Mercury 15HP 2 Stroke - Electric Start Not Working

Discussion in 'Outboard Maintenance' started by Dillusion, May 31, 2012.

  1. Dillusion

    Dillusion devilray snob

    The previous owner of this outboard, Mercury 15HP 2 Stroke 2002, has only used the pull handle. The battery box on the boat is forward mounted and the outboard cables never reached, so he never used the electric start. The pull start works great.

    Today I tried the electric start, and no go. I can hear the solenoid click when I press the button on the tiller, but it doesnt start up.

    Any ideas? Do I need a new starter? Could my kill switch be defective? I tested the kill switch out yesterday to make sure it functioned, and the outboard started fine with the pull start, and died just fine with the kill switch...
  2. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Make sure the starter bolts attaching it to the block are tight.
    If loose the starter may not be fully grounded and blocking full current flow.
    Enough ground for the solenoid, but not for the amperage needed for the starter.
    And starters do short out, especially in the marine environment.

    This link is meant for automotive use, but the process is the same.

  3. cutrunner

    cutrunner Cert. Yamaha technician

    Do NOT tap the starter with a hammer!!!!!!!!!!!!!, if you do, chances are your going to need a new one for sure
  4. Gramps

    Gramps Living &amp; Dying in 3/4 Time

    Make sure you battery has enough juice, my Merc 25 had the same symptoms after I nearly toasted the battery... The starter was fine, just was not receiving enough power to spin up.
  5. fsae99

    fsae99 I Love!

    If you heard the solenoid click check the battery, then check the solenoid, then the starter. If is was kill switch you should not hear anything.

    Battery should be up around 12.8 volts, if it is down to near 12 volts or less it needs to be charged or replaced. Try charging first. Assuming all is well.

    Solenoid is nothing more than a electromagnetic switch, when current is applied one side is magnetized and "lifts" an internal contact across the battery in and battery out poles completing the positive wire to the starter.

    Take the negative lead from a multi meter and ground it on the motor, take the positive lead and hold it to the energizer wire (small wire that goes to solenoid from starter switch) hit start switch you should read battery voltage.
    Assuming all is well.

    Take a jumper cable (only use the red side) hook to positive side of battery and the hook to battery+ out pole of solenoid. If starter works then bad solenoid. You MUST NOT touch motor or any metal parts. Once on the water I cut a square out of the top of a plano box to use as a shield to do this to combat a failed solenoid.

    If the above did not work then most likely starter is bad.It is really best to remove starter to test.
  6. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Oooops.... :-[ been there done that when all else failed 18 miles offshore.
    It was enough to change the position of something in the starter so it would and we got home.
    A little r-n-r (remove and replace) took place before the next trip out.

    I was raised in the school of "if at first you don't succeed, get a bigger hammer!." ;)
  7. Creek Runner

    Creek Runner Well-Known Member

    Like every one else has said, check your battery is fully charged,

    Make sure all connections are tight,

    Next jump the starter if it works then replace the solenoid

    Do this by taking a small peice of 4-6 gausge wire and  touch it from the battery hot side on the solenoid to the hot post directly on the starter.

    Also if your kill switch was bad it would turn over all day long it just wouldn't fire off, as the kill switch interupts the fire of the enige by shorting out to ground before the coils. (so the starter would work just fine) Now if it were the saftey netural switch you wouldn't hear anything.
  8. Dillusion

    Dillusion devilray snob

    Thanks guys, I will be troubleshooting this tonight after work if weather permits.
  9. Dillusion

    Dillusion devilray snob

    Ok guys:

    I attached the electric start cables to my deep cycle nice and tightened down with a wrench, no go. Solenoid clicks and no starting.

    I took a jumper cable and hooked it to the positive side, and then touched the positive wires bolt on the engine, still no start.

    I then touched it to the other cables screw for a few seconds...then I realized this was the negative post and it sparked so I. Never did that again lol

    When I overlooked the wires, I noticed that the ground wire, about four feet down from the engine has some small cuts in it with corrosion leaking out...could this be an issue?
  10. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Yes, I'd replace it.
    Resistance can be checked for using a volt/ohm meter.
  11. Creek Runner

    Creek Runner Well-Known Member

    As Brett said replace any wires that are corroded .

    Did you take a jumper wire from the hot side of the solenoid (this will be the + wire coming from the battery attaching to the solenoid) to the Starter directly? There is a stud that sticks out of the starter motor that has a wire going from it to the solenoid.

    Use a heavy gauge wire 4-6 about a 12" long and jump from the solenoid to the starter, it will arc and throw a spark a little, but the starter should engage. If it doesn't you have a bad starter. Make sure when you do this your kill lanyard is in the off position so the motor doesn't start.
  12. Dillusion

    Dillusion devilray snob

    I took a 6ga wire and touched the yellow wire post coming from the bottom of the starter to the positive screw on the solenoid but nothing happened.

    If the main ground is bad could this still be the cause?
  13. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Disconnect the cables from the boat battery.
    Grab a set of automotive jumper cables.
    Ground the starter to the negative terminal of the battery
    connect the red side of the jumper to the positive terminal of the battery
    and touch the red jumper to the positive stud to see if it spins.
  14. Dillusion

    Dillusion devilray snob

    What I think is the positive starter stud underneath very hard to get to, there is no way an alligator clip is fitting down there
  15. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Which is why when testing, the starter is removed from the engine
    and worked on at the bench...

  16. Dillusion

    Dillusion devilray snob

    Ok I did this...

    I removed the battery cables, connected the negative post on the battery to the negative terminal on the solenoid/post where a bunch of other stuff is grounded.

    I then connected the positive side of the battery to a 6ga wire and I touched the positive post on the bottom of the sparked a few time but nothing happened.

    I repeated this three times and nothing happened.
  17. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Dead starter. :'(
  18. Dillusion

    Dillusion devilray snob


    Is this a DIY Fix? I'm qualified if I had a tutorial...

    I'm also having trouble finding the replacement starter? Used or new...Cheapest possible ;D
  19. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    I''ve attempted it, killed a weekend.  :D

    Much easier to take it to a rebuild shop and swap the old one for a rebuilt one.
  20. Dillusion

    Dillusion devilray snob

    I don't mind spending $100 on a used one...

    I don't see anything on that website? You can rebuild a starter?  :-?

    Does this have to be a marine shop?