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2011 DF150 cranking/start issue

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  • 2011 DF150 cranking/start issue

    It's been a while since I posted anything, mostly because our df150 has (knock on wood) been so reliable esp. compared to other brands I've owned in the past (the big M mostly). I bought the motor new in 2011 with our JC tritoon. We use it a lot - 850 hrs on the engine. It gets very regular professional maintenance and is I would say extremely well maintained. Stored indoors winters in IL by the Suzuki dealer who sold us the boat and we have dry stack in/out service in summer with indoor storage on Fox Chain of Lakes. It's pulled by forklift after every use. Anyway, I used the boat last Thursday and had zero issues of any kind including several engine stops/starts. Saturday we returned to use it, I prepped everything and all seemed OK including the motor tilt down from trailering position (where it sits when stored) and turned the key. NOTHING. Jiggled the throttle. Nothing. Checked all electronics. Nothing was left on from Thursday (I always double check all circuit switches on the dash after each use, having been burned). Figured 4 yr old battery, has enough juice to trim the motor but not enough to crank that engine. So I went to pull out the battery and have it charged by the marina. I jostled the battery trying to move it, and for some reason something told me to try again. Turned the key and it BAM, started within 2 seconds of cranking as normal.

    So we went out for about 3 hours and never shut the engine off. I ran it WOT quite a bit, no issues at all noted. On my GPS console the voltage for the engine was showing 14.3-14.5 the entire time. Safely back at the dock I tried restarting the engine several times, and it started each time w/o issue. I pulled the battery and brought it back to Batteries Plus where I bought it. As suspected it's 4 years old (50 months). They "tested" it and found it good - reads stated cranking amps. BUT, they don't do a load test but I believe a capacitance test, and I think this is where the issue is possibly? I'm not super confident in Batteries Plus staff or expertise, and the first store tried to sell me a battery that's been on their shelf a YEAR (next store had them from this month) but the battery is a Duracell labeled East Penn Maintenance Free 800CCA made in USA, not China or Korea or Mexico. I really like East Penn batteries.

    To note, about 5 years back we had the Neutral safety switch problem. The forward (binnacle/control/throttle-side) switch as well as the NSS switch on the linkage under the cowl were both replaced. I called our Suzuki dealer from the water on Saturday, he reminded me that the new engine-side neutral safety switch he installed was of the new design, and that the old style had the flaw. His feeling is that it's always possible the NSS failed but unlikely and much more likely the 4 yr old battery. He mentioned maybe a battery connection issue (?) has developed but the power tilt/trim worked fine, so if it's battery connection it's engine-side.

    The voltmeter on the dash showed like 11 volts when the starting problems occurred, but not sure I trust it. I didn't have the GPS on at the time but in hindsight should have to check its reading. Can something else on the engine be drawing when OFF? Enough to run it down in 2 days?

    So I bought a new battery anyways of course, and will install end of week. The reason I post this is to find if anyone here has any similar experience or thoughts on the matter. My ultimate fear of course is we go out, kill the engine to swim, and get stuck. Back when the original NSS was failing, 5 years back, I could jiggle the throttle and start the engine. If there's something else going on, I may not get so lucky next time. So, if anyone has any insight or ideas, or thoughts about what I wrote above, I'd be extremely grateful. Thanks.
    Last edited by neptoon21tt; 06-29-2020, 10:32 AM.

  • #2
    I’d be checking all your electrical connections paying particular attention to your “white wire”


    • #3
      Originally posted by Murray View Post
      I’d be checking all your electrical connections paying particular attention to your “white wire”
      Agree, 1000%.

      Especially look for the white wire connection to the battery, and the fuse that should be close by to the battery in that wire. When you moved the battery you may have just done enough to get that wire connected again. So find it, undo it, clean the connections and check the wire itself and connector is in good condition, and tighten it back up. Open the fuse holder take the fuse out, have a careful look at that fuse holder for loose wires and corrosion, reinstall it all.
      Last edited by Moonlighter; 06-29-2020, 07:40 PM.


      • #4
        I would suggest checking for corrosion inside or near the terminal end of your battery cable(s), not readily visible.
        μολὼν λαβέ


        • #5
          THANKS ALL. The white wire makes sense as far as engine no-crank, but note that the trim from the throttle works fine. I did see in the WW post above; my eye was caught by the word "usually":

          This situation usually effects the trim switch on the remote, which also fails to function.

          If the throttle-side trim works but no crank, does that RULE OUT the WW? considering that after I jostled the battery it behaved normally it's a solid theory if the working trim switch doesn't rule it out.

          The Suzuki dealer didn't mention the WW as a possibility when I described it to him, I will mention it to him again.

          The jostling the battery got was really an accident. I lifted it about 1" off the tray but didn't have a good grip from the side so is slipped and fell that inch. That's when it started as normal.

          The people at Batteries Plus suggested that sometimes a battery that's failing internally CAN be affected by such a thing but again, not sure I believe them. Tapping battery terminals though can for sure help with a weak connection due to corrosion etc.

          I've got my new battery which I put on the trickle charger to make sure it's 100% and will try it on Friday weather permitting.

          I'd love to know if it's at all possible that the throttle-side trim would work with a bad WW connection.