View Full Version : Marine vs Automotive Parts

Engine Nut
08-26-2006, 11:48 AM
We get questions all the like " I am going to go to Auto-Zone for a new starter, what do I need to ask for?" Our answer of course is DON'T DO IT!!! A marine starter and automotive starter may look the same on the outside but the marine starter is designed so any arcing between the brushes and commutator or in the solenoid are not exposed to any gasoline fumes in the bilge could be ignited. All marine starters, alternators and distributor are Coast Guard approved and marked with the designation J1171 undicating that they are "Ignition Protected"

An electrical component that is “ignition protected” is capable of operating in an explosive environment without igniting that environment. “Ignition protection” of electrical devices is accomplished by the use of seals, flame arrestors and potting (sealing), or a combination of such means.

An “ignition protected” component:

- will not ignite a flammable hydrocarbon mixture surrounding the device when an ignition source causes an internal explosion, or;
- is incapable of releasing sufficient electrical or thermal energy to ignite a hydrocarbon mixture; or
- has the source of ignition hermetically sealed.

If, heaven forbid, your boat blows up, one of the first things an investigator will look at is to make sure that all of the components that are supposed to be ignition protected are. If they find any components that are not approved, your insurance policy will most likely be void and the loss will not be paid.

If you are interested in learning more about the Coast Guard's requirements for boat and marine engine manufacturers, go to this website:


I hope this information is useful to you.

08-27-2006, 12:47 PM
It's surprising to see how many people know this or have been warned about it and just ignore it in order to save a few bucks.