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Old 06-08-2011, 09:08   #1
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Piece of Broken Starter in Engine

Hi,

I've got a treasured rebuilt Yanmar 3GMD that I installed myself 6 years ago. The purr of that engine means a lot to me.

I'm also, due to circumstances, cheap. I installed a new chinese starter last season and the housing of the starter gear broke inside the engine. I took it off and fished a large broken piece from the place where the starter gear meets the flywheel. I fitted it back on the starter and discovered a smaller piece (about 1/2 inch flat square) missing. Where did it go? How hard will it be to retrieve? What bad things could happen from this piece being somewhere inside near the flywheel? I replaced the starter and the engine starts and runs like it used to. I think I do hear a little metallic "tinkling" sound every once in a while.

My nightmare is that the little piece of metal will get into the flywheel teeth and be driven through the engine casing. Is that rational?

Thanks for your advice.

Dan
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:13   #2
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Re: Piece of broken starterin engine

Yes, it very likely will cause significant damage. The clearances in there are often very small. It's waiting until you really need the engine...
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:28   #3
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Re: Piece of Broken Starter in Engine

No opening at the bottom of the adaptor plate on this engine?
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:34   #4
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Re: Piece of Broken Starter in Engine

I'm looking for an engine diagram. Not sure where the adapter plate is.
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:37   #5
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Re: Piece of Broken Starter in Engine

Get a magnetic parts grabber (small magnet on the end of a flexible rod) and go fishing.
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:50   #6
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Re: Piece of Broken Starter in Engine

Blue is referring to.... some bell housings have a plate on the bottom that can be removed. Some have a plate bolted to the face of the bell housing (engine side under the starter). Usually this is difficult to get to because of the lack of access under the engine. If you can get to it then it is the way to go...just a couple of screws and the debris will fall out.
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:50   #7
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Re: Piece of Broken Starter in Engine

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Originally Posted by logisoft View Post
I'm looking for an engine diagram. Not sure where the adapter plate is.
I'm not familiar with this engine, but many have an adaptor plate between the transmission and the power plant. There is sometimes a cutaway section at the bottom of the adaptor plate for clearing oil leak, gunk,etc.
You can normally see the ring gear inside.
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Old 06-08-2011, 10:00   #8
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Re: Piece of Broken Starter in Engine

Pull the transmission off if you don't have enough clearance to fish the piece out you will have to yank the bell housing.

Stay away from Chinese aftermarket stuff.
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Old 07-08-2011, 17:27   #9
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Re: Piece of Broken Starter in Engine

Thanks, Gang. I'll try the magnetic dealie and look for an access plate. I'll keep you apprised of my progress. Actually, I'm so busy it might have to wait until dry dock and we'll use an outboard for the rest of the season.

Yeah, no more chinese stuff, especially when it goes into the engine.

Dan
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Old 07-08-2011, 17:40   #10
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Re: Piece of Broken Starter in Engine

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Originally Posted by logisoft View Post
. . . My nightmare is that the little piece of metal will get into the flywheel teeth and be driven through the engine casing. Is that rational?. . . Dan
What is more likely to happen is the missing piece of metal will get jammed between the bell housing and the flywheel teeth breaking off one or more teeth. Then you have a very expensive problem of replacing the flywheel.
- - I'd advise going ahead and remove the transmission to get access to the bell housing and find the missing parts. At the same time you can check for any rear seal leaks and also see if your dampner plate springs are good and not rusted.
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Old 16-03-2012, 08:26   #11
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Re: Piece of Broken Starter in Engine

I to have had the same problem with my 3gm30. The casting on mine was aluminum so the magnet was out. I got lucky and was able to get all of mine out. I am sorry to hear about your problem but at the same time it puts me at ease. I thought it was the Chinese casting also.The starter shop had said it was kick back on the engine that caused it. I tried another starter after having the engine checked out and it did it again. got lucky again and got all the pieces. Put in an OEM starter and have my fingers crossed.
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Old 16-03-2012, 09:02   #12
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Re: Piece of Broken Starter in Engine

As far as Chinese parts go,,i wouldn't be so critical,,since most of our parts are manufactured in Mexico, Brazil,Taiwan, etc,,it is a rare thing indeed to find a part that's stamped "USA" and even then you could be looking at a re-pop part(some are very poor quality) as to the part in question, its called the starter drive gear bell housing and if they are weak in any way they do break in the places you mentioned.
Best advice is do like others have suggested,,and fish around with a magnet probe until you have enough of the pieces gathered to fill in the broken section,,but don't rest until you do.
Once you have all the pieces and match them to the open space they departed from,,you can cease worrying.
Oh,,P.S. improper installation of the starter can lead to such a failure also.
Best of Luck Matey..
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Old 16-03-2012, 10:13   #13
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Re: Piece of Broken Starter in Engine

If the engine runs OK and the piece is aluminum, fuggetaboutit. Even if you turn the engine upside down and it falls into the flywheel, those steel teeth will turn that aluminum to dust. Or you can spend a day when you could have been sailing pulling the trannie and picking out the piece of metal.
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Old 16-03-2012, 16:15   #14
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Re: Piece of Broken Starter in Engine

How common is kickback? In 40 years of owning diesels I have never had that problem nor heard of it. I wonder if the rebuild shop was doing a little of CYA because they didnt know what the problem was? A few years ago I had a Yanmar starter rebuilt at a local shop, and when I put it back on it sounded horrible. I took it back to them and they discovered that they had put the wrong gear on it. They were good about correcting the problem, but it could have done major damage if it had been used for any length of time. And Oh Yes, I am very familiar with kickback in old hand crank gas engines. _____Grant.
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Old 16-03-2012, 18:17   #15
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Re: Piece of Broken Starter in Engine

I am inclined to agree with Don. However, if you really want to get it out, before you pull everything to bits, try putting a good lump of stiff grease on the ring gear (enough to scrape on the bell housing) and rotate the engine very slowly by hand. You may pick up the bits.
Regards,
Richard.
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