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Alternator Upgrade - Boat Will Not Stop Running With Key Turned Off


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OK, so I know this is going to sound pretty weird. My 98 Response LX will not stop running once started unless I remove the negative terminal from the battery. This is not a dieseling issiue, it runs strong, like it should, except, nothing will make it turn off except removing the battery terminal. Once started, the boat runs great, jst can't kill the motor by traditional methods. To go a little deeper and explain some of the things I have tried. I have totally diconnected the alternator, all wires from the back, thought that was the culprit. Attempting to change out the ignitoion switch at this point. I did remove the old and have installed the starter wire and battery wire only to the switch, starts great but never turns off. So, maybe this is a 2 part question. What exactly tells the motor to turn off once the key is in the off position? I never really thought about it until I came to this issue. Any help is GREATLY appreciated!! This is killing me and my fun :cry: Summer time is well underway here in FL and I am dying to get this resolved. Thanks in advace for any help.

Edited by FLShawn
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Is the engine still running now? What engine? Carby or FI? Breaking the 12 volts to the coil on a carby motor and the 12 volts to the ECM relay on a FI engine is how the engines are shut down.

Edited by electricjohn
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how about killing the engine w the safety lanyard (until you get it fixed properly)?

Great idea!

Actually, that will tell us a lot if the motor dies then.

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Hey guys, sorry for the late reply. The boat is EFI, and the kill switch would not turn it off either, only by removing the neg terminal from battery would it stop. I was itching to get this sucker in the water so I did the best move I think I could have done. Searched for the closest dealer and took her in. Hated to throw in the towel but i had just about scratched a hole in my head and seemed to be chasing my tail. Wanted to get on the water this weekend, knew that was gonna be near impossible since I was looking for service on a beautiful Saturday morning.

Got super lucky finding a great place near me in Ocala, FL called Ski Boat Solutions. The owner, Billy, was awesome!! His Father was actually at the dealership too on Saturday and they were both very knowledgable and great to work with. These guys didn't mess around, when I called, Billy said bring it down, jumped on it as soon as i arrived and didn't stop until I was ready to ride that very same day!! Went way beyond what I ever expected and I strongly suggest using these guys if you can. They were very fair on pricing compared to what i had always seen in Orlando, where i used to live. Didnt have to wait a week plus for my boat back either. Had i known these guys were so good, i would have made the drive in the past to use them.

Turns out it was wiring at the alternator or a lack of the right combination. I knew the ignition switch had issues and it was ready to go, the kill switch had always had some contact issues too. Those being replaced was something I wanted done anyway and were done first and didn't seem to resolve the matter.

A little more history here that might help someone else in my situation. My intension was to upgrade my alternator to a larger amperage to resolve battery issues after day of loud playing on my power hungry audio system. I had installed a new replacment alternator very similar to the stock that used the same 3 wire configuration as the original. Was easily doubeling my output amps over the original alternator. On an alternator with this much more current, I needed to upgrade my wires for positive and ground to handle the increase flow to and from the alternator. From the back of the new alternator, I had ran a new 4G wire to the hot side of the starter for the positive which then goes from the starter post and flows back through large stock wire back to the batterys. For the negative off the new alternator, I ran 4G wire for the negative off the alternator to the battery's, Billy made a good point and suggested I simly upgrade the negative from the alternator to the ground block near the starter.

The problem was this, the stock wires. I assumed I didn't need the stock wires any longer that ran to the alternator as I was upgrading them. Well, turns out that ground on the original 3 wire harness to alternator has to be connected back to ground. Without that in the mix, the boat did not turn off. Not sure exactly why that is but that did the trick.

I had tried so many things and combinations but that was ultimately it. I did notice that connecting the purple wire from the stock 3 wire alternator harness was no good!! Seemed to cause issues and poped my ignition breaker too.

So, my suggestion and what seemed to work for alternator upgrade on this boat. Large wire upgrade from pos term of alternator to hot side of starter. Same for neg term to ground block near starter. As far as the stock 3 wires running to the original alternator, connecting only the ground and removing the stock orange and purple from the equation worked out fine.

I had my boat out that very same Saturday I had stopped in to the shop and was kicking out plenty of juice to the battery while I was jamming my tunes. Boat went all day with no issues and best of all, it turned off with the key. LOL. Great feature!!

I do have a second battery with switch between them. I only run one at a time and it really didn't effect the alternator install so I never mentioned it until now. Just a great idea to have if you like tunes and being able to start your boat after chilling for long periods without boat running. The backup is a big plus. I make a point to run a nice cruise with some good rpms to the second battery when I first launch the boat for a day on the water. After motor is warm obviously and without any draw on the batteries from my accessories, especially the stereo. Once I feel I have sent a nice charge to the second battery for my backup if I need it later, I go to battery one only and crank the volume and let the fun begin. I only go to battery 2 if I need it. Running both at the same time is a bad idea, especially with the motor off and stereo cranked. I Always make a point to turn them both off once I am done with riding. This works out great and I never have issues or get stuck on the water due to dead battery.

Thanks for the replys guys and I hope this can help someone else in a similar position or when upgrading the alternator on a similar boat and scenario.

Again, if you are and looking for a great place to deal with for boating needs, see Billy at Ski Boat Solutions in Ocala, FL at 352-347-WAKE (352-347-9253) they even have a cool phone number :P They were great and I can't say enough positive things about working with them!!

Have fun on the water Guys!!

I know I will, now that I can!!!

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