The Starter Motor Stops

When I press the start button nothing happens apart from a click from the vicinity of the starter motor. I originally thought that the battery was flat but, once recharged, all that happened was the same click. This depresses me. I have had so many problems with the starter motor. I cannot use the boat without an engine that starts reliably. I cannot leave from, nor return onto, the pontoon under sail.

The phone rings. It is Kiyuna san! He has the new oil line and is coming over.

I demonstrate the starter click.

He says, “Dai jou bu, I fix.” He takes off the starter motor and water pours out of it! How can this be? I can not think of any way that water could have got into the motor over the last few days but it is clear that it had been submerged. It remains a mystery.

He dismantles the motor and we find that it is filled with red sludge. Where did that come from?

Yuck, no wonder it did not work. It is clearly dead.

99 people out of 100 would have chucked it away and bought a replacement – not Kiyuna san.

It is a very complicated device with many moving parts, springs, circlips, which he negligently chucks into a container. How he could ever remember which piece goes where and in what order is difficult to process.

We fill a bucket with diesel and start meticulously cleaning each part. Here I can be useful.

Surgical standards of cleanliness
Notice sunburnt knee
Tapping out stuck carbon brushes after long soaking in diesel
Feeling much better
What a great afternoon

We have a great afternoon, sitting in the sun, cracking jokes and cleaning the starter motor. We do not have much common language but still have the best time.

The re-assembly is very complicated. “Next time you do it, Neil san.” Er, no.

Kiyuna san says, “There are many mechanics. I am not a mechanic, I am a magician.”

Once the starter motor is re-installed, the engine starts instantly. It is a miracle! The starter motor was full of sludge.

I have to leave but Kiyuna san goes to the Yanmar depot to pick up the new oil line. I can’t wait to see if he has installed it. Then the boat will be back in action

Kiyuna san will be 70 tomorrow! Wish him a happy birthday.

Kiyuna san’s new bike. The Harley is resting.
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2 Responses to The Starter Motor Stops

  1. calderi says:

    Very happy birthday to Kohima san! A jewel beyond price. His new bike appears pretty minimalist – is there a seat? Starter motors are not what they were though your one is probably old school. A mysterious business.

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