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I'm new to boating and have just bought a 1994 narrow boat. I'm also new to mechanics but would like to do as much of my own maintenance as I can. Could someone please advise what type of spanners and sockets I'll need for a BMC 1.5 engine. I've heard of metric, AF, whitworth (and probably some others I can't recall. Which of these spanner/socket set types will I need to buy for my engine, please?

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For the main parts of the engine, AF, but you can easily find other standards on other equipment. Whit./BSF on really old British stuff and metric on more modern stuff. You may even come across BA on some electrical items, but for those metric will probably do.

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Many thanks. I'll get a set of AFs then. First job is probably going to be cleaning up the starter motor and solenoid - is that likely ton be AF or BA (for which you said I'd be able to substitute metric). I'm reluctant to buy a whole new starter because I think itm will be a solenoid problem. But you don't seem to be able to obtain just the solnoid anywhere

Thanks again,

Ian

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BMC  of that vintage will be AF ( across flats) spanner sizes as it will be mainly UNF and UNC threads. Having said that, you will find that some of the nuts and bolt pairs will be metric because that is what is now freely available. So you will need 10mm and  13mm spanners too.  11/16" AF is very close to 17mm and 5/8" AF is close to 15mm.

 5/16" BSF and 1/4" Whit  are almost 13mm

 

The one spanner that you really can't do without is 10mm.

The rest of the boat is likely to be metric.

 

Edited by Tracy D'arth
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2 minutes ago, Polly Graff said:

Many thanks. I'll get a set of AFs then. First job is probably going to be cleaning up the starter motor and solenoid - is that likely ton be AF or BA (for which you said I'd be able to substitute metric). I'm reluctant to buy a whole new starter because I think itm will be a solenoid problem. But you don't seem to be able to obtain just the solnoid anywhere

Thanks again,

Ian

Any decent auto electrician will be able to get spares for the starter, its just common Lucas stuff. What is wrong with the starter? they are pretty bombproof usually.

 

Some electrical connections may be BA threads but you will find that you don't need a full set of BA spanners, the even numbers from 6BA to 0BA will be enough. Odd numbers are rarely used except in modeling.

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6 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

The one spanner that you really can't do without is 10mm.

 

Buy a dozen of them.

 

Every job I do seems to end up needing 10mm spanners and the boat always seems to have eaten them.

You can never have enough 10-12-13mm spanners.

 

Battery terminals these days can be 10-12 or 13mm so you'll always need them

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Hi again - engine can be reluctabt to start. Turn key and I just get a click - which sounds like a solenoid problem. Can do that four or five times and then it bursts into life and all is good until the next time I want to start. I suspect the solenoid just needs a clean up and a touch of light lubrication.

 

Ian

Sorry - should also have said. I've searched the internet and can only find whole starter motors for sale - no one seems to have just the solenoid any more.

 

Regards,

Ian

Right - 10mm - thanks - I'll add them to my birthday list (-:)

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8 minutes ago, Polly Graff said:

Many thanks. I'll get a set of AFs then. First job is probably going to be cleaning up the starter motor and solenoid - is that likely ton be AF or BA (for which you said I'd be able to substitute metric). I'm reluctant to buy a whole new starter because I think itm will be a solenoid problem. But you don't seem to be able to obtain just the solnoid anywhere

Thanks again,

Ian

 

Specific to the starter. It depends on which model you have. Some hold all the main parts together with screw heads, others hexagons or a combination.

 

I think the fixings are nuts and bolts so they could be anything by now, even if they started life as UNF (AF) sizes.

 

If you know what you are doing it is likely that you can take the plastic solenoid cap off and clean up the contacts  but make sure you have a big soldering iron to free the windings from the terminals on the cap and make sure you put it back the correct way round. However, many nowadays have the cap swaged on.

 

Symptoms please, you might be making unjustifiable assumptions. Undersized wiring or a resistive ignition switch can give symptoms similar to a  solenoid fault.

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5 minutes ago, Polly Graff said:

Sorry - should also have said. I've searched the internet and can only find whole starter motors for sale - no one seems to have just the solenoid any more.

Most towns of appreciable size are likely to have somewhere that can repair/replace the solonoid for you for a lot less than a new motor. Done this for various cars and friends boats. Look for places that specialise in auto electrical alternators and starter motor repair. First though, see @Tony Brooks post above. Other things may be causing what you are seeing, which could be even cheaper to fix!

Jen

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15 minutes ago, Polly Graff said:

Hi again - engine can be reluctabt to start. Turn key and I just get a click - which sounds like a solenoid problem. Can do that four or five times and then it bursts into life and all is good until the next time I want to start. I suspect the solenoid just needs a clean up and a touch of light lubrication.

 

Ian

Sorry - should also have said. I've searched the internet and can only find whole starter motors for sale - no one seems to have just the solenoid any more.

