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We’ve had a busy summer here at Marine Parts Express—so many things happening I can’t begin to tell you all the helpful changes for our customers.  I’m sure ,  if you’ve visited the website recently ,  you’ve noticed some of them: new banners, schematics, and tables that help you find what you need in a hurry.  

About one month ago we moved to a bigger location with better office space and faster Internet connections, all to make sure that we are can respond quickly when you need us.  Hurricane season has been tough on many of our regular customers in the South and we are making a special effort to handle those calls and e-mails with the kind of attention a crisis demands.  In addition, our special orders department has implemented some important changes so that now we are able to deliver hard-to-find parts even faster through a special arrangement with Volvo Penta. 

As you know, we pass our volume discounts on to you.  We take pride in the fact that we have such a wide range of knowledge about marine engines and are the recognized source for all kinds of parts from manufacturers like Volvo Penta, Mercuiser and PCM. We take care of a grateful crowd of customers who know we have the patience to find parts they need for their Chrysler, Westerbeak or Perkins engines as well as parts for their ZF, Twin Disc or Borg Warner Transmissions Whatever you need, we do our best to be there to help. Finally, although our toll free number has remained the same, our fax number did change because of the move.  Our new fax number is (207) 882-9865.

By J. D. Neeson, President, Marine Parts Express

Most of the major marine engine manufacturers have a group within their organization that rebuilds parts.  Each manufacturer decides what parts to rebuild.  The decision is a combination of what they think the market will bear, older parts that are no longer available new and parts they believe they have some advantage in rebuilding over other suppliers.  For example, Volvo Penta has a large number of remanufactured parts and drives, but has decided not to rebuild SX drives while Mercruiser has relatively few parts it rebuilds at all.

Since a substantial number of remanufactured parts are those parts that are not new any more, all of the manufacturers need spare parts to rebuild.  To insure that they have a constant supply of these parts, all manufacturers charge a core charge.  This core charge is to encourage customers to return their old damaged parts once they receive the remanufactured parts.

When Marine Parts Express sells a remanufactured part to a customer, we charge the customer the price of the remanufactured part and we also charge the customer the core charge.  Once the customer sends back his old part  (often in the same box that the remanufactured part came in) , we reimburse the customer the core charge immediately and then send the old part back to the manufacturer.  Eventually the manufacturer will reimburse Marine Parts Express the amount.

We have found that the remanufactured parts from the engine manufacturers are very good and are covered by a limited warranty.  Marine Parts Express often recommends remanufactured parts for our service customers as we have had good luck with them and they are often approximately half the price.

However,  Marine Parts Express does not recommend using remanufactured parts from the independent companies that rebuild parts.   It is just too difficult to insure that the independents know what they are doing, have the special tools they often need to do the work, and will stand behind any remanufactured parts that fail.

One final thought on cores.  There are some companies that charge a core charge on the purchase of new parts (drives particularly). Companies do this so that they can take these cores and either remanufacture the part themselves or sell the part to an independent remanufacturing company.  This seems unfair to us as the customer's old part has some value and the customer shouldn't have to return a core when he purchases a new part.  In effect the customer pays three times:  once for the new part, once for a core charge that should not apply and once for the cost of shipping the old part back.

New at the Marine Parts Express Site:

Outdrives, Volvo Penta Outdrive Pictures, Rebuild and Repair options for propellers and transmissions.

by Bob Van Brunt, C.P.O USCG, Ret.

It is understandably tempting for people to purchase automotive parts instead of marine parts for their boats. Not only are automotive parts easier to obtain than marine parts but they are often substantially cheaper. (And if you think marine parts are expensive, you should check out aviation parts...)

However, there are some very important reasons for not using automotive parts for your marine application. Unlike cars, marine engines are in an enclosed area where the explosive fuel fumes are not blown away by air rushing around the engine. This is why all marine gas engines have blowers that should be used prior to starting the engine. Every year, up here in Maine, we have a couple of boats explode when the owners forget this crucial step.

In a marine application, both the starter and the alternator are "ignition protected" (also known as spark resistant) and have vents with flame arrestors to prevent sparks. (See my article on flame arrestors in Volume 1, Issue 2 of THE EXPRESS.) They are also sealed more completely to reduce corrosion. Automotive starters and alternators have exposed contacts that allow sparks.

A marine distributor is also ignition protected and has a vent with a flame arrestor to prevent sparks. It too is sealed to reduce corrosion. An automotive distributor can create very high voltage sparks.

In automotive carburetors any fuel that is not mixed (called overflow or excess) is allowed to drip out of the carburetor and onto the ground. Ideally the carburetor is tuned so that this shouldn't happen, but a sudden acceleration or sudden stop can get ahead of the various
adjusting controls. In a car this fuel is blown away or drops to the ground, but in a boat this would cause explosive vapors so marine carburetors have vents to allow any overflow to be consumed by the engine. Under Federal regulation, CFR 45162.042, all marine carburetors must have spark arrestor air filters (made of a metal mesh) instead of the automotive air filter (paper or plastic).

Marine fuel pumps are different as well. If the diaphragm fails on a marine fuel pump, the pump will not leak (it won't work either, but it doesn't leak). In a car a fuel pump will allow fuel to leak if the diaphragm fails. It is just a different design.

Marine fuel tanks must meet U.S. Coast Guard and American Boat and Yacht Council standards while there are no agreed upon standards for automotive tanksremember the Ford Pinto.

Aside from the explosion and corrosion issues, the big difference between automotive and marine engines is in how they are used. Marine engines are always under load. There are no hills on the water to coast down allowing an engine to partially rest nor, under most usage, are there periods of peaceful idling.

To deal with this, boat engine manufacturers contract with the large car engine manufactures to purchase engine blocks (often GM blocks). These bare blocks are then "marinized". Valves are beefed up, camshafts and valve lift are changed, crankshaft seals are added, manifolds strengthened and all the special corrosion and spark resistance equipment added.

Comments? Questions? Suggestions for topics in our next newsletter? Send them to Marine Parts Express is a division of Water Resouces, Inc., a privately held Maine Corporation.