thread -- should I check connections to the starter or replace the starter? Why is the hotwire working?
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Old 26-08-2013, 21:29   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SecondBase View Post
I have a similiar issue - engine controls about 12 foot cable run from the engine. Key wouldn't turn it over. Multimeter showed 14 volts at the relay when I turn the key but no sound of starting. Attaching a wire to electrical fitting on back of solenoid then touching it to the battery got me started.

I thought it was a bad relay and bought a replacement and a spare. Installed the spare but no help. Reading this thread -- should I check connections to the starter or replace the starter? Why is the hotwire working?
If the solenoid is energising the relay is working correctly and the solenoid contacts are likely to be the problem. Check that all connections are clean and tight first though.
The fact that you can measure voltage at the hotwire (of the solenoid I'm assuming) only tells you that voltage is present which doesn't necessarily mean that the hotwire 'is working'. It also needs to be able to pass the required current to the starter motor and a loose connection will mean it can't do that even though voltage is present.
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Old 26-08-2013, 21:39   #8
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Re: How todetermine if the starter switch is defective.

http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,5....html#msg32211

You might also be interested in many of the other threads in that topic.
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Old 27-08-2013, 23:01   #9
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Re: How todetermine if the starter switch is defective.

Thx Stu - that picture looks exactly like my issue. Now I understand.
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Old 27-08-2013, 23:05   #10
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Re: How todetermine if the starter switch is defective.

Glad to help.

Pass it forward.
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Old 28-08-2013, 03:19   #11
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Re: How todetermine if the starter switch is defective.

It is not difficult to bypass the stater switch, or the the starter switch and the solenoid. It is just a matter of jumping some connections at the solenoid, on the motor.

It is very worthwhile to know how to do this.

To bypass the starter switch. Jump the main positive lead ( the thick lead with a wire to the battery) and the ignition switch lead ( which will be a much smaller stud and wire) . This can be done with a screwdriver. It is even worth considering installing a permanent switch to do this.

To bypass the solenoid jump the two heavy wires on solenoid. (Note this is a lot of current sparks will fly). Be careful not to touch the case or any other metal. This will spin the starter motor, but with the most common type of preengaged starter will not start the engine as the solenoid is needed to engage the starter on the flywheel.
If you get someone to hold the ignition switch at the same time the starter will engage and the engine will start ( if the failure is due to the solenoid contacts which is most likely)

These steps are very likely to start the engine. They also diagnose where the problem is. If not, you know the problem is not with the starter switch or solenoid and can look for other possibilities.

In the photo you can see the smaller solenoid which is on top of. The starter motor. The two big connectors (one with a wire leading to the starter motor and the much smaller connector is connected to the ignition switch.
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