Join Date: Oct 2000
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Battery/Electrical troubleshooting dilemma
I am having a real hair-puller. Somehow I am not getting enough juice to start the engine, a Westerbeke(Isuzu) 55C Four. Even though the battery charge state per Link 1000 indicates charged (probably out of calibration) the panel voltage meter shows 13.2 volts or better, as confirmed by my Fluke 73, the engine barely grunts. A few minutes on the Truecharge 40 will spin it right over, and she fires right up. Yet the charger has been on overnight, which, to check the charge state, I will disconnect before starting attempts.*
*I have three banks: house, (4 110 amp group 27) and separate engine banks, 110 amps each. All Banks can be switched to run in parallel to provide 660 amps.*
My Fluke clamp meter says I'm getting 20 amps or better on each output of the Truecharge. I have cleaned all terminals and added a film of dielectric grease to terminal surfaces. I have equalized several times. Engine charging seems to be healthy, having had the alternator (Balmar) checked out in an alt. shop. Engine batteries charged via Balmar digital duo-charge. All cable for starting/feed is *boat cable, gauge 1/0. terminals are soldered. Wiring throughout the boat is less than three years old. All cable runs are fused. (is meter shunt deteriation a possibility?) System worked fine upon original completion of job, but began to act unreliable about a year ago.
After engine has started and come up to temparature, will start easily as long as it is just a little warm.
I have load tested the engine starting battery over a weekend at a battery shop. Then built a new reinforced battery box, added disconnect switches, bought an additional battery, which became Bank 3. Little to no difference w/ bank 1, bank 2, bank 3, or anny combination or all three.
With just a few minutes charge time, the batteries are happy as a clam, engine starts with just a bump. As long as it is just a little warm it will continue to start easily.
The starter motor is completely inaccessible. I cannot even touch the the terminals, which are covered with protective rubber boots, with my fingertips. Removal of the starter motor without complete engine removal is out of the question. Open heart surgery would be more fun.
I am trying to avoid that until I checked and cleared all other suspects.
Have followed Nigel Calder's troubleshooting sequnce for ground leaks and shorts, and everything is okay. Except it's not.
Where do I go from here?