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Starter Solenoid Replacement > battery drain

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Anyone know what Delco automotive starter solenoid (part #) I could use on my 310hp Sportster?

Bought a used Sportster LX (2002, 310hp carbureted) a few weeks ago. Had a couple of days on the water. After letting her sit for a couple of weeks, I took her out this weekend, she was alright for a while, then wouldn't start (most electrical worked ok, but starter just clicked). Swapped batteries and she started again with a little struggle. Noticed as the day went on, the swapped battery seemed to lose power quickly - when I turned the key, the starter would engage - delay - then start (weakly). Once started, she ran very well. I pulled the starter and bench tested it (never done that before) - it seemed ok (although I've read that it will sometimes work for bench test, but not under load).

NOTE: when I first got the boat, the impeller blew. I didn't realize the rubber debris was then clogging the transmission cooler, so the hose burst and we took on some water. I got it all cleared up, but I've read about the solenoid/relay acting up if the starter got wet.

So, I think I'm looking at a new battery. It's possible (as the boat is new to me) that the alternator is shot, or the starter is going, but my gut tells me it's the starter relay and/or the solenoid. I'd like to start by replacing them, and as I'm heading up to the lake in the next day or two (not likely to get marine parts shipped in time), my understanding is that I can pick up an automotive solenoid (and relay?). Just wondering what exactly I'm asking for at the auto parts store? Also, I'm pretty new to all this stuff - is the relay on the other side of the red reset button, under the plastic cover? should I be picking one of those up? I gather I should also grab a multimeter to test/diagnose...


Edited by andjules
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another question: I'm not at the lake... what size battery should I be looking for? 27 series? What's the minimum CCA?

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I know the starter itself is a marine specific unit. Not sure if the solenoid is too... or not. Consequences are pretty high if it's made for a boat specifically & you use an automotive unit. I had my starter rebuilt, and a new solenoid put on it, for around $109 like 2 yrs ago at a local shop.

Your right about load testing the starter though. They will tell you exactly how many amps it takes to spin. Mine was taking like 500 - 600 amps.... which meant sometimes it worked, sometimes it went really really slow, and sometimes it just clicked..... and puked.

I have 2 group 24s.... both Diehards, a deep cycle & a starter. I use a Guest on-board charger to keep them up to snuff when the boat is at the house.

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A similar situation happened to one my crew's boats. We rotate between 3 boats that I tow to Lake Billy Chinook.

Dennis left the center drain plug out of his PS 197. I backed it into Lake Billy and we did not realize it was taking on water until after I parked the trailer.

He reinserted the plug and we were able to drain the bilge with the pump. But the damage was done. From then on he had parasitic drain on the battery.

This was further complicated because of the rotation of boats.

Each of our crew has a boat. But we very rarely float all three at the same time.

When we got back to his boat extra time had passed and the battery was dead.

It was a good thing that DontW8 was there with his extra duty extra long jumper cables and trusty dual battery Duramax because the battery was flatter than glass water in October.

This happened a couple of times.

Dennis ended up replacing the starter and solenoid although it probably was just the solenoid.

The reason I have serious jumper cables is that my forklift (my former lumber business) did not want to start first thing in the morning on the coldest winter days. A forklift has a hydraulic pump that places a permanent load on the starter because it is connected to the engine by its own belt all the time.

I improved my situation by replacing the stock group 24 battery with a group 27 even though the battery tray was not made long enough. There is another remedy that really helps. You can add an extra set ( both Positive and Negative ) of battery cables in parallel to the stock ones.

The decreased resistance really makes a difference in the coldest climates. This is a good improvement in a situation where there is no space for an additional battery.

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thanks for the reply guys... that helps.

So, anyone know what I should ask for in terms of a solenoid?

My reading so far is that there should be no worries using an automotive one... just not sure what a comparable part is.

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