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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Took the boat out for the first time in a while to LA yesterday evening. Launched about 5:15pm at the bridge. Boat started right up, put it in reverse and it died within 5 seconds. Tried to restart... nothing, not even the sound of it firing to the engine. I didnt feel like messing with it and decided we would at least salvage the day by trying to pick up a couple off the opposite shore, so the TM got us across and I picked up 4 fish within the first hour or so, one nice lil football keeper maybe 2 lbs, all on shakeyhead with rattlesnake in black blue fleck. Had some really nice strikes afterward but couldnt hook up for whatever reason. Been a while since either of us went night fishing so we both caught more limbfish than anything. ::)

Weather was actually awesome the whole time, and got warmer the longer we were out there with ZERO wind. Quite the opposite of today's front.

Now here is where I need some help troubleshooting what is wrong with my motor/battery/connections: When we got back to the dock, I tried starting again but got nothing. What I cannot figure out is why the lights, radio, guages, both fishfinders all worked on the cranking battery all night, but the motor/trim had nothing. This actually happened to me a few months ago, but I just tightened down the nuts on the cranking battery and it was fine afterward. Although both batteries got a full charge before we left, I thought maybe it didnt have enough juice, so I switched out the cranking batt for the TM batt and STILL nothing! I then removed all wiring with the exception of the motor and it started right up. Problem was, it would not stay on for more than 5 seconds, but started right up multiple times.

So I say we still had a good time since we got to get out on the water and do some fishing in nice conditions, but if yall can think of anything to help me figure out what is wrong with the boat, aside from purchasing a new cranking battery, or taking it into the shop, I would appreciate it.

~Barrett
 

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I may have some insight but I need to know what brand and year motor you have?

Do you have multiple connections under one wingnut on the battery terminal?

Sounds like a simple bad connection possibly at the battery end of your cable but the motor should continue to run after it starts.
 

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Check the lugs at the ends of your thick-gauge cables and make sure they have good connections to the copper in the cable. If there is any wire exposed to air, check for corrosion. If there is any corrosion, lop off several inches of cable and solder on new lugs to ensure good contact.

I solder mine on in a similar fashion to this video.

For each side (positive/negative):
1. Ensure that the last 12" or so of the cable is pulled apart from the other wire.
2. Remove about 5/8" of insulation from each cable end.
3. Make sure the lug is the correct size for your gauge wire.
4. Cut a 2" piece of hot-glue-lined heat shrink tubing and slip it over the end toward the "Y"
5. Clamp the lug in an upright position like in the video. When I need to do this on the boat, I use vise grip pliers clamped to the nearest bulkhead/gunnel/etc.
6. Plan the cable orientation so that once the lug is soldered on, it will lay flat on the battery terminal without undue twisting.
7. Like in the video, start torch heating the lug and fill it halfway to the rim with melted solder.
8. I like to try heating the copper cable end some too, so it is not cooling the solder too quickly.
9. Shove the cable into the melted-solder-filled lug and hold it still while it cools to well below solder melting temp.
10. Remove from clamp and let cool until you can handle it.
11. Slip the 2" piece of heat shrink tubing over the lug so that it covers both insulation and lug cylinder well.
12. Melt/shrink it on tight with a heat gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
7F5E413B0 said:
I may have some insight but I need to know what brand and year motor you have?

Do you have multiple connections under one wingnut on the battery terminal?

Sounds like a simple bad connection possibly at the battery end of your cable but the motor should continue to run after it starts.
2006 Merc Optimax 90hp

I do have multiple connections under each wingnut.
 

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Unfortunately I don't have much experiance with Merc. J-Hooked has some good info above. There is possibly a bad connection at the terminal end itself which is easily repaired following the video he posted. Any time you put more than 1 connection under a wingnut you are creating a high resistance connection which can cause one or more of the devices to give trouble. If possible I would solder all of the connections into 1 lug. Leave a  pigtail for your electronics out of #10 or 12 wire, about a foot or so. you can leave more than 1 pigtail if you need to. This is a good place for an inline fuse as well. Now you can solder and heatshrink your auxillary device leads to this pigtail as needed. I cannot explain why motor dies after a few seconds but it is probably due to a voltage drop issue which is effecting the ignition system.

I had a similar power issue and I took the terminal off the battery and just hit it with a hammer to crimp it, worked fine that day and we reterminated that end when we got home.

