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Author Topic:   E-TEC Engine Starting Battery
CandR posted 09-22-2006 12:38 PM ET (US)   Profile for CandR   Send Email to CandR  
I have twin 200-HP small block E-TEC motors and three batteries--one for each engine and one for house. The engine batteries are Group 27 Interstate (600 CCA, 750 MCA) marine/rv deep cycles. I have had a lot of difficulty starting my engines from the console, while my mechanic can start them up fine from under the cowling. I was told my batteries are insufficient for these E-TEC motors. Is that correct? Any guidance would be appreciated. Much thanks


an86carrera posted 09-22-2006 02:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for an86carrera  Send Email to an86carrera     
Etec have solenoid operated injectors they require some serious battery reserve.

I have a single 200 Ficht, run twin 1000 CCA batteries in [parallel], and have not had trouble with the engine since. Plenty before.


Buckda posted 09-22-2006 05:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Not true. My 90 HP E-TECs don't require a battery at all.

I'd look into some other cause (corrosion on your connections, old cables, etc.). The E-TEC engines don't require a lot of juice at all.

jimh posted 09-22-2006 05:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I don't understand your qualifier "from the console" in regard to the starting procedure. Can you please explain. How is your starting procedure different than that used by your mechanic?
Chuck Tribolet posted 09-22-2006 08:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
an86carrera: I hope those are 6V batteries if they are in


CandR posted 09-22-2006 09:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for CandR  Send Email to CandR     
I have had lots of problems starting the engines by turning the keys on my center colsole. They seem to "turn over" but don't catch and simply die. They have a hard time just getting to idle. It is ONLY a starting issue. Once the engines are on, they run like champs.

To check the engines, my local mastertech popped the cowling, and can start them directly off the motors with his key, if that makes sense to any of the experts. They start up every time, first time. That's why he doesnt believe anything is wrong with them.

However, when he tries to start the engines like I do, from the console, he gets the same result as me.

He said my 600CCA batteries were below the minimum specs required for these engines. Also, having them inside my center console (10'+) away from the engines doesnt help (voltage drop), as well as having the trim tabs running off them. I guess several things are wired off the starboard ignition key like the tabs.

I will swap out for bigger batteries, but wonder if there is a problem beyond that.....

Sorry, I understand this is probably not easy to diagnose without being here.....


for what it is worth, two other Etec mechanics i spoke with besides my local guy also said I should have 800-1000CCA batteries in my boat for these engines. Just wondering if anyone else has had this issue before.

jimh posted 09-22-2006 11:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
When the technician connects his cable at the power head, he bypasses the wiring harness to the helm and the remote start. When he turns the key to start the engine there is no voltage drop from the wiring harness resistance, remote switch, etc., in the voltage supplied to the EMM and the starter solenoid.

It sounds like you need to check the wiring harness, connectors, connections, remote key switch, etc. Are all of those components new? Or did you use your exiting harness, etc., when you installed the new E-TEC?

CandR posted 09-23-2006 07:33 AM ET (US)     Profile for CandR  Send Email to CandR     

These are 2007 motors on a new boat. As far as I know, everything is new.

If putting in "appropriate" sized batteries doesn't fix my problems, I will pass along your comments to my mechanic, although everyone I have talked to about him, says he knows his stuff.

Thanks for your comments.

kamie posted 09-23-2006 08:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for kamie  Send Email to kamie     
minimum battery is 675CCA for the 2006 200HP. I would think that yours would be similar. Get new batteries and recheck the connections.
rtk posted 09-23-2006 09:34 AM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk     
If the mechanic is able to start the boat without a problem bypassing the boat harness at the engine, are the batteries on the boat still being used to provide current to the starter? If so, it does not sound like the batteries are the primary problem. The connection of the batteries to the engine is very simple- battery to battery cable to starter solenoid is typical.

Your batteries do seem to be a lower CCA then the minimum specified by the manufacturer, so they should be replaced anyway. Can your mechanic simply use a shop battery in your boat to confirm it is a battery problem?

Dave, take a look at page 47 of your E-TEC owner's manual. They do list a minimum battery specification of 640 CCA/785 MCA even for the 90.


rtk posted 09-23-2006 10:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk     
I don't want to sidetrack this topic, but the feature often touted about the E-TEC is a battery is not neccessary for the E-TEC to run. This may be true, but I do think the electronics of the engine still require a fair amount of current to operate as Len states.

It appears to me that the engine is designed with the charging system as the primary source of electrical power so there isn't a significant dependence on a battery as a source of power to the electronics.

The specification page for the 200 on the Evinrude website lists the alternator has the ability to produce 133 amps at 13.5 volts. Net dedicated battery charging power output is 50 amps. What is the other 83 amps of alternator output capacity for?

I am assuming the excess capacity is to provide the power for the electronics.

