Boat Won't Start- 90hp ELPTO Two Stroke

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    Posted: 25 Apr 2023 at 7:25pm
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Hi all, my outboard has been having intermittent starting problems but now it wont start at all. 

This is the process I have followed so far: Checked both batteries, are fully charged and sound. One battery was thought to be borderline (took them to battery specialist for testing) so replaced it with a new one. (Both fully charged when re-installed). Started fine after install. 

Boat has been sitting now for say three weeks approx. I attempted to run it up, as I do on muffs when not used for a period. It attempted to start, but it didn't fire. When I tried it again all I got was a click, I think its the solenoid but open to ideas. I have also wiggled the throttle lever in case the switch inside that was temperamental and the system though the motor was in gear. That has not resolved the problem. 

Cheers

Karl


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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Mc Tool Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Apr 2023 at 9:20am
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Sounds like flat battery to me . The solenoid clicking is telling you that the battery has just enough left to operate solenoid but not enough to turn starter motor( they use a fair bit of power ) Do you have a battery isolator ? What might be happening is something is using power while boat is parked up . 3 weeks is easily long enough to flatten a decent sized battery if there is a light on or a radio with the volume turned down .......could even be a crook diode in your alternator . I would check battery charge and then isolate battery to see if it holds charge . You could test for battery drain if you have an amp meter .......and the nouse to use it without lead plating your face😁.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Apr 2023 at 2:21pm
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Solenoids switch heavy currents and are prone to getting bad connections on the internal contacts. The best way to check the solenoid is to put a voltmeter across the power cables, one coming from the battery, the other going to the starter motor. Your voltmeter should read 12v normally. When you attempt to start the motor you will hear the solenoid click. At that time the voltage should drop to zero or near to it. If you're getting a reading of two volts or more then replace the solenoid.

If you don't get 12v across the solenoid at first then you need to track down where the fault is. It is easier than it sounds. I'll draw a pic and post it here as it is easier than trying to explain it. I am a sparky btw.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Apr 2023 at 3:08pm
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Hope you can read this

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Tonto2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Apr 2023 at 4:51pm
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Hi Karl, I had a similar thing many years ago, we could not find a problem until i decided to change one of the leads. It looked immaculate on the outside but was severally corroded inside hence the reason it was an intermittent fault. Just hanging in by a few strands.
Your problem may well be different but worth a look.
cheers
slowly going where everyone else has already been
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Apr 2023 at 5:29pm
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Originally posted by Tonto2 Tonto2 wrote:

Hi Karl, I had a similar thing many years ago, we could not find a problem until i decided to change one of the leads. It looked immaculate on the outside but was severally corroded inside hence the reason it was an intermittent fault. Just hanging in by a few strands.
Your problem may well be different but worth a look.
cheers

Those problems can be picked up with a voltmeter too. Put one lead on the battery terminal and the other on to the clamp, then work from the clamp to the lug, then from the lug to the exposed wire and so on. It only works when the circuit is fully loaded but if the reading is anything over 0.5v or so  that shows you where the issue is.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote krow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Apr 2023 at 8:20pm
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Originally posted by Tonto2 Tonto2 wrote:

Hi Karl, I had a similar thing many years ago, we could not find a problem until i decided to change one of the leads. It looked immaculate on the outside but was severally corroded inside hence the reason it was an intermittent fault. Just hanging in by a few strands.
Your problem may well be different but worth a look.
cheers
Me too Years of changing batteries, isolation switches, etc to find previous owner had saved a few dollars by extending one of the battery leads to the outboard with a bolt joint between the lugs. Wasn't visible as hidden under the rear transom. Last resort was to change the cables and that's how I found the cause of all my grief. If you have someone with you you can probably put a meter across the + and - at the starter when you attempt to turn it over and see if the voltage drops heaps. This would prove the cabling.

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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote jackel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 2023 at 8:04pm
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Hi guys, thanks a lot for the reply's, its all very helpful. I have charged the batteries again, but was surprised how quickly they discharged. Previously I had run the boat up, I would say monthly and it never had a problem starting, so this does seem different. I must also confess, I'm an ex plumber so as you could imagine not that great with electrical. I didn't put it in the original post sorry but its a twin battery set up with VSR. I will have a better look over it on the weekend though. Cheers Karl
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Nek minnit Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Apr 2023 at 10:20pm
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Same thing happened to me. Lost trust in my outboard anyway it was the stator. Good luck!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote krow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Apr 2023 at 7:23pm
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Do you have isolation switches? Sounds like you have a power drain somewhere.

 
Old photo as now I have House-Parallel-Start and VSR as below. Highly recommend this setup. 



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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote jackel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2023 at 8:21pm
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Hi, yes I have one isolation switch for the two batteries, with VCR. Today I fully charged both batteries, cut off a couple of cable ends and reconnected. I cleaned up all visible terminals and lugs, reconnected and still the same. I think the next stage may be open up that switch and see what the connections look like in there. Or get someone who actually knows what they are doing...lol. 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote jackel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2023 at 8:29pm
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Kandrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 May 2023 at 8:45pm
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I would try bypassing the solenoid with a pair of jumper cables and go straight onto the starter.

Sounds like a starter problem to me. The other thing is has it got a voltage meter, most fish finder’s do. See what the voltage drops to when you crank it over. If you don’t have a voltage meter you can turn the nav lights on and get someone to crank it over while you watch them, they shouldn’t dim to much.

Where are you based?
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (1) Likes(1)   Quote kimber7wsm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2023 at 7:16am
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FYI, on those batteries, all high draw items like starter motor, winch etc need to be drawn from the post. Not the screw terminals, they are only designed for low current draw.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote jackel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2023 at 3:31pm
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Thanks for the info, regarding the posts. I thought it was an either/or option but now I know. I will sort that next.

Based in Royal Oak. 
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2023 at 7:21pm
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I have the busiest week! I really need to see what is going on. My bet is it is simply the solenoid but I'm tied up all week. Next week maybe I can help.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Kandrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2023 at 8:19pm
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Pretty simple test, if the solenoid clicks but there’s no current draw, lights don’t dim or voltage stays about the same. Then it’s probably the solenoid.

Again if the solenoid clicks and there’s a lot of current draw, lights dim and the voltage drops. Then it’s probably the starter.

But also going straight to the terminal on the side of the starter with a jumper lead will show where the problem is. If there’s a big spark and the starter does nothing, then it has a short in it, probably the armature which is pretty common on the 90 mercs and if the starter does nothing then it’s the starter. Probably worn out brushes.

But if the motor cranks over then it’s the solenoid.
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote smudge Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2023 at 9:06pm
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If the motor cranks over it isn't the solenoid. I think predictive txt got you there Kandrew
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote Kandrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 May 2023 at 9:22pm
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Originally posted by smudge smudge wrote:

If the motor cranks over it isn't the solenoid. I think predictive txt got you there Kandrew
yes you’re right dam phones.

It is the solenoid!
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Post Options Post Options   Likes (0) Likes(0)   Quote jackel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 May 2023 at 1:02pm
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Right, some checks today reveal:

Both batteries reading 12.74 volts
The solenoid clicks and nav lights dim when I turn the key. 
I tried to connect a fully charged spare battery via jumper lead to the negative side of the solenoid. (to bypass solenoid) This one done with key on, and existing two charged batteries still connected. Nothing happened. 

Do I need to earth the negative on the spare battery to the motor also to complete the circuit? 
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