Universal M25 with Novatron panel engine starting problems

Nov 26, 2019
Oday 34 Port Clinton
I am having issues with starting my 1983 Universal M25 with Novatron control panel. I have replaced the starter/solenoid, both batteries, ground cables between engine frame and batteries, cleaned the connection at the engine frame, and the solenoid only clicks in on pressing the start pushbutton and will not crank the engine.

This has been happening when the engine is cold, and takes up to 6 attempts to get the engine crank.

Usually, after warmed up, no longer an issue, the solenoid will pull in and the starter will crank the engine and start right up after warm up and shutdown, regardless of which battery.

But yesterday, after 6hours of motor sail and consequent shutdown of the engine, I attempted to restart (just to test the situation) and the starter went into solenoid click mode without cranking the engine. I tried both batteries same result.

After overnight cool down, this morning the usual sequence, 4 click tries on battery number one before it would crank.

Anyone have similar issues and find resolution? I am considering changing the battery switch to starter cable and the starter pushbutton, but swapping out parts is getting rather frustrating.
Feb 26, 2004
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
The usual answer to this is to check the fuse and fuse holder between the start button and the solenoid. However, the failure of the fuse usually means NO clicks at all, so maybe that's not your issue. Good luck.
Jun 11, 2004
Oday 31 Redondo Beach
The attached service bulletin may be if interest if the wiring hasn't yet been upgraded.

I'm surprised Stu didn't mention this because I first heard about it from him many years ago but has the wiring through the ammeter on the panel been fixed from the original configuration. Maybe there aren't any engines left out there without being upgraded but just in case you are not familiar with it you might want to read this:

Universal Diesel Engine - Wiring Harness Upgrade - Marine How To