Difference Marine starter and Car starter

Discussion in 'Propulsion' started by simso, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. simso
    Joined: Aug 2005
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    Location: Australia

    simso Junior Member

    Hey guys,
    Seeking some info, I have a marinized 350 engine in my boat (old 24ft Cabin cruiser fibreglass wrapped wood) and I use it for salt water boating and its raw water cooled. The starter motor has just packed it in and its corroded badly, so Im assuming its just a normal car starter motor. How do you tell the difference between the two, also whilst on the subject whats the difference in the alternators as well apart from your screens
    Thanks Steve
  2. Jango
    Joined: Aug 2005
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    Jango Senior Enthusiast

    Both Starters and Alternators for Marine use are built to prevent internal sparks from reaching the bilge area where combustible fumes might be present.

    Your boat could go BOOM using a starter and/or alternator ment for a car.

    Since car engine compartments are OPEN at the bottom-no Problem
  3. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Marine starters are shielded. Car starters can make your boat explode.
  4. simso
    Joined: Aug 2005
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    simso Junior Member

    Thanks guys,
    any idea how they shield the starter motors, ive seen the screens you attach to convert a alternator, but havent seen the difference in a starter motor
  5. RHough
    Joined: Nov 2005
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    RHough Retro Dude

    If you plan to insure the boat, the starter and alternator must be certified for marine use. You may not be able to get a DIY conversion to pass a survey.
  6. Bergalia
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    Bergalia Senior Member

    RHough is quite correct - marine electrics have to be certified up to marine standards. However you could try your local tractor/agricultural machine depot. Many modern tractors are fitted with 'spark inhibitors' on their starter motors for use among combustible materials ie grain dust; methane contaminated areas (stock and fowl sheds etc.) :rolleyes:
  7. Steve H
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: S.W. WashingtonState

    Steve H Senior Member

    The late model G.M. automotive starters (permanent magnet gear reduction) are physically the same as their marine counterpart. Except the marine version has a longer battery stud. They also do not say marine on them. There is no safety issue with them.

    However: the earlier 10mt (Direct drive high torque) automotive starter would be dangerous to use. It is completely open from the brush rack out to the drive end housing. Mix fuel vapors and one of these starters, it could be loud.

    The 10mt starter can be modified by installing a center plate. This would seal the sparks inside of the starter. This should be performed by an electrical shop experienced with marine work.
  8. simso
    Joined: Aug 2005
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    simso Junior Member

    Thanks for all the advice guys, I appreciate it. In australia for private vessel use we dont have to comply to the safety explosive issues, but common sense saids do it anyway. Im pretty sure the starter that I have is just a plain car starter because its rusted and died just like the water pump which was a plain car unit, locally a standard starter is abount 160aust a marine starter is 900 aust, I think Ill go to a reconditioning centre and see what they can build up for me
    Once again appreciate all the advice
    thanks Steve

  9. cyclops
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    cyclops Senior Member

    At one time, 50's-60's car starters had a strong, gasketed, steel band covering the brushes opening. NO WAY sparks OR a explosion could start.
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