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Old 07-01-2010, 01:24 PM   #1
Sunbeam lodge
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Default Boat Starter problem

My boat starter had been making grinding sounds but the engine would finally start. This morning the grinding noise started and then stopped and now the starter just whirs and does not contact fly wheel. Anyone have any ideas?
Checked the battery terminals and put charger on but starter just whirred like it was not contacting fly wheel. Is there someone out there that makes boat house calls to Meredith so I do not have to tow boat to dealer.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 07-01-2010, 02:23 PM   #2
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Try giving Goodhue Marine in Moultonborough a Call.... I am pretty sure they will come out to your house. One of their Mechanics lives over in that direction, he might be able to come over and look at the situation tonight. Depending on the boat and engine access they may or may not be able to get the starter in sitting right at your dock........
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Old 07-01-2010, 05:40 PM   #3
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In many cases..particularly with V6..V8 engines, getting the starter out is THE most difficult thing to remove on a marine engine. As Relaxin said, a LOT depends on the how difficult it is to GET TO the starter. ..I'll leave it at that for now. NB
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Old 07-01-2010, 11:03 PM   #4
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If you've ever seen a starter before you can see there is a at the end of the starter that bolts into the bell housing a gear which will engage the flywheel when the starter is used. This gear is on a spring loaded shaft which allows it to push out (like a plunger) and mesh with the flywheel when the key is turned and disengage once the engine starts. It could very well be by the description you give that the ability for that shaft to move back and forth, possibly due to corrosion. This can also occur if there is not enough voltage getting to the starter solenoid. Since it sounds like you were able to get a charger on the boat and assuming you had enough voltage making it to the solenoid chances are it's the starter itself and if it's suffering from any kind of corrosion replacement is probably your best bet. The fact is was grinding at one point is not good, that can do permanent damage to the flywheel and if the teeth on the flywheel get damaged it could wreck a new starter. If you take it in to be fixed, it would be a good idea to mention that to the mechanics that are working on it so they can visibly check the flywheel as well.
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Old 07-02-2010, 06:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoBozo View Post
In many cases..particularly with V6..V8 engines, getting the starter out is THE most difficult thing to remove on a marine engine. As Relaxin said, a LOT depends on the how difficult it is to GET TO the starter. ..I'll leave it at that for now. NB
On my V8, I have to take the starboard exhaust manifold off to get to the starter. Not as bad as I thought it would be to do though. Gave me a chance to inspect the elbow and manifold and I found out my exhaust shutters were worn out while I had it opened up, so I replaced them.
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Old 07-02-2010, 07:38 AM   #6
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Old 07-02-2010, 08:19 AM   #7
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I just had Wally's Marine replace mine. Something similar to yours. If you ever hear the grinding noise in the future stop right there and get it looked at. If you do damage to your flywheel a $300 job just became $1000+

Good Luck. Let us know the outcome.
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Old 07-02-2010, 12:13 PM   #8
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Sounds like the starter drive has failed,it is no longer sending the bendix gear out to contact the flywheel. When it gets weak you will get partial engagement and grinding of the gears. Hope the flywheel is good but by the sounds of it the starter is a goner.
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Old 07-02-2010, 12:47 PM   #9
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Many Mercruisers (and I assume VPs as well) have reduction gear starters. These have a smaller, much faster spinning motor that drives a planetary gear set. The big ring in the gear set is made of plastic and can strip pretty easily. That would cause the same symptoms as described. Sadly, the gear is very easy to remove, and it has a part number, but no one sells it. You have to buy a new starter when it fails. I hate that....
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Old 07-02-2010, 02:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Many Mercruisers (and I assume VPs as well) have reduction gear starters. These have a smaller, much faster spinning motor that drives a planetary gear set. The big ring in the gear set is made of plastic and can strip pretty easily. That would cause the same symptoms as described. Sadly, the gear is very easy to remove, and it has a part number, but no one sells it. You have to buy a new starter when it fails. I hate that....
Back in the day we had Mechanics that knew how to Fix things. Today we have Technicians that know how to Replace things. NB
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Old 07-03-2010, 05:02 PM   #11
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Back in the day we had Mechanics that knew how to Fix things. Today we have Technicians that know how to Replace things. NB
This mechanic loves to fix things. I recently repaired my Bravo 3 with a rebuilt driveshaft housing that I got on craigslist for $495. Dealer would get $3000+ for the same repair. I also recently repaired a failed hydrostatic tractor transmission for $130 in parts. Dealer said it was not repairable and needed to be replaced for $600 + labor.
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Old 07-03-2010, 05:50 PM   #12
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Dick, sounds like a dead battery. I'd try jumping it if you can, battery may be beyond recharging.

