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Thread: Starter on m25 universal aggro

  1. #1
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    Starter on m25 universal aggro

    Ericson 32 - 200 series inspection sheets dated 1987 no dates on ownership docs. M-35 Universal

    After following owners manual for startup and shutdown procedure. (owned boat about 1 year) after key is set to start position and glowplug is pushed for aprox. 30 seconds or 30 alligators. Starter will sometimes engage and other times not at all. Batts show full charge at 12 v when cranking drops to 0 v I changed the starter then ran the engine for 30 mins and shut down. I did an oil and filter change and when I went back to start up, nada. No crank start alarm buzzes, glow plugs on but no crank.

    Any one else have this experience, I'm up for all ideas Thanks Dan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soupy sails View Post
    Ericson 32 - 200 series inspection sheets dated 1987 no dates on ownership docs. M-35 Universal
    After following owners manual for startup and shutdown procedure. (owned boat about 1 year) after key is set to start position and glowplug is pushed for aprox. 30 seconds or 30 alligators. Starter will sometimes engage and other times not at all. Batts show full charge at 12 v when cranking drops to 0 v I changed the starter then ran the engine for 30 mins and shut down. I did an oil and filter change and when I went back to start up, nada. No crank start alarm buzzes, glow plugs on but no crank.
    Any one else have this experience, I'm up for all ideas Thanks Dan
    If you don't even hear a 'clunk' after pushing the starter button, you may need a new solenoid.
    E32-3 #655
    Traveller
    Knoxville, TN

  3. #3
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    When it comes to starting issues, always start with the basics. First check battery voltage. If you dont have a digital multimeter, I would suggest getting one from a local hardware store. Once you have good voltage at the battery posts, check your battery terminal connections at the battery and at the starter. Also, dont forget about checking your large ground wire from the battery. It is most likely attached somewhere on the engine block. Check all these connections and make sure they are tight and have no corrosion at the terminals and attaching points.

    The starter has a large positive constant 12 volt supply cable hooked directly to the starter lug. You will also have a small start signal wire coming from the key switch that is attached to the starter solenoid. When you turn the key switch to start position, the key switch sends a 12 volt signal to the starter solenoid and the starter engages. Check your connections at your key switch and at the starter solenoid. With your multi meter, check and make sure you are getting a good 12 volt supply at the starter solenoid when you turn the key to "start" position. A good set of alligator clips will help with this process of attaching your ground and red leads on the mulitmeter...If you do not have a good 12 volt signal from the key switch to the solenoid, most likely your key switch is bad. I always keep a spare on board. If you are getting a good 12 volt supply to the solenoid and you have a good battery and all connections are good, then most likely your starter or starter solenoid is bad. Like mentioned above, usually you will here some kind of clicking or clunking noise. The starter can be rebuilt fairly inexpensive from a local starter shop....If you have to remove the starter, remember to always disconnect your ground wire at the battery prior to removing any starter bolts. A half inch socket that arcs and sparks across the engine block is no fun!.....Let us know how it turns out.
    Josephine, E381 hull 505 (1983) Universal 5432

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    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    If it isn't the solenoid or a loose wire, see here, beginning Post #6:

    http://www.ericsonyachts.org/infoexc...-motor-isssues
    Thelonious II, E381 hull 513 (1984) Universal 5432
    Table of Contents for Thelonious Blog here
    Videos: http://www.youtube.com/c/ChristianWilliamsYachting

  5. #5
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    A full battery charge is 12.7 volts. While charging, it should be 13.5 to 14.1 volts. If the reading is 12.0 volts, the batteries are severely discharged. When there is about 11.5 volts to 12 volts, the starter solenoid should engage. with a "click" but there may not enough voltage to spin the starter.

    That starter is 30+ years old and it has been sitting in a damp salty environment for all that time. For peace of mind I would consider a replacement. The Universal M25XP is a Kubota D-950 diesel. The starter is 1/4 the price at the Kubota dealer that it is at the Universal Dealer. Unfortunately, the clerks at Kubota seem to have dumbed down just like they have at the auto parts counters and you need the tractor model number or they can't cross reference it to the engine. I believe the D-950 is in a 7202 tractor but I don't have my notes to check.

    How old are your batteries and what kind of charger are you using. You may have a shorted cell in one of them that's bringing the whole system down. Old chargers cook the batteries if left on all the time and shorten battery life. Flooded cell batteries should have a life span of 5-6 years.

