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Calabria starting issue

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I know this isn't about a Malibu, but maybe someone can help.

A friend of mine has a 2005 Calabria Shortline Comp with Perfect Pass and a Mercruiser 350 Scorpion engine. He has an intermittent problem with the engine starting. Turning the key to the start position produces a relay clicking sound back by the engine, but no cranking of starter. Trying this several times can finally cause the engine to crank and start; sometimes waiting and trying again will work as well. Once the engine is started, it will run fine without quitting.

My friend has had several others look at this without any luck. Once started, he's afraid to shut off the engine for fear that it won't start again.

I'm thinking there must be something preventing the starting circuit from applying current to the starter, but we have no detailed information (shop manual, wiring diagrams, etc.) for this boat.

I'm hoping someone on this forum may have an idea regarding this issue. I've gotten some great advice here in the past for my '08 VTX.



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IME, that is a classic description of a bad starter/solenoid. My starter got wet again this season and I am having intermittent solenoid problems. When it is cold it won't start until I cycle it on/off/on and she cranks up no problem. If the starter is bad enough it will progresively get worse until he has nothing. Easy thing to pull, at least on an LSV and depending on his wallet, mechanical aptitude or prefeference the starter can be rebuilt or replaced. The solenoid will most likely have to be replaced.

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Sounds like the starter needs to be pulled & bench tested. It could be the solenoid or just the Bendix spring that pushes the starter gear out. Either way, the starter should come out & be tested.

Boat starters are specific to a boat in that they are sealed to not ignite any sparks in the bilge. So take the starter to a shop that knows boat starters in particular. I had mine rebuilt a few years ago for around $100 & it's been great.

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There is another starter solenoid/relay up top of that motor right by where the red circuit breaker reset button is. I had the exact same problem on my centurion with same motor years ago. I replaced 2 starters before I figured out it was not the starter. Funny thing is we actually diagnosed the problem by borrowing the part of a Calabria. I would bet this is your problem.

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Thanks to all for the quick response, especially from wheelman and soonerbilly. I forwarded this info to my friend, and I'll be at the lake to assist with the diagnosis this weekend. Greatly appreciate the expertise -- I'll follow-up with our findings.

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Follow-up... it was the slave starter solenoid as wheelman described - one quick tap on the solenoid body, and it started right up.

Found out that in 2003 Mercury switched from P/N 89-96054T to P/N 89-96158T for this particular engine. One difference is a stepped vs. flat mounting plate; not sure if there are any other differences. Anyway, a search on Amazon yielded lots of choices. Part will be ordered and installed within the next couple of weeks.

Thanks again for all the help!


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