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TOPIC: Ignition question on my 2006 185 3.0 Merc

Ignition question on my 2006 185 3.0 Merc 08 Oct 2017 00:24 #1

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So today I went out with the family for an afternoon cruise- boat started right up at the ramp after sitting in the garage for a couple weeks. Got to our usual spot, killed the engine, and hung out on a sandy beach for an hour. When we got ready to leave- I turned the key, and the engine wouldn't turn over. Nothing. Just the alarm I usually hear that cuts off shortly after it starts. So I checked to make sure that the run/stop switch was where it should be.. and tried again-- nothing but the alarm. No turning over, no clicking sound- just the alarm sound.

So I got a tow.. I looked at the fuses- to see if there was anything obvious there- but nothing. I get it home, after it's been sitting for several hours, and the thing now turns over! I did nothing.. I should mention that I don't have a kill switch lanyard attached - never have had an issue (bought the boat 3 years ago). Have put at least 150 hours in that time frame on it..

I'm thinking I may have a faulty kill switch.. any body else experience this? Boat has run like a champ all this time, never left me stranded until today. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys!

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2006 Bayliner 185 3.0 Merc

Ignition question on my 2006 185 3.0 Merc 08 Oct 2017 01:23 #2

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Throttle for sure in neutral.

See kill switch tripped the engine would still crank.

Throttle ( control ) neutral safety switch funky the no crank.

Wiggle the handle of the control to make sure your in neutral, find the wiring the neutral switch and if you have the same problem again bypass the switch.
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Ignition question on my 2006 185 3.0 Merc 08 Oct 2017 01:26 #3

  • Centerline2
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I had an issue like that once with a brand new boat. It was a ground problem.
the boat would usually start right up, but not all the time.... and the times it wouldnt it was usually on the lake where I needed it the most.
I had it in the shop under warranty twice and they still never got it figured out....
(it seemed that the damp cooler air on the water caused it to fail more than when it was in my driveway or in the shop)
the boat was only 2 months old at the time it happened in my driveway on the muffs, so I got the tester out and tried to locate the problem.... it was getting power at all the right spots, so I figured it must be a faulty starter or starter solenoid, so I removed the starter and tested it on the bench. no problems with the starter...

after reinstalling it, It still didnt work... so i grounded my test meter directly to the starter and found out I didnt have any power passing thru the circuit while connected directly to the hot wire. the meter was still connected when i started removing the starter again, and I noticed the needle move when i was turning one of the starter mounting bolts.... so I had my wife try the start button, and I saw sparks at the loose bolt even though the others were still tight...

so after removing the starter again, I noticed mercury had painted the entire starter and the entire drive coupler housing.... so I polished the paint off of the mounting face of the starter, and also off of where it seated on the coupler housing, so it would get a good ground.... I never had a bit of trouble after that. AND I learned that a tester needs to be part of the tool kit on every boat..

your problem could be any number of other things, as a faulty solenoid or start button will act the same way.
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Ignition question on my 2006 185 3.0 Merc 08 Oct 2017 06:12 #4

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Check for solid clean battery cable connections, the negatives too, both at the battery and the engine block. Then test the slave solenoid.
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Ignition question on my 2006 185 3.0 Merc 08 Oct 2017 11:43 #5

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Chief Alen wrote: Throttle for sure in neutral.

See kill switch tripped the engine would still crank.

Throttle ( control ) neutral safety switch funky the no crank.

Wiggle the handle of the control to make sure your in neutral, find the wiring the neutral switch and if you have the same problem again bypass the switch.


Definitely made sure I was in neutral ... and you're right, in the past, and even after I got it home last night, the engine would at least crank when the switch was set to stop. That wasn't the case during the ordeal though..

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2006 Bayliner 185 3.0 Merc
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Ignition question on my 2006 185 3.0 Merc 08 Oct 2017 11:45 #6

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Glad to hear you finally diagnosed yours. It's just frustrating when the problem isn't consistent..

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Ignition question on my 2006 185 3.0 Merc 08 Oct 2017 11:47 #7

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builderdude wrote: Check for solid clean battery cable connections, the negatives too, both at the battery and the engine block. Then test the slave solenoid.


Just had a new battery out in last season, and it's been strong.. the tilt works great, gps was running- all during this ordeal..

