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Intermittent Starting Issue - Clicking sound and Starter Doesn(39)t Engage-gctid393066

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    Intermittent Starting Issue - Clicking sound and Starter Doesn(39)t Engage-gctid393066

    I have a 91 2655 with a 5.0 LX engine. Every so often, when I turn the key to start I only get a clicking sound and the starter doesn't engage.

    It seems when I turn the key off and on rapidly a few times the starter finally engages the engine starts flawlessly.

    Troubleshooting So Far
    • I have tried to play with the throttle lever thinking it might be a bad safety switch but that does not seem to be it.
    • I have also cleaned all the battery terminals and leads to the starter with wire brush and reinstalled with dielectric grease, did not seem to help?
    • I was thinking to just replace the starter but when it engages it's strong with no bushing or gear noise so I'm not convinced this is the issue.




    Any info advise would be great appreciated, thanks in advance.

    #2
    That clicking is usually indicative of the starter solenoid or the starter relay solenoid if you have one. Couple of key turns and the solenoid finally engages.
    Terry
    1999 Bayliner 3388
    Twin Cummins 4BTA
    Fisherman, Cruiser, Boaticus-enthusiasticus-maximus
    Member Royal Victoria Yacht Club

    Comment


      #3
      TenMile wrote:
      That clicking is usually indicative of the starter solenoid or the starter relay solenoid if you have one. Couple of key turns and the solenoid finally engages.
      Thanks Terry, that's what I was thinking but I had a conversation with a marine repair shop today and the guy I spoke with said the clicking sound is coming from the solenoid, indicating that it's good so he guesses the starter is sticking and needs to be rebuilt/replaced?

      Anyone else here of this as a troubleshooting strategy?

      Comment


        #4
        You say you cleaned the leads from the battry to the starter but....

        Did you clean the leads for the ground? As in where it bolts tot he engine.

        Mine did something similar and it was the ground lead on the back of the engine. PO said he had never been able to start it on a single battery "This baby needs both batteries to start"

        Uhhh it is a 305 chevy, should be able to turn it over with a c cell battery. All it was was a corroded ground connection
        Boatless at this time

        A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including their life."

        Comment


          #5
          The clicking indicates that the relay/coil portion of the solenoid is good, but I have found many times the internal contact becomes pitted or corroded to the point that you cannot get a good enough connection to pass the starter current. Replacing the solenoid will fix this. It is usually not worth trying to take the solenoid apart to change the washer-like contact inside, and sometimes both sides of the contact are just too far gone to try and attempt any repair, not to mention you usually can't find the parts individually. If all your other contacts & wires are clean and well connected, try a new solenoid before you spend big bucks on a starter.

          Comment


            #6
            Merc uses a secondary starting relay. They are (aledgedly) waterproof. but the insides corrode.

            In your year of engine it either nlocated on the top just in back of the carb, or on a bracket near the alternator.
            Captharv 2001 2452
            "When the draft of your boat exceeds the depth of water, you are aground"

            Comment


              #7
              I had a similar issue, I removed the starter first assuming this was the problem and since I had it out, decided to replace rather than rebuild, it looked corroded on the outside but as soon as I installed the new starter, the intermittent clicking as described came back every so often. I then tested the solenoid on top after cleaning the contacts, sure enough, that was the problem all along, they are not waterproof! My money is on the same item, cheap and quick to replace. Go with this starting relay first and happy boating.

              Frode

              Comment


                #8
                love2speed wrote:
                Thanks Terry, that's what I was thinking but I had a conversation with a marine repair shop today and the guy I spoke with said the clicking sound is coming from the solenoid, indicating that it's good so he guesses the starter is sticking and needs to be rebuilt/replaced?

                Anyone else here of this as a troubleshooting strategy?
                That makes perfect sense but is wrong. I went throught the same thing on my 185. It was the selonoide. What happens is the contacts get coroded so that it wont workj. The cliking is the switch engaging but the contacts are so bad it wont allow juice to flow. I would change it first thing.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Hey Guy's thanks for all your feedback.

                  I am definitely going to check the main ground and the solenoid before changing the starter and report back.

                  Cheers

                  Comment


                    #10
                    love2speed wrote:
                    ............ but I had a conversation with a marine repair shop today 1... and the guy I spoke with said the clicking sound is coming from the solenoid, 2... indicating that it's good so he guesses the starter is sticking and needs to be rebuilt/replaced?
                    1... Yes... agree!

                    2.... Not necessarily so!

