Marine Diesel Repair: Perkins 4.236 Starter Removal, Rebuild and Re-installation

Perkins 4.236 Starter Removal

We recently attempted to start the 85-hp Perkins 4.236 Marine Diesel Engine on Banjo as directed by our hired marine diesel mechanic, Chuck Courtney. (EDIT: 2019Jun25: I was directed to over-crank the engine but not let it start.  Unfortunately, we have since learned this is never a recommended practice, but i didnt know it at the time and followed his instruction.  I was instructed to over-crank anywhere between 7-10 times.  See THIS POST for more information on the full damages incurred and the out-of-pocket cost to fix.)

As the engine was trying to start, I noticed a puff of white smoke eject from the starter and knew we had damaged the starter. (EDIT: 2019Jun25 We also learned that over-cranking the engine was responsible for flooding our engine requiring a full engine rebuild) Since we hadn’t done any maintenance to the starter, we decided to do a Perkins 4.236 starter removal. From there, we could have it rebuilt at a local specialist then re-install the starter. We hoped, from there,to be back in business.

This project took roughly 3.5 hours from start to finish.  The time included a 30 minute drive each way to Squire’s Auto Generator and Starter in Kinston, NC.  It also included about an hour for lunch which was time for Squire’s to do the rebuild.  The process is fairly straight forward.  A rough outline is as follows:


  1. Disconnect the battery.
  2. Turn OFF the battery cut-off switch.
  3. Verify NO voltage at the starter with a multi-meter.
  4. Photo/video the placement of the electrical cables and where they attach to the starter.
  5. Disconnect each cable and wrap with electrical tape.
  6. Remove the nuts holding the starter to the motor.
  7. Perkins 4.236 starter removal is done by tapping the unit with a rubber mallet and pulling straight out.
  8. Take to shop for rebuild.
  9. Have lunch.
  10. Pick up rebuilt starter and return to Banjo.
  11. Re-install the starter in reverse order being careful to reattach the cables exactly as they were originally.
  12. When re-install is complete, turn on the battery switch.
  13. Reattach the battery cables to the battery.
  14. Check for voltage on the starter.

Check out some of our other boat maintenance projects, and engine repair tips and tricks.

Perkins 4.236 Starter Removal

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