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Old 01-01-2020, 06:32   #16
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Re: Hydraulic Starters any experience? Makers? Ex Landing craft ww2

Hi Michael,
There is a lot of different options being suggested on here, some are fair enough on a yacht, others are not (any kind of air starter will really be a non starter if you pardon the pun) unless you are sailing something over 100 feet long!
My opinion is if you want to have a backup starter just in case, the mechanical “wind up spring starter is your best option, it is self contained and gives you one start per wind up. Winding it requires quite a bit of space surrounding the starter and also require quite a bit of effort and you MUST wind it all the way to the “red” in the inspection window, its a big mistake to under wind it. If your engine is a good starter, then these are perfect for emergency use. If your engine requires a lot of turning over before it starts, then these are not the best option. Again, only my opinion, these are wholly unsuitable as your main and only starter.

Your original question was about Hydraulic starters, you could use these as you only starter but it requires additional equipment IE Hydraulic accumulator, a hydraulic oil tank, usually a foot starter valve, and pump to recharge the accumulator after the start.
You would then have a choice, if its going to be your only starter, you really need and engine driven charge pump and an emergency backup hand pump, but if the starter is only for backup, then you only require a hand pump (and accumulator & tank)
Just for your info, a hydraulic accumulator has inside it a bladder which is prefilled to a precise pressure with Nitrogen, this only requires checking maybe monthly and refilling very occasionally possible 4 yearly (the accumulator is normally a certified piece of equipment because the pressure inside is usually around 3000psi)
To pump it up by hand usually entails pumping the one meter (at least) long handle for some considerable time, maybe 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the size of your accumulator) and some considerable effort, not to be taken lightly. Just for info, when you pump the accumulator from zero pressure on the gauge the pressure rises quite quickly until it reaches the bladder pressure (maybe around 1000psi (thats just a guess) thereafter each stroke of the lever only increases the pressure on the gauge a tiny amount because you are now compressing the bladder, (before, you were only filling a very small space surrounding the bladder)

Someone stated above that you would only get one start, that is not entirely correct as it again depends on the size of your accumulator.

Personally, although its great to have these types of “out of the box” discussions the reality is, electric is the way forward, As a retired maintenance engineer, my advise is down to purely good regular planned maintenance of everything, Starting with batteries, engine,
, alternator, drive belt, starter, all cable connections and at the first hint of any issues, investigate and repair ASAP, using good quality parts (preferably on board) and services (if you are not doing it yourself)
PS, as a possible source of an entire second hand system hydraulic system, you could try and find a supplier/maintainer of offshore or ships life boats which often have these systems fitted as standard and life boats are quite often replace within the life of an oil platform, just a thought.

You don't say where you are sailing Europe or USA? I know a company in Scotland which could probably supply you an entire system!
All the best
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Old 01-01-2020, 06:44   #17
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Re: Hydraulic Starters any experience? Makers? Ex Landing craft ww2

[QUOTE=RaymondR;3046978]Caterpillar earth moving machines used to have a gas engine starter option. They were horrible things which usually required an exact amount of throttle and choke adjustment which was different for each motor. It was in pre recoil starter days and a rope had to be wound around a large pulley for each start attempt.

We had a D4 cat with a drott cable loader. It had that gas “ pony “ starter motor. Once you rope started the gas engine, it took a while to warm up the cat diesel before it would fire.

We also had Detroit 471 diesels with Air hand pumps. Yes the nitrogen accumulator needed to be outsourced for rebuild.
We ran Daffin hammermills with those units. It was a bitch starting them on a cold morning. As mentioned, if you didn’t get it running on first try, it was a long day. It took lots of elbow grease, and all the cursing never helped.
There ya go, and when ya got there, there ya are !
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Old 04-01-2020, 19:03   #18
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Re: Hydraulic Starters any experience? Makers? Ex Landing craft ww2

Michael, underground coal diesel equipment is fitted with pneumatic starters if that's any help.
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Old 04-01-2020, 22:33   #19
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Re: Hydraulic Starters any experience? Makers? Ex Landing craft ww2

I worked with a pump once which had 4 GM671s in two banks and only one air starter between them all. You started up the one with the air starter then engaged the motor clutches on each of the others to start them. A single large air clutch then engaged the pump.

The air starter went out and, being a bit of a weirdo, took some time to find a replacement.

To start an engine we used to take the pump drive belts off, wrap a long length of rope around the 2 foot diameter drive pulley, attach the end of the rope to a truck and whilst one proceeded on a burn out in the truck the other would drop the clutch on one of the 671s.

Biggest damned pull starter I have ever seen on anything.
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