                    The solenoid is both a magnetic kick-out lever action device and a contactor.

                    The clicking definitely indicates that the magnetic portion is working, but it does not indicate that the contacts are good.

                    If the contacts are OK, it may point to the actual motor armature and/or armature brushes!

                    This is when the 'ole tap tap trick on the motor housing works. The shock gains momentary armature/brush continuity.

                    Scott wrote:
                    ......... It is usually not worth trying to take the solenoid apart to change the washer-like contact inside, and sometimes both sides of the contact are just too far gone to try and attempt any repair, not to mention you usually can't find the parts individually.
                    Now there is an "old school" guy who was around during a time when you COULD take a solenoid apart and repair it, either by filing the contacts, or truning the copper washer over... or both!

                    Not today..... most are crimped together.

                    .
                    Rick E. Gresham, Oregon
                    2850 Bounty Sedan Flybridge model
                    Twin 280 HP 5.7's w/ Closed Cooling
                    Volvo Penta DuoProp Drives
                    Kohler 4 CZ Gen Set

                    Comment


                      #11
                      2850Bounty wrote:
                      1... Yes... agree!

                      2.... Not necessarily so!

                      The solenoid is both a magnetic kick-out lever action device and a contactor.

                      The clicking definitely indicates that the magnetic portion is working, but it does not indicate that the contacts are good.

                      If the contacts are OK, it may point to the actual motor armature and/or armature brushes!

                      This is when the 'ole tap tap trick on the motor housing works. The shock gains momentary armature/brush continuity.

                      Now there is an "old school" guy who was around during a time when you COULD take a solenoid apart and repair it, either by filing the contacts, or truning the copper washer over... or both!

                      Not today..... most are crimped together.

                      .
                      Who you calling old? You're right, can't do that much anymore. We live in a "throw-away" society now.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Hey Guy's

                        I was at the boat on the weekend and the only solenoid looking thing I found was located on the front starboard side of the engine. It was on top of the red reset switch with 4 leads ontop and 2 leads underneath into the reset switch . I cleaned the lead as well as located the main ground and cleaned that too. The contacts and leads were all corrosion free and still had the anti-corrosive black spray on them?

                        This did not resolve the problem.

                        So I'm wondering

                        1. Did I locate the correct solenoid

                        2. Is it still possible the solenoid is internally corroded

                        Comment


                          #13
                          One other thing I should mention is that when I turn the key I only get one click.

                          Should it be a rapid series of click and if I turn the ignition off then on rapidly it seems to engage the start evey time.

                          Thanks again

                          Comment


                            #14
                            love2speed wrote:
                            • 1 wrote:
                            • One other thing I should mention is that when I turn the key I only get one click.
                            • Should it be a rapid series of click and if I turn the ignition off then on rapidly it seems to engage the start evey time.




                            Thanks again
                            • 1 wrote:
                            • One click only may indicate that you have a bad cable connection.

                              Check all main Pos or Neg cable connections.
                            • Usually a rapid series of clicks (while the start mode is being held) indicates low battery voltage.

                              The original voltage is enough to bring the contactor IN, but when armature continuity occurs, the load is too great, voltage drops and the contactor lets go!

                              When the contactor lets go, voltage returns, and as long as the key switch is held in "start" mode, it begins all over again.




                            If the above does not correct the problem, you may need to pull the starter motor.

                            Rather than over-hauling it, purchase a new one. These are inexpensive these days.

                            BTW, the starter motor solenoid is the small cylindrical unit at the top of the motor here.


                            Rick E. Gresham, Oregon
                            2850 Bounty Sedan Flybridge model
                            Twin 280 HP 5.7's w/ Closed Cooling
                            Volvo Penta DuoProp Drives
                            Kohler 4 CZ Gen Set

                            Comment


                              #15
                              One click means either 1) Solenoid is closing but not making the main contact for the starter motor (corrosion, pitted, etc.). Solution is new solenoid.

                              2) Contact being made, but bad spot on starter motor armature or some other causing no rotation.

                              I personally like #1, because you state that after a few tries it will engage & start. Each time you "click", the contact inside the solenoid usually will spin around a little, and eventually you reach a point where you get enough contact to work. If the motor was bad, once you reached that bad spot you would probably be stuck until you could spin the starter motor somehow. The good news is, solenoids are MUCH cheaper than starter motors.

                              Multiple clicks when the key is turned work just as Rick says, and are usually caused by bad batteries or bad connections.

                              Comment

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