The wa­ter’s wreck­ing my starter

Canal Boat - - Back Cabin: -

QI have a boat with a JGM en­gine based on a BMC 1.5 diesel. I keep get­ting wa­ter in the starter mo­tor. It’s too high for wa­ter to get in from the bilge and the en­gine is en­closed in a box in­side the en­gine room. I re­moved the bell hous­ing, which was dry, and there’s a drain hole at the bot­tom. How could wa­ter get into the mo­tor?

DEN JOHN­SON, via email TONY REPLIES... The wa­ter must be from out­side. De­spite what you say, the most com­mon cause is for bilge or en­gine drip tray wa­ter to rise enough to get through the hole in the bell hous­ing. The level will be way be­low the starter but the fly­wheel will throw it up in­side the bell hous­ing and into the starter mo­tor. If you are ab­so­lutely sure the wa­ter is not get­ting into the bell hous­ing via that drain hole, check the core plugs at the back and starter side of the en­gine for leaks.

Some 1.5s have the calori­fier take-off at the back of the head on the starter side (be­tween the fuel fil­ter bracket and rocker cover). If this is leak­ing it might al­low wa­ter to run down on to the starter or into the bell hous­ing. There might be some brass plugs be­hind the en­gine back­plate in­volved with coolant, or the back of the block may be cracked, but I would ex­pect wa­ter to pool in the bot­tom of the bell hous­ing.

All of the above would re­sult in coolant loss, so if you hardly ever have to top it up, the wa­ter has to be from another source; is it pos­si­ble for rain to drip on to the mo­tor? Oth­er­wise, you are back to bilge or en­gine tray wa­ter.

If there’s too much bilge wa­ter it can get into the starter

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