Ignition problem, stumped! - SailNet Community
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post #1 of Old 07-23-2013 Thread Starter
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Ignition problem, stumped!

Hello

I am having trouble starting my Cat 27. It has an atomic 4. Charged battery,fresh fuel and when I turn the key I get nothing. Battery is reading over 12v on the ignition panel ammeter. Cabin, nav lights are working, so I know the battery is good. I have a new marine battery, I know it's not a starter battery but it should still turn the engine over. Also the bilge blowers are not working. The switch for the blowers is located in the cockpit ignition panel. It's almost like the key tumbler isn't working. This engine was recently running and the blowers worked fine. Am I not getting enough amps from my one battery? Do I need to have two working batteries just to run the bilge blowers? Just stumped and wondering if I'm missing a step here. The previous owner had the batteries(which were dead) hooked up to a charger and it turned right over. Any thoughts?

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post #2 of Old 07-23-2013
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Batteries can have good voltage and still be "dead." I would have it tested to be sure.
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Ignition problem, stumped!

Thanks for the reply

The battery I had connected is a brand new battery. I will have it tested because I know new batteries can still be faulty. Just doesn't make sense that all lights are working, but blowers don't work and engine doesn't turn over. Could be something keeping the tumbler from connecting to ignition.
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Re: Ignition problem, stumped!

A common problem with the Catalina 34 was a fuse located in the engine compartment that powered the instrument panel/starter switch. The fuse would blow and everything was dead at the instrument panel as a result. Put a 12 volt test light on the backside of your instrument panel to your ignition switch and see if you have juice.

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I reread your post. I think erps is steering you in the right direction.
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Re: Ignition problem, stumped!

you are missing something major...interlock, battery switch in the wrong position, key switch, fuse or fuse link, etc.

if properly wired, you should have blowers and when you turn the key, at least a click of the solenoid.

Got to fix the "nothing" first, do be careful, since it is a gas engine, you don't want spark where it should not be.

If you are not comfortable trouble shooting, get a helper who is familiar with gas engines. They are a bit different than diesels.
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Re: Ignition problem, stumped!

Take any shop manual, for any car or gasoline boat. Check out the pages on diagnosing a starter problem, they're all pretty much the same.

When you hit the key and nothing happens, that usually means you are not getting power to the starter solenoid. If there's no "kerchunk" or "klunk" from the starter, there is no power getting to the starter solenoid. That usually means a loose or corroded wire, and you need to just run hands and eyes along the wiring to find that.

Yes, it could also be the ignition switch but again...any shop manual will give you the list of thing to check, in sequence. There's nothing that should be unique to the A4, or to a boat versus a car, for this one.
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Re: Ignition problem, stumped!

Where would the the ignition panel fuse be located in the engine compartment? Closer to the batteries, or closer to the panel? I left the boat for the day, so I can't look behind the panel and follow the wires. I will check it tomorrow to see if it's blown. Do the keys have to be turned "on" to have power to the blowers? I have a seperate pull knob switch for the blowers. It seems like this fuse could be the problem. Ammeter is working on the panel, so I know it's getting juice. Just could be sending that charge nowhere if the fuse is blown I guess.

Thanks everyone.
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Re: Ignition problem, stumped!

hellosailer, the only reason I don't think it's a starter solenoid, or wire going to the starter is because I can't even get the blowers to work. The only thing working on the ignition panel is the ammeter. Which was reading full charge.
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Re: Ignition problem, stumped!

A voltmeter reads state of charge, an ammeter shows only if power is flowing, being produced or consumed. So if there's a voltmeter it is just showing that your battery has a charge on it. If there's an ammeter, different story.

Old boats usually didn't have a battery primary fuse, which would be located within a foot of the positive terminal generally. You'd have to follow the battery positive lead to see where the first fuse(s) have been installed. If nothing at all works, that's a good sign there's a blown fuse, or a primary wire has come loose, or corroded badly.
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