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"White Wire" Power failure

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  • #16
    I just had the white wire failure and want to share my symptoms and the "fix".

    This is a 2006 DF 225 with about 1700 hours on it. It is my vacation boat in Baja which is trailer stored.

    In restrospect, my throttle trim switch would sometimes be intermittent when trimming out but always work trimming in ( assumed it was the switch contact failing). When trimming, the volt meter would jump. More than it should.

    I arrived a few days ago and was prepping my boat for launch. I switched on a battery but could not lower the engine with throttle trim but could with the engine switch. Turning the ignition key to run and gauges remained dead. I'm not sure of the order I did things but I checked fuses under the cowl, switched batteries to all, and looked for loose wires inside my console. Eventually, the ignition switch worked. Probably low voltage batteries that simply need a good run. Volts read about 10.

    The engine started right up. Took the boat for a quick spin. Voltmeter still reading 10! I have an hour meter installed. With each tick, it would cause a jump in the other gauges. Not good, back to the dock! Both batteries are 5 years old. Doubtful that both go bad at same time. I buy 2 new batteries and install them but my results remain the same!

    Without a multi-meter, I can't diagnose things. I do know that all my pumps and high draw circuits work fine. Bad VM?. Low voltage at my ignition switch? Bad charging circuit? With the day getting late and being drenched in sweat, I decide to move th boat from the launch dock to my assigned slip. I'll continue with trouble shooting in the morning.

    As I motor along, I hit the trim switch a few times. The VM is showing larger spikes with it reaching 12+ then settles back at 10. Suddenly as I'm doing this trimming, the engine cuts off completely. Dead in the water. No life in the ignition switch. Dead and deader!

    I continue the next morning. Through all of this there are no blown fuses, evidence of corrosion or loose connections. I clean all wire ends; engine grounds, starter posts, battery, perko switch, ignition.

    Finally call in my mechanic with the knowledge and the tools. Yes. Low or no voltage at the white wire at the switch. He diagnoses a break in the white wire in the main harness. His fix is to pull power off the positive buss at the console and attach it to the same ignition stud that has the white wire connected. Problems solved. Good VM readings. Good system charging. Even the throttle trim switch works as it should!

    He suggests installing a new harness. Time and expense. I am inclined to redo his fix with a properly colored and fused jumper.


    • #17

      Good morning, I am writing from Spain, I apologize for my bad translation. Well my name is alexander, and I own a suzuki df150, with 700 hours approx, with a cabin boat. from about a year, the engine dies for no reason, I've been reading to you and had the same problem in a suzuki df175, I've already changed the main relay, the key closer, I checked the white cable and I do not know what else can be. Yesterday I did it and can not start it until after about 15 min, I pass on the high seas, at the end I moved several wires from the fuse box and started, then I already sailed about 2 hours more and without problem, it usually happens every 2 or 3 departures, but yesterday was the worst, and I do not know what else to look at. Can it be the dielectric capacitor that is inside the fuse box and feeds the main relay? 10000 thanks in advance and sorry for disturbing you. Greetings from the Canary Islands ... Alexander


      • #18

        I've also noticed that when the engine dies, the other clocks, and their lights are still on, and the only thing that crosses my mind is that it could be some bad connection, or some earth connection, that the heat of the engine loses continuity, and stop the current ... also the previous owner had the habit of bathing the engine and connections the wd40 ...


        • #19
          please start a new thread as opposed to posting notes to this Sticky


          • #20
            I had a smilar problem with my 2018 Suzuki 4 stroke. I swapped out a new battery and must have hooked it up wrong. Wound up putting the White Wire on the negative post. Engine was dead everywhere. At the throttle. At the manual tilt/ttrim. At the key. I went on here and did some research. Found that the WW needed to be on the positive terminal. That brought up my dash instruments. Still no power to engine. I checked all fuses and everything checked out. Finally pulled the cowling and checked the 60 amp main fuse in the fuse box. Replaced it with the spare 60 amp (yellow) fuse that was provided. At that point, everything worked as it should. I suspect I blew the 60 amp fuse when I hooked the WW to the negative terminal? Anyway - glad to have this thread as it helped me track it down, and hopefully my post helps another.


