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Off season topic

Tom J

.
Sep 30, 2008
1,526
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
Winter in New England, and the boat is on the hard. While we had a great season last year cruising Cape Cod and the Islands, I thought this might be a good time to mention a few glitches we ran into, in the hopes other C310 owners could avoid these issues.
Prior to leaving Quincy, MA, for the Cape, I started the engine one morning, but something was wrong. The engine made a grinding sound, and when I pulled the fuel shutoff handle, the engine kept idling! I jumped below and pulled the engine cover, removed the air filter, and stuffed a rag into the outlet. Normally, on a diesel, this would kill the engine, but mine kept chugging away. Eventually, the engine slowed down and stopped, and a cloud of smoke enveloped the engine. The starter had fried, and I realized it had been engaged the whole time! I checked the starter button, and sure enough, it was stuck in the on position. The rubber boot had hidden the fact that the button was still depressed. Lesson learned; always check that the button doesn't stick.
After replacing the starter button, starter, and ANL fuse, we set sail for Cape Cod. The sailing was good until off Duxbury Beach, where the wind died. I went to start the engine, but nothing happened. I debated pulling the instrument panel apart to check the switches, which involves pulling the wheel off, and laying on top of a hot engine to check the starter, all while rolling around on the ocean. I opted for a free tow from Plymouth Boat US, finally putting my membership to good use. Fifteen minutes after securing to a mooring in Plymouth Harbor, I found a loose connection on the starter. They are the push on type of connectors, and I had neglected to crimp the connectors a bit, to make the connections more secure, so I belatedly did that. I also zip tied the wiring harness to make it more secure. Another lesson learned.
 
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leo310

.
Dec 15, 2006
232
Catalina Catlina 310 Campbell River BC
Had the same thing 3 years ago only I had to replace the starter. At the same time I replaced the ground wire as it looked as if it would fail at any time, as I was disconnecting it the lug fell off.
 
Nov 16, 2012
875
Catalina 310, 2000, #31 Santa Cruz
Had the same thing 3 years ago only I had to replace the starter. At the same time I replaced the ground wire as it looked as if it would fail at any time, as I was disconnecting it the lug fell off.
Leo, was that the ground cable on the engine chassis, probably size 1/0? Mine was bolted on the aft end of the engine. Real hard to get at; took me 15 minutes to figure out what size wrench to use.
 

leo310

.
Dec 15, 2006
232
Catalina Catlina 310 Campbell River BC
Yes it was on the engine side I now have it on the bottom starter bolt that way when I do the engine checks I can see all the connections.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,309
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
Yes it was on the engine side I now have it on the bottom starter bolt that way when I do the engine checks I can see all the connections.
One of the best upgrades I did was the ground buss at the engine. Hard to show a picture of it. I installed a Blue Sea Systems buss bar on the engine mount bed between the two mounts. All off my grounds go there including a ground from the alternator. A 2/0 awg wire connects the buss to the engine but with only the one wire it's easier to keep clean . Side benefit is I get 48 amps out of a 55 amp alternator in bulk. So a $70 alternator and $100 of wire and terminals and I get more out of my alternator than shore charger .
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,309
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
Tom,

I had the same issue 3-4 years ago. Remember switch the batteries off and you kill the starter if it happens again. I have been running without the rubber boot since so that I can see the button and will give it a couple of pushes before I try to start just to make sure it is working. We
 
May 20, 2016
2,883
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
Tom I hope you get the Mainsheet cause my next article (fall 18) will address this exact issue. If you want I can send you an advanced copy so you can see if you want to make proposed changes.

Les
Catalina 36 Mk 1 tech editor.
 

Tom J

.
Sep 30, 2008
1,526
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
Thanks, Jesse, I'll remember that. Of course, at the time, I had no idea it was an electrical issue. I'd assumed that since the engine was still idling after pulling the fuel shutoff, most likely there was sufficient fuel leaking through to keep the engine running. Usually, stuffing a rag in the air inlet will stop the engine in a case like that. I like your idea of removing the boot on the starter button.
Thanks, Les, I will be getting the issue of Mainsheet, and I will look for that article.
 
Oct 22, 2014
11,407
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
removing the boot on the starter button.
This appears to be a way of seeing the issue more simply. I know on my panel I have a water proof cover that protects the panel from splash when closed. Some Catalina’s I have observed have the panel in the open and subject to splash. Could your rubber booted switch be so designed to protect the switch and the user from electrical error? Perhaps you need to add a panel cover?
 
Nov 16, 2012
875
Catalina 310, 2000, #31 Santa Cruz
Here's an idea: swap the wiring for the glow plugs and starter in the panel. That way the push button is only used for the glow plugs and the key start switch now behaves like an automobile switch. I would think that the key switch is less likely to get stuck on, since there's more physical movement. As a bonus it would also make it easier for a novice user to start the engine, because the separate starter switch is not intuitive, although some might argue that's not a good thing.
 
