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Old 04-05-2021, 05:59 AM
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Wouter Wouter is offline
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Neutral safety switch

Hello,
Having Some ignition problems on m’y 1990 prostar 190 (indmar 351 / velvet drive 71c / arco starter) where the starter only engages the flywheel when the shift lever is in neutral (ie the lever is vertical / the button is in). If I try starting with button pulled out and giving some throttle the starter spins but does not engage... From car forums I can imagine this being somewhat similar to the difference between park and neutral which would indicate a neutral safety switch issue. So I am wondering:
A) does the nss prevent the starter from spinning or does it just activate the solenoid that makes the pinion engage the flywheel?
B) is there another additional nss on the shifter assembly (this a typical teleflex mv2 original) I don’t remember anything electrical there but it’s been a while since I disassembled it and boat is far away?
C) I am running two optima yellow top agm’s which I haven’t tested (one is brand new) Would a low charge cause this (ie starter spinning but not engaging)?
D) does the starter pinion need greasing? A “gentle” tap with a hammer?
E) could it be due to loosened starter bolts?

I have a new transmission nss lying around so I will probably start there but since boat is far away: suggestions/knowledge welcome!!!!
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Old 04-05-2021, 07:55 AM
chrislandy chrislandy is offline
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The starter won't turn if the neutral safety switch is engaged.

It's likely that there is a bit of gunk in there somewhere
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Old 04-05-2021, 08:45 AM
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waterlogged882 waterlogged882 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wouter View Post
Hello,
Having Some ignition problems on m’y 1990 prostar 190 (indmar 351 / velvet drive 71c / arco starter) where the starter only engages the flywheel when the shift lever is in neutral (ie the lever is vertical / the button is in). If I try starting with button pulled out and giving some throttle the starter spins but does not engage... From car forums I can imagine this being somewhat similar to the difference between park and neutral which would indicate a neutral safety switch issue. So I am wondering:
A) does the nss prevent the starter from spinning or does it just activate the solenoid that makes the pinion engage the flywheel?

Prevents by breaking the ignition signal circuit.


B) is there another additional nss on the shifter assembly (this a typical teleflex mv2 original) I don’t remember anything electrical there but it’s been a while since I disassembled it and boat is far away?

Ignition kill safety switch on the controller, then a neutral safety switch on the transmission. Both have to provide a closed circuit for proper operation.


C) I am running two optima yellow top agm’s which I haven’t tested (one is brand new) Would a low charge cause this (ie starter spinning but not engaging)?

If the start is on the low battery, yes. However, if the starter spins and does not engaged, there is a problem. You are getting a full (closed) signal to the relay to spin the starter. Could easily be a bad starter. Rebuild (with marine significance in mind) or find a new starter (Arco 70200). I presume you are running a dual battery setup, where your ignition start should be on the house/start battery. Other accessories would be on the accessory (2nd) battery, separated from the start bank by a relay switch that fails open (as should) when the ignition switch is off or on accessory position(s).


D) does the starter pinion need greasing? A “gentle” tap with a hammer?

Yes, recommended annually, presuming you are referring to the bendix on the starter. The tap on the starter may free up a stuck bendix or free the brushes that could be seized (bonded) from a weak battery.


E) could it be due to loosened starter bolts?

Possibly but not likely. The hot and ground are on post terminals and do not rely (ground) on the bolted connection to the engine block for ground. Also the loose bolt(s) could allow the starter to mis-align and not allow the bendix to engage, but that is typically discovered when the bendix gear does not align with the fly wheel / ring gear. Odd sounds.



I have a new transmission nss lying around so I will probably start there but since boat is far away: suggestions/knowledge welcome!!!!

Jump the two white wires back at the transmission together. You can do this by landing both wires on one terminal screw at that switch. This by-passes the switch and tells you if it is bad. If so replace it before further operation for safety. But indeed if it starts with the wires jumped, there lies the problem.
Patience. You're on the right track.

If you pull the silver knob on the controller, that breaks the circuit. It has to be engaged (pushed in) and in the neutral detent position before the ignition signal can get to the starter relay.

.
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Last edited by waterlogged882; 04-05-2021 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 04-05-2021, 08:49 AM
88 PS190 88 PS190 is offline
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I'll start with - this is a really simple beast. The throttle is mechanical and nothing about pulling out the knob should influence the starting of the boat.

From your ignition switch one wire goes to NSS and then from the NSS to the (S) terminal on the starter (signal/start) when you crank the boat power goes through this wire to the NSS which so long as the boat is in neutral and that switch is good continues on to the S terminal of the starter. External to the starter that is it.

Why there would be any correlation to the neutral knob on the shifter would be beyond me there is nothing from the factory that would cause this and there is nothing in the way a starter operates that should allow it either.

If I had to guess it would be that you are correlating a few things like maybe you only pull that knob out after it fails to start a few times then the starter heats up or the battery gets a bit low and when you crank the solenoid doesn't have enough power to move a sticky bendix.
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Old 04-05-2021, 09:10 AM
88 PS190 88 PS190 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterlogged882 View Post
If you pull the silver knob on the controller, that breaks the circuit. It has to be engaged (pushed in) and in the neutral detent position before the ignition signal can get to the starter relay.