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Old 07-03-2010, 06:29 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Dave R View Post
This mechanic loves to fix things. I recently repaired my Bravo 3 with a rebuilt driveshaft housing that I got on craigslist for $495. Dealer would get $3000+ for the same repair. I also recently repaired a failed hydrostatic tractor transmission for $130 in parts. Dealer said it was not repairable and needed to be replaced for $600 + labor.
You SIR ..are a RARE BIRD and I SALUTE YOU.

I just sold a 24 year old TORO riding Lawn Mower because I got tired of Fixing it. It was a Fine mower for someone who can FIX something. I am getting old now and don't feel like fixing stuff anymore. I just bought a Husqvarna tractor that will not need fixing before I die.... NB
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Old 07-03-2010, 10:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave R View Post
This mechanic loves to fix things. I recently repaired my Bravo 3 with a rebuilt driveshaft housing that I got on craigslist for $495. Dealer would get $3000+ for the same repair. I also recently repaired a failed hydrostatic tractor transmission for $130 in parts. Dealer said it was not repairable and needed to be replaced for $600 + labor.
Having worked in the past as a tech I can easily explain to you why. First liability, second reliability of the repair.

I'll give you an example of both. When I first started as a tech it was not uncommon for us to rebuild just about any part you can reasonably tear apart. For example it was far less money to rebuild a brake caliper than replace one. Matter of fact at least on Toyota's you can still order rebuild kits for them. The difference is the dealer will NEVER rebuild them only replace. Not because it's difficult, but because some that were rebuilt by technicians who didn't care may have been ones that should have been replaced. It's a liability to the dealer to have techs do that. Additionally the expectation for any customer is that if serviced it will be fixed. Customers do not like bringing vehicles back over and over for the same problem. Also it does not reflect good on the tech ether, have enough "come backs" and you'll be looking for another job.

Finally some times is quicker, easier and in the long run cheaper to do an R&R (remove and replace) then to troubleshoot, rebuild and hope that the time spent in labor does not over take the cost of a brand new part.

I do agree however that today's techs are to dependent on having the onboard diags tell them exactly what the problem is. Many times the computer is not able to determine the problem based on the information it's observing and therefore can throw bogus codes. A well versed competent mechanic can come to a totally different conclusion based on what the symptoms are. With the expense of parts and labor you can't afford a tech that is throwing darts at a problem they don't fully understand, especially when the bill is being paid for by you the customer.
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Old 07-04-2010, 09:32 AM   #15
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The fact is was grinding at one point is not good, that can do permanent damage to the flywheel and if the teeth on the flywheel get damaged it could wreck a new starter. If you take it in to be fixed, it would be a good idea to mention that to the mechanics that are working on it so they can visibly check the flywheel as well.[/QUOTE]
This is what worries me as the grinding had been going on for a while although some times it did not make the grinding noise. Is it possible that the starter teeth were not linning up with the teeth on the flywheel and stripping them. I only hope they made the starter gears are of a softer metal. That may be the only thing that will save me the trouble of replacing the fly wheel. Is that a big job and do they have to pull the engine?
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Old 07-04-2010, 09:48 AM   #16
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My guess is the Pinion (bendix gear) would be softer material than the flywheel and may just be plain worn out. If the boat is an I/O, the engine has to come out of the boat to replace the flywheel. If the boat is an old fashioned "Strait Inboard" such as an old wooden Chris Craft, prospects might be better. What kind of boat, engine, and year is it? NB
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Old 07-04-2010, 09:56 AM   #17
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My guess is the Pinion (bendix gear) would be softer material than the flywheel and may just be plain worn out. If the boat is an I/O, the engine has to come out of the boat to replace the flywheel. If the boat is an old fashioned "Strait Inboard" such as an old wooden Chris Craft, prospects might be better. What kind of boat, engine, and year is it? NB
1996 Falcon 2270BR. 5.7LX Bravo III
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Old 07-04-2010, 11:29 AM   #18
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I know it sounds stupid but one thing to check is if the starter is securely bolted to the engine. I had a similar problem with a Ford Bronco and it would finally just spin. When I put it on the lift I found the starter lying on top of the frame. Two minutes later it was good as new.

With marine starters, if they are easy to reach as on straight inboards, I take them off the first of every season, lube them a bit and cycle them a few times prior to reinstalling. I would not even think of doing this on many stern drives I've seen.

