What's New?
  For Sale
  A History
  Email List
  Members Only
  Marine Weather
  Local Weather
  Contact Us
Forums / Technical / Palmer 27 Starting Problem  
The discussions for this thread include the following:

Posted: 03 Aug 2015 at 9:53am
I have a Oday Dolphin with a Palmer 27 at Wilmette Harbor that is having starting problems.

Basic situation is that when press the starter, the solenoid clicks but the starter doesn't move. Occurred after working fine last season and first part of this season (the length of time we have owned the boat). Checked the voltage across the starter-generator when starter pressed...looked good at 12.5V. When connect directly to the battery using jumper cables, nothing happened.

My working theory was that it was a starter-generator going bad. Installed a different starter-generator (from a parts boat) after hooking it up to a battery and checking to see if it worked (and it did). Worked fine in tests in the harbor. Started right up. Ammeter showed slightly positive on charging side. Thought things were good. Had a nice sail on Lake Michigan and then when pressed the starter, the solenoid clicked and the starter didn't move. Checked the voltage across the starter 12.5V. Had to sail into the harbor mouth. Checked with jumper cables to the battery later and nothing turned.

I worry that I have a situation where there is something wrong (with the voltage regulator?) where I am burning out starter-generators.

Have anyone else experienced this type of problem? Any suggestions?

Posted: 03 Aug 2015 at 12:50pm
Hi Doug

When I get tough questions I refer them to Mark Steinhilber, a naval architect, and former crew on his dad Dolphin Rascal. http://www.dolphin24.org/rascal.html

Below are his comments (edited)

Hi Ron: I would recommend removing and cleaning all ground connections from the battery to the motor as well as the other connections in the starting circuit. Even check the old cables for resistance.

I would also check to make sure that the engine cranks over by hand on the flywheel and that the resistance from compression feels normal. Or take the plug out and turn the engine to feel that everything seems "right."

(We used to have a problem from cooling water backflow back into the cylinder in very rough weather. We'd put a cork in the exhaust and had a large gate valve on the exhaust line that would get closed for sailing. But this would usually just drown the spark plug so that there would be no spark, a different problem than this, but cooling water getting back in the cylinder can hydraulically lock an engine.)

12.5 volts may be correct at the starter, but the battery is usually at 13.1 or more. This suggests corroded cable connections. The clicking solenoid also suggests low voltage. I may be wrong, but I think that the voltage regulator shouldn't affect the battery voltage to the starter/generator, but it does regulate the voltage that the generator produces. So I'd concentrate on all those connections first. The Palmer PW27 manual probably has a good explanation on the role of the voltage regulator and its importance to starting. The manual probably will give the right guidance on resolving this. I think I've seen this manual available on line.

(we have it on the website http://www.dolphin24.org/images%20two/Palmer%20manual%20Lui.pdf)

I remember seeing the manual online and it looked like the manual that we had with our boat. The Palmer PW 27 "Huskie" manual has good info on the starter/generator, voltage regulator, and adjusting the transmission bands for reverse too. The old porsches that I restore have problems with the grounds not having good connections causing no start. Mark S.

Good Luck
Ron, Marionette #12

Posted: 09 Sep 2015 at 7:26am
September 9, 2015. We spent the month worrying about Doug and his starter problem and just had to follow up and see if Mark's suggestions helped and to find out what was happening. Here's Doug's reply

Ron, Yes, but more in ruling things out.

My somewhat convoluted story - after the starter part of the Starter-Generator went dead on me, I pulled it off and tested it directly with cables to a battery. It was dead. I was able to get another starter-generator off a parts-boat Dolphin. Interestingly, it was a different manufacturer - perhaps across the years, O'Day changed the surrounding parts. After putting the replacement Starter-Generator in place and cleaning the connections, the engine started up fine and the amperage meter seemed to show it charging the battery.

Things seemed good. Motored out of the harbor. Had a nice sail. When time to come back into the harbor, pushed the starter and it was like before - nothing moved on the engine. Tried to get it started using the rope crank, but couldn't make that work. Ended up having to sail back to the harbor mouth and have a dingy come out and bring us in.

Found another starter-generator (I got a bit familiar with searching the Cub Lo-Boy tractor forums) on ebay. Also got a different voltage regulator that matched the Starter-Generator. I tried to look up the specs, but it wasn't straightforward, and the Voltage-Regulator was one of the common factors that could cause total starter failure if it went bad. But, I don't quite trust it, so I haven't hooked up the new Voltage-Regulator yet. Starting plus the fuel pump are the major load on the battery and we are only using the motor to get in and out of the harbor, so we just take the battery back home and charge it up after a sail. My Starter-Generator is only being used as a Starter.

Towards the end of the season I will get brave and hook up the Voltage-Regulator.


1 [Home] [A History] [Technical] [Restorations] [Stories] [Forum]
[Members Only] [Links] [Marine Weather] [Local Weather] [Contact Us]

© Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Website Design by EasyWebCreations.com & Powered by ASP Hosting