View Full Version : Intermittent starting issues
04-24-2012, 07:01 PM
1988 Supra Comp, 351 Ford. I dealt with this issue all last summer and thought I figured out the culprit. Just took my first run on the lake today and same problem. Motor will start fine about 15 times in a row then I try to turn it over and nothing. No click, no sound. When I cross the wires on the soleniod it fires right up. Playing with the shifter doesn't do anything. Sometimes I need to cross the wires 3-4 starts in a row then it will start fine for about the next 10-20 times. The red reset button is not popping. I have replaced the ignition switch, solenoid relay and I replaced the starter last fall because when I took it off and looked in it the insides were completely rusted. Figured the starter was the culprit. Any ideas? Bad ground?
04-24-2012, 07:13 PM
Loose battery connection? That almost got me one time. It was good enough to power the boat but trying to start it was too much to handle. Tighten it down and that fixed the problem.
04-24-2012, 08:23 PM
bad ground....loose cables, great places to start if you haven't cleaned or replaced already. if your cables are original they probably creak and pop when you bend them. that means they are corroded inside the plastic.
The next time you have the issue try to test the small wire going to the starter solenoid for power. When you turn the key it should have 12volts every time. Also check the connections at the solenoid and it must also have a good ground too. Without the ground the small wire cannot energize the solenoid make the circut for the starter.
It is always a good idea to check the batteries for good connections at least 2xs a year. Nothing worse than a day on the lake spoiled by bad maintenance.
04-24-2012, 09:36 PM
It might sound lame, but I would check the neutral safety switch. Mine did it last summer, when your crossing your wires it will over ride that safety switch. That's where my money is.
04-25-2012, 08:04 AM
+1 for the neutral safty switch.
04-25-2012, 08:26 AM
I agree that the neutral switch is your main issue. But, since someone mentioned it . . . .
If you have original battery cables you really should check them out. They tend to get brittle and corroded over time, and will not transmit all the power you need to start your motor - especially when the motor is hot. This is not your problem now - if it was your motor would crank like your battery was dying. But if you haven't maintained the cables, it will likely be a problem down the road. Doesn't hurt to check it out.
If there is no power to the solenoid then check the neutral safety switch. There should be 12volts in and 12volts out if working properly. No use throwing parts at something, first isolate the problem then determine the exact issue with some simple tests.
04-25-2012, 04:27 PM
An easy way to check the Neutral Safety Switch is to simply disconnect the wires from the switch, then connect them to each-other. (You can bolt both wires to the same post.)
*Just be SURE you don't leave it like this for too long, and remember to check you are actually IN neutral every-time you start.*
(Just for safety.)
Or, just use a test-light to check for 12v on both wires (when the key is in the start possition). That isn't always perfect though with an intermittent problem because you never really know for sure that it is working all the time. By connecting the wires together, you can just run-it all day like normal to see if the problem ever comes-up.
If that doesn't cure your problem, I would also check the signal-wire going to the selonoid to make-sure it consistently get 12v. As the other guys have said, it could just be as simple as a bad connection/wire too.
Good luck! Be sure to let us know what you find!
05-03-2012, 05:46 PM
So I turned the engine over enough times to get it to where it woudn't start. No click. Nothing. I then replaced the battery cable ends to make sure I have good connection. Still nothing. Checked it a couple of times and nothing. Put both wires on one post of the neutral safety switch. Vrooooom. I'm going to try running it this way for the weekend but it would appear that this is the likely culprit. Thanks for all of the responses.
Assuming this is the problem should I just have the local marina order me one or is there some cheaper route to go? I'm assuming this is not an expensive part.
05-08-2012, 03:30 PM
I've never replaced one. I'm not sure how-much it costs. I would guess that it's gonna be a little spendier than some of the automotive parts that these boats use. Shouldn't be too much though.
Just did a quick look on skidim.com;
Looks like about $17 plus some shipping.
Glad I could help you diagnose your plroblem. I'd say go-ahead and try running-it for a day (with the switch bypassed) to make sure that's the culprit. *Please be careful and don't forget to check you are in Neutral before every start!*
If it passes that test, there's STILL a chance that your shift-cable is out of adjustment. This isn't very likely, but it could be that your transmission's selector lever isn't exactly in the middle and it's telling the switch that it's in-gear.
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