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Single click when trying to start

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  • Single click when trying to start

    I am getting a single click when trying to start her up. PCM 351w, i replaced the starter relay and still just get a single click. All the connections look good. I am guessing it is the starter...before i get all comfortable contorting around the engine should i check anything else first? Also i have seen mention of installing threaded rod on top mount of starter and then use a nut to attach starter? What size/type of rod would i use to do that? Thanks!

  • #2
    Make a stud out of a bolt the same size as the bolt you remove. Check condition of batteries. Jump the selinoid. Try repeatedly keying it.
    1988 26' cuddy
    1975 20' open
    31 Grand Slam
    16' Sandpiper
    14' Certified Fiberglass

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    • #3
      Don't know if this is possible due to space limitations and not knowing which starter you have but to check the starter, you could run a jumper cable from the battery and momentarily hold the other end against the large positive leg on the starter. Have never done it on the boat but did it on cars and tractors all the time back in the day. Note, it will create sparks and if the starter works the engine will turn over so be careful! You can also do the same after you pull the starter to check it but the starter will need to be grounded using the 2nd jumper cable.
      C Rhodes
      26' Mackinaw - 1990
      351 Indmar (1990-2006: Great Engine)
      351 PCM (2006 - Current)
      Southport, NC

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      • tcf25
        tcf25 commented
        Editing a comment
        I thought about that but could not figure a way to get to it safely. Was planning on pulling it and testing it.

    • #4
      Put the clamp on the starter, or the cable to the starter, and touch the battery
      1988 26' cuddy
      1975 20' open
      31 Grand Slam
      16' Sandpiper
      14' Certified Fiberglass

      Comment


      • #5
        Alright...replaced the starter relay and still just a click...took starter off and starter is good (fyi...starter on older 26 open is "easy" to reach after removing the step up at the helm). What should i be looking for now...bad wires...bad connectors? Not sure what could be bad at this point. Batteries are fully charged.

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        • #6
          I would go for connections at this point.
          possibly a loose one somewhere.
          Richard
          78 20' cuddy
          2004 pcm 351 HO FWC
          BW 1:1

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          • #7
            Not being sure how the Fords are wired versus Chevy, I'll ask some questions...

            What relay is clicking? - are we talking about a low current relay or the high current start solenoid? (My Chevy has a low current relay that drives the higher current start solenoid on the starter)
            Does it click once then done or clicks every time you move the key to "start"?

            Did you confirm a good connection on the heavy ground wire from the battery to the engine block?

            When you tested the starter, how did you do it? - jumper cables to a battery? - any load on the starter or just spin up free wheeling?

            Can you get a volt meter on the posts right on the starter while trying to crank it to see if the power is actually staying or if it dies off at start request?

            You say the battery is charged, but are the terminals clean? - I've seen "glazed" terminals pass low current (enough to run electronics) but fail miserably when asked to pass 70 or more Amps.

            1986 26' HT w/5.7 PCM 330HP RWC

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            • #8
              I have a starter relay and the solenoid on the starter. The clicking i hear is coming from the starter relay (novice at this electrical so i am not sure if that is a "low voltage"). I tested the starter off the boat on the bench. So it was just spinning up. Terminals are clean and the ground is good. I am going to hook it back up friday but not mount starter to bell housing, checking all wires and connections. Maybe the starter has enough kick to free spin but not enough to get engine turning over? I did check...engine is not seized and spins fine with the breaker bar on the crank pulley.

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              • #9
                Sounds like the solenoid on the starter is bad...
                1986 26' HT w/5.7 PCM 330HP RWC

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                • tcf25
                  tcf25 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Would it still spin up when tested on the bench if solenoid on starter was bad?

                • radioman
                  radioman commented
                  Editing a comment
                  It would still spin up if you applied the volts to the motor side of the solenoid instead of the supply side of it.
                  If you hooked to the supply side you would need a way to energize the solenoid to make it pull in...

                  In the diagram below, if the "D" breaker was open, I suspect that the relay ahead of the solenoid would not be clicking either, since that first relay is fed from the breaker.

                • tcf25
                  tcf25 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Let me make sure i bench tested it correctly...i used jumper cables from battery to starter. Positive lead went to the larger post of starter solenoid and negative was attached to mounting flange on the starter. I then took a small jumper and went from positive lead from battery to the small blade connector on solenoid. This got the starter working and spinning free.

              • #10

                tcf25

                Check the start circuit breaker (item "d"). Check to see if it needs to be reset. If it is, check for voltage through it.
                Note: This is from a Mercruiser manual but the wiring should be typical.
                Nay


                Click image for larger version  Name:	Mercruiser-Start.jpg Views:	5 Size:	287.7 KB ID:	23995
                Last edited by Nay; 11-19-2019, 10:09 AM.
                If it doesn't say SHAMROCK, it doesn't say much


                '85 Shamrock 17'
                '68 Bertram 20' Bahia Mar

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                • tcf25
                  tcf25 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I checked. That breaker was not tripped. Like radio said i dont believe the starter relay could get juice if the breaker was tripped

              • #11
                IIRC the breaker (also called the cranking limiter) is after the remote starter solenoid so you would still hear the "click" but no current is going to the solenoid on the starter itself. But if you have voltage on both sides of the circuit breaker then you are right in that the problem is elsewhere.
                Nay
                If it doesn't say SHAMROCK, it doesn't say much


                '85 Shamrock 17'
                '68 Bertram 20' Bahia Mar

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                • #12
                  She is running...i think starter was stuck. Got it all back together and she is purring like a kitten. Will probably replace starter anyway prior to next season just to be safe. As always thanks for the tips

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