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Question on distributors Marine vs Automotive

April 15 2017 at 7:48 PM
Leland  (Login lhstanford)
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Is there any reason why I can't use an automotive distributor in a boat engine.? I pulled the dist from my brother in laws 460 Ford engine. The dist says Marine UL Listed. I have a new Accel dist for it (automotive type). Summit has a marine dist advertised and has UL Listed on it to. Any help is apreciated.

 
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LanceH
(Login cyclone03)
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Re: Question on distributors Marine vs Automotive

April 15 2017, 8:38 PM 

The USCG may have something to say about it.

IIRC the marine stuff is sealed so sparks dont get out,or water in.

If it is running enclosed or below deck I think it would be best to run the marine approved parts.

 
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Leland
(Login lhstanford)
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Thanks Lance. I don't see anything sealed though.

April 15 2017, 8:47 PM 

It is an enclosed engine compartment. I'd considered drilling a small hole in the cap to keep moisture out. I used to do that on forklifts that were used in and out of refrigerated warehouses.

 
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Del R
(Login driehl)
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Your insurance company might also have something to say N/M

April 15 2017, 9:40 PM 


 
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Don Ragan
(Login gdr45)
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Re: marine v/s auto dist,

April 16 2017, 2:53 AM 

Leland, the marine distributor should have a couple of small round screens, about the size of a dime ? ,located some where on the bottom of the housing. These are called davie screens. When gas fumes are present inside the distributor and a spark ignites the fumes. The screens will allow the pressure to escape but not the flame. As others said, USCG and insurance folks Don' t like automotive rated stuff in/on a boat and any claims would be denied.


    
This message has been edited by gdr45 on Apr 16, 2017 2:53 AM


 
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A70
(Login a70eliminator)
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marine

April 16 2017, 7:21 AM 

The all important J in the part number is what the look for and I would not suggest a non marine distributor it must be spark arrested operating in the enclosed space below deck this is where all you fuel vapors will collect.

 
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Leland
(Login lhstanford)
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The prestolite marine dist. has no screens

April 16 2017, 8:50 AM 

It does have a plastic plug in the housing below the breaker plate. It's a mech. adv. dist. with petronix module. Autoparts store dist. cap. No sealing of any kind. Nothing so different. I may just try and find a rubber boot to slip over the dist. cap. And I won't tell anyone except forum embers i've done this. lol. Thanks for input

 
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Don Ragan
(Login gdr45)
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Marine distributor,

April 16 2017, 9:27 AM 

The plastic plug is where vent screen should have been installed. At lest that's where I remember it. We used 4 different ignitions back n the day. They were Prestolite, Mallory, Autolite and a Merc Marine version.

 
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Tracy Williams
(Login FalconStng)
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As a long time boater, I urge you to use proper marine parts...

April 16 2017, 9:30 AM 

Google boat engine explosions to see what can happen. The problem with things like this is that you can get away with it most of the time. It only takes one time though and you have an explosion.

JMHO,

Tracy

 
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Don Ragan
(Login gdr45)
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Tracy is right on,

April 16 2017, 9:38 AM 

Cause if you have a fire at sea, finding stepping stones back to shore can be a bitch.

 
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Chris McAlpine
(Login chris401)
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Party Barge

April 16 2017, 10:26 AM 

I thought your party barge had twin Detroits?


Kidding, if you have twin engines does one have a backwards rotating distributor or a reverse cut cam/distributor gears?

 
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Larry H
(Login 54skyliner)
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Reverse cut gears. The distributor turns ccw, just like a regular one.. n/m

April 16 2017, 11:08 AM 


 
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Chris McAlpine
(Login chris401)
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Thanks

April 16 2017, 1:02 PM 


 
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Leland
(Login lhstanford)
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I'm convinced! He'll have to get the correct one. Thank you guys

April 16 2017, 2:32 PM 

I don't want to be responsible for any kind of problems. Fires! Explosions! Damn!!

 
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Bobby Spears
(Login x4rdtech)
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Re: Reverse cut gears. The distributor turns ccw, just like a regular one.. n/m

April 16 2017, 2:43 PM 

Don't you just reverse the firing order on left engine in the cap,the engine does turn opposite of the right one,one of my early dealers had a boat with twin 427's.I tune them for him but that was in 72.We had a levee break in one of a local area farm lands on his way to the dealership so he had to get another way to ride to work.His T-Bird didn't float well enough. Really nice guy to work for.Just can't see how it turns the same unless as mentioned,the cam gear and dist gear are cut backwards.Explain that to me,willing to learn how.


    
This message has been edited by x4rdtech on Apr 16, 2017 2:50 PM


 
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Anonymous
(Login gbeltran)
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Re: Reverse cut gears. The distributor turns ccw, just like a regular one.. n/m

April 16 2017, 3:55 PM 

No I think it still turns the same way, same firing order. For most of the older marine stuff I've seen the reverse rotation engine used a gear driven cam, one gear on the crank directly driven the cam gear. So the cam/distributor rotated the same direction as the regular engine. Don't know if they did it differently with the FE, but that's what I remember.

 
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Bobby Spears
(Login x4rdtech)
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Re: Reverse cut gears. The distributor turns ccw, just like a regular one.. n/m

April 16 2017, 6:43 PM 

Ok but they still turn in different directions I would think .One of my employers had dual boat with BBC engines.I replaced a cracked dist cap on one that would cause the engine to stop running.They both turned in opposite directions.Every dual engine boat here I saw while crusting in my BBF jet boat were turning opsite also.You can tell by the wake they leave.

 
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Greg
(Login gbeltran)
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Re: Reverse cut gears. The distributor turns ccw, just like a regular one.. n/m

April 16 2017, 7:02 PM 

The distributors turned the opposite? Then you would need a special oil pump also. I haven't seen any listings for those and I worked parts for a long time. You talking dual engine jet boats? Prop? Outdrive? I know an outdrive spins opposite the engine to counteract the torque in single installs. In dual installation one is reverse rotation, be it the engine or handled in the drive. My experience with dual engine boat does not include the FE, although I would thing it's done the same as the other stuff I've seen/worked on. Not trying to argue, trying to learn something new if I've missed it in the past.


    
This message has been edited by gbeltran on Apr 16, 2017 7:03 PM


 
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Bobby Spears
(Login x4rdtech)
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Re: Reverse cut gears. The distributor turns ccw, just like a regular one.. n/m

April 17 2017, 9:14 AM 

You are right about the oil pump issue.My boss's had two FE 427's and one turned opposite than the other one.They were prop driven.It must have had a reverse cam to compensate for that.That was in 72 so not sure about that. When I moved here in 2011,I saw two 427 Marine engines for sale on craigs list near here.I went to look at them.The seller pointed out one was reverse rotation.Non side oilers and I think hydraulic lifters,not sure about that either but rich boat owners didn't want to worry about adjusting valve lash in a cruiser very expensive boat.

 
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Bobby Spears
(Login x4rdtech)
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Also if

April 17 2017, 10:01 AM 

you buy a reverse crankshaft,the rear main seal area has the fine grooves cut backwards as I have seen posted.

 
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