Posts Tagged ‘spring’

Marine Starter VS. Automotive Starter… And the Winner Is…

Monday, November 24th, 2014

You pull the starter off of your Mercruiser (GM manufactured 5.7L) I/O and take it to the nearest auto parts supplier for a replacement. The starter for a car looks exactly the same as the one you just removed from your marine engine. You think to yourself, “I wonder how much difference there REALLY is between the marine and the automotive starter.”

Don’t be fooled by the fact that an automotive starter will bolt on to your marine engine. A marine approved starter has better seals and gaskets to keep water out. It also contains more corrosive resistant materials.

However, the primary consideration is safety, as there are deliberate design differences to contain sparks that could ignite fuel vapor in the bilge.  In an enclosed engine compartment, where volatile fumes exist, any stray spark could cause a catastrophic explosion, resulting in severe injury or possible death.  In order to prevent this, a marine starter is constructed with internal shielding to contain any sparks or stray electricity that could travel into the bell housing or bilge where gasoline fumes may be present. Another benefit from this shielding is that it protects the back half of the starter motor from moisture and contaminants which WILL decrease the life of the starter.

If the replacement starter you are buying does not have a tag or sticker on it that states it has been manufactured to SAE J1171 standards, you should ask if the product really is an approved marine grade product. You should always make every attempt to be sure that you are not being sold an automotive starter for your boat. In order to receive this certification, the manufacturer of this starter must submit a sample to pass three separate tests, each of which is performed fifty times. The tests include operation in an enclosed explosive atmosphere, high temperature tests and induced ignition tests.

Please remember the following:

  • Using anything electrical that is not marine rated is BOTH illegal and dangerous
  • The Coast Guard WILL ticket you for noncompliance
  • The risk of injury or death is incrementally higher when you elect to use automotive electrical parts on your marine engine

Stay safe out on the water and if you have any questions as to which start is best for your marine engine, call our Technical Support Line at 1-877-663-8396.

Spring Boat Maintenance Tips

Monday, April 14th, 2014

As spring slowly approaches, it’s time to start planning for boating season.  In order to make sure your boat is safe and running efficiently, you must thoroughly inspect and address a number of items on your boat.

FUEL TANK

  • Completely empty your tank of any gas that might have remained through the winter. When filling up with a fresh tank of gasoline, use a fuel treatment, such as Sierra’s eGuard, to ensure better fuel economy.
  • Visually inspect the gas tank for any corrosion.
  • Check the primer bulb and make sure it is firm and strong. Replace the bulb if you notice cracks or if it collapses.

BATTERY

  • Since the cold weather can greatly deplete your battery, it’s important to allow it to fully recharge. You should also regularly change your battery every two years.
  • Battery cells should be filled with distilled water.
  • Visually inspect the terminals for corrosion. Clean them if needed.

OIL & LUBRICATION

  • Replace the oil filter if it wasn’t done in the fall.
  • Inspect the oil injection unit and clean or replace it if necessary.
  • Inspect the prop shaft and lubricate it if needed.
  • Re-lubricate all necessary parts.
  • Check the condition of the lower-case oil. If the oil appears milky or cloudy, it is likely there is a leak in one or more of the lower unit seals. This should be addressed quickly, as water in the gear case can lead to expensive repairs.

ELECTRICAL

  • Check spark plugs and wires for damage. If one needs replaced, your chances are relatively high that another one will go bad soon after, so save time and replace them all.
  • Check all electrical components.
  • Inspect fuses and replace those that may have damage
  • TIP: When you disconnect the ignition wires, be sure to remember the cylinders to which they correspond.  With larger motors this can be especially important because the timing is set to fire the cylinders in a certain order.

PROPELLER

  • Pull off the propeller and inspect for any damage or fishing line.
  • TIP: Make sure you keep track of the order you remove the washers, nuts, sleeves and adapters. This will ensure an easy reinstallation once you’re done.

ANODE

  • Inspect the anode on your engine and replace it if there appears to be heavy corrosion. An anode that is in good condition will keep the parts of your engine that sit in the water from corroding.

HYDRAULIC STEERING

  • If your boat has a hydraulic steering system like BayStar, SeaStar or SeaStar Pro, check the tilt and trim fluid for the proper fluid levels.
  • Address any leaks prior to launching the boat.

STEERING CABLE

  • Inspect your boat’s steering, shift and throttle cable.  If you notice any cracks or bulges in the outer jacket of the cable, this could indicate corrosion and warrants replacement of the cable prior to taking your boat out onto the water.

A spring tune-up of your boat can go a long way toward ensuring a trouble-free summer boating season and it is an essential part of spring maintenance for your boat!