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Old 17-12-2008, 20:27   #1
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self starting 4-108

Yesterday I was sitting in my house when I heard my boat motor running. I shut it down and went back in the house. Five minutes later the boat fires up again, all by itself. This time it would not shut down by cutting the fuel because the starter was still cranking. I had to switch off the battery. We recently had 19 inches of rain in 3 days. The ignition switch for my 4-108 is exposed to the elements. Appears to have shorted and went into start mode. Damage so far one fried ignition switch,one fried battery switch & one fried battery terminal. Won't know about the starter or altenator until I replace the first three items & try to start up. Because I had to kill electrical power while motor was running in order to get it shut down I figure the altenator is damaged.
Anyone else run into this kind of problem?

Aloha Gerry
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Old 17-12-2008, 20:46   #2
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wow most of the time you hear of a motor not starting. I do believe this could happen on any boat any motor. A short is a short. Sorry about the damage. Remember owning a boat is only half of it the other half is working on it.


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Old 17-12-2008, 23:10   #3
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Makesure you THOROUGHLY check the wiring harness......Replace any wire that you may think is suspect.

I have had engines starters catch for a number of reasons.....frozen solenoids/springs for one.
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Old 18-12-2008, 03:37   #4
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A friend and I went to help out a Haitian boat, stuck on a sand bar (Bahamas). After we towed them off, and showed them where they were (their distress call noted that there were “several islands in sight”), the young boy (who spoke the only “SpEnglish” asked if we could look at their “possessed” engine.
It seems that it would start “all by itself”, at unaccountable times.
After clearing a small space around the engine (bags of rice packed against shipping skids, laying against engine) , we noted that the bilge was flooded up to just beneath the starter solenoid. Apparently, this was a “normal” condition of no concern.
What we also noted, was an old coffee can, floating in the bilgewater. As the boat rocked, the can drifted towards the engine, eventually landing against the solenoid, and shorting the start contacts. We removed the can - problem solved.
Ergo - we be genius’ - they be so pleased & relived to have the engine exorcised of evil spirits.
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Old 18-12-2008, 06:33   #5
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A friend's 4108 on a Morgan 38 did this a couple of times. It just started. He never did get to the bottom of it.
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Old 18-12-2008, 09:44   #6
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Somehow I picture

An outlandish headress, a bone in the nose and a rattle.

Boomshakalaka...Boomshakalaka......Mpeezi...Ngowa! !!!!!!!!!!!!

Stateside we call it "laying on of the hands" Praise Jaysussssss (WHAP) HEEE-Yullllllll !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Ergo - we be geniusí - they be so pleased & relived to have the engine exorcised of evil spirits.
On a serious not...that's what sailing stories are all about.
Fixing boats in exotic ports.
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Old 18-12-2008, 11:08   #7
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I am rewiring the entire system as I wait for parts. Present wiring is at least 35 years old. Bilge is always dry & clean (automatic bilge pumps & no coffee cans). I've spent most of my adult life running diesels & this self starting business is a first for me. The great thing about boating is sometimes you find a new adventure even just sitting dockside.

Aloha gerry
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Old 18-12-2008, 12:37   #8
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26ft MWB eh? I owned one of those. Does yours have the offset reduction gear?
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Old 18-12-2008, 12:50   #9
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Anyone heard the story of an anchor windlass switch shorting out at anchor and boat sailing away by itself? I can't remember where or when I heard or read the story but it really reinforces the idea that I should check the wiring from time to time.
Gerry,
you folks really did get some rain there. Here on the Big Island where it is always raining we've had less than normal. ???? the weather.
Regards, JohnL
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Old 18-12-2008, 14:00   #10
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Chief....I have the Paragon gear. Kind of growlly but it keeps on turning. We run 15 miles off island with this boat on a weekly basis. Sometimes it's pretty wet as it is open with just a sun shade.


John.......I know you could use the rain on your island but we've had all we can handle. Lot's of flooding on the west end. Luckily I'm on the east end. We had lots of rain but no flooding.

Aloha.............Gerry
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Old 18-12-2008, 16:59   #11
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Take a good look at the back of your solenoid. I have seen this before. If the hot lead from the battery to the solenoid is routed in a way that it crosses over the smaller (ignition) post of the solenoid, it will rub through the insulator and feed power directly to the ignition post. This is just like using a screw driver on the solenoid to start the engine. Even if you do not see contact, it is possible that a build up of moisture could close the gap. If your battery lead is properly secured, moisture is the most likely culprit. The battery lead should always be routed directly away from the solenoid for this exact reason.
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Old 18-12-2008, 18:24   #12
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The great thing about boating is sometimes you find a new adventure even just sitting dockside.

Aloha gerry
Amazing!
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Old 19-12-2008, 06:54   #13
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Anyone heard the story of an anchor windlass switch shorting out at anchor and boat sailing away by itself? I can't remember where or when I heard or read the story but it really reinforces the idea that I should check the wiring from time to time.
Gerry,
you folks really did get some rain there. Here on the Big Island where it is always raining we've had less than normal. ???? the weather.
Regards, JohnL

Yes, sort of. The hanhdeld (wired) remote for my Lofrans Windlass developed a short inside. It would start raising the anchor by itself. It would also give me a minor shock when wet and wehn I was pushing the 'up' button.

The fix? I unplugged the remote. I also took it apart and saw the corrosion inside. I could repair it with a soldering iron and then reseal it back together. I think I'm going to buy a new one ($110 to $160 IIRC) instead. This is somehting that I want working perfectly.

By the way, this led to my never trusting the windlass. It's always 'circuit breaker off' and we have an onboard procedure to yell "Windlass is hot!" whenever flicking the circuit breaker on, and then "Windlass is hot and wild!" whenever it's untied too. The chain rode is always tied off, with the anchor either up or down, so it can't go down (It's the gravity-down type anyway.) and it can't go up (would trip the breaker once the tension was established in the rode). Needlesss to say, we have a rule that no kids are allowed on the bow when it's going to be turned on.

We'll keep this procedure once we have the new remote switch. That windlass has lots of torque so it's good to keep kids away from it when it's in use.
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Old 29-12-2008, 14:06   #14
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I replaced the ingnition switch & the fried battery selector and all is well. Lucked out on the altenator, starter & solenoid. With the ignition switch shorting in the cranking position it could have been a lot worse cost wise. I have re configured the wiring so that I can turn the battery selector to the off position and still have power to the automatic bilge pump but nothing else.
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Old 29-12-2008, 14:24   #15
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Good Show!!!!
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