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  1. #1
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    Question Sadler 32 watermota engine starting problem

    I have recently purchased a 1979 Sadler 32 with the original SeaPanther engine and am having real problems with starting. I have an 85Ah starter battery and 2 x 90Ah services batteries. with just the starter battery the engine barely turns over and with all 3 batteries it doesn't really turn over fast enough to start even with all batteries fully charged. if it does start it runs ok so I don't think there is a fundamental problem with the engine itself. Could this be a starter motor fault or perhaps some sort of electical fault?

  2. #2
    Billjratt's Avatar
    Billjratt is offline Registered User
    Location : Firth of Clyde
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    Measure the voltage at the battery when cranking the engine. If it falls from 12.6 (full charge) to 9 or so, the battery isn't man enough for the job.
    If the battery voltage doesn't drop much, measure at the starter motor (neg to the bolts at the motor, pos to the connector on the solenoid output.
    If the voltage is significantly lower while cranking, you have a poor connection or under-rated cable, or bad solenoid.
    If the voltage doesn't drop much at the motor, but cranking is still "lazy", put your palm over the air intake (you may have to remove an air cleaner first) to stop the engine drawing air. It should then speed up fast enough to start when you whip your hand away. The starter probably could do with a new set of brushes if it's original.
    Left hand down a bit.

  3. #3
    VicS is offline Registered User
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    IIRC the SeaPanther was difficult to start and was fitted with a 24 volt battery powering a 12 volt starter motor to overcome this.

    Possibly changed on later models.

  4. #4
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    thanks guys. a 24v battery sounds a pretty drastic solution - must make the charging setup pretty tricky. I'll try your suggestions when I'm next down Billjrat.

  5. #5
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    I have exactly that: 24V on a 12V starter motor.

    It was done on ealier engines where the original starting system was not capable of turning the engine sufficiently. The Sea Panther is a Ford Kent crossflow block which was designed as a petrol engine. The bottom end is bullet proof & so made a great block for conversion to diesel & marinising. But with the compression ratio doubled, the original 12V starter wasn't capable so the easy fix was to put 24V on it & specify it for limited engagement. i.e. if you can't start after a few seconds, leave it to cool.

    Starting has never been a problem on my boat (apart from when I had a blocked filter). BUT, & this is a big BUT, the reliability of the starter motor is seriously affected. Since I've had the boat, I have regularly replaced the starter motor every year. The cost of 30-40 from the motor factor was worth it. I just found at the start of last year that the cost has rocketed since they are not being refurbished. I'm almost certain that the brushes burn out & these are chaep to buy so should be easy to replace.

    If anyone knows of a longer term solution like anyone that would do a rewind to make the original mechanics turn over the engine better on 12V, I'd be interested to find out.
    I always wanted to learn to spell "engineer". Now I are wun.

  6. #6
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    thanks wooslehunter. if anyone has any further thoughts on the starter motor issue or any other suggestions please let me know.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wooslehunter View Post
    I have exactly that: 24V on a 12V starter motor.

    It was done on ealier engines where the original starting system was not capable of turning the engine sufficiently. The Sea Panther is a Ford Kent crossflow block which was designed as a petrol engine. The bottom end is bullet proof & so made a great block for conversion to diesel & marinising. But with the compression ratio doubled, the original 12V starter wasn't capable so the easy fix was to put 24V on it & specify it for limited engagement. i.e. if you can't start after a few seconds, leave it to cool.

    Starting has never been a problem on my boat (apart from when I had a blocked filter). BUT, & this is a big BUT, the reliability of the starter motor is seriously affected. Since I've had the boat, I have regularly replaced the starter motor every year. The cost of 30-40 from the motor factor was worth it. I just found at the start of last year that the cost has rocketed since they are not being refurbished. I'm almost certain that the brushes burn out & these are chaep to buy so should be easy to replace.

    If anyone knows of a longer term solution like anyone that would do a rewind to make the original mechanics turn over the engine better on 12V, I'd be interested to find out.
    As most Ford parts are interchangable could you not fit a diesel escort starter? you may have to change the flywheel but it would be worth it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongJohn View Post
    thanks guys. a 24v battery sounds a pretty drastic solution - must make the charging setup pretty tricky. I'll try your suggestions when I'm next down Billjrat.
    I was involved with Exeter University when Sea Panther was being developed. Already pointed out that this was a gasoline base motor and ring gear/starter pinion ratio certainly did not suit the higher compression. In development we used 24 volts on 12 volt starters with no apparent ill effects and production motors were 24 volt when then got Lucas to develop starter. Later reverted to 12 volt when Lucas dropped the 24 volt starter due to poor engine volumes.

    Engine is a bitch at low ambients, overquare diesel engines are nuts, poor cranking capacity of starter. Give it plenty of beans on the Thermostart, keep an eye on too many flames coming out of air inlet then bang it over on 24 volts. She will go.

  9. #9

    Default sea panther starting

    Just another thought re the ring gear/starter pinion ratio question:
    I replaced my starter motor recently, having fried the old one with over-zealous cranking in cold weather. The one I took off had 10 teeth on the starter pinion, and the replacements on offer all had 9. Various sources told me that it didn't matter, as "the pitch would have been adjusted to compensate". Anyway I eventually found a 10-tooth one, which seems to work just fine. Anyone know which is the "right" one? Or if the above advice was correct? By the way, the new motor (brand new) really whips the engine over when cold with the same batteries, so I think my original starter (reconditioned - how many times?) was failing for some time and not producing the necessary torque.
    Any thoughts anyone?
    All the best,
    Neil

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongJohn View Post
    I have recently purchased a 1979 Sadler 32 with the original SeaPanther engine and am having real problems with starting. I have an 85Ah starter battery and 2 x 90Ah services batteries. with just the starter battery the engine barely turns over and with all 3 batteries it doesn't really turn over fast enough to start even with all batteries fully charged. if it does start it runs ok so I don't think there is a fundamental problem with the engine itself. Could this be a starter motor fault or perhaps some sort of electical fault?
    my previous boat a contessa 34 had one.

    Due to the engine being a converted petrol the compression ratio is at the low end of the spectrum for a diesel. This means, to get it going you need to have your battery, starter and wiring in A1 condition. Also it needs the thermo start every time even when warm.

    1)electrics:

    it goes without saying your battery must be in good order. It should be possible to start the engine just fine with only one battery. You will need to mount the battery as close to the engine as possible and use oversize wiring. Litterally get the biggest cable you can, I used lorry starter cable of huge x sectional area.

    2)Thermostart. These are often broken or wired incorrectly. If its wired through a keyswitch then disconnect it and fit it with its own manual push button.

    then to start:

    push thermostart on and wait a long while - say 20 seconds or more. then, crank the engine whilst keeping the thermo start on.

    If you do all this without the air filter on you will see why. after about 20 seconds the thermostart gets hot enough to ignite the diesel, you then have a 24" flame coming out of your air intake. at this time keeping the power on the thermostart ensures this flame is sustained. you then crank your engine nice and fast with the short wiring run and she will draw in that flame and fire instantly.

    its actually a very reliable and quick starter once you ge tthe hang of it.
    my boat was wired with the thermostart on the key when I got it. by the time you are cranking the engine the voltage is not enough to ignite the diesel and its useless. this is not the correct wiring but belive it or not lots of yachts were supplied this way from new.

    so in summary, shorten your wiring run. take your airfilter of and check you can make a flame with thermostart.

    finally, they are prone to overheating and leaking oil.

    oil leaks can never be stopped so dont wast your time.
    most poeple take the thermostat out and that solves the overheating problems.

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