.
The safety switch in the throttle is usually not provided in a ski boat and when wired it is on a cam attached to the shifter arm in the throttle. Pulling the silver knob out allows the throttle arm to move while the shifter arm stays still.

Usually this is not installed in a ski boat because the transmission has a switch so you do not need both.
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Old 04-05-2021, 10:02 AM
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Wouter Wouter is offline
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Thanks for the insights guys! Love it when the red pen comes out!!! Anyway, went back today and it started great. It was very windy and choppy so I gave up on mechanical work for today. Left the new nss on location with a wrench for my next visit... still a bit puzzled by the answers though. I do usually start my boat with the grey knob pulled out and a bit of throttle so I can prime the engine as soon as it starts... Always done this and also what I did today where it worked great... @waterlogged are you saying I shouldn’t be able to start in this position? So if the nss breaks the entire ignition circuit, I shouldn’t hear the starter at all if the nss was shot, correct? I mean it shouldn’t even spin right? For the second part my shifter is an mv2 and I believe some do have a neutral switch integrated (I think mine doesn’t from memory) would this switch not interfere with starting?
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Old 04-05-2021, 10:05 AM
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Wouter Wouter is offline
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That’s what I thought^^^^
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Old 04-05-2021, 10:10 AM
88 PS190 88 PS190 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wouter View Post
So if the nss breaks the entire ignition circuit, I shouldn’t hear the starter at all if the nss was shot, correct? I mean it shouldn’t even spin right? For the second part my shifter is an mv2 and I believe some do have a neutral switch integrated (I think mine doesn’t from memory) would this switch not interfere with starting?
Correct NSS disconnects the ignition switch from the starter solenoid. All or nothing.

MV2's can have an electric switch but that's usually only used for outboards/I/O where the engine itself can otherwise be started in gear but in that case it will still let you rev if you pull out the silver knob because what that does is mechanically link the throttle to the shifter. Basically there are 2 arms behind the controller one pulls the throttle cable and that always moves, the other pulls or pushes the shift cable and that one can be disconnected by pulling out the knob.

The safety switch in a morse control reads if that arm is out of neutral position not the knob position.

Your situation sounds like it is entirely a starter related probably. Probably just a sticky bendix or a weak solenoid. But that can be heat/voltage related too.
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Old 04-05-2021, 10:15 AM
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waterlogged882 waterlogged882 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 88 PS190 View Post
The safety switch in the throttle is usually not provided in a ski boat and when wired it is on a cam attached to the shifter arm in the throttle. Pulling the silver knob out allows the throttle arm to move while the shifter arm stays still.

Usually this is not installed in a ski boat because the transmission has a switch so you do not need both.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wouter View Post
Thanks for the insights guys! Love it when the red pen comes out!!! Anyway, went back today and it started great. It was very windy and choppy so I gave up on mechanical work for today. Left the new nss on location with a wrench for my next visit... still a bit puzzled by the answers though. I do usually start my boat with the grey knob pulled out and a bit of throttle so I can prime the engine as soon as it starts... Always done this and also what I did today where it worked great... @waterlogged are you saying I shouldn’t be able to start in this position? So if the nss breaks the entire ignition circuit, I shouldn’t hear the starter at all if the nss was shot, correct? I mean it shouldn’t even spin right? For the second part my shifter is an mv2 and I believe some do have a neutral switch integrated (I think mine doesn’t from memory) would this switch not interfere with starting?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wouter View Post
That’s what I thought^^^^
Quote:
Originally Posted by 88 PS190 View Post
Correct NSS disconnects the ignition switch from the starter solenoid. All or nothing.

MV2's can have an electric switch but that's usually only used for outboards/I/O where the engine itself can otherwise be started in gear but in that case it will still let you rev if you pull out the silver knob because what that does is mechanically link the throttle to the shifter. Basically there are 2 arms behind the controller one pulls the throttle cable and that always moves, the other pulls or pushes the shift cable and that one can be disconnected by pulling out the knob.

The safety switch in a morse control reads if that arm is out of neutral position not the knob position.

Your situation sounds like it is entirely a starter related probably. Probably just a sticky bendix or a weak solenoid. But that can be heat/voltage related too.
Correct. I had something else on my mind while typing.

I misspoke. The neutral detent button does not have to be engaged (dyslexic error).
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Old 04-05-2021, 10:17 AM
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waterlogged882 waterlogged882 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 88 PS190 View Post
I'll start with - this is a really simple beast. The throttle is mechanical and nothing about pulling out the knob should influence the starting of the boat.

From your ignition switch one wire goes to NSS and then from the NSS to the (S) terminal on the starter (signal/start) when you crank the boat power goes through this wire to the NSS which so long as the boat is in neutral and that switch is good continues on to the S terminal of the starter. External to the starter that is it.

Why there would be any correlation to the neutral knob on the shifter would be beyond me there is nothing from the factory that would cause this and there is nothing in the way a starter operates that should allow it either.


If I had to guess it would be that you are correlating a few things like maybe you only pull that knob out after it fails to start a few times then the starter heats up or the battery gets a bit low and when you crank the solenoid doesn't have enough power to move a sticky bendix.
Only the kill switch would prevent the start circuit.
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