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Old 08-07-2012, 01:35 PM   #1
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Default Clicking when starting

Went out on Sunday and got a clicking sound when starting. Fired right up after 3-4 attempts and enjoyed the day. Stopped and started several times during the day with no problems. Charged all batteries and cleaned all connections yesterday. Same clicks on the first 2-3 attempts. Fired up right afterward and ran fine. Any thoughts? Starter maybe?
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Old 08-07-2012, 01:51 PM   #2
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Is there a single 'click'? It sounds like either the starter solenoid is going or the connection to the starter might be corroding or loose.
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Old 08-07-2012, 02:02 PM   #3
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It's several clicks. It clicks as long as I hold the key in starting position. Sounds kind of like something isn't catching.
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Old 08-07-2012, 02:12 PM   #4
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I would think if the battery is charged and terminals clean, it has to be dirty or loose connection somewhere. I'd start with the starter connection like Shrew said. Then check and clean the solenoid terminals.
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Old 08-07-2012, 02:33 PM   #5
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I'll start there this weekend.
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Old 08-07-2012, 04:02 PM   #6
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I would expect the solenoid to only click once, when contact is made. If it is going "click, click, click, click, click" while you hol dthe key in the start position, that sounds like the starter.
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:49 PM   #7
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Could you have a weak battery? That is the first thing I'd check.
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Old 08-08-2012, 04:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrsick View Post
Could you have a weak battery? That is the first thing I'd check.
That was the first thing I did. Charge the batteries & cleaned the connections.
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Old 08-08-2012, 01:10 PM   #9
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I had a similar thing happen with my 2004 3.0 Mercruiser a while back. On starting it would just click and not turn over. After a few tries with it just clicking it turned over perfectly and then like you said worked fine all day. Checked all connections and battery.
Turned out to be the SLAVE starter solenoid had gone bad. (You could feel/hear it was that clicking half way up the engine block above the main starter.) Much cheaper to replace than the main starter. I think you can use thick wire to jump the slave to test and feed the main starter direct but I try to avoid sparks in the engine bay!!
Has been perfect starting ever since. When I broke apart the old slave starter, the spring and plates inside had obviously corroded. I believe the plates slam together when voltage is applied and the clicking is them moving but not hitting each other or making enough contact?
Of course you may not have a slave starter on yours but hope that helps anyway. Good luck!
Cheers, Lee
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:09 PM   #10
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In general, if you turn the key to start and hear 1 click but the engine does not crank at all - no movement, it tends to be the actual starter motor itself. The motors have brushes (4 usually) and commutators (which the brushes contact) and the commutators are made up of many segments. The brushes ride on the surface of the commutator - which creates sparks and is why marine starters are sealed). When you turn the key to start power goes through the brushes and into the commutator which then causes the motor to spin. Because power (voltage and amperage) is applied so abruptly sometimes one of those segments gets damaged enough that when a brush lands on it cannot complete the circuit and the motor won't spin. Or, if the brushes are becoming worn out. Repeated abrupt application of power can sometimes nudge it just enough that it will spin (as can hitting the side of the motor housing with an hammer) but the symptom will likely keep happening.

If you get multiple clicks; click-click-click while holding the key in the Start position it's likely going to be a weak battery, weak connections, or a bad solenoid.
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