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'98 Sunsetter with 320 Monsoon starting issues


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I've been having a few variations of this problem since the beginning of last summer:

- Intermittent start with key.  Usually this doesn't work. Strangely enough it worked yesterday a few times.

- With key in run, the fuel pump primes, gauges and accessories work.  This is consistent every time I use the boat.  I've tested the ignition switch with a multimeter, it seems to have continuity as it should.  I've pretty much ruled a bad ignition switch out.

- I have started the engine by jumping the two large posts on the solenoid.  This worked when the ignition switch didn't.  I ran the boat like this for a while last summer before I got around to looking into the problem.  

- More recently, jumping the posts on the solenoid just makes the starter spin.  The solenoid doesn't engage the flywheel.

- Batteries, fuel and spark don't seem to be the problem.

- The lanyard/kill switch has been bypassed.  It seems that this cut power to the fuel pump IIRC. The fuel pump seems to be working properly

Any ideas? This one has me stumped.  We have a 2 y/o, and the boat hasn't seen much use in the last two years...maybe 20 hours in the last 24 months.

Thanks

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UPDATE:

- Checked the Neutral Safety Switch.  Seems to be operating as it should

- Reset the main 50A breaker, no change

- Checked circuit breakers under the dash.  The Horn and ignition are on the same breaker.  The horn works fine.

Symptoms are still the same.

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The intermittent start is this: 98% of the time, the key will not start the boat.  The ignition switch seems to have all the functionality it should have (accessory mode, off position, run position) The other 2% of the time, the boat will start and run with the key.

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11 minutes ago, stevod83 said:

The intermittent start is this: 98% of the time, the key will not start the boat.  The ignition switch seems to have all the functionality it should have (accessory mode, off position, run position) The other 2% of the time, the boat will start and run with the key.

We'll ask another way... What actually happens during the 98% of the time when you turn the key to start? 

Hint: describe the actual symptoms, like clicking sounds, grinding noise, starter cranks the engine but the engine doesn't fire up, nothing at all happens, etc.

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Maybe you mean the starter does not crank 98 percent of the time you use the key?

The most common cause of no crank issues tends to be low voltage and loose or worn connections either at the batteries, starter, block ground, main harness plug, or key switch.

After all of the connections and voltage have been verified the engine should crank and start normally.  If it doesn't, jump the starter connections from the large red cable to the small yellow/red wire connector and the starter should crank.  If it doesn't, then you likely have a bad starter.  You could also have more than one problem preventing the starter from cranking.

Running a long jumper wire from the yellow/red wire connector on the key switch to the yellow red wire connector on the starter and being able to consistently crank the starter could reveal a possible problem with the wiring harness or relay.

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The 98% of the time when the engine doesn't start, the starter doesn't spin.  I get some clicking, gauges light up, but no action from the starter.  I will try the jumper wire.  Messing around with a multimeter last night has led me to believe that wire may have a short somewhere.

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