    Good luck!
    Bob Morrison
    1987 E-34 Hull #15
    "Terra Nova"

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    Oh! also take a careful look at your ground wires. Corrosion at the terminals is a real problem. If theyare corroded, you don't get full voltage.
    Bob Morrison
    1987 E-34 Hull #15
    "Terra Nova"

  7. #7
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Electircal

    The thread referenced by Christian nails it.
    And, regarding one other point raised by the OP, in 24 years of starting our factory-installed M25XP, I usually needed 10 to 12 seconds of glow plug, max, but once did have to heat them 20 to 25 seconds when i did a start up in 20 degrees F, ambient. (February, and it was really really cold).

    I have heard that you should not have to use glow plugs for more than that, due to shortening the life of the plugs.

    Further, in the summer, after the engine was fully warmed up, a re-start did not require the use of glow plugs at all.
    Trivia: This was with the factory wiring harness, with the terrible "trailer plug" connectors in the harness at two points, too.
    1988 Olson 34 #8
    Sail # 28400
    Betamarine 25 (new 2018)
    Fresh Air
    Portland, OR USA

  8. #8
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    By "changed the starter" do you mean you replaced the starter with a new unit? I did that earlier this season for the same symptoms: good battery, no starting.

    Here are a few things I discovered in the process

    1 - There was an inline fuse (20A) in the starter circuit near the starter motor, under the alternator. One of those black plastic twist off tubes that holds a glass fuse. This was in the wire connecting the panel button to the selenoid, but was intact and OK.

    2 - There was *another* inline fuse right in the panel. This was hard to spot since it was just a glass fuse stuck in to metal clips which were soldered to short wires connected to a screw terminal on the key switch and (I think) the ammeter. just looking at the fuse caused one of the metal caps of the fuse to fall off and the panel went dark.

    3 - The ground wire to the block can get corroded: moist area, dissimilar metals, etc. I took mine off and wire-brushed the block and lug till shiny and reassembled. This is the only path for electricity to flow from the starter motor (and alternator!) so very important that that's clean.

    4 - The starter motor diameter is larger than the bolt-circle diameter of the two bolts holding it to the engine. There were small indents in the starter motor where a wrench or socket might fit, but I couldn't swing a wrench because of manifold on top and access on the bottom. In the end, I had to pull the motor body off the assembly to get access the bolt heads, and even then, none of my sockets would get to the bolts. I needed a shorter socket... At harbor freight I found some sockets that have little one-way sharp edges inside them meant for taking out worn/stripped bolts. These worked *amazingly* well at getting the starter motor bolts out.

    5 - As mentioned, the Kubota price is 1/2 the Universal price. But the drop-in compatible clone price was 1/2 the Kubota price so I got the clone for about $90. One of the benefits of this newer gear-motor clone model is that there is plenty of space near the bolt heads for easy access with normal sockets! The engine turns over and starts so fast now it ia almost undetectable from hitting button to running.

    -----

    I think the inline fuse near the starter is standard factory issue. The one in back of my panel was unique though. The typical schematics show one somewhere in the starter circuit, but definitely not wired where I found number 2 there.

    The quickest way to check the start wire circuit is to connect an alligator clip wire, first to the big + wire on the starter, then to a long screwdriver, then tap the energizing lug on the solenoid which should (with a spark probably!) crank the motor. Make sure you're in neutral first, or fuel shut off, or otherwise prepare motor to start running here. If that works your failure is somewhere between panel and starter. If first check the fuse(s) there.

    After replacing the starter and putting a new blade-type fuse in for the strange glass one I found behind the panel (30A here) I'm starting much better now. That said, there was once last weekend I had to push the start+glow-plug a couple times to get it to crank, so I also suspect the aging switches are, well, aged, and probably due to be replaced. Also discovered I can start and run the motor without turning the key on which was a surprise, never had tried it before by my passenger did it. I don't think it would run long because the lift pump is powered off the key switch... but that was interesting. Maybe a side-effect of the strange fuse wiring I discovered? Another winter project.
    Last edited by debonAir; 07-17-2019 at 08:34 AM.

  9. #9
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    One other thing to check early on is the starter button itself. Had to replace mine not too long ago. Pretty simple to check with a multimeter, but would be aggravating to pull your starter only to find it was the damn button itself.

