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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 08-19-2002
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Bad batteries or something else?

The last few times I''ve tried to start my Universal 10-12H engine on my Pearson 27, the engine would not start for several tries. Usually, if I gave it a rest, I could eventually start it. If I ran the engine for about a half hour or so it would start again easily, and would do so the next day as well, but if I left it for a couple of days the same problem would repeat itself. If I ran the engine for less time, I could not count on it starting again (even two hours later). The boat was just purchased last May and the engine started easily until about two weeks ago. The previous owner purchased one new battery about a year ago, but the other battery is of unknown age. My thinking is that the older battery is bad and won''t hold a charge, and I need to replace both batteries. Am I right or am I missing something?

Thanks for any help here.
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Old 08-19-2002
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Bad batteries or something else?

For whatever reason, Universal diesels used on the P-27''s have had intermittent starting problems sometimes traced to smallish wiring at the starter solenoid. But first, do check the batteries with a digital volt meter to make sure they are charged properly. Even though the one is about a year old, it could be shot if it wasn''t kept charged over the winter, water level wasn''t kept above the plates, etc. If you don''t keep a digital meter onboard, buy one and use it regularly. They aren''t all that expensive.

If the batteries are OK, you need to check out the engine. There''s a P-27 email list I can put you on if you''d like so that you can ask your question there. I have a P-27 with a Westerbeke, but lots of folks on that list have Universals and have addressed this problem. Let me know if you''d like to join our list. It''s a good group and we have exchanged lots of good ideas and info.
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Old 08-20-2002
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Bad batteries or something else?

Thanks for replying. I remember that you gave me good information when I was trying to decide between an Ericson 26 and my Pearson 27. Yes, I would be interested in the address of the P-27 owners group. So far, information I''ve been receiving is suggesting a solenoid or starter problem, but I will be getting a digital volt meter to check on the batteries too. Thanks again.
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Old 08-20-2002
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Bad batteries or something else?

Digital voltmeters are fun but not very telling when it comes to a battery''s condition. Having the battery "load tested" is a better way to evaluate them as it is big AMPS that are needed to turn the motor over not just 12 volts.
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Old 08-20-2002
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Bad batteries or something else?

Danapsy -- I sent you a message here on Sailnet about how to join the P-27 list, so check your messages. All I need is your email address and I can add you to the list. Glad I was able to help you before in your decision. You have a great boat!

Denr -- Yep, you''re right that it''s not just 12 volts required to start an engine. But in this case there''s a history with Universal diesels on Pearson 27s. Besides, it doesn''t take all that much juice to crank a 12 HP diesel. Trust me, I know!!!! This is my boat (except I have the mighty 12B2 Westerbeke in my boat.) Having a digital meter onboard is better than not having one onboard, no????? Well, that and Sailkote.
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Old 08-31-2002
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Bad batteries or something else?

I had a Pearson 27 with the Universal and had intermittent starting problems as well. The starter would not engage and replacement of the starter, new starter button, new batteries would NOT solve the problem. A search for corrosion and cleaning all connections also did not help. I sold the boat 2 years ago. What is the fix that seems to cure the problem?
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Old 09-01-2002
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Bad batteries or something else?

lgsailor52,

Courtesy of a member of our P-27 email list, here is the text of a service bulletin issued by Universal. FWIW, some have solved this problem on their own by installing a "slave" starter solenoid,or simply by installing a new starter button, but here is the official word:

UNIVERSAL
SERVICE BULLETIN
DATE: April 13, 1994 BULLETIN # 213
MODEL: UNIVERSAL PROPULSION
SUBJECT: NO STARTER MOTOR ACTIVATION
Reports have been received from the field from Universal propulsion engine owners concerning the starter motor on their Universal engine not
activating when the start button in the instrument panel is depressed. A clicking noise only is produced by the solenoid on the starter.

investigation has found that this is the result of a voltage loss at the "S" terminal on the starter solenoid. Voltage is supplied to the starter
solenoid when the starter button in the instrument panel is depressed.

The following are causes for this voltage loss:

1. Panel and/or engine harness molded plug connector is loose or the connector pins are corroded.

2. Corrosion or loose connection in the 10 amp buss fuse holder installed in the yellow and red stripped wire in the engine harness going to the
starter solenoid "S" terminal.

3. Wire size in start circuit too small to carry amperage to energize starter solenoid. #10 AWG multi strand wire should be used between the key switch and the glow plug push button, between the glow plug push button and the start button and from the start push button to the "S~ terminal on the starter solenoid.

Any one or combination of the three causes will have the potential to produce a voltage loss at the "S" terminal on the starter solenoid.

This voltage loss can be intermittent on a cold engine starting attempt or a hot engine starting attempt depending on the state of charge that the
cranking battery has at that time.


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Old 09-04-2002
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Bad batteries or something else?

Just for the record the problem was solved thanks to help from the Pearson 27 owners group. The problem was neither the batteries nor the starter/solenoid. I replaced the starter switch and changed the wiring so that the engine would turn over independent of having to press the glow plug switch. The engine now starts perfectly on the first try. Thanks to all of you for your suggestions!
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