My boat has no spark!

Tristan123Tristan123 Posts: 14 New Baller
Here is a YouTube link to a video of the problem I'm having. The boat ran when I parked it 2 years ago but now it won't fire at all. No spark coming out of the coil to the distributor cap. Thinking it's a safety issue. I have gone through all the regular with the safety lanyard. And the video I will show the neutral safety switch cable is broke. It only broke a little while ago but, I believe this cable just prevents the boat from turning over when in gear. And it was turning over and not cranking before the cable broke. I broke the cable by trying to turn the safety by hand because the solenoid has never worked since I got the boat. This has worked before when the boat would not turn over. Any help is appreciated!



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Comments

  • eyepeelereyepeeler Posts: 234 Baller
    edited June 27
    Check/clean your canon plug.
    Matt Dillon
    Tristan123
  • Tristan123Tristan123 Posts: 14 New Baller
    What is the cannon plug? I am a diesel mechanic and I'm not very good with gas engines or electrical problems associated with how a gas engine works. Thank you.
  • RednucleusRednucleus Posts: 842 Mega Baller
    edited June 27
    I believe the servo thing with the busted wire is your Perfect Pass servo, not a safety and should not have anything to do with your no spark condition.
    If you have not already done so, join the MalibuCrew; fantastic resource for all things Malibu and they have great "no start troubleshoot" stuff to keep you busy reading for hours!!
    Tristan123
  • Tristan123Tristan123 Posts: 14 New Baller
    That makes so much more sense! The only reason I thought it was a safety of any sort was because it said ignition protection verified or something similar on the front plate. You know now that I think about it, I was having some issues with every now and again the key wouldn't do anything and I would have to bump the key a few times to get it to turn over. I need to check that Canon plug like previously mentioned. After that probably an ignition switch. And so on so forth. I tried to use that website but, it appears I already have an account and I do not know the password and I tried resetting it but never got the reset email. I will try again! Thank you so much for your help!
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,796 Crazy Baller
    edited June 27
    @Tristan123 the servo that you're mulling over is part of the PerfectPass system. By your video and written comments it appears that you're not familiar that system. It is a speed control and has no impact on spark or starting. Go through a basic electrical troubleshooting routine similar to any auto, adding on neutral safety and kill switch.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
    Andre
  • Tristan123Tristan123 Posts: 14 New Baller
    As stated earlier I am a diesel mechanic. Never worked on a boat before. I got the boat for a really good price and I am completely unfamiliar with anything to do with ski boats. I don't know much of anything about their electrical system. The plate is on said ignition protection so I just assumed it was some sort of safety switch. I guess I should also put out there that I only just turned the 19, I'm still young and have not had the experience of working on all different kinds of things yet. But, after I bought a diesel truck and had to work on it myself and learn how to fix it, that spiraled into me working on a lot of diesels. However when it comes to a boat this is the first. I don't really have a expendable income to spend a whole lot of money on a boat but I got a really good deal on it. I mean a stupid good deal. It probably hurt your feelings if I told you how cheap I got this boat. They cleaned up really nicely too. Aside from being a diesel mechanic I also have a lawn business, I do tree work and I have a job at a shop as a small engine mechanic. I have worked on quite a few vehicles and have dealt with my fair share of electrical issues but, I know nothing about what type of safety switches a boat would have. Nor do I have a wiring schematic on the wiring on this particular boat. So no, I do not know anything about the perfect past system on this boat except I know that it has cruise control and is designed to help skiers / boat drivers to make it easier to do certain things while skiing like, doing loops around the boat or something similar. I know nothing about water skiing either. Hoping to take my family tubing with this boat. Might get some water skis at some point.

    All of that being said, I was hoping everybody on here could help me learn more about these books which all are doing a fantastic job of so far! And I am very appreciative to have your help! You have my gratitude! Sorry I wrote an essay LOL
  • brodybrody Posts: 361 Solid Baller
    Check your ignition module
    Andre2Valve
  • igkyaigkya Posts: 845 Crazy Baller
    We had a similar problem with no spark at the cap/rotor, replaced both and all has been well ever since.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 5,203 Mega Baller
    You have a few things going on... That cable you are playing with is a speed control it has no interlock to the ignition system.

    There is a switch on the transmission that is two eyelets that is for "neutral" that you can disconnect or jumper, and there is a kill switch with a lanyard that interrupts power from the key to the engine.

    Those are the only 2 "safety" circuits.... In gear and In seat.

    The bit you are tugging on is essentially a servo motor that takes up slack. So 0 slack on that is full throttle and 100% slack on that is idle - boat would still start it would just be stuck at idle - does it need to be fixed? Yes or just disconnect the other end of its cable at the throttle body and then you have no speed control.