Good luck.
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Old 07-04-2010, 03:33 PM   #19
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[QUOTE=Seeker;131950]I know it sounds stupid but one thing to check is if the starter is securely bolted to the engine.
The starter was tough to get out, it is under the engine, but by standing on my head I got it out. The gears on the starter look a little worn but the fly wheel gears seems to have been ground down a little.
i found two things that may be the problem
The nut on the wires to the starter are loose.
The marina that installed the starter bolts in 2005 seem to have put them in crooked, at least the bolts look bent and the bolts were loose when i took them out.
Should I put the starter back on after tightening the wires and re-tighteni the bolts.
I guess if that does not work the engineit will have to be pulled to get the flywheel replaced.
Not good news.
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Old 07-04-2010, 03:44 PM   #20
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1996 Falcon 2270BR. 5.7LX Bravo III

I just found a picture of your boat. (Link below) By the looks of the rear seating, it's going to be a lot of fun getting the starter out. The boat is only 14 years old so the starter bolts will hopefully not be rusted enough to give a problem.

Open the hatch and pull out all the seat cushions you can. As you face aft (looking down into the engine room) the starter is on the right (Stbd)side ...your left... WAY down under the starboard exhaust manifold and inside the engine bed. See if you can see it with a flashlight. Looking under there will give you an idea how difficult it may be to get in there, and get the starter out. You have to be able to reach it with tools. Good Luck. NB

http://www.westlakebeach.com/forsale/falcon-zion.htm

EDIT: Apparently you got it out while I was typing.
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Old 07-04-2010, 06:26 PM   #21
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I just found a picture of your boat. (Link below) By the looks of the rear seating, it's going to be a lot of fun getting the starter out. The boat is only 14 years old so the starter bolts will hopefully not be rusted enough to give a problem.

Open the hatch and pull out all the seat cushions you can. As you face aft (looking down into the engine room) the starter is on the right (Stbd)side ...your left... WAY down under the starboard exhaust manifold and inside the engine bed. See if you can see it with a flashlight. Looking under there will give you an idea how difficult it may be to get in there, and get the starter out. You have to be able to reach it with tools. Good Luck. NB

http://www.westlakebeach.com/forsale/falcon-zion.htm

EDIT: Apparently you got it out while I was typing.
Well, after two hours with my feet up in the air and the boat rocking and rolling the waves and my head in the bilge I was able to get the starter top bolt in and then got the bottom bolt that was bent in the hole. But lo and behold what else could go wrong. The bolt snapped off.
Fortunately the bolt broke leaving a half dozen threads so that I may be able to get a new bolt and stack a few washers on it to get it tight.
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Old 07-04-2010, 06:45 PM   #22
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Well, after two hours with my feet up in the air and the boat rocking and rolling the waves and my head in the bilge I was able to get the starter top bolt in and then got the bottom bolt that was bent in the hole. But lo and behold what else could go wrong. The bolt snapped off.
Fortunately the bolt broke leaving a half dozen threads so that I may be able to get a new bolt and stack a few washers on it to get it tight.
I was happy to hear you are able to turn a wrench. Many boatowners are not.

Do NOT STACK washers. They WILL Loosen very shortly. If you are not comfortable JUDGING the condition of the Bendix..ask someone who is....Of course a marine "Technician" will recommend replacing IT no matter what. Find a friend who has some experience..it doesn't matter if they have marine experience. A Bendix is a Bendix. NB

PS: I don't know why you are RE Installing a suspect starter....??
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Old 07-04-2010, 07:54 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunbeam lodge View Post
Well, after two hours with my feet up in the air and the boat rocking and rolling the waves and my head in the bilge I was able to get the starter top bolt in and then got the bottom bolt that was bent in the hole. But lo and behold what else could go wrong. The bolt snapped off.
Fortunately the bolt broke leaving a half dozen threads so that I may be able to get a new bolt and stack a few washers on it to get it tight.

Sunbeam, replace both, or any combination of starter mounting bolts with [ Grade 8 ]. Make sure that the one bolt being threaded into the half dozen threads facilitates a secure starter mounting. 'If so', pick up a small tube of locktight Blue, apply it to the new bolts, as this will keep them from backing out and seal them from rust or corrosion. [ Incuding salt water applications ].

This is the heart of the boating season, today being July 4th, and we want to see more folks out there on the Lake enjoying such.

Hope this helps.



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Old 07-04-2010, 08:46 PM   #24
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Quote:
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I was happy to hear you are able to turn a wrench. Many boatowners are not.

