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Old 02-12-2019, 12:14 PM   #1
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1988 Marine Trader Starter cables get HOT!

Greetings and thank you for taking the time to read this. I am still in the process of getting my "New to me" Tradewinds started for the first time. I know in order to get fuel primed and back up to the injectors after cleaning out my tanks etc. I need to crank the engine for a bit. Unfortunately after just a few seconds of cranking the connections on the starter get hot and began to smoke so of course I stop and have not been able to get fuel up to where I need it among other obvious issues. I have new batteries and new cables, heavier than the ones I replaced and just about the thickest/heaviest ive seen on any boat. Is it possible I need bigger batteries? Im trying to start Volvo Penta TAMD40's with multiple 12V batteries. Im not sure about the way the batteries are wired but the PO was an electrical engineer and he did some customizations but im pretty confident with his work. Does anybody have a manual or docs on connecting multiple 12V batteries for two Marine diesels and a generator? Thanks for any info you can provide.
My best to you and yours...
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:23 PM   #2
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Dumb question but did you make sure the connections at the starter are tight?
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Old 02-12-2019, 12:27 PM   #3
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First do a couple of tests to determine what is going on. While cranking measure the voltage at the battery terminals and at the stud (not the cable connector) on the starter.


The battery should show a minimum of about 11.0 volts and the starter stud about 10 volts. If the difference is higher then the connection somewhere is bad, maybe right at the starter terminal and that is causing the heat. Clean it up, spray some WD40 or similar and try again.


If the battery voltage is significantly below 11.0 volts then the batteries are going bad. That shouldn't automatically cause heating at the starter terminals but should be looked into.


Nigel Calder's book is probably the best source of wiring diagrams for DC systems. And with all respect to your EE friend I have seen some who didn't have a clue about marine DC systems.



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Old 02-12-2019, 01:10 PM   #4
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Localized heating means a bad connection at that spot, and you said at the starter, I'm going to jump to the conclusion that you mean the positive cable connection. Switch off batteries and undo the connection, then carefully check the tightness of the nut on the stud. There will be one or two smaller wire terminals there which have to be taken off. Make sure those terminals are clean and the insulating sleeves haven't slid down onto the terminals to interfere. The stud nut must be good and snug, but the housing will crack if overtightened. It is possible it is cracked and that is the issue. Clean the top of the nut with a small wire brush, and the terminal and see if the hole in the terminal is not oversize for the stud, that can compromise the contact a lot. Use no washer under the terminal(s), a flat & lock washer on top of the terminal. When tightening the terminal nut hold the cable so that the stud does not get turning stress.
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Old 02-12-2019, 02:09 PM   #5
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What size are the new cables? How long a run is it from the battery to the starter and back to the battery? It may be a bad connection on one of the new cables. Take them off and grab the lugs with a vise grip and try to pull the lug off the cable. If you can pull them off the connection was bad. Check every connection for corrosion and tightness. Do the other things previously mentioned. Let us know what the results are. Good luck.
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Old 02-12-2019, 04:11 PM   #6
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2 *more* things:

Try to manually bleed as much as you can before you try and finish up with cranking the engines.

If you're doing a lot of cranking without starting make sure and close the engine raw water seacocks - otherwise its possible to fill the exhaust with enough water to back up into the engine. Make sure to reopen them when the engine starts!

Ken
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:39 PM   #7
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Thanks for all your input! On further inspection, the cable/stud that's getting hot/smoking is not the positive or negative battery cable, it is the smaller post that has a short cable going directly from the solenoid smaller post into the starter body. Thanks again for your help.
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Old 02-16-2019, 05:54 AM   #8
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On further inspection, the cable/stud that's getting hot/smoking is not the positive or negative battery cable, it is the smaller post that has a short cable going directly from the solenoid smaller post into the starter body.




Sounds like the starter itself is drawing far more amperage than it should.


One TF poster found,



"one starter started to drag. I took it to an alternator/starter repair shop in Panama City, FL. Fixed in less than a week - bad bearing. During a discussion at the counter, the supervisor made the comment that they could fix almost any starter as long as the housing, armature and brush holders had not been damaged"


Perhaps its time for R&R and a visit to a good starter shop?
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Old 02-16-2019, 06:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cigatoo View Post
Dumb question but did you make sure the connections at the starter are tight?
Heat is produced in only two ways:
Cable to small or loose connections.

If the connections smoke, then they are loose.
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wxx3 View Post
Heat is produced in only two ways:
Cable to small or loose connections.

If the connections smoke, then they are loose.
Agree. Clean and inspect. Be sure studs are tight at the starter and solenoid.

There are still good alternator and starter shops out there trying to survive. Do yourself a favor and use them if you can find one. You are much better off rebuilding quality OEM stuff as opposed to buying a rebuilt that probably is using an inferior core.
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Old 02-16-2019, 11:14 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FF View Post
On further inspection, the cable/stud that's getting hot/smoking is not the positive or negative battery cable, it is the smaller post that has a short cable going directly from the solenoid smaller post into the starter body.




Sounds like the starter itself is drawing far more amperage than it should.


One TF poster found,



"one starter started to drag. I took it to an alternator/starter repair shop in Panama City, FL. Fixed in less than a week - bad bearing. During a discussion at the counter, the supervisor made the comment that they could fix almost any starter as long as the housing, armature and brush holders had not been damaged"


Perhaps its time for R&R and a visit to a good starter shop?
I think maybe you are correct, this engine turns about half as fast as the port counter unit. Now I just need to figure out how to get the starter unit out correctly. Did you use any particular manual or docs to remove yours? Thanks again!
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