I recently got a 1971 65 HP Mercury. It has run very smooth and idles beautifully. Took it out Saturday and everything was normal. While I was out there, it suddenly started idling poorly. In fact, it took several tries to get it in gear before the motor died. After getting it in gear, we headed closer home, which was a several mile ride. I throttled the motor down to talk to someone and the motor died. I went to start the motor and the battery was completely dead!:sad2: We came in on the trolling motor. I have thought it odd that my fishfinder only shows the battery at 12.0 - 12.4 volts, even while the engine is running. My other motor ('88 60hp Merc) always showed 14-16 volts while running. When I got home, I removed the cowling to have a look. I knew some of the wiring was needing some attention but was surprised to see more serious wiring issues. Much of the wiring insulation is just falling apart in places. Cracks, breaks, wires barely holding together in spots, etc. I noticed the red wire coming off the rectifier (that goes to the switchbox) crosses over the ground wire that goes from the harness to the starter solenoid. There is bare wire (on both of these) where the two cross. That surely can't be good and may be why my battery isn't charging. I know I'm going to be replacing some wires and doing some splicing. I am wondering though if any of these wiring problems have to do with my sudden idling issue. I'm thinking it must but am unsure from an "electical perspective" how that would come about. Thoughts?? Thanks!!