Beta 38 hp diesel would not start after oil and filter change!

Middle of November 2014 - Paradise Village Marina in Banderas Bay Mexico

We changed the oil and filter in the Beta 38 hp diesel engine and then we tried to start the engine to circulate the oil through the filter before adding more. The engine would not start. Turn the key and the buzzer came on and the idiot lights but no starter action, no solenoid action, not even a click!

When the key turns to "Start" the engine does nothing - no clicking, no starter noise.
The four lights on our engine control that should light, light and buzzer sounds. But when turning the key to start, nothing.

It was running just fine as we were in the process of changing the oil and filter.  We ran the motor to heat up the oil then turned it off to pump out the old oil, change the filter then add the new oil. Went to start the engine again to circulate the oil to see if we had to add more when the engine would not start.

We removed one bolt with spacer and loosen 
the other so we could swivel the relay around and see it.

If you look close you can see a curly 1 mm black wire (painted red) dangling. Also see a terminal end sitting in the shallow part of our (now dirty) bilge. It is the solenoid  ground wire.


We do not see, on the schematic pg 62 of the "Beta Operators Manual", where this wire connects. It is not long enough, it seems, to connect anywhere that it would in the schematic?


OK on pg 61 I do see the black wire which is what the disconnected wire seems to be (had to go chase down internet though as we couldn't get it on the boat). It looks to go to a starter motor bolt. 

The wire we found out does not bolt to the starter as indicated. 

 We then wrote into the Beta Marine Forum  and asked about the situation.Some of the text below is what we wrote. We did fix this before they had a chance to reply, we fixed this within 24 hours handy us! :)

In troubleshooting the problem, we inspected the starter motor for a possible blown fuse.  In doing that, we saw a small coiled wire hanging from the relay and the solderless terminal end sitting in the bilge. 


The end is round and not broken so how it fell into the bilge is a wonder.  It is the only "coiled" wire on the relay and the schematic says it is connected to the starter motor bolt. The round part is not broken so how could it just fall off unless the bolt is out which it is not. We come to find out that is not where it was connected of course. It took a little common sense thinking to realize this :)

I know we could have trace the 3 wires that are connected but it is not so easy, but could be done. Actually there are really 4 wires connected to the relay Plus the 1 mm ground wire.

Would this prevent us from starting the engine if it is not connected as is the case? Yes!

Can we ground it some other place a bit easier to get at by possibly extending the wire?

We did run a test lead to the coiled black 1 mm ground wire and then to the engine ground but it changed nothing. We came to find out the 1 mm black coiled wire was just barely connected to the terminal end that was connected to the relay! Just dangling there and a nudge caused it ti drop into the bilge! So that is why the use of the test lead did not cause the engine to start.

Now here is the dangling wire, it was not dangling before and was hard to spot that it was a problem. 

When we used our "pickers" to retrieve the terminal end from the bilge, this wire just fell off the other terminal end and fell into the bilge!

I must say the wire did not hold up very well in the terminal ends!

OK sure enough that little 1 mm curly black ground wire was what caused the motor not to turn over! The schematic is a bit off as the end was bolted to the bracket that holds the relay. Once I removed that bolt (which required a 10 mm socket on a 1\4 drive with short extension ratchet) the hoop terminal end must have fallen off the bolt as the wire was disconnected from it. That was what was lying in the shallow bilge. We removed the 1 mm black wire from the relay and replaced both terminal ends and replaced the lock washer along with cleaning up the connections. Added some electrical grease and replaced the relay. We only needed to remove the one bolt (hardest one, of course) to do the work.

Here you see the coiling wire connected.

At the bottom is the relay back together.

 In retrospect we should have probably replaced the wire also but that we just did not think of.

Amazing how a small wire can stop us in our tracks.

Well the Beta 38 is up and running like a dream again and we will file this away 
"in case" :)

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