    Think about that like a governor on a lawn tractor - which you know about. At one end you have a manual throttle and the other end you have a carb/throttle body, and in between you have a bit that lets it go as fast as the throttle lever, but in between is a unit that slows the engine down. If the RPM is too high that bit feeds out rope which slows down engine, but it can only be as fast as the throttle linkage will allow.

    So what you broke is the "governor" of the engine. Only its an electric one and what it does is feed out rope which reduces engine RPM.
  • Tristan123Tristan123 Posts: 14 New Baller
    Okay so broken governor. Not a big deal right now. I need the thing to run before I mess with that. I tested for voltage at the ignition coil. The wire that is supposed to received voltage is not receiving anything.
    I'm trying to take my Cannon plug off so that I can inspect it but it is so seized that it will not come off. For some reason there was a hose clamp on the plug itself holding it for some reason and I cannot get it to come off yet. Any tips and tricks? I took a pic and loosened up the rubber seal that had been created from the hose clamp squishing it. It is still just seized in there.
  • Tristan123Tristan123 Posts: 14 New Baller
    I retract my previous statement. There is voltage at the ignition coil. Turns out the wire has to be plugged in to have voltage lol.
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,796 Crazy Baller
    edited June 27
    I'd go with a new cap and rotor. Probably needs it whether or not that's the cause of a no start. It's not really just hanging parts.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • Tristan123Tristan123 Posts: 14 New Baller
    I took my distributor cap off. It looks terrible. Corrosion all over. Looks nasty. And of course as per usual when doing any mechanic work on an older engine, the hardest to get to distributor cap bolt broke. Not sure how in the heck I'm going to get that out.



  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,796 Crazy Baller
    Drill it and try an easy out
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
  • Bookm_danoBookm_dano Posts: 107 Baller
    OK so that black thing bolted to the distributor base with the two plugs on it is the ignition module. That tends to crap out over time but usually causes misfire and loss of power rather than complete loss of spark. It's easy to change. Underneath that brown ring is a pick up coil which sends a signal to the engine control computer. Mine died and caused complete loss of spark... Running when I parked it dead the next morning. It's harder to change... Requires removal of distributor. Probably a good idea to rule out other issues first.

  • Bookm_danoBookm_dano Posts: 107 Baller
    Also, try some penetrating oil and needle nose vice grips on that broken screw.
  • Tristan123Tristan123 Posts: 14 New Baller
    I tested the pickup coil, checked out good. I have voltage at the ignition coil. Unfortunately, the broken bolt is in a tough spot to get to. If I remove the crossover line for the fuel injection rails, I might have enough room for a drill. Not sure. Definitely not any room for vice grips. Not a chance. I do have an idea though. There is another hole directly beside the one with the broken screw that is just like the one with the broke off screw in it. It's for the centering pins on the distributor cap. I could get another bolt just like the one that broke off and thread it into that hole after making a small hole in the distributor cap right where the centering pins is. There's plenty of plastic flange there to drill on. Of course this will be a last resort. Going to try not to have to do that But it's better than replacing the whole distributor. I have been talking about with a kind member named 2Valve. He wrote a bit of a manual on how to diagnose fire on these engines and I have been on the phone while he talked me through my tests. The only thing that didn't check out 100% from what I understand is the switching wire that is supposed to be feeding the fluctuating pick up coil voltage to the ignition coil. The wires that do this are definitely getting voltage but I cannot tell if it is a pulsating voltage like it should be because I'm not using LED test light I'm using a incandescent bulb test light so the light just stays on. If I understand correctly, the switching wire from the pickup coil should be pulsing on and off with the engine turning over. Here is a link to the video. He recommended LED so maybe that is why mine is not pulsing.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/EgSdSyWZDc2EuGp76
  • Skoot1123Skoot1123 Posts: 2,189 Mega Baller
    @Tristan123 - if you have access to a welder you could spot weld / tack an Allen wrench head or bolt to the broken off bolt and try to get some leverage in that manner.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 5,203 Mega Baller
    With how yours looks I would probably just replace the entire assembly.

    A new marine distributor will come with a new coil, new ignition module, new cap, new rotor, and no corrosion for under 400 bucks.