So, as long as the alternator is operating properly, a bad battery may not leave you stranded. How about if the alternator craps out, will a significant battery source keep the engine running so you can get in off the water?

If that is the case, E-TEC owners, like Optimax owners may still want to put a high amperage capacity battery in the boat, one that well exceeds the minimum Evinrude specification.

The E-TEC may specify a much lower CCA/MCA battery than the Optimax, but it appears that the E-TEC specification is a minimum for the electric start function.


CandR posted 09-23-2006 05:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for CandR  Send Email to CandR     
Rich--yes, the batteries on the boat are still used to start them up, when he turns the key on the pwerhead.

I asked him about that. He said its because of all the other stuff that is wired to the ignition switch. When I don't start my starboard motor, I don't get my trim tabs, my gas gauge, bilge pumps, etc....I guess these "accessories" are all drawing power from the battery.

Trying to start the engines from the console, its not as if I get nothing. It seems like it needs a kick in the butt to get over the hill so to speak. My suspicion is that 600CCA is almost not enough to start off the console, but barely enough to start off the powerhead. ie: sometimes, I CAN get the engines started off the console, but usually not without lots of difficulty.

Once I get them started in the morning, I can run them all day, starting and stopping the engines. My guess is, once they are running, the batteries get "fully charged" again. But the batteries just dont have enough juice first thing in the am.

I WILL replave with bigger (800-900CCA) batteries. Hopefully this issue will go away. If not, I'll re-post.

Thanks alot for everyones suggestions/comments. Much appreciated.


CandR posted 09-23-2006 05:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for CandR  Send Email to CandR     
Rich, Kamie, both correct. My mechanic showed me the rigging manual for my engines.

BRP reccommends minimum 675CCA batteries. My boat builder who rigged the engine called BRP as well, and they told him the same thing.Hopefully, my boat builder will come through and set me up with the appropriate sized batteries.--CandR

rtk posted 09-24-2006 09:14 AM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk     
"He said its because of all the other stuff that is wired to the ignition switch. When I don't start my starboard motor, I don't get my trim tabs, my gas gauge, bilge pumps, etc...."

I don't like powering 12 volt accessories off the ignition switch. Gauges yes, anything else no. I like to feed the 12 volt accessories directly from the battery or battery switch.

I think it would be a good idea to check the wiring of your 12 volt accessories. May be part of your problem.


Bulldog posted 09-24-2006 01:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bulldog  Send Email to Bulldog     
Sounds sort of weird, the same batteries that won't let you start the engines from the helm station, which are located in the console will fire off the motor when your mechcanic uses a key at the engine. Battery cables must be big enough and battteries must be ok if they are starting the engine from the rear. The bilge pump, nav lights and anything else you would have wired to your ignition switch would not draw any load unless they were turned on also, they would only affect the start circuit wiring. If this is a new boat , there should be a fuse block or something that your accesories come off of, and even then you stated that there is a seperate house battery. I would recommend getting 100cca batteries as I feel it is not a big expense more when buying batteries, but I truly suspect your problem won't go away. I would spend some time looking into the control wiring, and neutral start circuit. Your mechanic has found the problem when he eliminated the helm control station, batteries were fine!--Jack
kamie posted 09-24-2006 05:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for kamie  Send Email to kamie     
In addition to getting the correctly sized battery, only your gauges should be wired to the ignition. Take everything else off the ignition and run a separate lead from either a house battery or run two leads from your starting batteries to the console and split the load. I would wire those to toggle switches so your batteries are only used to start your engines and nothing else draws power until they are up and running. I have a single battery for the 18, and all my accessories are wired to a bar in the console. That is controled by a master switch which doesn't get turned on, until the engine is up and running. The only thing wired to the key switch are gauges and Navman.
davej14 posted 09-24-2006 08:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
If you have many accessories running from your ignition switch, you may have damaged the switch contacts. I doubt that they are rated for carrying the currents required for all your accessories. They are probably sized for the starter solenoid with very little margin.

I would also add a battery switch to your list of projects.

ratherwhalering posted 09-25-2006 08:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for ratherwhalering  Send Email to ratherwhalering     
The engine batteries are Group 27 Interstate (600 CCA, 750 MCA) marine/rv deep cycles

I've been told not to use a deep cycle battery as a starting battery. Why would one need a deep cycle for a starting battery?

davej14 posted 09-25-2006 11:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
You don't need a deep cycle battery for starting but you do need a deep cycle battery if you will be running electronics without the engine charging system. A starting battery will be damaged with a small number of discharge cycles because the plates are not robust. If a deep cycle battery has the required CCA rating then it is the best, albeit heaviest, solution.

Check out the Cabelas' AGM batteries for a superior solution.

