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Old 08-04-2015, 03:34 PM   #1
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Perkins starting problem

My 1990 36' Marine Trader starboard Perkins 6.354 has an intermittent starting problem. Turn the key on, gauges and alarms come on, hit the start button and the gauges and alarms go dead, nothing from the starter.

If I try and turn the key on immediately again, nothing comes on. If I wait a few seconds the gauges do come on but they again go dead when I hit the start button.

Itīs been suggested that it could be a relay. Could this be my problem? If so, where would I find the relay(s)? Ive followed the wire bundle and canīt seem to find anything that looks like a relay (small aluminum box?)

Any suggestions appreciated.
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Old 08-04-2015, 04:17 PM   #2
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I had an intermittent problem like that on my Perkins 4.236. It took a while for me to chase it down. In the end, it was a bad splice in the hot wire that runs from the switch to the starter solenoid. After I added a new wire, no problem.
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Old 08-04-2015, 04:32 PM   #3
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Make sure its in neutral. Sometimes mine does the same thing so I move the forward/reverse lever a little till it hits neutral and starts.
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Old 08-04-2015, 05:22 PM   #4
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The starter solenoid is on top of the starter . If you hear a click from the solenoid and starter dosnt move its could be sized prop with rope ? I would change the starter (they are some what cheap in boat dollars ) with a new one and have the old one reconditioned as a spare
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Old 08-04-2015, 05:27 PM   #5
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Check all connections at starter, clean and snug
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Old 08-04-2015, 05:37 PM   #6
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You can bypass the electronics starter switch and wiring and use a + positive jumper lead lead direct from the battery to the solenoid.
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Old 08-04-2015, 06:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_nickens1 View Post
My 1990 36' Marine Trader starboard Perkins 6.354 has an intermittent starting problem. Turn the key on, gauges and alarms come on, hit the start button and the gauges and alarms go dead, nothing from the starter.

If I try and turn the key on immediately again, nothing comes on. If I wait a few seconds the gauges do come on but they again go dead when I hit the start button.

Itīs been suggested that it could be a relay. Could this be my problem? If so, where would I find the relay(s)? Ive followed the wire bundle and canīt seem to find anything that looks like a relay (small aluminum box?)

Any suggestions appreciated.
With the dimming panel lights, I would guess you either have bad batteries or you have a bad battery connection, probably at your batteries, battery switch, or at the starter solenoid. You're seeing dash lights and gauges and then you hit the start button which causes a huge voltage drop and everything goes black.

What does you battery meter show when you hit the start button? Does it drop down to 10 or 11 volts or go dead? If it was bad contacts in the starter solenoid you would hear a clicking or clattering, even if the starter itself was bad. if the solenoid was burned out, you wouldn't see any voltage drop and the panel lights would stay on.


If this is the case clean all your battery terminals and cable terminal connections up to the starter.
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Old 08-04-2015, 06:08 PM   #8
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Check your ground. Been there, done that.
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Old 08-04-2015, 06:35 PM   #9
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If gauges go dead, not likely starter at all. Sounds like a poor connection between batts and engine, or between engine and helm. If you can catch it in the act, a helper with voltmeter can walk through the system as you have it in the dead condition.
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Old 08-04-2015, 08:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyWright View Post
I had an intermittent problem like that on my Perkins 4.236. It took a while for me to chase it down. In the end, it was a bad splice in the hot wire that runs from the switch to the starter solenoid. After I added a new wire, no problem.
Same thing on the old boat 6-354.

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Old 08-04-2015, 09:28 PM   #11
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Bad/dirty heavy cable connection somewhere. Go through all of them and make them bright and shiny.
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:42 PM   #12
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Port engine start OK? It is definately a bad connection somewhere. If it were me I would start by checking the engine ground. It may show continuity with a meter, but not with a big current. Hook a jumper cable between something clean and shiny on the sarter and the Neg term of the battery. If not that its time to disassemble, clean, and grease all high current connections. Not wasted time. It's something that probably should be done on an infrequent basis anyway.
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Old 08-04-2015, 10:22 PM   #13
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When my wire went bad, I could always start the engine by jumping (hot wiring) the solenoid with a screwdriver. This told me it was the solenoid wire that was the culprit. Later it got so frequent that I bought a remote start switch with alligator clips for a sparkless start.

In each case, the engine would turn right over and start. If you have a bad "big cable" in the circuit, it won't behave differently when it's hot wired.
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Old 10-21-2015, 02:31 PM   #14
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So my problem is solved! After cleaning every wire I could get to, the problem persisted. Had a load test done on the start batteries. One was bad. Replaced battery and all is ok now. Guess it was partially a corroded connection compounded by a weak battery. Thanks to everyone for your comments!
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Old 10-22-2015, 07:14 PM   #15
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While the OP has found the solution and others have expressed wiring issues. I to experienced what the OP had. In our case the fault was three factory installed spliced wire from the instrument panel oil pressure gauge to the sending unit.
Smoking wire was the quick clue.😳

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