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Old 14-01-2015, 10:19   #16
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Re: Turn key, push buttons, and nothing

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Originally Posted by Bill_E View Post
Am I missing something? If you turn on the key do you get silence? In other words, turn on key, no alarms from low oil pressure?? If that is the case...I would suspect that the key switch is intermittent. Probably corroded. Or, maybe the wiring to the key switch is corroded and you are just shaking things around enough to make contact.
I was thinking the same thing. I wasn't clear if he was getting the alarm or not? that would be key, yes pun intended.
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Old 14-01-2015, 10:29   #17
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Re: Turn key, push buttons, and nothing

For about the 100th (although first for you), there is a fuse between the start button and the solenoid. The fuseholder corrodes away over time. Find it and fix it. You also do NOT need to hold the glow plug button it when you hit the start button.

Once you find the fuseholder, relocate it to a place with easy access.
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Old 14-01-2015, 10:35   #18
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Re: Turn key, push buttons, and nothing

Proper diagnosis is so much better than randomly changing things.

How does a starter work? Voltage is applied to the solenoid, which engages and directs current from the battery to the motor windings.

So there are really 3 possibilities :

1) The voltage is not sufficient at the solenoid.
2) The voltage is not sufficient to the primary on the starter.
3) There is an internal fault in the starter.

Troubleshoot accordingly. If you find 1 or 2, you can further home in on the problem by measuring voltage drops in the system. If 1 and 2 are eliminated, time for a new starter.

I made some 10ft long meter leads for my multimeter, with larger crocodile clips, for troubleshooting this fault on my boat.

I had a bit of everything, bad cables with bad crimps, dodgy 1-2-both switch, unreliable start button, dodgy ignition key, bad wiring to solenoid, but the ultimate problem was fixed by installing a new starter.
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Old 14-01-2015, 10:40   #19
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Re: Turn key, push buttons, and nothing

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You also do NOT need to hold the glow plug button it when you hit the start button.
My Universal was wired so that you did! Kind of ridiculous. It was easy to rewire it so that the two functions were separate.

I say ridiculous, because you are lowering the solenoid voltage. Full glow plug current is flowing, through the same supply to the instrument panel, while you are cranking, as it was designed.
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Old 14-01-2015, 10:44   #20
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Re: Turn key, push buttons, and nothing

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My Universal was wired so that you did! Kind of ridiculous. It was easy to rewire it so that the two functions were separate.

I say ridiculous, because you are lowering the solenoid voltage. Full glow plug current is flowing, through the same supply to the instrument panel, while you are cranking, as it was designed.
Right, Mark. I almost included that in my post, but have found very few that were that way on the Universals, Westerbeke may have been different.
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Old 14-01-2015, 10:48   #21
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Re: Turn key, push buttons, and nothing

No, when I turn the key I always get an alarm. It's only when I push the starter do I get nothing.

Being that I just had a new starter put on when I was getting my oil gaskets replaced, I'm suspecting its a the wiring, the button, or the solenoid.

Luckily, I have a new solenoid and a new wiring harness.


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Old 14-01-2015, 10:51   #22
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Re: Turn key, push buttons, and nothing

Oddly enough, it is rarely the wiring, it IS almost always, the wiring connectors. I have rarely heard of the key switch or buttons failing.
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Old 14-01-2015, 12:15   #23
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Re: Turn key, push buttons, and nothing

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Proper diagnosis is so much better than randomly changing things..............
And a lot less expensive as well.

Really though, with the information given, it's impossible for anyone on a website to do anything more than guess what the problem is. And, reading between the lines of the original post, I would be surprised if he understood most of the troubleshooting suggestions posted here.

A person who understands an engine starting system and electricity and actually visits the boat would have this diagnosed in fifteen minutes or less. Randomly swapping out parts until the problem is solved could take hours and cost a lot of money.
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Old 14-01-2015, 12:29   #24
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Re: Turn key, push buttons, and nothing

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Being that I just had a new starter put on when I was getting my oil gaskets replaced, I'm suspecting its a the wiring, the button, or the solenoid.

Luckily, I have a new solenoid and a new wiring harness.

Sent from somewhere other than where I want to be!
Sigh.
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Old 14-01-2015, 13:02   #25
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Re: Turn key, push buttons, and nothing

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And a lot less expensive as well.

Really though, with the information given, it's impossible for anyone on a website to do anything more than guess what the problem is. And, reading between the lines of the original post, I would be surprised if he understood most of the troubleshooting suggestions posted here.

A person who understands an engine starting system and electricity and actually visits the boat would have this diagnosed in fifteen minutes or less. Randomly swapping out parts until the problem is solved could take hours and cost a lot of money.
No offense to the OP but you are correct.
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Old 14-01-2015, 16:06   #26
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Re: Turn key, push buttons, and nothing

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No offense to the OP but you are correct.
The issue is intermittent and irregular, making the diagnosis more difficult, as any engineer or doctor knows.
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Old 14-01-2015, 16:34   #27
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Re: Turn key, push buttons, and nothing

There was a bulletin that they put out that the yellow wire that went from the start button to the solenoid was undersized. Replace it with a #10 I think and it will solve the problem. I had the issue on a 1988 Universal. Search the Westerbeke site you'll find it


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Old 14-01-2015, 17:06   #28
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Re: Turn key, push buttons, and nothing

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
Oddly enough, it is rarely the wiring, it IS almost always, the wiring connectors. I have rarely heard of the key switch or buttons failing.
The key switches do fail, I had two bad key switches and one bad push button in my bucket of junk! (just cleaned it out this summer!) I assume it's the exposure to weather.

It sure would help to know the engine etc in the first post.

OP: BTW, unless you are up north you may not need to use the glow plugs at all. I have yet to have to use them on any Perkins, Volvo, Bukh, Mercedes or Yanmar engine.
Also, does your shifter have a fail safe switch so it wont start in gear? That switch fails also.
As a couple have said, jump the solenoid to see if the starter functions first!
No use looking at wiring if the starter doesn't work when it's bypassed!
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Old 14-01-2015, 17:16   #29
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Re: Turn key, push buttons, and nothing

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The issue is intermittent and irregular, making the diagnosis more difficult, as any engineer or doctor knows.
So which are you, an engineer or doctor?
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Old 14-01-2015, 17:18   #30
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Re: Turn key, push buttons, and nothing

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The key switches do fail, ........
Of course they do. Otherwise they wouldn't bother making replacements available.
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