CandR posted 09-26-2006 07:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for CandR  Send Email to CandR     
I know, I know. Don't ask me why they gave me 3 deep cycles. That is the first thing my mechanic said, "What the #!@&%? Why aren't these starting batteries", if I remember correctly....

In any event, if it has the proper CCA rating, I guess they'd be ok. Deep cycle for the house, for sure.

rtk posted 09-26-2006 11:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk     
There are batteries that are suitable for both uses- starting and deep cycling. I would lean toward one that is suitable for both so there is no need for having different types of batteries on the boat.

I do like the Cabelas AGM batteries also. The group 24 are light and have ample CCA/MCA ratings.


Bulldog posted 09-26-2006 07:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bulldog  Send Email to Bulldog     
I think you should push the dealer to replace those batteries, they were wrong type and size. My brother ran a jeep pickup truck for two years in Pa. with a deep cycle battery. I think it still comes back to why would the motors start when the "key" is turned at the engine, but not at the helm, the batteries and wiring is still being used to start the engine? Let us know how it goes...........Jack
Chuck Tribolet posted 09-26-2006 07:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chuck Tribolet  Send Email to Chuck Tribolet     
Jump the positive sides of the two starting batteries and
see how the key works. The jump gives you 1200 CCA.

I'd still shake the boat builder's tree about installing
batteries rated less than the engine makers reccomendation.


CandR posted 09-27-2006 08:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for CandR  Send Email to CandR     
Ok, my builder provided me with batteries that now exceed the minimum specs set by BRP. Kudos to them for stepping up. Installed them in the boat. Will post how they worked after the weekend. Crossing my fingers my "issues" go away.......
CandR posted 10-02-2006 05:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for CandR  Send Email to CandR     
Ha. Installed bigger batteries (800CCA) on friday. Ran the boat saturday and sunday and never had a starting issue. Lets hope that's the end of that!! Thanks everyone for their comments/thoughts and ideas.


niksnut posted 11-22-2006 01:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for niksnut  Send Email to niksnut     
I am a Evinrude dealer from Holland. Here is my story:

I had the same problem with two E-TEC engines. First, my own 40 E-TEC from 2003 end next an 75 E-TEC from 2005. We did everything to solve this problem, but nothing seems to help. Even a battery specific for starting (600 MCA) did give problems. We only had starting problems when the boats were not used for a few weeks. That means that the batteries were not fully charged. But that happens with lead-acid batteries when they are not used for a few weeks. After contact with Bombardier they told me that there was another case in Germany and the problem was solved with a stronger battery (higher MCA). Also, in my case the battery is the problem; for my 40 E-TEC did not give problems this season after installing a better battery. The injection system uses at starting too much energy for a normal battery. Place high quality batteries with high MCA or CCA and all goes well. At Bombardier they told me that there are a few engines with this problem (not all engines are the same) but make absolutely sure that the baterry is the right one.

An other Dutch Evinrude dealer told me today that this problem also was known for Ficht Ram engines. So the problem is the battery and not the cables or anything else.

Good luck everybody and keep Evinrude high.

jimh posted 11-22-2006 08:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
I have personally on several occasions seen an E-TEC 90-HP motor start and run well when the starting battery was in such poor shape that it would hardly turn the engine over. When the engine was cranked the cranking speed was very low, yet the E-TEC started immediately, and it seemed to run without being affected at all by the battery.

These reports of problems related to the starting battery come as a surprise. An E-TEC ought be able to run without any battery and be easily hand-started. To hear that it doesn't work right without a really big starting battery comes as contrary to what I have read and seen in actual practice.

andygere posted 11-23-2006 02:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
My E-TEC 200 manual says it requires 675 CCA. I have had no trouble starting it on a weak lead acid battery, showing just above 12 volts on my test meter. Since my lead acid batteries were 4 years old and each had at least one dead or weak cell, I decided to replace them. I was shocked at how difficult it was to find a dual purpose marine battery that was at least 675 CCA. Many of the group 27 batteries I looked at were well below this standard. In the end, I purchased a pair of Optima blue top batteries, rated at 750 CCA, and a fraction of the size and weight of the lead acid batteries they were replacing. Even after letting the boat sit idle for several weeks at a time, the batteries always show at least 12.5 volts. I think these are worth the price, especially for a new E-TEC motor. The charging system on the E-TECs is very robust, and I expect to get long life from these batteries. I paid about $150 for each of them.
andygere posted 04-01-2013 06:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
I went down to the boat this weekend and fired up my E-TEC after not running the boat since December. The starting battery showed its first signs of weakness, but the motor fired up just the same. I'm still using the Optima batteries I purchased in 2006, pretty good performance in my book. I'm going to put them on the trickle charger and see how they do, hopefully I'll get another season out of them. I just checked prices, and they now cost about $80 more than I paid for them the last time.

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