            • #21
              Does anyone know where I can buy a replacement for this white wire?? I could not find it on this forums parts for sale.


              • #22
                Originally posted by Doc Z.... View Post
                Does anyone know where I can buy a replacement for this white wire?? I could not find it on this forums parts for sale.

                just replace with same gauge marine (tinned) wire.


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Moonlighter View Post

                  just replace with same gauge marine (tinned) wire.
                  I thought about that but I wasn't sure if it would void my Suzuki warranty since I know they are very picky about things.........I wanted to keep the same type of 15 amp fuse, etc so I can't believe they are not readily available but if I have to I will make a new one myself.


                  • #24
                    New to this forum.

                    Twin 2016 DF200APs, Recently purchased the boat as a third owner. Port side engine would not start after running perfectly the day before so I assumed low voltage and checked batteries. There are three with one used for "house" power for automatic bilge and baitwell.

                    Load tested batteries and charged them all the way up. They are still within warranty. Checked and cleaned all connections to batteries. Looked at my Suzuki 2016 DF200AP owners manual on Battery Installation. They show a Sub Cable on page 14 that "supplies voltage to the Engine Control System". They also state that the fuse is a 30A (15x2?). I'm assuming that's the "White Wire" because it is white and has a picture of the fuse that looks exactly like mine. From what I can see, it is within a braided new looking long harness and runs over and up to the switch.

                    My trim switch on the throttle has NEVER worked without turning the key switch on and it lifts both motors usually. That being said the port side engine will not lift or start. I hear a faint clicking noise like it is trying but not enough voltage. The manual switch on the motor results in the same clicking noise. Putting the ECM aside for a second and focusing on the trim operation should I check fuses on the motor first before getting into the switch? I read here that the engine mounted trim gets power from a difference source so I figured I would try to fix that first. The port engine did take a slight blow from a forklift operator that damaged the cowling but it has run fine since then. It's possible something was knocked lose but I haven't inspected yet.

                    The boat's wiring is messy with older wiring not connected to anything still present from previous setup(s). Suzuki motors are a repower of an older 28' Contender and have been awesome until recently.



                    • #25
                      Yes the “sub cable” is whats often referred to as the white wire. Check that fuse holder for corrosion inside.

                      Cant offer further suggestions r ethe teim issue, hopefully someone else will chime in.


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by View Post
                        Thanks to Artdf175 for this post
                        subj: "White Wire" electrical issues -power source to the ECM

                        When you turn the ignition switch and nothing happens. (Battery fully charged)

                        This is one issue that surfaces on a regular basis and this generally deals with a loss of power source to the "engine control unit" (ECU).
                        With NO power to the ECM, the engine either stops (if running at the time) or will not start.
                        This situation usually effects the trim switch on the remote, which also fails to function.

                        Some background:
                        Generally, the battery switch (Perko type) has a short pig-tail with a connection to a "white wire" (WW). This WW feeds the power to the ignition and remote control trim switches. In some wiring configurations it can also be the power feed to the dash that powers up the boats other electronics. Note - this WW also has an inline 15A fuse. The WW can be connected directly to the positive battery terminal. Have found it can be tied into the main power lead to the engine, on the starter motor. (not recommended as this configuration can cause electrical spikes to the ECM.)
                        The WW splits pre-ignition switch and powers the ECM relay coil.
                        From the ignition switch "ON" position, the gray wire feeds back to the ECM -and is the power source for the ECM.

                        First let's look at the trim switch.
                        You hit the remote trim switch to trim the engine up/down and nothing is working. The wiring to the trim switch relay is independent of the ignition wiring but shares the same WW power feed. This allows you to raise and lower the engine without turning on the ignition. When it doesn't work- the cause will usually be related to a power failure with the WW. It can be the switch, but that seems to be rare. The trim switch on side of the engine operates independently from a different power source.

                        Next: turn the ignition to start/run - no response.
                        The ignition switch does several things- in the 'ON' position it is the primary power source to the ECM. At this point, for 4 cycle engines, a relay turns on the high pressure fuel pump. You should hear this pump. Obviously when the key is turned to 'START'- the starter relay engages and through the engines main power source, the starter motor starts the engine. One step before the starter kicks in, the 'neutral' switch must be adjusted correctly, so as to prevent the engine from starting if it is in gear. However, any interruption in power to the WW- none of this happens.
                        So what has gone wrong when these two situations happen? Usually - a lack of continuity of power in the WW or a ground wire failure.

