Have a 1970 47' Commander with 8v53 Detroits. This evening on my Sunday cruise, my port key switch that had been loose in the dash (had been meaning to tighten the bezel) got stuck and didn't return from the start position. The boat is very well sound insulated and I didn't hear that the starter was still engaged with the engine running until about 10 minutes out of the marina when it started throwing off smoke and I went down in the engine room to find out what the smell was and saw what was going on.

As you would imagine, the starter is completely toast, the windings are melted and it is now shorted out. In looking for a new starter, I am confused. I see the starters for the 8v53's come in 12, 24, and 32 volts. Which one do I need? I see relays in the engine room going to the starter, and a large solenoid on the starter, so I'm guessing 12 volts is probably just the control voltage and the starting voltage is 24 or 32 but I don't know which. I'm back home already and wanted to get this part ordered tonight, does anybody know what version I need?

Thanks!

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Wait a second, I'm an idiot. The 12 volt system is that each engine has its own 8D for starting, and then there's another 8D for starting the generator and for house power. The starter must be 12 volt, because the batteries are separate, none of them are wired up together, and so no place that more than 12 volts could be coming from.

I feel your pain. I am having an electrical problem in my port starting circuitry. Problem is I don't know if its the starter, solenoid, battery or the wiring between.  

In my case I'm pretty sure it's the starter, since I actually caught it on fire and smoke was pouring out of it LOL.

My key switch stuck and didn't return to the run position from the start position when I let go of the key. My boat had the floors replaced by the prior owner with parquet over plywood over joists with the space in between the joists filled with high density fiberboard. It's a quiet boat when running. I have pretty good ears and still didn't hear the noise from the starter being engaged with the motor running. I finally noticed because I smelled something burning and opened a hatch and smoke came pouring out. The starter obviously was already toast by then.

Its not funny but yes at least you know what needs to be addressed. I don't think I could hear a gunshot from the engine room when I fire up the old DD's. In fact I can barely hear the engine turn over when one is already running. Easiest thing for me is to have someone hang their head off the back and tell me when it fires up.

For anybody else who wonders later, it's a Delco 12 volt 40mt model starter. It's really a pain to get to that one bolt that's under the starter and wedged in between the stringer and the engine, I had to buy an extra swivel joint a long extension and floppy head ratchet, and angle grind a perfectly good socket in half to fit, but I finally did get it. My back is still killing me, that thing must weigh an honest 70 pounds. The boat runs on both engines again, for now anyway lol.

Now time to pull that key switch and have my locksmith service it so it doesn't bind again. At $600 apiece I don't want to replace another starter.

My starter quit on my '81 410 a couple months back, and rather than going through the pain and expense of replacing it, I took it off and had it rebuilt at a local starter/generator shop in town. Works perfectly now, and only cost me $90.

I thought about that especially after I saw the price of a new one. But unfortunately it was pretty well shot, I don't think it was rebuildable, or even enough to get my core charge back. The thing was so burnt that it stunk up the boat with that electrical fire smell just by sitting there, and that was even after being out on the aft deck for 2 weeks in the open air. The windings and brushes had pretty much become a solid mass, the grease in it combusted, it was really shot. I'm not kidding we ran the boat for 20-30 minutes with it engaged and didn't realize until it caught fire. I am really lucky it wasn't worse.

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