Help with Diagnosis engine failing to start

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Amoore's picture
Amoore
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Help with Diagnosis engine failing to start

After a lovely October sail on Fisher Island Sound we made our back to the marina.  We started the engine to head through Shaw’s Cove railroad bridge and to the poop deck (fuel dock) for our finally pump out of the season.
After the pump out was complete, the admiral attempted to start the engine to head to our slip. turned the key and pressed the glow plug button, nothing.  We checked the fuel shut off lever and re-attempted, nothing again. The engine was shut off as normal, by engaging the fuel shut off and turning off the key.  The instrument panel did not light up.  We checked the battery and had plenty of battery.
After getting back to the slip with dock crew towing us over, we plugged in to shore power and tried again. Nothing again.  Still no lights or gauges working on the instrument panel.  
I’m thinking it is the ignition switch, can anyone help diagnosis the issue.  Not sure what else it could be. Thank you
Amoore
1998 Catalina 36 MKII

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Siler Starum
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First thing popping up: have you checked your main-battery switch and the main 20-Amp fuse on the back-side (the red reset button) of the motor? 

Durk Nijdam
S/V "SILER"
Catalina 36MKII - 2001 / hullnr. 2013
Stavoren - Holland

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Amoore
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So I just pulled the instructment panel to test the ignition switch and check the wiring. All things looked normal. I pull the tape away from the ignition switch to be able to test the voltage. I turned the key to the on postion, heard the peeping, and the instrument panels lights were on. Held the glow plug switich for 20 seconds and she started right up. Must be a short in the wiring.
Any insignt in to the root cause would be appreicated? Thanks

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Haro
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Since you have not indicated having done anything else other than removing the tape off of the ignition switch to make it work, I would think you located the trouble on fist try. I would replace the ignition switch.

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pkeyser
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Agree with Haro. Additionally, you don't have a "short" if you have no blown fuses or  smell of hot wires. You have either a bad iginition switch or some other broken or corroded contact preventing current from flowing.

Paul & Wendy Keyser
"First Light"
Newburyport MA/Rye NH
2005 C36 MKII #2257
Wing, M35B

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Amoore
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The saga continues.  I did have the boat yard mechanic look at the issue but he could find anything and could not get the engine not to start.  Since the initial non start in Oct,  Amoore has started up just fine until this weekend. We sailed to Lake Montauk and anchored.  The next morning turned the ignition switch and no power. I had plenty of battery.   I had purchased a new ignition switch but never changed it as things seemed to be ok.  I changed the ignition switch to the new one and replaced the 10amp fuse.  Still no start up or power to the instrument panel. Believing in the old adage if it aint broke don't fix it.  I put all the old part back on as the new parts did not help.  Then I checked the engine compartment for loose or discounted wires. No sign of anything frayed or burnt wires.  Although I did move and jiggle a few wires while checking the harnesses.  I did I also reached back to my old car mechanic days before computers and space to work inside the hood.  I lightly tapped the starter and solenoid.  Closed up the engine compartment and gave it one more try before calling Boat USA for a tow us out of the lake and sailing back home.  Much to the Admirals delight the ignition switch fired up the engine.  When we got back after our 4 hour motor sail. The Admiral directed me not to shut off the engine.  We docked, turned off the engine, cleaned up, had lunch.  Tried to start to start engine and it started.  Speaking with the mechanic other than buying a new wire harness and rewiring. He suggested I wait and install a starter switch and if it happens again while away from our home port we can start the engine and he could investigate the issue.  What are your thoughts on the issue? Any input would be greatly appreciated. 
 

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pkeyser
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Have you checked the ground to the engine? I had a similar intermittent experience with our C30. I found the engine ground wire had corroded inside the connector. It looked fine from the outside, but the wire readily separated from the terminal with a slight pull.

Paul & Wendy Keyser
"First Light"
Newburyport MA/Rye NH
2005 C36 MKII #2257
Wing, M35B

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Amoore
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I'll double check engine ground wire for corrosion at the connector. Certainly worth the look. Thank you

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