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Autolite parts numbers between marine and auto


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I'm trying to find out what the automotive equivalent parts are for some of my harder to find marine engine parts.  For instance, I have a non-functioning starter armature for a 1946 Graymarine fireball six.  Part number on it is MCH-2021.  Is there an equivalent armature for an automotive starter that I could also look for?  Yes, it could be rewound, but the last time I did that they came back damaged and were very expensive.  I have distributor and generator part number searches as well.  I'd love to know if a parts manual existed for this purpose back then.  Anyone out there with a pointer to help this guy get his engine back online?



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I think your best bet would be to find something that compares the dimensions (shaft diameter + length), Rotor diameter + length and commutator diameter and segment count.

Starters are generally expensive to "rewind" due to the rectangular section wire - nobody wants to buy a roll for 1 job and get stuck with leftovers.

I have had success reinsulating starter fields and there is a few YouTube videos of guys in India reinsulating the rotor copper bars - I am yet to try that!


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Automotive stuff should NOT be transferred to marine use. And you will not find suggested interchanges.

Starters, generators, and distributors. Pretty much everything electrical are different for marine use.

Some differences cannot be seen but are there.

Most differences have to do with spark arresting.

Of course, this was all drilled into us when we were taking the required classes to keep our marine dealerships certified.

If I ever noticed or knew that some boat owner was using automotive parts, I would note it on the work orders (and explain to the owner) just in case. 

I found that most (not all) auto electric shops were oblivious to the differences.


To the average Joe boat owner that knew more than the boat shops the only difference was the price.

One could probably find an early Mopar starter that could bolt right in there. But I wouldn't want to take on the liabilities.

Fumes in a boat lay low in the hull, right near where the starter cranks. This is why one should run his bilge blower for a while before hitting the starter.

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It should not be a big deal finding a replacement since MCH-2021 was also used on passenger cars such as Packard and Checker Cab, as well as on a number of other marine and industrial applications.


The following starters use armature MCH-2021:


MCH-6003 (Packard Six)

MCL-6003 (Packard Eight)

MCH-6004 (Checker Cab)

MCL-6004 (Buchanan & Chris Craft Marine, Nordberg)

MCL-6007 (Buda Industrial Truck)

MCL-6005 (Chris Craft Marine)

MCL-6009 (Continental)

MCL-6009 (Jaeger Mixer & Compressor, Rossberg Carrier)

MCL-6015 (Nordberg)

MCL-6009A (Tractomotive Loader)


These are some 1940‘s and early 1950’s applications (my passenger car catalog is dated 1949, my AL marine and industrial catalog 1954). I‘m sure the armature was also used on 1950‘s passenger cars (I’ll check) and there might be a replacement for MCH-2021.


What is the number on the ID tag of your starter?





Edited by Peter R. (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks everyone!  This particular starter went in a Continental (Graymarine) post war.  I need to get to it to see if I have the tag with it.  I don't have the teg ID recorderd for this one handy.  I was hoping that I could find an interchangebale part number, but finding more starters that would have the same armature also helps me expand the search.  I'll also look for used starters with these part numbers.  Considering how many starters used the common armature, it's somewhat surprising that I can't find one.  I'm probably not looking in all of the right places however.  

Edited by woodyboater (see edit history)
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