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2006 Bayliner 185 3.0 Merc

Ignition question on my 2006 185 3.0 Merc 08 Oct 2017 12:30 #8

  • Nauti Mike
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Since you said you did not hear any noise I doubt it's the slave soleniod as they will make a clicking noise but the pitted contact cause a voltage drop. Your issue seems to either be a bad connection on the ignition switch or a faulty or misaligned neutral safety switch.
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Ignition question on my 2006 185 3.0 Merc 08 Oct 2017 14:07 #9

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Nauti Mike wrote: Since you said you did not hear any noise I doubt it's the slave soleniod as they will make a clicking noise but the pitted contact cause a voltage drop. Your issue seems to either be a bad connection on the ignition switch or a faulty or misaligned neutral safety switch.


Would the ignition switch have a fuse? Just so strange how it turned over just fine a couple hours later back in the garage. I should also mention, about a month ago, I had this same issue happen, where I turned the key and nothing happened except for hearing the alarm. But after a few seconds, it turned over just fine. Guess I should start with replacing the ignition switch.

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2006 Bayliner 185 3.0 Merc

Ignition question on my 2006 185 3.0 Merc 08 Oct 2017 16:18 #10

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stowe18 wrote:

Nauti Mike wrote: Since you said you did not hear any noise I doubt it's the slave soleniod as they will make a clicking noise but the pitted contact cause a voltage drop. Your issue seems to either be a bad connection on the ignition switch or a faulty or misaligned neutral safety switch.


Would the ignition switch have a fuse? Just so strange how it turned over just fine a couple hours later back in the garage. I should also mention, about a month ago, I had this same issue happen, where I turned the key and nothing happened except for hearing the alarm. But after a few seconds, it turned over just fine. Guess I should start with replacing the ignition switch.


Yes there is a 20 amp fuse in the harness not in the fuse panel. The next time it fails use a volt meter to verify 12V on the ignition switch C or S terminal with the key in the start position. Power is getting to the switch and when the key is in the run position to the I terminal since the alarm works. Just need to verify its getting to the crank/ start terminal. Knowing thus will tell you the next step. I would not shotgun thus and randomly replace parts as you will spend lots of money and time without knowing if it's really been fixed for some time.
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Ignition question on my 2006 185 3.0 Merc 08 Oct 2017 16:49 #11

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Well, I think I may have located the problem. And this one is just plain stupid. There are three connections on the back of that ignition switch. The one to the starter was a little loose - the other two were on there pretty solid. The starter wire on mine is a yellow/red wire. I took that wire off completely and tried to start it and was able to replicate yesterday's issue with it not turning over. I screwed it back on tightly, and it turns over just fine. Dumb me didn't even carry a screwdriver while out on yesterday's trip. While stranded, I did try pushing that connection to the wire yesterday and it wouldn't turn. But I'm pretty confident that by tightening it down today that I hopefully have illuminated the issue. Really appreciate everyone's response -- Very much appreciated!

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2006 Bayliner 185 3.0 Merc

Ignition question on my 2006 185 3.0 Merc 08 Oct 2017 19:36 #12

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stowe18 wrote: Dumb me didn't even carry a screwdriver while out on yesterday's trip.


excluding the legal issues, not having a tool kit on board is like not having a life jacket or fire extinguisher.... if all goes according to plan, it wont be needed, but when its needed, there is little you can do to improvise without help from another boater.... who may not be there when you need them the most.

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Ignition question on my 2006 185 3.0 Merc 08 Oct 2017 20:01 #13

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stowe18 wrote: Well, I think I may have located the problem. And this one is just plain stupid. There are three connections on the back of that ignition switch. The one to the starter was a little loose - the other two were on there pretty solid. The starter wire on mine is a yellow/red wire. I took that wire off completely and tried to start it and was able to replicate yesterday's issue with it not turning over. I screwed it back on tightly, and it turns over just fine. Dumb me didn't even carry a screwdriver while out on yesterday's trip. While stranded, I did try pushing that connection to the wire yesterday and it wouldn't turn. But I'm pretty confident that by tightening it down today that I hopefully have illuminated the issue. Really appreciate everyone's response -- Very much appreciated!


Yep that is the crank/start wire that goes to the slave soleniod. This is where I was telling you to check in my previous post. Glad you found it and it's a cheap easy fix.
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