                        Most common Reasons:
                        1) Spliced connections that have gone bad. Connectors not waterproofed that allow for unseen corrosion.
                        2) Wiring connectors have separated
                        3) Ground wire fails.
                        4) blown fuse

                        If you have power to one and not the other:
                        5) Ignition switch that has become defective or broken
                        6) If you have power to the ECM and starter fails to kick in, one of several more reasons can relate to the neutral switch.

                        Intermittent power loss can be difficult to find.. In my case, the wire connector to the WW off the battery switch started to fail. I would be running along, hit a wave and the engine would die. Or come up to a dock and put it in idle .. just dies and not start. Again, in my case, the WW is the power source to the dash and other electronics. The depth finder would flicker off, sometimes come back on, but mostly have to restart it. Then one day in my driveway, nothing worked - period. Started pulling wires to track and identify each one and what did they operate. Pulling on a short red wire off the back of the battery switch - the wire connector separated.. This was the power feed to the WW. Internally inside the wire connector -the wire ends were totally corroded at this point. Fixed the problem and was back in business.

                        - update Nov 2017-
                        thanks to Catislaguy there is updated info for some smaller HP models
                        He has a 2009 DF115HP
                        The primary WW off the battery to the key switch is the same but that is also where it stops.
                        The ECM in this smaller HP engine is powered of the Hot wire on the starter motor. Connects to the same terminal where the primary battery cable terminates.
                        The 'on' and 'start' position of the Key Switch - power goes to the Gray wire. The Gray wire then proceeds to power just about everything on the engine, but the ECM.
                        So if you turn the Key Switch -on- and nothing happens -- still need to start with #1 - fuse box; then #2 the WW; #3 the key switch itself; #4 is the Gray wire hot? if so the engine should run. If not - go back to #1 and start over.
                        This person, from a separate fuse panel, wired around the WW and everything worked -but why?
                        Answer was the ECM power source is different.

                        Hope this little summary will be helpful..
                        This is really great info! Im having similar problems now with my 90hp suzuki, so ive been following your post about the white wire. I actually made another forum post called 90hp suzuki starting issues but havent got many responses.

                        but i was wondering, and this is probably in your thread, but where does the white wire start and where does it go to? For me I found it at the battteries with a 15 amp fuse, and it looks to be going back to the console, got so many wires its really hard to tell. The weird part about my boat is when it starts it runs perfect, electronics don't flicker ,bilge, light always work etc, doesn't turn off randomly. Basically sometimes it just decides to start and other times it wont do anything besides all the electronics work (bildge,depth finder, lights etc)

                        Thank you in advance!


                        • #27
                          White wire fix for me, slight corrosion on one leg of the 15 amp mini fuse right before the ring terminal that's on the positive post of the starting battery for that engine. 2018 140DF.
                          No response from the ignition switch and no remote trim/tilt response
                          . IMG_0889 (1).jpg
                          Thank you for the pointers that made me look that way.
                          Last edited by fredurq; 02-03-2021, 09:31 PM.


                          • #28
                            1999 DF 60
                            Thanks for this info. I was getting no power to the motor and couldn't figure out why. I ended up finding the WW at the plug on the motor was corroded. Looked fine from the outside but it pulled out of the plug. Got it fixed today. Thanks


                            • #29
                              This is a great topic and it seems that non of the mechanics who work on these engines Starboard engine would not start so I went right to the white wire which was reading 12v on the battery side but on 5v on the motor side so I cut it in 3 inch sections to ohm test it....well....i found a section just outside the motor cowl that was green and rotted on the visible cuts in the sheathing but there much have been a pinhole. Amazing. Had it not been for this post I would have been clueless as were all the Suzuki mechanics that worked on it. Basically if the key has no power when you turn it and the trim/tilt motor does not work.......check the White Wire.


                              • #30
                                Anyone know the part number for this white wire to order one ??