Volvo MD6A weird issue! - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 16 Old 10-10-2013 Thread Starter
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Volvo MD6A weird issue!

I've got a new-to-me Carter 33 with a Volvo MD6A 10hp. The engine starts and runs like a champ, with one hitch - the starter won't turn off!? Seriously, if I have any power running into the system, the starter tries to start the engine. The only way to make it stop is by turning the perko switch to the "off" position. Any thoughts?

I've tried detaching the ignition switch completely and it still tries to start. I've tried it with the key in the start position, off, accessory, etc. and no difference.

From what I can tell (talking to the pervious owner), this has never happened before - and I trust him.

One culprit I can think of is that, a week ago, we did manually start the engine using the crank handle, but not sure if this could cause such as issue or is it just an unlucky coincidence.

Help please, any thoughts or suggestions?!?!
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post #2 of 16 Old 10-10-2013
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Re: Volvo MD6A weird issue!

Your starter solenoid is stuffed (welded contacts and/or locked gearing). Doesn't happen very often, fortunately, but it does happen.. It's been quite a few years since the starter was serviced, yes?

First off, stop using the engine. When you get a moment, undo the two bolts holding the starter motor onto the engine and take the starter to your nearest auto-elec. It shouldn't be an expensive fix - but could cause major engine damage if not fixed soon.
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Re: Volvo MD6A weird issue!

Classic30 - thanks for that! Any ideas why this might have happened?

Out of curiosity, what could the long-term ramifications be of running an engine with a "stuffed" starter solenoid?

And what do you mean by auto-elec. (auto electrician??)

Luckily, I won't be needing the engine for another 6-7 months as the boat came out of the water today and won't go back until the spring - But I do need to winterize her within the next month.

Thanks for the help and here she is:



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post #4 of 16 Old 10-10-2013
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Re: Volvo MD6A weird issue!

Any starter rebuild place should be able to fix you up. The problem with running with this is you'll burn up the starter, chew the flywheel and bendix gears to dust in short order..

Ron

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Re: Volvo MD6A weird issue!

Thanks guys, but before I head down to the boat, remove the starter and take it to a shop, are there any other ideas (if not the starter solenoid) or quick fix-it ideas?

What could have caused this to happen and can it be prevented in the future?
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post #6 of 16 Old 10-10-2013
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Re: Volvo MD6A weird issue!

Whoawhoawhoa, horsey. A few important things about the MD6A. The original starter on this engine is also a full-time magneto generator. Most MD6A also have an alternator, so yes -- you have two charging sources, and each needs its own dedicated battery. Usually the starter (known wherever sailors can be heard cursing as the (Bosch) Dynastart) charges the starting battery, and the alternator charges the house batteries.

The starter spins the flywheel by a belt; once the engine starts, the belt drives the Dynastart. There is no throwout gear, toothed flywheel etc. in the standard MD6A configuration. (Some were retrofitted -- check to see if yours is belted or toothed.) I'm guessing you either have a short in the ignition/momentary switch wiring, or else the solenoid or diodes are fried & the battery-to-starter circuit has lost its 'check valve'. Turning off the key while the engine is still running can do that.

On the one hand, I'm kinda pleased to have redundant charging sources on my engine. On the other hand, it's a completely stupid and failure-prone architecture that simply doubles the things that can go wrong.

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post #7 of 16 Old 10-10-2013
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Re: Volvo MD6A weird issue!

Thanks Bob.. hadn't made that connection.

Ron

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post #8 of 16 Old 10-11-2013
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Re: Volvo MD6A weird issue!

Thanks, Bob - I forgot about them Dynastart systems. Yes, turning the key off whilst an engine fitted with that system is running could cause all kinds of interesting problems!

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Originally Posted by cjmcfall View Post
And what do you mean by auto-elec. (auto electrician??)
Nice boat!!

Yes, I do mean an auto-electrician - sorry!. I'm sure your friendly marine diesel mechanic would also be very happy to do the job for you, but he'll charge you a bucket-load more and will probably take it to the same guy.

The engine will happily sit there over winter without the starter motor fitted. Cover the hole with a plastic bag if you're worried about it.

Good luck.

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Last edited by Classic30; 10-11-2013 at 12:25 AM.
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Re: Volvo MD6A weird issue!

Let's assume for a moment that it is in fact the solenoid. Would it make sense that two weeks ago I had the same issue happen, then it "fixed" itself and didn't come back until yesterday. Can a starter un-stuff itself?

Here's what I believe caused the issue (not that I know what that is yet), but two weeks ago we started the engine manually, just to see how it's done. Figuring I'd rather test the manual start option before I truly needed it. Anyway, we must have not had the ignition key in the "on" position. We didn't run the engine for very long, maybe 30 seconds, and then shut it down with the kill switch. The first time we had the starter problem was the VERY next time we tried to start the engine.

Does this shed any light on the situation or give anyone a better degree of confidence what the issue might be?

Thanks for all the help on this. This boat was recently donated to a youth sailing program that I'm affiliated with. We plan on spending the winter season getting her ship shape and ready for her inaugural season, but didn't anticipate a lot of engine troubles, especially not yet.
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Re: Volvo MD6A weird issue!

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Originally Posted by cjmcfall View Post
Here's what I believe caused the issue (not that I know what that is yet), but two weeks ago we started the engine manually, just to see how it's done. Figuring I'd rather test the manual start option before I truly needed it. Anyway, we must have not had the ignition key in the "on" position. We didn't run the engine for very long, maybe 30 seconds, and then shut it down with the kill switch. The first time we had the starter problem was the VERY next time we tried to start the engine.
Ruh-roh. Do you have the Dynastart (belted starter/dynamo)? There's an amusingly large number of ways to harm those. Dead-heading the regulator is one; cross-wiring to the alternator is a favorite. Even attaching to a battery larger than 60Ah will burn the diodes. (Our Dynastart is rated at 135W max, 90W continuous).

On the plus side, the starter is winding, so it sounds like the internals are okay. And diode packs, voltage regulators, solenoids, or ignition switches are not too hard to diagnose & repair at, as Classic30 advises, any automotive electric shop. BTW, if it is the Dynastart, you don't wanna know what they cost new! I've read (but cannot verify) that a 1960s Chevy starter/generator can be straight-swapped with the Dynastart. Those can be found in junkyards for $20, re-manned for $70. Your auto-electric person might be able to advise on that, if the thing is truly dead. Bet it can be repaired, tho.

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Last edited by bobmcgov; 10-11-2013 at 11:26 AM.
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