Do NOT STACK washers. They WILL Loosen very shortly. If you are not comfortable JUDGING the condition of the Bendix..ask someone who is....Of course a marine "Technician" will recommend replacing IT no matter what. Find a friend who has some experience..it doesn't matter if they have marine experience. A Bendix is a Bendix. NB

PS: I don't know why you are RE Installing a suspect starter....??
Thanks for the input,
The starter appeared O.K. The teeth looked good. It was the loose wire on the starter and the loose bolts that seemed to have caused the problem. When I put the starter back on and the engine started right up and only one bolt was in. I have to buy a new bolt for the bottom so I wont start the boat again until I get a new one. Can you suggest another method if I dont use stacked washers. The bolt broke inside the threaded hole but I can still get about a half dozen threads. I would have to remove the engine in order to drill out the broken bolt as it is under the engine in the bilge.
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Old 07-04-2010, 09:09 PM   #25
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Default bolt remover

a bolt remover has left hand threads on it. You drill a hole into the broken bolt, screw in the bolt remover and when it is tight, use a wrench to back out the broken bolt.
I am no mechanic, but I have used one . First and foremost, be careful drilling the right sized hole, and then take your time, using steady pressure to back out the bolt.

Others may have another suggestion.
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Old 07-05-2010, 05:14 AM   #26
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Thumbs up This CAN be done...

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"...Others may have another suggestion..."
To assist in removal, I'd suggest drilling completely through the bolt, then squirting WD-40® or CRC-5/6 corrosion inhibitor into the "unseen" end of the bolt.

I've recently used (and forgotten the name of ) a new product which is reputed to be much better than the above—and much reknowned around ocean environments.

Use a broken bolt extractor of top quality—one made in the USA plus a new "cobalt" drill bit. (I love spending other people's money —it's "The American-Way" ).

Start with a small centered hole, then drill to the size recommended for the extractor: generally speaking, the largest hole possible weakens the broken bolt for easier removal. You only get to do this once, and you don't want a cheap (but hardened-steel ) extractor broken off in the broken bolt!

If the bolt appears to resist removal with an extractor—and space allows—the hole can be drilled to a larger size than the original and a "threaded-insert" installed. This gets complicated when a broken extractor is in the center of the repair. Use of a "high heat" flame can help break down any "Lock-Tight" product that may have been used on the bolt previously.

There are other "tricks" in the case of a broken bolt, but first assume the bolt is rusted in place. Be patient with the rust dissolvers, maybe use each dissolver you can find—one after the other.

Good luck with this project.
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Old 07-05-2010, 05:57 AM   #27
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Thumbs up Not Long-Term, but OK...

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"...I have to buy a new bolt for the bottom...Can you suggest another method if I dont use stacked washers. The bolt broke inside the threaded hole but I can still get about a half dozen threads. I would have to remove the engine in order to drill out the broken bolt as it is under the engine in the bilge..."
Now that I've read this again, I see it is your newer [broken] bolt that is giving the problem.

After your repair, listen for a possible return to the starter-loosening-problem each time you go out. My guess is, you'll see a return to this starter problem—eventually. (Not sad just a "wrinkled brow").

While stacked washers are problematical, you could insert one thick steel spacer that approximates the thickness needed. Put a lock-washer on the top and bottom of the spacer.

But remember that this is a "temporary fix".

If the new (and broken) bolt loosens again, consider using a proprietary bolt manufactured with "cuts" on the end. Those cuts assist in "self-tapping" its way back to a proper alignment.

Another thought is that a replacement bolt made of stainless steel is very resistant to the hard abuse that a starter motor gives in this kind of application.

Neither of the above are the "best fix", but a ready solution to your situation early in this year's boating season.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:16 AM   #28
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Sounds like you know how to get the bolt out but just can't reach it.

I agree not to stack washers, just 1 lock washer. Just buy the correct length bolt. If the best you can do is 1/2" too long just cut it and clean up the end threads with a die.
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Old 07-05-2010, 03:57 PM   #29
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OK: I think I understand what's going on now. You have a theaded hole in the back of the bell housing where the original Bolt screwed in. So the bolt broke off IN the hole but left some usable threads in the hole. Is that correct ?.

If the depth of the theaded hole that still has usable threads is AS Deep as the diameter of the old bolt..or deeper, that is sufficient. I suggest you do not replace the bolt with an identacal bolt..or try to shorten one to snug up tight because that is too tedious and Iffy.

Try this. Go to NAPA and get a STUD to replace the original bolt configuration. Studs have a "Course" thread on one end, which will screw into the hole. The other end of a stud is usually a "Fine" thread". Get a Nut and a split washer to fit the fine thread. If you have more than the diameter in depth..use the split washer..if not, skip the washer.

