Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 09-06-2006, 18:44   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: presently gallivanting back across the Pacific... Pago Pago at the moment
Boat: Hylas 49 - GALLIVANTER
Posts: 201
Mechanical Starters?

Does anyone have any experience with non-electric starters for diesel engines?

I really like the idea of being able to crank-up "THUMPER" even if the batteries are flat.

I've located a source of air and spring starters and I would like to hear the views of anyone who may have one in use before I lay my money down.

Thanks,

Kirk
__________________

__________________
Gallivanters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2006, 19:47   #2
Registered User
 
Jon D's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, FL currently CLODs [cruisers living on dirt]
Posts: 423
Images: 11
|thought about getting one at one time but decided not to. Carry an extra starter and figured I'll have enough juice from one of the banks to get things going. If not I have really big electric issues. One I found was here

http://www.springstarter.com/
__________________

__________________
Jon
S/Y Sirius
Moody 47
Jon D is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2006, 23:35   #3
Senior Cruiser
 
Alan Wheeler's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Marlborough Sounds. New Zealand
Boat: Hartley Tahitian 45ft. Leisure Lady
Posts: 8,038
Images: 102
Hmmmm, not the sort of thing you want. Air start is no good. You have to have compressed air.
Wind up starters you have to be able to wind. Not sure I would want to clamber down into the engine room every time I wanted to start the engine. Carrying one as a "replacement in case of" well, my starter takes me an hr to get off and back on. I would be better of calling for a jump start, tow or getting someone to give me a push start
__________________
Wheels

For God so loved the world..........He didn't send a committee.
Alan Wheeler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2006, 23:51   #4
Kai Nui
Guest

Posts: n/a
OTOH, on a boat like Kittiwake where the only use for electricity is to start the engine, this would be an interesting option. Too bad the website doesn't have pricing.
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2006, 10:19   #5
Senior Cruiser
 
Starbuck's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2005
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 827
I'm sure the Pardey's would convert this device into a blender…
__________________
s/y Elizabeth Catalina 34 MkII
"Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt of himself to enjoy them." G. K. Chesterfield
Starbuck is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2006, 10:35   #6
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,056
Like the original movie (under rated) "Flight of the Phoenix" where the pilot uses explosive starting cartridges for his engines?

If your engine is too large to crank-start, you're still dealing in some kind of "stored" energy to start it. Even if that's compressed air, you still need a compressor and storage bottle and then there's that to fail and be maintained too. At a certain point, isn't is simpler to keep a spare starter motor, and just maintain the normal and one the electrics? Starter motors hardly ever die, they get killed because someone ran them too long. I was surprised to find out most are built for a very short duty cycle, like 15 seconds every 15 minutes. More than that and the windings overheat and take damage. (You could have one built for heavier duty cycles, but it would be larger and cost more.)
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2006, 14:18   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: presently gallivanting back across the Pacific... Pago Pago at the moment
Boat: Hylas 49 - GALLIVANTER
Posts: 201
Mechanical Starters

How many times have you pushed the start button and only heard the solonoid go "click"...?

I have yet to hear from anyone who has any personal experience with mechanical starters on marine disel engines, but... the aircraft I worked on in the Navy (S3A Viking) were equpied with a hydraulic accumulator which we would pump-up and start an auxilary power unit which would power all hydraulic & electrical systems and could in turn start the jet engines. It took about ten minutes to pump it up during the pre-flight inspection... and provided a way to start the engines when all else failed.

The mechanical starters listed show three Lucas type spring starters with a lever wind mechanism plus a light weight model with a polycarbonate body and a pull start type mechanism similar to a lawn mower. Both require a little exercise to build up energy before triggering the release.

I have also found you can fill scuba tanks in nearly every port we have visited and I'm willing to bet that one of our scuba tanks could provide enough volume and pressure for an emergency start should our batteries fail us somehow, somewhere, way out there.

I simply like the idea of having an alternate method of starting our engine.

Hopefully the supplier will reply to my inquiries next week.

I'll keep ya posted.

Have a great weekend!

Kirk
__________________
Gallivanters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2006, 14:31   #8
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,056
Kirk, how were you planning to use the scuba tanks? With a compressed air starter belted up to the flywheel?

(Scuba tank and valve, $125. Annual VIP, $20. Hydro every 5th year, $50. Net cost over five years, $275 without the starter.)

Dunno about the islands, but in the States Scuba tank "routine" maintenance has gone through the roof, everyone wants to skin the sheep and pretend it is rocket science. And that's without touching the question of how carefully fills are being done, or anything else.
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2006, 15:39   #9
Senior Cruiser
 
Alan Wheeler's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Marlborough Sounds. New Zealand
Boat: Hartley Tahitian 45ft. Leisure Lady
Posts: 8,038
Images: 102
I don't quite get your reasoning. You need to get to the starter to wind it up every time you want to start the engine. It's a one shot system. If the engine doesn't start imediatly, you have to do it again. they don't just crank over and over, so if your engine doesn't start up in the first cycle, you are shot. In an emergency, you will have to leave the helm to get to the engine and crank it and fire it and and and, =time.
It is much easier to maintain a battery surely. It is much easier to even carry a spare battery and keep it charged and use jumper leads if you have to for an emergency. I think you are worrying too much about a flat battery situation, when the worry is not needed.
How many times have you had a flat battery????
Oh and forget air starts. They take a hughe amount of Air. These starters are used on big trucks. Macks use them. They are louder than a Jet engine. You'd wake the everyone in the marina if you fired one of those things up.
__________________
Wheels

For God so loved the world..........He didn't send a committee.
Alan Wheeler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2006, 20:04   #10
Kai Nui
Guest

Posts: n/a
My concern is not flat batteries, it is an electrical system that has to be installed specifically for starting the engine. In my case, theboat has no electrical system. I did finally buy an engine, but it is in too tight quarters to crank start it. This is one of those situations where one high maintenance system requires the addition of another high maintenance system. A spring starter would eliminate the need for batteries, electrical switch, electrical panel, cables, and alternater. Sounds cost effective to me.
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2006, 20:25   #11
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,056
Wow, no electrics?! A brave position to take.

