Starter button does not always work

galmvig

Member I
I have an E28 with a universal M12. Sometimes I have to push the start button multiple times before the engine turns over. I push the button and nothing happens. I checked connections around the switch and everything looks good. Could the switch need replacing or am I missing something else? Thanks for the help here.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
When I had that problem I replaced the start switch cause it was inexpensive to do so. That didn't help the problem, so I tried to clean all electrical connections again. Still didn't solve it.
I had the solenoid and starter motor serviced, and the tech said the solenoid was in bad shape, which was the likely cause of the problem. Since the solenoid/starter service I've never had that problem again.
Frank
 

Dave G.

1984 E30+ Ludington, MI
I had same issues when I purchased my boat about 3 years ago. Had to push start button multiple times before it would finally crank, sometimes nothing would happen and other times I would here a "clicking" sound but it wouldn't engage. I was about to replace the starter and solenoid but decided to remove, clean, inspect all the connections as a final step before purchasing the parts. That did the trick and have not had an issue with it since.
 

Kenneth K

1985 32-3, Puget Sound
Blogs Author
To test the start switch, disconnect one of the leads from the back of the switch and touch it to the other (still connected) lead This is just "jumping" the internal switch mechanism and completing the starter switch circuit.
 

galmvig

Member I
When I had that problem I replaced the start switch cause it was inexpensive to do so. That didn't help the problem, so I tried to clean all electrical connections again. Still didn't solve it.
I had the solenoid and starter motor serviced, and the tech said the solenoid was in bad shape, which was the likely cause of the problem. Since the solenoid/starter service I've never had that problem again.
Frank
Thanks Frank I’ll give that a look.
 

galmvig

Member I
I had same issues when I purchased my boat about 3 years ago. Had to push start button multiple times before it would finally crank, sometimes nothing would happen and other times I would here a "clicking" sound but it wouldn't engage. I was about to replace the starter and solenoid but decided to remove, clean, inspect all the connections as a final step before purchasing the parts. That did the trick and have not had an issue with it since.
I will definitely give that a try before taking the starter/solenoid out. Did you just clean the terminals on the push button or did you do more extensive cleaning?
 

galmvig

Member I
To test the start switch, disconnect one of the leads from the back of the switch and touch it to the other (still connected) lead This is just "jumping" the internal switch mechanism and completing the starter switch circuit.
Makes sense. Thanks.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Then get a new push-button switch (aka Momentary on/Mom On) with a rubber cap over the button. So-called "sealed" version.

The switches are simple enough, but full of corrodible bits. The rubber cap helps. Lifespan in salt cockpit environment 3-5 years.

button broken.JPG...button exploded.JPG
 

Dave G.

1984 E30+ Ludington, MI
Did you just clean the terminals on the push button or did you do more extensive cleaning?
I cleaned the panel and all of the circuits related to starter and alternator. This includes all the grounds & high amperage connections from battery and back again. Pay particular attention to your ground connections as those seemed to be in the worst condition, for me anyway. Also found a few not so tight connections which will definitely create havoc in the starter circuit.
 

ddoles

Member II
I have had the same problem recurring over the years. Over time I've replaced the starter switch, key switch, rebuilt the starter motor, and most recently re-spliced loose wire connections. I believe they all were contributors to the problem at some point along the journey. Today all is working perfectly. Let's see what tomorrow holds.
 

Special K

Member II
I used to have a similar issue. When I investigated, I found that the engine harness connected to the panel through two “trailer-type” connectors with aluminum pins. Not only did the connector subject the connection to corrosion, but I also found a loop of “extra” coiled up wire that was at least 10 feet in length below the cockpit sole. I removed this wire and made a direct connection between the engine and the panel. I believe the unnecessary harness length resulted in a significant voltage drop across the circuit.
If I were to do the project again, I would use a bus bar as my connection point.
 

Kenneth K

1985 32-3, Puget Sound
Blogs Author
Those square-bodied switches do look like they would be prone to internal corrosion. I like the barrel-bodied ones better-they are fairly well sealed internally. Probably easier to fit behind a crowded panel as well.

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