How to Replace a Mercruiser Stern Drive Starter

Written by jared curtis
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How to Replace a Mercruiser Stern Drive Starter
You can replace the starter on your Mercruiser yourself. (motor boat in channel image by Xavier MARCHANT from

The starter on your Mercruiser stern drive engages into the flywheel of the motor when you turn the key. This allows the motor to start turning. If your starter motor has failed, you must replace it with a new unit. There is no need to haul your boat to a mechanic, replace the starter motor yourself to save a lot of money.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Socket set
  • Ratchet
  • Spark plug socket
  • Grease

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    Removal of Starter

  1. 1

    Open the engine compartment lid on your boat to access the engine.

  2. 2

    Locate the starter motor. The motor will be located near the bottom of the motor. There will be wires attached to the starter motor from the battery.

  3. 3

    Make a note using a pencil and paper which colour wires are attached to each stud on the starter motor.

  4. 4

    Disconnect the battery cable from the battery by removing the wing-nut on the battery cable on top of the battery.

  5. 5

    Remove the bolts on the starter motor using a ratchet and socket. You must rotate the bolts in a counter-clockwise direction.

    Confirm Condition of Flywheel and Installing Starter

  1. 1

    Remove the spark plug wires from the spark plugs by pulling on the boot of the wires with your hands. Remove the spark plugs using a ratchet and spark plug wrench.

  2. 2

    Rotate the crankshaft of the motor by placing a ratchet and socket on the main bolt in front of the engine. Observe the flywheel condition while rotating the crankshaft bolt. The flywheel must have no chipped or broken edges. If there are chipped edges, you must replace the flywheel before installing a new starter motor.

  3. 3

    Apply a small amount of grease to the threads of each bolts. Place the new starter into position and mount using the existing bolts. Tighten the bolts in a clockwise direction using a ratchet and socket.

  4. 4

    Attach the wires to the starter. Refer to your previous drawing of how each wire is attached to the starter motor. Tighten the nuts on each wire using a ratchet and socket.

  5. 5

    Replace the spark plugs and tighten them using a spark plug socket and a ratchet. Re-attach the spark plug wires.

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