I'm having a strange issue with the starboard starter on my 327F. When cold starting the engine, the starter would sometimes hesitate or pause during cranking. Other times it would just click. So I took it to a local rebuild shop. They could not get the issue to replicate on the test bench. So, they cleaned it up, painted it and installed a new solenoid.

So last night I went to start her up and had the same issue. First crank attempt it just clicked, then it cranked and paused a few times. Finally it cranked fine and the engine fired up. Once it's warm of course, the engine fires up almost instantly. 

It was late when we got back in so I haven't looked into this at all yet. I'm thinking it must be bad wiring or some-such... Any thoughts as to where to start looking? Thanks!!

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Could be a battery cable issue. Check connections or switch cables from your other engine. Clicking usually indicates low voltage to the starter.
Dave Wilson
42' Commander "Valhalla"

Ground connections  often  cause  problems  like  this.

Hello Greg

Went though this last year with my port engine. After checking and cleaning every connection I could think of, and by-passing every relay and breaker, I finally broke down and pulled the starter. Took it to a freinds shop and opened up the housing. After pouring out several pounds of rusted, corroded, barely identifiable parts. we rebuilt the starter. No problms since then. Now I'm waiting for the starboard starter to go. Good luck. 

Nate, I went with the starter rebuild first. We also got a bunch of rust outta it but that wasn't the problem. Here's hoping it's just a loose battery cable or something that simple. :)

Nat Brady said:

Hello Greg

Went though this last year with my port engine. After checking and cleaning every connection I could think of, and by-passing every relay and breaker, I finally broke down and pulled the starter. Took it to a freinds shop and opened up the housing. After pouring out several pounds of rusted, corroded, barely identifiable parts. we rebuilt the starter. No problms since then. Now I'm waiting for the starboard starter to go. Good luck. 

Define pausing..... if what you are saying is the starter is “struggling” and stopping and then does ok in my ears I’m hearing the possibility or a mild hydrolock and that could be a serious issue. To determine or to make sure this is not the issue, when you go to start it next time take out all 8 plugs and spin the engine. If water comes out you have an issue. If this goes unaddressed you will seriously damage the engine. (Rods) let us know what you find!

I had this same exact issue! For me it turns out that the ignition switch was going bad. I had to have just the right amount of pressure and the key in the right position for the switch to start the motor correctly.

Try attaching a multi meter to the leads going from the switch to the starter solenoid and see if the voltage is fluctuating as the starter is stuttering.

my starboard engine labored to start but would labor more when the engine was hot, often times not even cranking over. new battery cables and ground wires from batteries to termination points cleared up my problems. Cold but not hot issues have me agreeing with Lee, check it sooner rather than later.

OK, so NOW you've got my attention and this is scary!!  Lee, a few questions come to mind. 

1. How would water get in there in the first place?!?! 
2. When I do test it I assume I'll need 3 people. One to crank and one to observe on each side of the engine. How much water are we looking for here? A gush, a squirt or just a few drops?
3. If we do get water, what's it mean and what's the next step? (yikes!)

Thanks! Greg

Lee H. Dahlen said:

Define pausing..... if what you are saying is the starter is “struggling” and stopping and then does ok in my ears I’m hearing the possibility or a mild hydrolock and that could be a serious issue. To determine or to make sure this is not the issue, when you go to start it next time take out all 8 plugs and spin the engine. If water comes out you have an issue. If this goes unaddressed you will seriously damage the engine. (Rods) let us know what you find!
Water/coolant “generally” indicates a riser or manifold issue. It gets back in through the exhaust ports to the head. Where the manifold meet the heads. It doesn’t take much and I’m not trying to scare you. Just need to make sure before you start upgrading stuff that has been there by design for 50 years.
2 people but Im usually by myself. It won’t be a few drops but when you hit the key if there is any present it will blow out at high speed. (Compression). If it is dry, then resume on your electrical quest! When I said define pausing, the best definition I can give you from a hydrolock is “it sounds like the timing is heavily advanced and the starter is struggling to overcome”

Thanks Lee. The more I think about this, I'll bet you're right. Usually during the first couple of cranks, it just pauses before finishing the first cycle. If there's water in there, it won't compress like a gas and would give too much resistance. That's just what it seems like is happening. We'll see...

Greg,

I won't contradict the experts (here's looking at you Lee), but I can tell you of our experience with both hydrolocking and a bad ground on our 327Fs.

When it hydrolocked (we had coolant spray onto the carburetor because of an overheat on the opposite engine and sucked in some coolant), the starter would spin the engine, it would struggle and the the flywheel would spin backwards slightly.  Kind of a whhr, rump, with the rump sound accompanying the flywheel spinning backwards slightly.  It started the next morning fine after the coolant evaporated in the hot engine.

The other intermittent starter problem was the bad ground.  The negative battery cables often get overlooked and are old, stiff and corroded.  Particularly low in the bilge and where they attach to the block.  You can do a quick test on the bad ground by using a jumper cable from the negative terminal on the battery to a good clean spot on the block.  If your problem goes away, problem solved, replace your negative battery cable.

-Darin

Well, a plan is developing. Wednesday evening 2 buddies and I will see about water in the cylinder(s). One will crank the engine while the other two hold a span of clean paper toweling in front of the now empty plug holes. We'll see what spits out, gasoline mist or a spray of water. If there's water the next step is to figure out where it's coming from...

Failing there being water present (fingers crossed!) I'll start looking for an electrical problem, battery connections first. Report to follow... 

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