Free advice that cost me $300 - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-20-2011 Thread Starter
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Free advice that cost me $300

After I launched the boat this year, I went up the following week-end to take her out and do a short shake-down cruise. I was surprised when I went to start the engine that nothing happened, ie, the buzzer signaling the glow plugs were heating up was not going on. In addition, I checked another switch for the blower (not sure why there is a blower with a diesel) and it didn't go on either. I did replace my batteries before I launched the boat and the boat did start when it was put in the well. So now I figure it was the wiring to the key from the battery. All of my checking did not yield where the problem was. I thought it may be the key switch itself. Anyway, I told the marina to check it out for me since I live 3 hours away. It turned out to be the ground wire on the battery. Evidently, when replacing the batteries and reconnecting the ground, the connection of the wire to the ring was damaged, so it made just enough connection to start once and provide enough juice for lights inside the cabin but not enough after that. The marina gladly replaced the ring fitting on the ground wire and I had a bill for 4 hours of labor at $70 per hour. (They basically did the same thing I did by tracing and testing all the wires until they checked the ground.)

So, the advice I provide is to check your connectors on your battery ground wires if you are not getting power to the starter. It can save you some dough.
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-20-2011
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Reminds me of a Maytag commercial many years ago. Seems the Maytag repairman, whiling away the hours playing solitaire, day after day, finally gets a service call. He goes out to the home of the hapless Maytag owner whose washing machine just won't work. The Maytag repairman springs into action, ready to tackle the knottiest technical problem a Maytag washer can throw at him only to discover that the owner has failed to check to see if the machine is plugged in.

Sorry it cost you the $300.

Sailing isn't a matter of life and death. It's much more important than that!
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-22-2011 Thread Starter
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Ahh, I'm old enough to know that you learn something everyday. Some lessons are just more expensive than others...
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post #4 of 6 Old 11-02-2011
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I had a similar symptom, that I was sure would be a ground problem. Turns out to have been rotted ring connectors at the back of the starter for the positive lead to the control panel switch. It happened a week before haulout, and I couldn't properly diagnose it in the tangle of wires on a limited time budget. I instead put a temp positive lead to the switch. Once the boat was in the cradle, and I started the winterizing, I was able see to the real fault right away.

Bashing about on Lake Ontario and Beyond
"Ariel" '79 Endeavour 32

Last edited by Ritchard; 11-02-2011 at 09:20 AM.
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post #5 of 6 Old 11-02-2011
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When I was in the USCG, an electrician friend referred to his work as P.F.M. (Pure F#@%!ng Magic)
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-02-2011
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Could of been worse.
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