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Subject: Starter not working

Hi Tony

Here again with yet more problems, thanks for your advise on my electrical problem, that has now been sorted. ]

This time its my engine, my start battery has been coping well cranking the engine over even though its a temperamental engine to start at times.

The engine is a 1.5 BMC (calorifier type) but now even with fully charged brand new batteries the engine is turning over really slow and the cables to & from the starter are over heating.

Should i suspect the very worst that the engine is either seizing up or is seized up totally?

Before this the engine has started pretty well every other day, this seems to have happened suddenly.

Oil level ok, Water kept topped up.

Yours thankfully now very disheartened




Dear Steve

Put a spanner on the nut holding the bottom belt pulley onto the engine and try to turn it. Then repeat on another diesel of similar size (make not too important).

You will have stiff spots where the engine is compressing the air (you may hear it hissing past the piston rings) and easier spots. Both engines should require a similar effort to turn.

I think that you will find that yours turns over with similar effort to another one and this will indicate that the problem is not in the engine. If you can not turn the engine over or it is very hard to turn over first remove the alternator belt and retry (in case the alternator has seized) and then remove the gearbox and try (in case the gearbox has seized).

With the gearbox off inspect the flywheel teeth to ensure nothing is jamming the flywheel against the case (like broken bits of starter gear or the drive plate).

I think you will find that the engine will turn over by hand and that indicates a short circuit in the starter - usually cause by copper/carbon brush dust + dirt + water or worn bearings.

If it is the starter I would advise taking it to your local auto-electrical specialist for repair, but tell them you expect a final LOCK TORQUE TEST. I have been hearing too much lately about starters being returned without being tested under load.

Tony Brooks


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Subject: Identifying starter

Hi Tony,

I am trying to find a starter motor for my Kingfisher inboard diesel marine engine, it is a 2 cylinder 16hp. Would a starter motor fit from any other marine engine fit.

Thank you very much

David G



Dear David

As far as I know Kingfisher information and parts are very hard to come by, but luckily they would have bought in the starter.

Give the body of the motor a good wire brushing and possibly sand papering. You should them find the make (Bosch, Lucas etc) and a series of numbers. These will identify the motor and then you do not even need a "marine one". If its Lucas it is likely to be a group of about 6 numbers and if Bosch a series of groups of three or four numbers. Other makers use similar arrangements.

It would be far easier for you to take it to whoever your local auto-electrical specialist is (yellow pages) and get them to overhaul it, but please ensure they measure the current drawn under a "lock torque" test.

Tony Brooks


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