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Bobby S

1995 Yamaha 150 saltwater series II starter buzzing

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I have a 1995 Yamaha 150hp Saltwater Series II that when I turn the key the starter is buzzing. For a while it would eventually start, but now is not. I also noticed yesterday that when I tried to trim the motor the starter was buzzing and the motor wouldn't trim. I want to make sure it is the starter before I replace it at about $600. Any suggestions and help would be greatly appreciated.

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Don't replace the starter just yet! They rarely go bad.

A starter that's trying to turn but isn't getting good juice WILL FAIL very quickly.


Turn the key, get the starter to "do its thing", and then feel the cables. Are they warm? If your 17 year-old cables are turning green on the inside you'll be losing a ton of amps, and starters will do funny things. So will trim systems because they are also very high-amperage.


Reach into the bilge and wiggle / pull as much of the cable as you can to inspect it. You may find a hole or crack in the insulation where the cables are compromised. (I worked on one boat where the cables were laying in the bilge water and they completely rotted in half.)


95% of electrical problems begin at the battery. If you've got wing-nuts, hand tight is WAY too loose. Use pliers and psycho-tighten them. If the batteries are more than 4 years old, REPLACE THEM with 1000AMP batteries that you didn't get at WalMart. And use nylock nuts.


This only takes a minute: Find the outboard's main harness plug which should be at the front and probably laying in the motor pan. Unplug it and inspect all the little pins for corrosion. Slam some anti-corrosion grease in there before you replug it.


Now, if all that stuff is in great shape and the starter spins happily but the bendix gear isn't engaging the flywheel, that could also be perceived as a "buzzing" noise. That's a bad starter.

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