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ASK THE EXPERTS
SOLUTIONS FROM THE BoatU.S. TECH TEAM
WHERE’S THE PROOF?
I need to replace the starter on my 1989 Volvo 5.7L V8. There are many
starters advertised as “marine certified,” with prices varying from $50 to
$500 or more. Is there a telltale way to verify that the starter in question
is truly ignition protected? Will there be an ISO or SAE stamp on it? The
reseller says, “Yes, it is ignition protected,” but I would like to have some
concrete proof. Tom Anderson, California, MD
DON CASEY: There are standards of compliance that certify that an electrical item is ignition protected, namely SAE J1171, UL 1500, ISO 8846, and USCG Title 33CFR 183.410(a).
All but the Coast Guard standard specify that the device meeting the standard must exhibit
a marking or label, so a new starter intended for marine use should display one of these
standards. However, if you are looking at rebuilt or reconditioned starters, then the original
label is of unknowable validity. In this case your best assurance is likely to be to deal with a
reputable seller and to make sure the invoice specifies “marine certified”.
I just purchased a 1997 Carver 280 express cruiser, with a gasoline engine. My problem is I
cannot find a fuel tank vent anywhere on the hull. When I open the mid-berth closet, I can
smell fumes. Is this a production error or is it vented some other way?
JOHN ADEY: According to the federal
regulations, all components and connections of an inboard gasoline fuel system
must be accessible, AND a vent system is
required that will not allow any liquid overflow to enter the boat.
Knowing this, there must be a vent
outside the boat and you must be able to
access the fuel tank and vent connections.
First, find the fuel fill, the vent may be on
the same side but not immediately next to
the fill. It should be a small fitting with the
opening pointing down so water cannot
enter the vent line. If you cannot find it
outside, look in the cabin floor for an access
plate that would reveal the hose connections
and attempt to follow the hose to the exterior of the boat. Maybe a repair was attempted
and the vent was never reinstalled?
This brings me to my next point, which
is extremely important. You should never
have a fuel smell inside your boat. This
could mean several things all equally as
PHOTO: BILLY BLACK
JUNE | JULY 2012