"A spring starter would eliminate the need for batteries, electrical switch, electrical panel, cables, and alternater. Sounds cost effective to me." Yes and no. If you are only using the electrics for the starter, the battery an be $50-75 because you only need ONE starting battery. And the alternator can be almost any junkyard alternator for $50, easily replaced or backed up with a second spare, or a nice remanufactured one for as little as $110 with lifetime warranty from a good vendor.

You don't have to install any switches or complicated wiring, aside from the one button to run the starter. I'm guessing your diesel came with a starter but if it didn't...OK, let's call that another $150. Add less than $200 for the rest, and you've got $350 for a total price of electric starting. And with an electrical system that simple--it should be simple to maintain as well.
How's that compare with the other options? And the "one shot then I've got to wind it up again"? Remember, if you are using a scuba tank you can't go diving with that tank, you've got to keep it full as the "starter". (You never said how you planned to rig that up to the engine, I'm still curious.)
Of course, if you did go with an electric starter...damn, that's the electric camel's nose under the tent, isn't it?<G> See what happens when you let an engine into the boat?!
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2006, 21:12   #12
Kai Nui
Guest

Posts: n/a
The engine has a starter and alternater. But, On this boat, I have been sailing without an engine since I have owned her, and the same for her predecessor. The main reason for even installing an engine in the boat is convenience. She originally had one, and there are already holes in the boat to accomodate, so I may as well install one. But, the boat was built with no electrics in 1940, and I have no desire to add them. As for the "emergency" situation, emergencies that require an engine to get out of can be avoiced 100% of the time by good seamanship. I would not say I have never been in an emergency situation that an engine would not have gotten me out of, but each time has been due to an error on my part. As I mentioned earlier, I am curious about the cost of these units. It may ultimately be cheaper to just install batteries and a switch, but I really like the idea of avoiding that extra system.
As for the scuba tank, it sounds to me like he is talking about either an air starter, or using an impact driver on the hand crank fitting.
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Old 11-06-2006, 14:24   #13
Senior Cruiser
 
SkiprJohn's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2006
Location: Kea'au, Big Island, Hawaii
Boat: Cascade, Sloop, 42 - "Casual"
Posts: 14,192
In Upgrading the Cruising Sailboat Dan Spurr talks about Mechanical starters, one that is hydraulic made by Bosch and the other is spring loaded made by Lucas "Prince of Darkness."
I really thought it might be a good idea for a backup system as did Larry Pardey when he wrote about it in Cruising World years ago. Because I have a 4 cylinder Mercedes I have decided that Alan Wheeler is correct in his comments about leaving the helm, going below, cranking up a spring starter maybe more than once and then sorting things out after the crash. He is right to mention that it has to be done each time you start the engine unless Lucas has come up with a dual starter which you can do both.
I now feel that I should get to know my electric starter intimately and have a spare aboard. I can bypass a selenoid when it just clicks and most often come up with a couple of heavy duty leads to get the starter to turn over. I'll carry a spare starter battery which will be kept fully charged.
"Kai Nui" just needs a one or two cylinder diesel engine with compression release levers and she'll be good to go. I've started the old Volvo engines many times without the aid of electricity and in his case, 8hp would be plenty.
Regards, --John--
__________________
SkiprJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-06-2006, 18:03   #14
cruiser

Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 4,525
While we are talking about alternate starting methods (which I'm a fan of), I'm curious if anyone has any ideas on why a starter would frequently engage, then disengage, then whirr, only to clunk at the end of its spin. If I hit it right on the "clunk" at the end of the spin, it holds for a fraction of a second and starts.

This is basically how I have to start my boat every single time, even though it's got a new starter and new bendix. (It chewed through the old bendix that came with the starter only 1 yr ago).
__________________
ssullivan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-06-2006, 18:17   #15
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,056
"emergencies that require an engine to get out of can be avoiced 100% of the time by good seamanship. " I suppose that depends on how far you define "seamanship" and whether you believe that good seamanship includes making sure the gods are ALWAYS on your side. Sometimes rigging fails unexpectedly, and having the auxiliary engine to fall back on...is good seamanship.<G> Sometimes Aeolus is too generous, or wanders off, and the sails are useless. I've sailed with and without engine and about the last thing I want to hear is the sound of an iron genny, but when I want to hear it...<G>....nice music!

Sean, if your engine chewed through a Bendix (and that's become a generic name now, there are different throw-out systems but they all get called "Bendix") and is misbehaving again, it could be a power problem (not enough power, releasing early) or too much heavy grease (congealing grease can make a bendix stick) or even the wrong parts, mis-assembled.

Unless you find a mechanic who has that system memorized dead flat perfect...I'd think the onyl way to really fix it would be to strip it down, do a rebuild "by the book" and keep checking until you find out "What's wrong with this picture". Something has to be wrong. Could be the PO used wrong parts, and when you replaced them...just replicated the problem?
__________________

__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:00.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.