Thomas, excellent post! There are a lot of power boats out there that develop starting problems for exactly the reason you mention. Measure the wire from the starter switch to the starter solenoid and you will find that even 20 feet of 16 gauge can cause enough resistance (especially with 5 years of environmental corrosion) to cause a failure to draw in the solenoid. The cure in these boats, it to place a relay like that found at Radio Shack near the starter. The relay takes a few milliamps to pull up, the contacts will handle the current draws for years. Choose the right relay, and we can use a 1000 feet of cat 5 for a remote button.. I know you already know this, but I add it for readers that might not. I plan to show all durign the install.
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I consider the thermostat a must have item, I use a 190F thermostat, and have had success with it. It’s all too easy to make or modify the upper cooling flange to receive a thermostat. There are people who worry about thermal shock, and write of a necessity for a more complicated cooling system, but I have found a simple loop with cooling tank or radiator higher than the engine’s water jacket to work well. If you set up a a low pressure source of water to the lower inlet, and a thermostat at the top, you’ll soon learn what a small amount of water flow you need to cool the Lister at full load. Delivering a thermal shock to a massive piece of cast iron like this, that will take some doing, but others write about their fear. Running an engine at lower temperatures wastes fuel and creates additional wear and other problems that can be observed or measured over time. Designing a good themal siphon system is easy, and there’s no pump or belt to fail. Others will find a reason to add complexity, but we do so knowing there’s a longer list of things that can go wrong and often do WHEN you run long hours unattended. As for making use of the waste heat, an active circ pump can be added, take water from the top of the cooling tank (hottest), and transfer it to a point of use, and return it. The thermostat assures you don’t rob the engine of heat it needs to run safely and efficiently, and of course.. if the circ pump fails, you cooling system continues to work.