batteries dead?

boatman37

Well-Known Member
Jun 6, 2015
4,247
pittsburgh
Boat Info
2006 Crownline 250CR. 5.7 Merc BIII
Previous: 1986 Sea Ray 250 Sundancer. 260 Merc Alpha 1 Gen 1
Engines
5.7 Merc BIII
Bought 2 new batteries last week. 1 house and 1 starting. Same as I had the last 4 years in this boat. Went to start it tonight to warm it up to change the oil (long story there) and no go. Tried to crank but then died. Shore power has been plugged in for days. Tried with switch on B1, B2 and all. Checked with volt meter and have 13.7 volts on both batteries with shore power disconnected. Everything is turned off at the breaker panel. Any ideas? Only thoughts I could come up with is bad battery, which is unlikely as it won't start on either battery, or bad starter? Possibly loose connection somewhere?
Need help!
 
Stuck solenoid? Find it and tap with the back of a screwdriver.
 
Stuck solenoid? Find it and tap with the back of a screwdriver.
Doesn't seem to be a stuck solenoid. It will crank about 1/2 a revolution then stop like a dead battery
 
You said ‘tried to crank, then died’………so that means everything sounded correct at first and that the starter DID actually crank, even for a second?

if so, grounding and connections are far less suspect. If absolutely no crank at all, grounding and connections are Very suspect, IMHO.
 
yeah it turned but very slow maybe 1 revolution at most
 
Is this your first time starting it this season? And everything worked fine before the new batteries?

If so I'd look at the connections first, then the batteries. If you have a plug-in portable charger (110) with a start mode, and the boat starts on that, it would point to the batteries and rule out everything else and prove you have fuel/spark/etc and the starter/solenoid/connections are okay. Also would rule out something physical like it's hydrolocked.

It's unlikely (but not impossible) that the new batteries are bad. If they have the removable tops -- are they full to the top with water?
And the new batteries have enough CCA?

When you're plugged into shore power, can you tell if the on-board charger is actually charging the batteries? And you don't have some other situation drawing down the batteries?
 
Towards the end of last season started having starting issues but the batteries were 4 years old. Also, about the exact same time my one trim tab stopped working. They are electric Lenco units. Winterized it by pulling the normal hoses and filling with pink but it stayed in an underground mine all winter where temps don't go below 55* so no chance of it freezing. Bought 2 new batteries last week (24 series starting battery and 27 series house battery). Same configuration I have been running. IIRC the starting battery is 1000CCA but I'd have to look. Old batteries are pulled every winter so are not hooked up while in storage.
So tried to start it last night and had this issue. Grabbed my portable charger with boost and hooked it up and no difference. When hooked up on boost the volts read 16. something with my handheld volt meter. Unhooked shore power and portable charger and read 13.7 volts so batteries should be sufficiently charged.

Highly unlikely it is hydrolocked unless somehow pink got in the cylinders from pouring it into the hoses
 
Starter might be toast. I just went through this on one of my cars. I had the same symptoms as you, where it would start slow then not at all. It acted like a low battery. Replaced the battery since it was older, and would not even turn over with a charger on start setting. It turned out to be a bad starter. When you test it, are you hearing the starter solenoid click at all? Or if not the starter or the solenoid, perhaps the big wire to the starter is just loose enough.
 
Starter might be toast. I just went through this on one of my cars. I had the same symptoms as you, where it would start slow then not at all. It acted like a low battery. Replaced the battery since it was older, and would not even turn over with a charger on start setting. It turned out to be a bad starter. When you test it, are you hearing the starter solenoid click at all? Or if not the starter or the solenoid, perhaps the big wire to the starter is just loose enough.
I had one starter fail. Got it rebuilt and turned engine over about twice as fast as before. Had other starter rebuilt it also then turned engine over twice as fast. If your starter is original probably time to service. Coat $175 per starter.
 
13.7 is not your battery voltage. That is the left over voltage (surface charge as noted above) when immediately disconnecting it from the charger. Do your 12V items work? Use a bunch of 12V items (without the battery charger) for about 10 minutes. Disconnect any negative cable connecting batteries together. Wait a couple minutes and re-check your voltage DIRECTLY at each battery. What do the batteries show for voltage now?
 
Yup! Exact same thing last weekend with our 2 year old large commercial mower. That huge V twin, 30 horse motor didn't want to start with good battery. Turned out the contact in the bottom of starter was dirty and had a little corrosion on it. Cleaned it up and resealed the starter case and all is great. I havent checked to see if the boat starters can be taken apart and cleaned up. I have a old core, I might should check that.
 
Have you load tested the new batteries? A bad battery can show a good surface charge but once you put a load on it the voltage drops.

Jaybeaux
Yep, a proper battery load test should be performed with the battery completely disconnected and the correct tester should draw 200 amps for 10 seconds and the battery voltage should not drop below 10 volts.
 
Did you verify everything is good-n-tight on the batteries?
 
Did you verify everything is good-n-tight on the batteries?
yep. double checked those last night.

Haven't load tested the batteries as i don't have a load tester. might pull the batteries this weekend and have them tested after double checking all connections. if it is the starter then our boating season may be about over already...lol. i know i can't get it there to change it and last year we had about a 3 month lead time at local marinas for repairs and since we pull ours first week of september that isn't good...lol. will keep digging
 
+1 to @Phil S & his suggestion: ‘If so I'd look at the connections first, then the batteries. If you have a plug-in portable charger (110) with a start mode, and the boat starts on that, it would point to the batteries and rule out everything else and prove you have fuel/spark/etc and the starter/solenoid/connections are okay. Also would rule out something physical like it's hydrolocked’. Worth it’s weight in gold to avoid a whole bunch of issues, IMHO.
 
+1 to @Phil S & his suggestion: ‘If so I'd look at the connections first, then the batteries. If you have a plug-in portable charger (110) with a start mode, and the boat starts on that, it would point to the batteries and rule out everything else and prove you have fuel/spark/etc and the starter/solenoid/connections are okay. Also would rule out something physical like it's hydrolocked’. Worth it’s weight in gold to avoid a whole bunch of issues, IMHO.
boat does not start or act any different on my portable booster charger. Haven't had a chance to look at it since I posted this so no updates yet but hope to get a chance sometime this week to dig into it a little more
 

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