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Old 08-07-2019, 15:23   #1
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Cruising is Fixing Your Boat in Remote Places - Part II...

Cruising is Fixing Your Boat in Remote Places - Part II...

The next log will be more of the sun, sand, and sea variety, but, I
trust you'll forgive this sort-of-technical followup...

You'll recall that I had a starter quit on me...

So, following up the nasty realization that my studs and nuts were
buggered to the degree that I could not replace them with peace of
mind, for fear of crossthreading, or for the one I found in my spare
nuts and bolts bin, maybe the wrong thread pitch, I set out to find
the answer to what I had, that'd I'd have to clean up. Much mirth and
diversion followed on some of the Facebook threads where I'd posed the
question, but nobody had an answer.

So, off to a vendor, who referred me on to another, and the answer was
that I had 3/8", 24 threads per inch studs and nuts.

I happen to own a reasonably full set of taps and dies, so I climbed
over the engine and crawled to the shelf on which I had my storage
bins. After checking one, I fetched out both a Craftsman die set, and
a reasonably complete, but flea-market quality tap-and-die set from
the second bin.

The complete set came with a thread pitch gauge, and I was able to
confirm that what I had was indeed a 24TPI thread. The rest was
simple, if not easy, as access to the starter mount is convoluted at
best. Before I was finished in this and the earlier part, I would wear
off the skin on both knees.

So, I start by cleaning up the studs, using the 3/8-24 die - a tool to
either cut, completely, or to make straight threads, on a bolt or
stud. The set was Craftsman, and were all hexagonal dies, allowing me
to use a crescent wrench to turn it, as the handle could not turn in
the available space, and I didn't have a socket large enough to fit
it. The cheapie set had a proper die as well, but it was round, with
a dimple for a threaded cone to keep it from turning in the handle.
That would have been very much more difficult to turn.

But wait! The first stud I work on starts to turn in the bell housing
plate. I manage to get the die off without backing out the thread,
and find that the stud has no "flats" for me to put a wrench on.
Fortunately, in my tools, I have several sizes of Vice Grips. I used
one of the right size to firmly grip the stud, and (due to the limited
space to swing the tool) a few degrees at a time, tightened it

Off I went to continue cleaning up the stud, and sure enough, it did
not back out (there was no way it would go in more than it was) as I
reversed the die to clean up what it had dug out. After a few more
trips of the die to the bottom, and back off the end, I eventually got
that stud to the point where the die would spin smoothly down its
entire length with just a single finger pressure.

The others were, essentially, more of the same, and now I had no-burrs
studs. (Tthe new starter weighs in at 50 pounds, and the numbers of
times it has been off and on over the 30 or so years - maybe 40, if
the rebuild I have had the original hang-on parts swapped onto a new
rebuilt engine - would surely allow for times of abuse of the
threads.) All I'd have to be is a weightlifter in a confined space,
in order to get the new starter inserted without bruising the studs.

On to the nuts. All needed some serious exercise of the tap - a tool
to make threads for a bolt in flat metal, or clean up nuts which had
their threads worn - but in the end, including the one which had
stripped plus the single one I was able to find in my bin of
odds-and-ends bolts and nuts, they, too, yielded to a cleaned up

Before wrestling the beast of a starter into place, I verified that
each of the nuts would spin effortlessly down each of the studs.
Whew. Well, I managed to get the starter into place without banging
the studs. But the starter is so heavy that I can't get a nut on the
top stud due to its having the starter cocked slightly due to the
weight. In my contorted position as I supported the starter I could
not overcome the weight and still get the washer, lock washer, and nut

So, I start in on pulling it in with the lower studs. Dang. The
bottom one stripped, again. My spare nut was not up to the task.
However, I *had* managed to get it on, allowing me to engage the next
nut up.

Tightening it (the center one) bottomed the top, and I tightened the
nut and washers on it, then snugged up the center one, and changed the
nut on the bottom stud. VEEEERRRRY gently, I got it - the original,
which turned out to be superior to my bin-find, but still the one
which failed the first time - to the point where it was snug (and
would not likely come off, due to the split-ring lock washer).

The rest was just detail. Back in with the low pressure alarm. Off
with the nuts for the solenoid initiation wire (push the button to
engage the solenoid and start) and the monster positive cable, install
those, and then reattach the business end of the big cable to the
master breaker switch I'd taken it from.

The moment of truth was at hand. Starting sequence checklist:
water pump">Raw water pump belt - tight.
Alternator belt - tight.
Coolant level - full.
Oil level - upper mid-range.
Raw water intake valve - open.

Checklist complete, it was time to check it out. Battery switch on
house batteries only (adding the starter only in an emergency
position), low pressure alarm confirms it works, and a touch of the
button ...

... results in the sweet sound of brute strength as the starter
quietly sings for a second and the engine starts. No gearing and
struggling for this starter, the direct drive spun the engine up
immediately. The previous - now the specified replacement - starter
is MUCH lighter - but the smaller electric motor relies on gearing to
get the diesel motor moving. Unfortunately for my comfort level,
albeit of no issue for the 6 years we've had it installed (since we
had the monster rebuilt and placed in replacement stores), the starter
business end goes at a slower rate, and starting takes longer.

In any event, another cruising adventure comes to a satisfactory end.
Thank you Lord for my personality which demands backup parts and lots
of tools, or we'd have been in quite a pickle, at the end of the world
with no services for rebuilding a starter or replacement studs or nuts
(I tried, once I knew the correct size). Instead, we headed off into
the next adventure, with a resolution that once I had it rebuilt, I'd
have - as I do for the monster - a replacement solenoid for the
starter which failed. If it hasn't happened out here, once back on a
mooring ball as we are when we're not cruising, I'll obtain new nuts
and swap them out one at a time.

Hey, YOU! You wanna start something?? I recommend the Delco Remy
direct drive starter!

We'll return to our normal cruising adventures, of which I have much
to tell you, in the next log. Until then, Stay Tuned!


Morgan 461 #2 SV Flying Pig, KI4MPC
See our galleries at!
skipgundlach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2019, 16:02   #2
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Re: Cruising is Fixing Your Boat in Remote Places - Part II...

redsky49 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2019, 23:12   #3
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Re: Cruising is Fixing Your Boat in Remote Places - Part II...

Horrible things starter nuts. I made extended ones to bring the nuts out to the front of the starter, just took two ordinary nuts and welded them onto the ends of steel tube, then ran the tap through them, works well and with a nut on each end reversible. I also do this with other hard to get at places such as diaphragm pumps mounted in difficult places and any nuts on brass bolts such as the electrical connections on anchor winches. The extended engaged threads makes them harder to strip as well as easier to put on and a short socket will always work even on tong studs.
RaymondR is offline   Reply With Quote

boat, cruising, remote

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