Feel free to give a pm if you want.

Dez
 

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there are two relays on the motor and one is for up and one is for down you might try to switch the relays around and if that workd the one relay is going to be bad I had that happen to my merc once...Just my two cents worth.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Man, I have never soldered in my life, so I do not have the tools for such a thing unfortunately. I can picture exactly what you're saying since I saw the guy do it in the video, but that's not something I can do.

My warranty covers anything requiring work related to the motor, bu tyou can never get the shops to tell you whether it would be covered until they are finished with the work. :-/
 

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Try simple stuff first. I had low volt issues while running with mine lately. Pull all the black grounds off 1 at a time. Clean them with some emory cloth, which is sand paper for metal. So pull 1, clean the ends and put it back on. Go to the next one.

Check the fuses. There is sometimes a fuse that goes to the starter solinoid. Just in case you dont know what it is, follow the + cable from your motor battery to the engine. It will hook directly onto the starter solinoid. Clean ALL the wire and cable ends on that solinoid. Then check and clean the leaving big cable from the solinoid to the starter itself. It could be a bad starter solinoid as well. You can jump this to check it but only if you know how. Jumper wire from the + side battery lug to the small start terminal that has a small wire on it. It will kick the starter. If it doesnt and you have 12 volts at the battery, then the solinoid or starter itself is bad more than likely.

Now putting it in gear kills them all the time when it's not warmed up, so that shouldnt be an issue. An outboard will run without a battery because the charging system is more of a battery maintainer anyway.

When you turn the key on, is there any noise at all? MIne is fuel injected so I can hear the electric fuel pump kick on. So something on the motor is what your listening for. You said all your other stuff works, but most of that other stuff probably runs off the other battery. Could be the ignition switch itself.

One thing that is also simple to check is put a volt meter on the motor battery. If it is low or drops real quick when you turn the key on, it could be bad. Batteries will have a cell go bad for no reason. I've seen this happen a lot. They work fine and then nothing, it went bad.

Good luck with it. I hope I didnt confuse you and it helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I called up Tracker yesterday and they said they are too busy with the upcoming boat show, btu then I told them my boat is for sale and I have a gentleman wanting to take it for a spin Sunday afternoon. Gary up there then said if I dorop it off this morning, they would do their best. Already got a call from them letting me know I had a bad cranking battery and that they ran some diagnostics, determined the motor had some gas in there it didnt like, got the power going better with the new battery and said she runs like a charm now.

Pretty awesome on such short notice and that they already got it done so itll run strong when I get it out on Sunday (in the cold!).

So now I just gotta get it cleaned up... :-?
 

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I would have guessed the gas if your batteries were holding a charge...be sure to use a quality fuel stabilizer with the ethanol that's now 10% blended across TX, it absorbs H20 many times faster than gasoline alone. I had some issues right before pulling out my Honda Accord to roll to the in laws for Christmas, it jumped, jumped and wouldn't stay running...and it's always smooth as silk. Honda suspected it was bad fuel. Be super observant to add stabilizer at all times and follow the 'storage' practices durning these cold months, not knowing when you'll be out next.
 

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THats cool that they took care of you quickly. I had a feeling the battery took a dump or it was just a bad connection somewhere. Batteries can go quick no matter how you care for them. They are like fish in an aquarium. They just die for no reason sometimes. LOL..

And who is parking the boat for the winter months? hehe. Not us. Just keep fishing and keep fresh fuel in it. It does help to use a good stabilizer. I need to put some in mine come to think of it. :-?
 

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Call jim the mobile merc man he can tell me whats wrong with my 99 model 175 over the phone 90% of the time and with the half dozen problems i've had hes never been anything but 100% right. I don't have my cell on me or I'd get it for you. PM me if you need it or someone can send it to you. He doesn't charge for phone consultation and will almost always tell you what you can do to fix it.
 

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Hey every Thanks once again for the replies and so many folks offering to get me out on the water. Went fishing with I_Got_1 and had a great time. He's a great guy, if anybody gets a chance to fill a seat with'em, definitely take advantage of it. Yeah, we had some boat problems, buy never the less I still had a great time making a new friend.

Thanks once again I_Got_1! Stay in touch!

Very Respectfully,

Papa Chops
Papa Chops' Rod and Reel Repair
858.518.9011
 
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