I have a starter issue with my '82 332 Commander starboard engine (Mercruiser 455). First I thought that I have a solenoid issue as it wouldn't engage and renovated the starter. This didn't help and now I have diagnosed the problem to be somewhere between the ignition switch and the solenoid. I get "juice" to the ignition switch and also in "start" position it goes further on, however, measuring at the solenoid there's no voltage.

My question to you, who know, is that;

-is there a starter relay somewhere and if there is, where should I try to find it?

If there isn't a relay, I reckon I just have to follow the wire from the ignition switch further and try to find out where the problem is in the wire itself

Grateful for any help and thanks in advance for good ideas!

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I have had a problem with my ignition switch, it allows the key to go past the point of the start position.  Turning all the way to the right passes the start contact.  I would not think this to be a problem for you but wanted to make you aware.  My guess is there is a open in that circuit.  I keep several long 12 gauge wires on board with good alligator clips on each end just to help diagnose problems like this.  Clip one end to the start post and one to the solenoid and see if the starter fires.

Best wishes,


I checked the ignition switch, tore it apart and cleaned it as there was some oxidation, greased it a bit and now it's working just fine. 

Fine result for a Saturday evening.

Yes, what I meant to say is that the ignition switch works as it should. Still no voltage at the solenoid. Anybody knows if there’s a starter relay somewhere?

Jouni, the knowledge of this group is not well versed on the newer Commanders so I suggest the earlier post of using a long jumper wire.  I think the larger, >41 models with diesel engines used multi relays but not the smaller ones.

Hi Tim,

OK. I have renovated the starter and I have tested that it works. If it works also with a jumper wire, the problem still exists...  I have located the problem to be between the ignition switch and the solenoid.

I reckon I just have to dive into the hull and follow the wire and see whether I bump into a starter relay.

maybe a neutral safety switch - look under the shift levers - on older models there was a micro switch that contacted the cable as it rocked back and forth - was a great place for loose connections 

I found the starter relay (also called slave solenoid), it's located at the front of the starboard side cylinder head. I removed it, opened it, cleaned it as well as I could and greased it. Electricity seems to find it's way to it from the ignition switch but I couldn't measure whether it connects to the starter solenoid. Not enough hands  :-)

The work continues tomorrow

Do have battery switches? Should be under steps into cabin below or on Wall in front of engines. Try putting into a parallel and see if it starts. These switches can be bad even though voltage shows. Double check all your ground connections and battery connections.

Now the problem is solved and both engines are running. The problem at the end was a faulty starter relay. It worked mechanically and engaged when turning the ignition key but didn't make a electrical connection.

So the answers to my original questions are;

- yes, there is a starter relay

- it is located on starboard side on the engine head in it's own bracket. It's easy to reach and change. Both engines have own relays.

I reckon that I will not have much problems now with starting issues as now the starter is renovated, ignition switch internals are cleaned and greased ad the starter relay is new.

Neutral safety switch is also inline with the s terminal wire (yellow/red tracer)

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