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I have a Yanmar 4JH2-E and just recently I have experienced a problem when I start the engine. I hear a clicking sound from the engine room, but no start. It will start though after a couple of attempts. Other times it fires up beautifully. Any ideas where to begin figuring this out? Do you think I need a new starter? The batteries and connections look fine, although I did not take them off to examine them. Your thoughts are appreciated!
 

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The conventional wisdom is start with the easy stuff. You can't "see" a bad connection - you can measure one but it is usually a good idea to periodically remove and clean them all, especially the ones going to the solenoid and starter.
This is not an uncommon problem and usually a result of too much resistance in the starter circuit, either because of the wire size used by many mfgs or a bad connection, or both.

This condition is exacerbated by heat and the problem you describe usually manifests itself once the engine has been brought up to temp and later is re-started. If this is the case, the problem is almost certainly one of the items above.

It's unlikely the solenoid is bad but that could be the problem as well.
 

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Having had the same problem - I would first error on the side of the temp of the engine compartment when starting. I was having really rough times starting and now preheat the engine, as temps have cooled a bit in the PNW and it starts ok now. Everything from replacing injectors, the starter, redoing the electrical etc can be advised but first try handling temp first. Even on my F-350, I plug in the OEM heater on cold days as it gets to be a beast to start...Its the cheapest solution when its all said and done but not knowing your location maybe indicates something else...
 

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check your battery connections. the clicking you hear is the solenoid actuating but not getting enough juice to complete the circuit. what happens is when you try to turn the motor over the connections heat up and this in-turn creates a better connection allowing the motor to turn over. if it has been happening for a while you will be able to see the offending connection by the burn/pitting on the terminal. note if you have a delco-remy starter with the solenoid attached, the way the cars had, the contact disc in the solenoid is loosing contact with the power stud. in a jamb you can loosen the power stud in the housing and turn it 180 degrees and this will give you new contact surface on the stud side only but will get you by.
 

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We had a "similar" problem with our 1GM10, regardless the engine temperature or the ambient temperature.

Sometimes, the engine would crank and start like a champ. Other times, we could hear one distinct metallic click, but no cranking. Repeated attempts got either the click or the crank.

All of the connections were OK.

We solved it by running a new 10ga tinned wire from the starter switch to the solenoid.

It's up to you, but this is a really cheap "first try" at fixing your problem, presuming all of the existing connections are OK.

Please make sure you tell us how this eventually plays out.

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all for your ideas, we will be giving them a try and I will let you know how it turns out!
LJD
 

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Clean and tighten everything

Having had similar intermittant starting problems I can tell you there are two easy things that could be the cause. First, disconnect the battery cables and clean them and the battery terminals thoroughly so they're shiny and put the cables back on - TIGHT. Replace any cables that look damaged or have burn marks. Secondly, the battery itself may be bad so check that. Good luck.

Gary
 

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Follow the relay/solenoid advice, it works

I just went through the same symptoms / remedy with our 3GM30. The added relay at the starter solved the problem nicely - it's a simple solution that works.
 

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I have a Perkins 4-108 and last week had the same problem fixed. over the last months it was getting harder to start and the clunk of the starter could be heard but would not spin the starter. 1. Remove the solenoid (about 3 hours on my boat) 2. Open solenoid and you will see a black washer, it should be silver. if it is held in place by a cir clip(non marine solenoid) remove clip and turn washer over. If it is marine grade it will have the shaft riveted or peened over as mine was this means your only option is to file or plenish with fine wet and dry paper. Don’t remove all the silver off the washer as this is a coating to stop the washer welding to the copper contact points. 3. You may find one or both the copper points have lost material due to arcing. These contact points can be rotated 180 degrees giving you a new contact surface. spend the next 2 hours (in my case putting it back on then finding a replacement mounting screw that you may or may not drop in the bilge) and the vuola it should be like newt.
My investigation found fitting a relay is not necessary, as yours like mine obviously worked in the past and the charging of the solinoid does not use a great deal of power given the length of time a starter in in operation. I just hope you have an easier time than I did.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks to you all,
Problem appears to be solved. We cleaned the battery cables and terminals, that was not the problem , but good to do anyway. It appears that when we cleaned all connections to solenoid and starter, we took care of our problem. After several starts since then, all seems to be fine. Thanks to you all for your tips and suggestions! Happy Holidays!
LJD
 
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