A question we are often asked, particularly since we frequently mention our use of GM engine blocks, is if there is parts compatibility between Marinediesel components and automotive components. The answer is not so simple.
Yes. And No.
Can you use automotive components on our engines. Yes. In most cases they will fit. Should you? No.
Marine parts are designed for use in the marine environment. Though sizes may be the same, the marine components are usually manufactured with different seals and different alloys to inhibit both corrosion and the intrusion of moisture.
A couple of good examples are starters and alternators.
Since the topic is starters:
- Starters for marine use produce the spark differently, as in they are shielded. This is due to the need to minimize the risk of igniting fuel vapors in cramped engine compartments. Automotive starters are typically not located in areas with reduced air flow.
- The number one cause of failure of starters is moisture. Starters manufactured for marine use are more moisture resistant.
- As in point number two above, corrosion is a problem with starters. The alloys used to produce the sparks are different.
So, in theory you can use an automotive starter on the Marinediesel engines. However, you really should use a starter that is classified for marine use in order to operate safely and with a long service life.
As to other components being interchangeable, a few are. You need to consult with your local Marinediesel distributor before attempting to take any shortcuts.