    Or you'll be in ~150-200 for all the parts.
    Rednucleus
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 3,904 Mega Baller
    call vince!
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.


    brody
  • Tristan123Tristan123 Posts: 14 New Baller
    Well, I installed the new distributor cap and rotor today. Still no spark at the plugs or coming out of the ignition coil. I believe I have diagnosed a bad ignition coil. But I would like to maybe replace the distributor anyway. Couple of questions. What brand is safe/trustworthy? How do you go about replacing the distributor? I watched a vid and from what I see, you have to have the motor at top dead center on cylinder one, put a mark on the block where the rotor is pointing, loosen the 1 hold down bolt, pull the distributor out letting it rotate counterclockwise, and install the new one in the same spot so that the rotor ends up pointing at the mark on the block. Is that really all there is to it? The video I watched he just put a screwdriver in the driver side front cylinder (cylinder 1 on sbc's) and had somebody bump the starter over until the screwdriver was all the way at the top. But, he did not go in depth about if it needs to be at true top dead center on a compression stroke or if the piston on cylinder one just needs to be at the top. Again, I know I've said it's a few times but this is new to me. The world of diesel is completely different so I may sound like an idiot but I'm hoping to be called out if so! Thanks in advance!
  • Tristan123Tristan123 Posts: 14 New Baller
    Also put a hot battery in it today as well. Previously I had to have my truck constantly running hooked up to it to crank the boat over. That is not a problem anymore.
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 5,203 Mega Baller
    @Tristan123 skidim for the part.

    That is the process TDC is nice, I'm too lazy so I just point the rotor at something like a bolt on the engine or use a ruler along the rotor and make a mark.

    There is a helical gear so the rotation is just to get the gears to slide apart.

    One tooth difference is alot forget the number but like 20 degrees so it's either going to go back in pointing where it was or somewhere way off so just back out and a slight turn and back in and voile.

    So long as the rotor points in generally the right direction and the distributor body is roughly in the same orientation (where the ICM box sits) timing should be close enough to start and run and then you need to get in timing mode and fine tune.

  • Tristan123Tristan123 Posts: 14 New Baller
    I'm kind of confused by the very first part of your comment. Are you saying the motor does not have to be at top dead center to change out the distributor? You can just pull it out at any point? Just make sure you have a reference point so you can put it back in the same spot? Also, I know absolutely nothing about timing.😑 Diesels don't have that.....
    I believe my dad knows how to set timing though so I will talk to him. Thank you for your help!
  • LeonLLeonL Posts: 2,796 Crazy Baller
    edited June 29
    It does not have to be at TDC. If you choose to find TDC, stick your finger in the hole of number 1, then have someone bump it over. You'll feel the compression push your finger out. Then line up the timing mark on the damper (also known as harmonic balancer) with the timing tab at zero. This will insure that the rotor is pointing at number 1 in the cap and when you put the wires in the new cap you start at the right spot. Don't go sticking a screw driver in the hole.
    Leon Leonard Stillwater Lake KY - SR Driver SR Judge
    rawly
  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 5,203 Mega Baller
    Well diesels have ignition pump timing so.... yes.

    The gear to gear mesh is what you are aiming at so if you were to be building up an engine from scratch you'd need to get the crank cam and distributor all lined up.

    But at this point we can cheat. Like if you put yellow paint dots on everything on a timing belt the belt pullies etc and made sure they were all back you'd be golden.

    In this case so long as the rotor points to where it did before you are set. And since it's like 20 degrees one way or the other....
  • Tristan123Tristan123 Posts: 14 New Baller
    Of course I'm aware that some diesels have ignition timing for the injection pump. It's just not the same. I have never messed with a gas engine before. At least not doing timing. Not all diesels have injection pumps that are driven off the camshaft though. Like for instance, the 7.3 L international found in the '99-03 Fords. It has a cam sensor. No timing to set. Just plug the sensor in. I was just trying to not go into details about it because it wasn't important. But anyway I'm getting off topic. 😉

    I've got it figured out now thanks to y'all! Thank you all for your help. Maybe after all this I will know a decent bit more about timing on a gas engine. I will report back when the ignition coil comes in on if that was the problem or not. Wish me luck!

  • BraceMakerBraceMaker Posts: 5,203 Mega Baller
    Coil can be checked with a volt meter set to ohms
  • AndreAndre Posts: 1,864 Mega Baller
    edited June 29
    @Tristan123 Go there and read some...
    https://easyautodiagnostics.com/gm/4.3L-5.0L-5.7L/how-to-test-the-icm-1

    Edit: Not exactly the site i was looking for.Still looking ...
    My ski finish in 16.95 ...but my ass is out of tolerance!
  • 2Valve2Valve Posts: 486 Crazy Baller
    @Tristan123 What resistance values did you come up with for the primary and secondary windings of your coil?

    Note that the coil can show correct values but still have a connection problem with the two 2-pin connectors. Mine did and it took me a week to figure it out.
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