May 20, 2016
2,883
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
Here's an idea: swap the wiring for the glow plugs and starter in the panel. That way the push button is only used for the glow plugs and the key start switch now behaves like an automobile switch. I would think that the key switch is less likely to get stuck on, since there's more physical movement. As a bonus it would also make it easier for a novice user to start the engine, because the separate starter switch is not intuitive, although some might argue that's not a good thing.
@marchem the way you describe is the method Seaview made the panels until about 1986, except instead of push buttons you have spring loaded toggle switches. It is how mine (1983) is currently wired. I think the reason for the change is that is one of two things. 1) the toggle would loose the spring and the glow plugs were burning out causing hard start and customer complaints. 2) cost of high amp ignition went up in price and with glow plugs now buffered by relays they were the low amperage draw. It should be noted that on a 3 cylinder like my M25 the glow plugs and starter solenoid both draw about 35A. One idea I’m toying with is to rewire like the 50’s early 60’s auto/truck diesels where the glow plugs come on with a key switch to on (with panel light when on). When light goes off turn key to second position for cranking. Much easier for newbies to do consistently as people are bad judge of time with out resorting to thousand one, thousand 2 .... and anything past 10 forget it.

Les
 

Tom J

.
Sep 30, 2008
1,526
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
This appears to be a way of seeing the issue more simply. I know on my panel I have a water proof cover that protects the panel from splash when closed. Some Catalina’s I have observed have the panel in the open and subject to splash. Could your rubber booted switch be so designed to protect the switch and the user from electrical error? Perhaps you need to add a panel cover?
Adding a panel cover would be very difficult to do on our boats. The switches are mounted on an instrument pod, and the pod is mounted at the helm, very close to the wheel.
 

Ward H

.
Nov 7, 2011
2,585
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
@marchem the way you describe is the method Seaview made the panels until about 1986, except instead of push buttons you have spring loaded toggle switches. It is how mine (1983) is currently wired. I think the reason for the change is that is one of two things. 1) the toggle would loose the spring and the glow plugs were burning out causing hard start and customer complaints. 2) cost of high amp ignition went up in price and with glow plugs now buffered by relays they were the low amperage draw.
Les
I'm intrigued by this idea of swapping the glow plug activation with the starter activation.
On my C30 panel the glow plug activation is via the ignition switch. The starter activation is the separate push button switch.
While I had seen this on other C30s I looked at it never dawned on me the ignition switch would have the temporary on position for the glow plugs.
Swapping the two might make it will be more intuitive for the Admiral to use.
The down side is she may forget to hit the glow plug button first, then the starter and crank the engine too much and cause a hydrolock.
Of course leaving it like it is she can still forget to warm up the plugs since one she turns the ignition on, she can hit the start button.
Have to give this some more thought.
 
May 20, 2016
2,883
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
If you do put the starter back on the key switch. Make sure the key can take the amps. Jut received a new Bosch Starter yesterday and it listed the test pull in current at 38A and hold Current at 12A. This is just the no load current to the solenoid not the current to the startermotor.

On these starters the solenoid is responsible for pushing out the starter gear, once pushed out onto the gears on flywheel it powers up the start motor to crank the engine.

Ward if worried about the spouse look again at the method I proposed above. It worked for years on millions of cars and trucks. It might be slightly harder on glow plugs but a new set is under $25 so very cheap!! Replace your push button with blue idiot light. Move starter to switch. Add timer to key on position to power light and glow plugs. Add relay before starter solenoid circuit.

Email me if you want more info.

Mahalo
 
Nov 16, 2012
875
Catalina 310, 2000, #31 Santa Cruz
If you do put the starter back on the key switch. Make sure the key can take the amps. Jut received a new Bosch Starter yesterday and it listed the test pull in current at 38A and hold Current at 12A. This is just the no load current to the solenoid not the current to the startermotor.

On these starters the solenoid is responsible for pushing out the starter gear, once pushed out onto the gears on flywheel it powers up the start motor to crank the engine.

Ward if worried about the spouse look again at the method I proposed above. It worked for years on millions of cars and trucks. It might be slightly harder on glow plugs but a new set is under $25 so very cheap!! Replace your push button with blue idiot light. Move starter to switch. Add timer to key on position to power light and glow plugs. Add relay before starter solenoid circuit.

Email me if you want more info.

Mahalo
Leslie, on the C310 both the glow plugs and starter are solenoid driven, so the current shouldn’t be much, although the wiring schematic shows #14 for the glow plug control line and #10 for the starter. I’ll try to measure the current draw one of these days and see. The fact that all of the current is going thru the switch in the run position makes me think that current in the ignition position won’t matter, but it does depend on the switch. I’ll try to upload the schematic from my desktop computer.
 
May 20, 2016
2,883
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
As I explained the starter solenoid takes 36+ amps. Don’t believe me measure it!!
 
Nov 16, 2012
875
Catalina 310, 2000, #31 Santa Cruz
As I explained the starter solenoid takes 36+ amps. Don’t believe me measure it!!
Is that the solenoid that’s part of the starter, or a separate relay that energizes the starter solenoid. 36 A seems like an awful lot for a relay.
 
May 20, 2016
2,883
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
My response was harsh and I’m on the second bottle of Champaign. Please excuse me. Your correct it all goes thru the switch so it won’t be worse than the other way around. I still think a relay on the solenoid is a good idea.

Les
 
May 20, 2016
2,883
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
36A is for the solenoid on the starter. It needs to overcome a heavy spring that pulls the “bendix” back when power is released. It’s not a starter that uses a true bendix which spins out with centrifugal force.