    Kevin Wright
    E35 Hydro Therapy

  10. #10
    Principal Partner Tom Metzger's Avatar
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    This problem sounds like a classic Universal starting problem. I addressed this situation twenty years ago, but assume there are lots of engines out there that still have the problems. See http://www.ericsonyachts.org/infoexc...cations-How-To

    The problem of old switches, probably wired in series, and the small yellow/red wire from the start switch to the solenoid will provide the symptoms shown.

    DebonAir gave a procedure to test the solenoid and stater, but I think he has the alligator clip on the wrong source. There is no voltage on the starter until the solenoid operates. Put the clip on the big red wire on the solenoid coming from the battery switch. It always has 12V on it, and it is convenient. Touch the screw driver to the small terminal on the solenoid. I don't remember if it can be done with just the screwdriver without the wire.
    Tom Metzger
    E-34 Xanthus

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    A very sincere and heartfelt thank you to all who posted

    Okay.

    Just finished up and wanted to express my thanks to everyone who responded. All the checks that were advised were performed. I had already replaced the starter since it seemed to me the most likely problem. After that I was at a loss and really had not considered the starter push button switch and as soon as I removed the box cover I saw that the hot side (checked with d.m.m.) was cracked and almost broken. The wiring was a hot mess so that's another project that will be attended to soon. But again I want to express my gratitude for the all the rapid and very useful advice. Hope I get the chance to do the same some time.

    Dan

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    Actually, I had forgotten about the misery the glow plug switch had caused me (Forget the problems. Let the good times roll.). I had four switch failures. Three caused the system not to work and one left the glow plugs on 24-7 (not overly good for the plugs.). The wired system as the boat was delivered was awful and made worse by subsequent professional efforts. I did not like the system that pulled 25 amps from the batteries back to the back of the cockpit the ignition switch and through the glow plug and start button with inadequately sized wire. This was a fire waiting to happen. When I rewired, I added a relay (just like the starter or my diesel truck). Now the run of heavy current is 3 1/2 feet instead of 37 feet. The voltage at the glow plugs was 11.6 volts before and it now is 12.3. The cold starting ability has been transformed! Ten seconds at 28 degrees ambient. I also separated the glow function and the start function. There is no need to use glow plugs unless the engine is cold. There is a high convenience factor in only needing one hand on the panel and the wear and tear factor on the plugs is reduced.

    One of our members mentioned that a glow plug on light would be a good idea and I added one. Wow! Now I know for sure if the plugs are working or not and if they remain on due to switch failure. The only way I knew before then was the wire seemed overly hot.
    Bob Morrison
    1987 E-34 Hull #15
    "Terra Nova"

  13. #13
    Principal Partner Tom Metzger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supersailor View Post
    One of our members mentioned that a glow plug on light would be a good idea and I added one. Wow! Now I know for sure if the plugs are working or not and if they remain on due to switch failure. The only way I knew before then was the wire seemed overly hot.
    I know that everyone hates the ammeter on the engine panel, but that is what it is good for. When the glow plugs are energized the needle moves. It is just about the only reason to have the meter. That's better than a light that tells you the push button has been pushed - not that the glow plugs are energized. Of course, if you install a relay to power the glow plugs the ammeter doesn't help.

    On Xanthus the alarm buzzer I installed is voltage sensitive so it changes tone when the glow plugs are on.
    Tom Metzger
    E-34 Xanthus

  14. #14
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    Do you still have your ammeter in place? My panel has a working ammeter but I've read everywhere how this is dangerous / fire hazard / lowers charging voltage / etc. It seems that my entire panel to engine wiring has been replaced completely with no trailer-plug connectors remaining, but the ammeter wiring doesn't seem like its been upgraded to anything thicker than #10. My batteries are solar-charged / maintained so I am not really worried about top charge voltage, but do wonder what 30-40+ amps of charge current does to the 20+ feet of wire between alt. and batt. if I'm charging a low battery bank.

  15. #15
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    When I rewired and put the relay in, I changed the ammeter to a voltmeter. The ammeter at ankle level was rarely looked at. The voltmeter told me the alternator was working at a glance. A glance at a distance now tells me if the glow plugs are on or off whether the engine is on or off.

    This comes from a guy who hates idiot lights on cars and who is annoyed at the overly loud buzzers. Hard to please all of us!
    Bob Morrison
    1987 E-34 Hull #15
    "Terra Nova"

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