Use Loctite #271 (Red) on the Course threads ONLY. Screw it in tight with a pair of plyers or better yet a Mini "Pipe Wrench". I have one with a 6 inch handle that it perfect for screwing or removing Studs or broken off bolts.

Loctite #271 is nearly permanent and requires Heat (Bernzamatic Torch) to remove. Not a problem down the road because presumably the engine will be out of the boat at that point.

If I've misinterpretted the problem here..then disregard all of the above. NB
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Old 07-05-2010, 07:41 PM   #30
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OK: I think I understand what's going on now. You have a theaded hole in the back of the bell housing where the original Bolt screwed in. So the bolt broke off IN the hole but left some usable threads in the hole. Is that correct ?.

If the depth of the theaded hole that still has usable threads is AS Deep as the diameter of the old bolt..or deeper, that is sufficient. I suggest you do not replace the bolt with an identacal bolt..or try to shorten one to snug up tight because that is too tedious and Iffy.

Try this. Go to NAPA and get a STUD to replace the original bolt configuration. Studs have a "Course" thread on one end, which will screw into the hole. The other end of a stud is usually a "Fine" thread". Get a Nut and a split washer to fit the fine thread. If you have more than the diameter in depth..use the split washer..if not, skip the washer.

Use Loctite #271 (Red) on the Course threads ONLY. Screw it in tight with a pair of plyers or better yet a Mini "Pipe Wrench". I have one with a 6 inch handle that it perfect for screwing or removing Studs or broken off bolts.

Loctite #271 is nearly permanent and requires Heat (Bernzamatic Torch) to remove. Not a problem down the road because presumably the engine will be out of the boat at that point.

If I've misinterpretted the problem here..then disregard all of the above. NB
Having worked in both the automotive industry and at a machine shop, I agree with NoBozo's recommendation.

If you are not going to pull the engine to fix it, then this is your best option.

Clean the threads with a good solvent and used the loctite and let it dry the full recommended time.

This option will allow you to add a washer if needed to get the started properly tightened.

Its not an ideal solution, but should get you going.

As a aside, you were very lucky that you didnt have an explosion given the loose wires and the location of the starter!

Arcing wires in the bilge area is an accident waiting to happen.

This is why you always want to run your bilge blower before starting your engine!!!

Good Luck.

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Old 07-14-2010, 06:14 PM   #31
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Default Another idea if it is really becoming difficult...

I'm all for doing a top notch repair job, but in this case, I would just use washers, then a split lock washer, and red threadlocker on the bolt. That will never come off.

Then it will be the next owner's issue.

But by the time anything in the starter motor needs replacement again, the powertrain will have other issues that will require pulling the engine, so there really would be no harm done.

If it makes you feel any better, I had to pull the engine, disassemble it and split the engine case to get to the starter clutch in my 1986 Kawasaki... That was a great week I'd like to forget...
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Old 07-14-2010, 07:19 PM   #32
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If it makes you feel any better, I had to pull the engine, disassemble it and split the engine case to get to the starter clutch in my 1986 Kawasaki... That was a great week I'd like to forget...
What model?
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Old 07-16-2010, 02:53 PM   #33
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It's a GPz900. Kind of a summertime restoration project.

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This mechanic loves to fix things. I recently repaired my Bravo 3 with a rebuilt driveshaft housing that I got on craigslist for $495. Dealer would get $3000+ for the same repair. I also recently repaired a failed hydrostatic tractor transmission for $130 in parts. Dealer said it was not repairable and needed to be replaced for $600 + labor.
Good stuff. You get a really satisfying feeling knowing you saved that kind of money.....once you finish, of course.

OP, how is the project going?
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Old 07-16-2010, 06:20 PM   #34
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It's a GPz900. Kind of a summertime restoration project.
I have a lot of experience with those first generation Ninja engines. Lemme know if you need any advice. I know mine need intake valves at 60,000 miles. They are pretty easy to change and since they were so soft, the seats did not need grinding.
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Old 07-17-2010, 02:31 PM   #35
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Hey thanks for the offer. Mine has about 25k on the clock. Just adjusted the valve clearances and all 4 cylinders show good compression. *fingers crossed*
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Old 07-18-2010, 07:59 PM   #36
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Hey thanks for the offer. Mine has about 25k on the clock. Just adjusted the valve clearances and all 4 cylinders show good compression. *fingers crossed*
It's easy to tell if they need to be changed, when the screw part of the screw and locknut adjusters recedes into the nut, you are out of adjustment and need new valves. One thing that's really critical on those engine is to make sure both valves in each pair have exactly the same lash, otherwise the forked rocekr puts point stresses on the cam face and the cam can pit.
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