 

Regards,

Ian

Right - 10mm - thanks - I'll add them to my birthday list (-:)

 

That is what I suspected.  Get a length of mains 3 core flex that will reach from the batteries to the starter. Strip and twist all three conductors together at both ends. Now take care, once connected if you let the free end touch metal you will get a big spark and possibly burned hands. Fix one end to the start battery positive and then identify the small single blade terminal with ONE thin wire on it on the solenoid cap. Firmly touch the flex to that terminal. You will get a spark and the more timid you are the larger the spark. Each time you touch the terminal the starter should work. If it does, then It's either the ignition switch, an undersized wire between the switch and that terminal or loose connections. If you sometimes just get the click then I agree it's a starts fault. Probably dirty solenoid contacts, but it might also be worn brushes.

 

If you want a quicker test just use a screwdriver between that small single blade and the nut connection where the battery cable fixes to the starter.  again be positive or you will get big sparks.

Edited by Tony Brooks
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The old hands on here would short the small solenoid tag to the heavy terminal on the solenoid that goes to the battery isolator switch with a spanner to achieve a similar result   IF   the battery and isolator connections are clean and sound.

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8 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

From a failing memory the starter is a Lucas M45 type. Try a Lucas agent.

 

Lots of spare solenoids available on ebay for one, not hard to get at all.

 

See         https://www.charnleys.com/part/leyland-light/10906826/solenoid-m45g

 

Yes M45G I think but that had several designs like a band over the brush end, a steel cap and seal over the brush end, and at least two different looking solenoids.  we don't want to even think about the number of drive end brackets.

1 minute ago, Tracy D'arth said:

The old hands on here would short the small solenoid tag to the heavy terminal on the solenoid that goes to the battery isolator switch with a spanner to achieve a similar result   IF   the battery and isolator connections are clean and sound.

Just added that.

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19 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

That is what I suspected.  Get a length of mains 3 core flex that will reach from the batteries to the starter. Strip and twist all three conductors together at both ends. Now take care, once connected if you let the free end touch metal you will get a big spark and possibly burned hands. Fix one end to the start battery positive and then identify the small single blade terminal with ONE thin wire on it on the solenoid cap. Firmly touch the flex to that terminal. You will get a spark and the more timid you are the larger the spark. Each time you touch the terminal the starter should work.

Assuming it is negative earth

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Just now, Tacet said:

Assuming it is negative earth

 

Well potted but positive earth on a forum with mainly metal boats would be very rarer - positive earth can perforate the hull. Not seen a positive Erath boat since the 1970s.

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Hi all - many thanks. Boat is actually a two hour drive away at the moment - hopefully being blacked as we type. So I'm afraid I can't try any of the suggestions just at present. All I can say re availability of the part is that a two hour internet search trying various combinations of 'starter motor solenoid for bmc 1.5 diesel marine engine' threw up absolutely no hits at all. Even the tractor sites (!) that it trawled up were only selling whole new starter motors. Also, I quite like the idea of getting the old one working again - and saving the planet as a useful side-effect! This is all assuming, of course, that it actually is the solenoid or the starter motor that are causing the problem. But - hey ho -, I've got to start somewhere.

Thanks again

PG

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Apologies - only just spotted the link to Charnleys - many thanks. I'll bear that in mind (and continue to be perfplexed why it didn;t get a hit when I was searching.

 

Actually - just chancing my arm here - the starter is not the knottiest of my problems. Biggest electrical issue is this:- I have 12v to the lights, horn, tunnel light, while the engine is running but that all stops working as soon as the engine is switched off. Meanwhile - the 1500w inverter carries on working - so I have power to all eight sockets in the boat. Meanwhile (again) - 12 v to the water pump does not work whether I have the engine or not. Any ideas wold be gratefully received!

Regards,

Ian

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22 minutes ago, Polly Graff said:

Apologies - only just spotted the link to Charnleys - many thanks. I'll bear that in mind (and continue to be perfplexed why it didn;t get a hit when I was searching.

 

Actually - just chancing my arm here - the starter is not the knottiest of my problems. Biggest electrical issue is this:- I have 12v to the lights, horn, tunnel light, while the engine is running but that all stops working as soon as the engine is switched off. Meanwhile - the 1500w inverter carries on working - so I have power to all eight sockets in the boat. Meanwhile (again) - 12 v to the water pump does not work whether I have the engine or not. Any ideas wold be gratefully received!

Regards,

Ian

Horn, tunnel light with engine switched on is correct. Do you mean that the cabin lights only work with the engine? If so the feed is on the wrong battery, should be on the cabin supplies.

Inverter should work as it is, from the cabin batteries.

Water pump, could be faulty, do you have any voltage at the pump?  Do you have and know how to use a multi meter?

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Is there a switch somewhere, possibly in the galley that shuts the pump off?

 

You can do a lot of testing with just a 12v bulb with 2 wires on it, if it lights when you connect it across the wires to the pump, you have power there.

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A good quality adjustable is also useful especially if you need to hold a bolt head whilst undoing a nut of the same size.

For the sort of use you are likely to need, Aldi and Lidl sell reasonable quality spanners at more than reasonable prices. 

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