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Thread: Boat will not start, should I be able to turn the belt?

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    Default Boat will not start, should I be able to turn the belt?

    Been asking a lot of question last 24 hours and I appreciate the help.

    Here is the situation. Boat will not start. Starter seems nice and strong, but will nothing "catches" or turns over. Just the sound of the started. Charged both batteries and put to "both" for batteries with same result.

    Had my wife watch the main belt when I tried to start and it doesn't move. It looks to move forward a little, but then back. Belt looks good and tension seems fine.

    Not sure what the name is, but took the cap off the thing that comes from the spark plugs (that spins) so it wouldn't engage the engine so I could try to move the belt by hand and I couldn't.

    Should I be able to move the belt with my hand? If so, is it bad that I can't. It's a bravo 5.7 mercruiser. I should say somebody at Whittier did look at it and tested to make sure that he got a spark from the spark plug and he did.

    I'm hoping this isn't going to be too expensive. Already having trailer issues. Man what a week for boating!!

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    Sounds like the bendix in the starter or the starter

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    Member winibezold's Avatar
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    yup, as MacGyver said, sounds like your starter isn't engaging. no you shouldn't be able to turn the belt by hand, unless you put a socket on the crankshaft main pulley. anyway, you can yank the starter and have it tested or just replace it. also, you can try to knock it into working by smacking it with a hammer while someone cranks it, that might work but is in no way a fix with any reliability. keep us updated

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Take it off and have it tested at the local auto parts store. More than likely its a bad starter or selonoid
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    Member c6 batmobile's Avatar
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    Check your electrical connections before taking the starter off. I had a similar issue with mine. Turned out it was dirty battery connections would not allow enough voltage to engage the starter fully. A new connector and some coke on the terminals it cranked right over.
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    Quote Originally Posted by c6 batmobile View Post
    Check your electrical connections before taking the starter off. I had a similar issue with mine. Turned out it was dirty battery connections would not allow enough current to engage the starter fully. A new connector and some coke on the terminals it cranked right over.
    Fixed it for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by c6 batmobile View Post
    Check your electrical connections before taking the starter off. I had a similar issue with mine. Turned out it was dirty battery connections would not allow enough voltage to engage the starter fully. A new connector and some coke on the terminals it cranked right over.
    I'll give it a try today. I have a third backup battery and may even try to hook that up after cleaning off the connections. Sure would be great if that was the problem!

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    Quote Originally Posted by winibezold View Post
    yup, as MacGyver said, sounds like your starter isn't engaging. no you shouldn't be able to turn the belt by hand, unless you put a socket on the crankshaft main pulley. anyway, you can yank the starter and have it tested or just replace it. also, you can try to knock it into working by smacking it with a hammer while someone cranks it, that might work but is in no way a fix with any reliability. keep us updated
    The first thing I would do is what Winibezold said to do. "Tap it with a hammer while someone cranks it over" If that fixes the problem replace the starter.

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Pull the leads off of the starter solenoid too and make sure that they are clean. It should be fairly apparent that they are dirty, but not always the case. The last thing you want is to have starter issues when you are out on the water. Make sure that it works good at home......

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    Ok, good news and bad news. I cleaned all batter leads and it started up really strong... better than before. I yelled a loud "yahoooooo" in excitement that it worked.
    That lasted about 10 seconds, because I started getting a little smoke light smoke by the engine and then a squealing noise, kept it going for 4-5 more seconds to see if that would stop and it didn't. SO, turned it off right away. Couldn't really see where the smoke was coming from, but didn't want to turn it back on to find out. It smelled like burnt chinese food or something.. not like the typical exhaust or fumes. It wasn't black. But, it was for sure in the engine compartment. I opened it, with fire extinguisher in hand light smoke was in there... no fire thank God.

    So, what's next. Thanks for your help!! At least I'm making some progress.

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emu View Post
    Ok, good news and bad news. I cleaned all batter leads and it started up really strong... better than before. I yelled a loud "yahoooooo" in excitement that it worked.
    That lasted about 10 seconds, because I started getting a little smoke light smoke by the engine and then a squealing noise, kept it going for 4-5 more seconds to see if that would stop and it didn't. SO, turned it off right away. Couldn't really see where the smoke was coming from, but didn't want to turn it back on to find out. It smelled like burnt chinese food or something.. not like the typical exhaust or fumes. It wasn't black. But, it was for sure in the engine compartment. I opened it, with fire extinguisher in hand light smoke was in there... no fire thank God.

    So, what's next. Thanks for your help!! At least I'm making some progress.
    Start it with the engine cover open, and see if the belt is turning...I'm thinking it isn't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbitten View Post
    Start it with the engine cover open, and see if the belt is turning...I'm thinking it isn't.

    Alternator bearing locked up?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtofak View Post
    Alternator bearing locked up?
    ...or possibly the water pump, or oil pump for outdrive.

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    If the engine was rev up say 2-3k and he did not have any water feeding the engine that could cause problems with the water pump and bearing.

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    If the engine was rev up say 2-3k and he did not have any water feeding the engine that could cause problems with the water pump and bearing.
    Maybe, but that would be in the outdrive...Emu indicated the smoke and squeal was coming from the engine compartment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbitten View Post
    Maybe, but that would be in the outdrive...Emu indicated the smoke and squeal was coming from the engine compartment.
    I thought the bearing in the water pump were water lubricated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    I thought the bearing in the water pump were water lubricated.
    There is a water pump in the out drive which picks up raw/seawater and pumps it to the heat exchanger. That one is water lubricated. The water (coolant) pump on the front of the motor circulates coolant through the motor and back to the heat exchanger where the raw water cools the coolant. That pump is turned by the belt which runs off the main crankshaft, just like on your car.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbitten View Post
    There is a water pump in the out drive which picks up raw/seawater and pumps it to the heat exchanger. That one is water lubricated. The water (coolant) pump on the front of the motor circulates coolant through the motor and back to the heat exchanger where the raw water cools the coolant. That pump is turned by the belt which runs off the main crankshaft, just like on your car.
    I was thinking the water pump in front was the salt water pump, Boy was I wrong. There no way it would have work. I'm glad you corrected me I try not to give out bad information.

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    Ok, thanks again for the help.

    Indeed it's true, the belt is not turning. What does this mean?

  20. #20
    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Is the alternator turning? I've had one seize up and smoke a belt before.
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