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This being spring and all, perhaps your battery has just gone flat while in storage over the winter. Be sure to disconnect it and place it on a battery charger overnight to ensure it is FULLY charged before you try anything else.

After that check to see if your boat is fitted with a main battery shut off switch, and if so, make sure it is in the ON position. Also check the Starter Circuit Breaker button in the engine compartment to ensure it is not tripped. This is also a good time to check all the fuses in the main power distribution panel while you are at it.

Also be sure to check that the negative terminal of the battery is connected securely to the engine block grounding stud. Unscrew, clean, then retighten this connection if possible since it is highly succeptible to corrosion and vibration. You may need to replace that battery cable altogether if it is in poor condition.

Also be sure to check for loose connections at the ignition switch and tighten them if necessary.

If those are not the problem, then you will have to use a voltmeter to check for voltage at each successive point in the system starting out from the positive terminal of the battery until you find the source of the problem.

Here is a link to a online Mercruiser forum website with some diagrams and discussions which may assist you in your troubleshooting:

Just use your mouse to click on the link, which is the underlined and highlighted text just above. This will open a new web browser page automatically for you and allow you to view the information and items at the website indicated.

Please comment back here to this page if you have any details to add, have any questions, have difficulty accessing the links, or just require further general assistance and I will respond as soon as I see it.

Thank you very much and good luck.


Posted on May 19, 2011


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Can't get it to start turn key on lights and dash gauges go from right to left but engine wont turn over battery fully charged?any ideA what might be wroung

look at relay and wire connections to starter if power to starter than starter solenoid or starter gone bad it no power check battery --key ,if worn ignition may not be reading key -if key has chip in it chip may have gone pad --ignition switch went bad

Jul 29, 2015 | Cars & Trucks

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Why won't truck stay running. Altenator bench tested good, but running test was low amps. Starter tested bad and replaced as well as corroded negative battery cable.

Your bad cable may have prevented the battery from being charged up good. Put a battery charger on it, or replace it if over 4 years old.

So the problem is it starts and then dies? How many amps did the alternator show? Was it enough to run all power circuits and charge the battery as well? That could be a concern. It is possible you have a bad ignition switch, but first check the fuse for the gauges in the instrument panel fuse block-it may be labeled "gauges" or "meter". The fuse should get power with key on, and then power is sent to the gauges on the dash. Without a voltmeter to test for power coming out of the switch, it's kind of a guessing game. If power is not getting to the gauges, it may also not be going elsewhere out of the switch.

Any issue with a security or theft alarm light staying on? That would disable the engine from running. Post back with year, make, model, and engine size. Maybe I could look at a wiring diagram for further help.

May 26, 2014 | 2000 Mercury Cougar

1 Answer

I have a 2000 chevy malibu drove it for a few days then the other day went to start it turned the key no dash lights like the battery or any of the others that usually come on the mileage dont come on...

Did you check all the fuses under the hood? That's where the ignition fuses would be. The same "run" wire to the ignition coils, when the key is in on or run, or the same set of run wires out of the ignition switch both to the dash warning lights and gauges, and to the ignition system on the engine, well they're all the same power source, and more so the computer gets power from the ignition switch being on as exhibited by the check engine light turning on when key is turned to on.
It sounds like the ignition switch is either not getting full power in, or it's not sending power out as it should.
Check your other battery power-do you have headlights? That would be entirely separate from the ignition switch, but it verifies that battery power is getting to the fuse and relay block under the hood. Is the cranking speed normal? not too slow?

Mar 04, 2014 | Chevrolet Malibu Cars & Trucks

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I have a 1982 dodge ram w150 318 4 speed when i turn the key i lose everything let me start from the beginning my truck started up then died then when I went to restart I heard a thunk then nothing last...

What happens when you turn the key to on? Do the warning lights and gauges come on? Turning the key to start, do the lights and gauges stay on? Just nothing at the starter?

Or does power just shut off when you turn the key to start, everything goes out, no warning lights or gauges? Then check cables, battery terminals, grounds for clean tight connections. There is a problem between the battery and the ignition switch.

If the switch still receives and sends power out (to the dash, for one) but start circuit is not working (from battery to ignition switch to clutch switch to starter relay to starter solenoid to starter to ground-and back to battery), then here's where we at: with key off, use a small screwdriver and short the big cable at starter to the starter solenoid small wire connection, or use a small jumper wire to do the same-battery cable at starter to the small wire connection on the starter solenoid. Starter motor should spin and crank engine. Does it? If so, start checking the start wire out of ignition switch for power when key is held in start. If you have a clutch switch, check for power in with key in start. Should have battery voltage to the clutch switch with key held in start. Keep checking the start wire along the start circuit. Not sure how the start relay is wired into the circuit, would have to see a diagram, but if you pull the relay out and use a test light or multi meter, could check for power on the terminals where relay plugs in. Key off, should have one terminal that is hot. With key held in start, at least one other terminal should also be hot. This would be the start wire out of ignition switch sending a signal to the relay.
Good luck, hope you find it. Sorry I don't have a wiring diagram to help you more.

Aug 30, 2013 | 2000 Dodge Caravan

3 Answers

Turn the key and nothing

Check battery cable connections. There should be a hot wire (hot at all times) to the ignition switch, and when key is turned the switch sends power out. Either the switch has lost the power in, or the switch is bad, not sending power out.
Do the headlights work? When key is turned to on, do the warning lights and gauges come on in the dash? Does the radio or any accessories work when key is turned? If nothing works, you need to check if the ignition switch is getting power from the battery.

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Yamaha boat engine

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Won't start turn ignition on does not crank gauges work battery is good already cleaned battery post and checked all fuses the voltage gauge in dash shows to be a little weak and the heater blower is not...

the best bet is to go to the started and check to see the signal wire is getting current when you try to crank it, if not you locate the signal wire on the starter which is the small wire and jump it with power, if it is not doing anything then your starter is bad. if it turns then your problem is somewhere else.

Feb 26, 2011 | 2000 GMC Sierra

1 Answer


With faults like that you need to take the boat to a Mercruiser agent. These people will have seen the same problem before and they also have all the electronic test equipment that will pinpoint where the fault is. You have done everything you can do. A Mercruiser is a marinised GMC engine, so you could also go to a GMC dealer if you know one.

Oct 14, 2017 | Boating

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