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2005 Crest pontoon boat with 90HP Mercury outboard and a Quicksilver controls package. About 120 hrs on the motor. Here's what happened: A. Shut engine off while on the water to watch sunrise. B. When attempting to turn back on - the key would over rotate - the switch was loose on the panel. Tightened it up. C. Turned to ON position - and nada. Navigation lights and horn would still work. Tach. needle would go BACKWARDS when key was in START position D. Got towed back to the dock, and put a car charger on the unit. Amps on the charger went to 4 (units) for awhile - like it's done with a dead car battery. While connected, I tried to power tilt the motor up and it went briefly then quit. Battery charger now less than 1 amp on the needle. E. Removed the battery and attempted to charge it - same thing - less than 1amp on the charger as if it wasn't accepting any charge. F. Replace battery with a new one of like capacity. G. Connected only for 30 sec or less... got sparks at hookup but nothing with key in START and couldn't tilt motor. Noticed some burned wiring insulation smell at battery area so disconnected the battery. I'm a reasonably decent troubleshooter - but am not averse to having someone else fix. Any clues about what to look for - for me, or for the service tech would be helpful.

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  • terry_stoa Oct 12, 2010

    Spent some time looking at the wiring below the console and did find a single section of black with some melted insulation and bare spots. If there are other such wires it's not obvious. It appears to me that the key switch was replaced previously - based upon the way the wires have been apparently spliced - I'm sure a new/original harness has no such splices near the switch itself.



    I plan to inspect the boat motor end of the entire harness this evening.



    There's no good place to check for wire continuity - as the wires are sealed into the key switch.

  • terry_stoa Oct 15, 2010

    Replaced the ignition wiring harness today - no luck. Appears to be no voltage coming TO the ignition. Thought it might be as simple as a blown fuse (which could've blown when something shorted and caused the insulation to melt off of one black wire)... but no - they all check OK.

    Time to take it to the doctor, in spite of the fact that I've even found an excellent service manual on-line today. So much for the boating season.

  • terry_stoa Oct 15, 2010

    The "sparks from the battery when you connect it" is a good clue. I've noticed that with certain ignition wiring harness wires connected, I get sparks when reconnecting the battery positive terminal leads - mostly not. I've replaced the harness itself (includes the keyed ignition cylinder) and am 99% that's not the problem. I'll double-check some wiring diagrams and will be in a better position to try a couple of things before I just give up and let a dealer do it.

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  • Master
  • 2,047 Answers

Well the only problem you have with your unit are the burnt cables. Trouble shooting carried out by you was excellent but at this stage it would be better to get someone else fix it. The cables that got burnt are the cables to the alternator which is supposed to charge the battery and ensure that as power is drawn from the unit the battery remains charged.
The first battery will not charge because it has been totally drained and maybe a cell or two has been damaged due to excessive use.
Simply the best thing to do is trace the burnt wires and replace them. But a tech would be better because he can also help you trace why the wires got burnt in the first place.
Hope this solution has been helpful?

Posted on Oct 15, 2010

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  • Master
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Sounds like the problem is the ignition key itself. You said it was loose when you went to start it back up but was it loose before? If it wasn't and the ignition set has shorted it will cause all the problems you have stated. A new ignition key unit shouldn't run more than about $20 if that. Your other option is to disconnect from the motor and tilt motors and see if you get sparks from the battery again when you connect it. if you don't then you know the problem is electrical in the tilt/trim motor or the motor itself. A bad strator will cause this as will a bad magneto, both are unlikely with so few hours on the motor. My first look would be the ignition itself since that is the place you first noticed a problem.

Posted on Oct 15, 2010

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  • Master
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Hi.

You have a short somewhere in the ignition wires. It should not be difficult to troubleshoot, but you will probably need to replace the ignition cylinder.
From what I understood, problem is likely restricted to remote control, the motor shoud be OK (good thing).

To find short (or eventually broken contacts), you need to get a multimeter (eg one here). Set the multimeter on Impedance(Ohms). With multimeter on Ohms test the ignition and the wiring harness. Check if there is contact between different wires, and if wires that should not be connected have continuity.

If there is contact between two points of a wire or between different wires, impedance reads zero Ohms or very low (circuit closed-continuity). If there is no contact, it reads infinity, same as on air (circuit open-no continuity).
If you do not find anything, that means that the short happens occasionally with vibration, in that case replacing the whole wiring harness is advisable.

Before proceeding check remote controls (or motor if concerned) documentation, find the support number and give them a call to check warranty status. Sometimes manufacturer gives more than one year on parts.

If you repute my solution helpful, then please take some times to accept the solution. Providing good repair tips requires time and skills, and your feedback is important for us.

Regards.

Ginko.

Posted on Oct 11, 2010

  • Ginko
    Ginko Oct 12, 2010

    Hi.

    If wires had been spliced, then the repair was probably done in attempt to adapt a different ignition cylinder to the remote kit. This kind of repair often causes troubles afterward.

    Check if there is continuity between different poles connected to the ignition barrel, there you should get open, if contact is closed, then there is a short.

    If problem is as described, I suggest replacing the whole wiring harness with a kit including harness and switch. Adapting or repairning parts, as done previously on this boat may result in a short that can potentially damage the ignition coil in the outboard motor, excalating the fault to something that will require a more expensive repair (a contact keeping circuit to coil closed will blow the coil, a short may damage battery and motor internal wiring and ignition).

    Here parts.

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