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90 hp etec- starting problem

Old 10-22-2016, 08:12 PM
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Default 90 hp etec- starting problem

Hi, this is my first post and I am looking for help re. a recurring starting issue I have had with my 90 hp Etec. My boat is moored in salt water (BC Canada). The boat often sits idle for 2 or 3 weeks between trips. The last 4 times I went to start the boat it seemed as if the battery had run down. The starter engaged but didn't have enough power to start the engine. I used a power pack and each time it fired up. I assumed my battery was weak. On each occasion after it was started I would use the boat regularly for a couple of days and there were no further starting problems. It would always start at the first turn of the key. The last time i tried to start it after another extended hiatus the same weak power issue occurred. On this occasion the engine would not start with the use of a power pack. I checked my battery power and surprisingly it registered 12.4 volts. I had a new fully charged battery with me and I hooked it up and the same weak power at the starter issue was evident. I tried pull starting and after a few attempts the engine fired up. After that initial difficulty I again had no problem starting the motor ( even from a cold start the following morning).

I have a feeling it might be fuel related but I don't know enough about this area to diagnose the problem. Any ideas anyone has re. the source of the problem would be appreciated. Thanks
Old 10-22-2016, 09:02 PM
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The source of the problem seems to be the battery or connections. Take it to a auto parts store and have it load tested. Get a new strong cranking battery if it's questionable. Your Etec has a notch for pull starting? Doesn't sound fuel related.
Old 10-22-2016, 09:41 PM
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You do not have a fuel problem.

You do not even have a motor problem.

You have a battery (or battery connection) problem.
Old 10-23-2016, 05:32 AM
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look into your battery cables which could be the issue. Battery cables can get corroded and while they will look good, they will not handle the current required to crank the starter.
Old 10-23-2016, 05:51 AM
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Could be connections, but my guess is its the starter. It has pie shaped brushes in the bottom of it. The dust from the wearing brushes gets packed in around them and they get wedged in place. Its a little tricky to get it back together if you open it up, but not too hard. I posted a picture in a thread earlier this year.
Old 10-23-2016, 06:43 AM
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http://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-...-no-start.html

I pull my kids, nieces and nephews skiing behind my dad's 90 etec, so lots of starts and stops. I have to clean the starter almost every summer, sometimes more than once. The thread above has a picture a stuck brush in the bottom of one. For some reason I can't post pictures from my phone now.
Old 10-23-2016, 06:58 AM
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Check the battery cables carefully, that is where my money is.
Old 10-24-2016, 06:54 PM
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If the problem relates to the battery why is the issue only occurring after extended periods of inactivity. Once the boat has been started the problem does not recur until after the next long period of inactivity?
Old 10-25-2016, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by wildi View Post
If the problem relates to the battery why is the issue only occurring after extended periods of inactivity. Once the boat has been started the problem does not recur until after the next long period of inactivity?
A bad battery will not hold a charge for an extended period of time or you could have a current drain on the battery pulling it down. 12.4 volts is not a fully charged battery, more like 70% charged. But it should be sufficient to crank your motor. I am under the impression that you swapped in a brand new battery and tried to jump it with a box and it still wouldn't turn over which suggests its not a battery problem. Corroded cables typically don't cause an intermittent problem but could be a contributing factor. Corroded connections can heat up and work well for a while then cause problems when they cool off for an hour or two. The starter problems I suggested in an earlier post are usually random throughout the day. May start out as 1 out of 100 starts have issues and progress to having to turn the key 20 times per start.
Old 10-25-2016, 02:31 PM
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Corroded battery connectors and cables can cause problems even if they LOOK OK. Once you get it cranked and using it the charging circuit tops off the battery and heats up components and they make a better circuit. Once everything cools down and sits a while, corrosion sets back in and battery discharges if it weak. Next try you get no start or weak power to engine. You can test the cables by voltage drop test with a multimeter . On DC volts place one end on positive connection on battery and the other at cable end connection on motor . Will read 0.00 volts DC at rest. Crank the engine while reading voltage, anything above 1 volt and you have a drop or resistance and need to correct connections or cables. You could also try your booster pack hooked up at the engine where positive cable connects and negative to block and then see if there's a difference , eliminating the cables.
Old 10-25-2016, 04:04 PM
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That makes a lot of sense. I'll make those inspections at the next opportunity. Thanks to everyone for the help.

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