Back Me Up Page 2

Maintenance Q & A — April 2004
By Capt. Ken Kreisler

Back Me Up
Part 2: Applying Gasket Sealant, Loud Starter Noises
 More of this Feature
• Installing a Second Bilge Pump, and more
• Applying Gasket Sealant, and more
• PMY Tries... Refrigerator Soda Can Dispenser

 Related Resources
• Maintenance Q&A Index

Do you have any tips for applying gasket sealant? W.S., via e-mail
In some applications sealant can be used instead of preformed gaskets or as a dressing to form a rubber-like coating that fills in any small imperfections in the sealing’s surfaces. Regardless, make sure the sealer is fresh and has not begun to solidify. If it has, discard it and use a new batch. In addition, check the expiration date on the tube or container and be sure to discard it if it has expired.

Before applying the sealant, make sure that all mating surfaces are clean. Therefore carefully scrape any residual material, grease, paint, or other contaminant from the surfaces with a blunt scraper to avoid marring or otherwise damaging the areas. Once everything is clean, use a quick-drying solvent and a clean, lint-free shop towel to wipe down the surfaces.

To ensure a perfect seal, brush a light coating of sealant on both mating surfaces as well as on both sides of the gasket. But be careful not to overdo it, since excess sealant will squeeze out and make a mess as the surfaces are bolted together. In addition, make sure none of the compound gets into bolt or alignment-pin holes, as this can cause hydraulic lock and subsequent failure of components to properly seat or incorrect bolt torque.

I have an older gasoline stern drive engine on my boat. What does a loud grinding noise indicate when the starter runs? T.R., via e-mail
The improper meshing of the starter pinion and the flywheel ring gear often causes this. In some cases it can also be caused by a broken, overrunning starter clutch. In either situation, this is a job for a mechanic to address, not one you should tackle by yourself.

The starter will need to be removed and the starter pinion gear checked. If the teeth are chipped or worn, the flywheel ring gear will also need a look-see. Should this be the problem, replacing both the starter and ring gear may be necessary.

If the pinion gear is in good condition, the problem is in the starter itself.

Need help with a maintenance problem? Write to Maintenance Q & A, Power & Motoryacht, 260 Madison Ave., 8th Fl., New York, NY 10016. Fax: (917) 256-2282. e-mail: No phone calls, please.

Next page > PMY Tries... Refrigerator Soda Can Dispenser > Page 1, 2, 3

This article originally appeared in the March 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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