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I help a guy out with his boat pretty regularly. He replaced his key switch a 3 positions switch with a switch from an automotive store.

He was told that their is no difference between and automotive switch and marine switch.

Is that likely?
It is exposed in the cockpit, fresh and salt water.
I can't imagine any auto store part being designed for that.
 

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Maybe the automotive switches are packaged as marine switches? It didn't look to me that the key switch on my Perkins engine panel was any different then the new one I bought from an auto parts store in the Philippines. The original lasted 15 years.I spray some wd 40 on the key and and in the key slot to help prevent corrosion.
 

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Though I have no actual information upon which to base my theory, it would seem to me a "marine" switch would have brass tumblers and s/s springs, whereas an automotive switch would have steel internal workings. This is true with some padlocks and door locks.
 

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The part(s) that wore out on mine were on the backside off the switch. The spade connectors got weak and were breaking causing intermittent current, a real pain to determine with heat shrink covering the connectors.
 

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A Cole Hersee ignition switch is not specifically marine but is well made and not expensive. Most automotive switches will have an accessory position that boats don't need - we only want off - run - start positions.

Companies like Yanmar, Volvo etc do not make their ignition switches, they buy them. When you replace with one from them you pay their exorbitant prices.
 

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Electrically they are esentially the same. However military ignition switches will continue to function even under water, I wouldn't expect auto parts to do this.
 

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A couple of years ago I dropped my key overboard. I wrote down the hull #, engine serial #, and took my CG registration to the Hunter dealer to get a new key. The parts clerk pulled a box of keys from under the counter and informed me that all Hunter keys are the same. Might want to consider just installing a a toggle or rotary switch and forgoing the key altogether (only 2 position, off / on with a separate start button)
 

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Cole hersee ALL METAL.

My first one was the plastic which was great right up till the plastic cracked at the worst possible time

Took some fast work with a screwdriver to pop the panel and get out of that one :)
 

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My Yanmar key is a pop vending machine type 'key'.

Worthless as security, four times the expense. Sometimes I wonder what these manufactures are thinking, other than throwing a bone to a subsidiary company owned by Uncle Jim for the part this kind of stuff makes no sense at all.

True 'non-theft' protection is putting either a hidden secondary make or break switch in the ignition line or a unlabeled fuel pump switch in.

As to DavidPM's question - I seriously doubt there is a difference until you hit the seriously upscale makers. Have your buddy hit it with wd-40 or t-9 and it should last long enough for him to be cursed by the next owner ("dang PO put a auto switch in").
 

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chuckles-
What you're showing is an "Ace" cylindrical tumbler key. They were originally marketed and sold as pick-proof. Not quite true, but pick resistant. Sadly, very easy to slam and open anyway.
Traditional Yanmar straight keys all seem to open with almost anything, any screwdriver or key will do apparently.

But auto ignition switches often have brass contacts designed for many years of regular use, which would be perfectly OK in a cockpit. More likely to be a problem from zinc or potmetal used in the body casting itself. Probably still OK for many years in a cockpit if kept reasonably sheltered and greased from time to time.

I think the better way to go would be to use two switches, one on/off for power, one push-to-start, and then use a plain key switch down below to secure the power or the starter power instead. More options, better protection, really, who needs an "ignition key" in the cockpit anyhow?

I had an old Mustang in the days before FedEx and overnight parts. The ignition cylinder crapped out, and it ran just fine with two switches (RUN and ACC powers) and a push-button to start, for the week it took to get a new ignition cylinder in. Less than five bucks at Radio Shack at the time.
 

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A couple of years ago I dropped my key overboard. I wrote down the hull #, engine serial #, and took my CG registration to the Hunter dealer to get a new key. The parts clerk pulled a box of keys from under the counter and informed me that all Hunter keys are the same. Might want to consider just installing a a toggle or rotary switch and forgoing the key altogether (only 2 position, off / on with a separate start button)
All Yanmar keys that I've seen are the same. Wait for your Yanmar keyswitch to fall apart and you'll see why, the key doesn't matter at all. There is no actual set of tumblers, just a single ball bearing that needs to move slightly.
 

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I've got a rotary 2 position switch and a push button switch to start. I have a master switch in the cabin, so I guess that's my security. With the rotary switch "on" there is power to the fuel gauge, the hr meter and starter circuit.
 

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All Yanmar keys that I've seen are the same. Wait for your Yanmar keyswitch to fall apart and you'll see why, the key doesn't matter at all. There is no actual set of tumblers, just a single ball bearing that needs to move slightly.
The purpose of the ball bearing is to keep the key from falling out or being removed in the ON position. When mine fell apart I used the compass light switch for a while until I got a replacement switch.

The new Yanmar panels just have a three-position rocker switch, on/start on one side, stop on the other.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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I use a screwdriver to turn the key switch on my boat. Funny, it's the same way I used to start my '81 Ford Festiva in college.
Same here. I owned a 1980 Datsun 200SX in grad school. Driving home one day with gal and she needed a flashlight or mirror and tried to open the glovebox. It was locked, so I pulled the key out of the ignition and handed it to her so she could open the glovebox,car still running and going 60 mph. She was freaking out until I told her the ignition just need something thin inserted like a screwdriver or random key to turn it. It did not lock anymore.

I also heard that all Yanmar 1GM, 2GM,and 3GM motors all have the same key.
 

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The 1-2-B or whatever battery switch you have down below, IS your safety. Key switches in the cockpit make little sense. The earlier idea of another "hidden" switch or key switch in addition to the battery switch makes great sense, depending on how paranoid you are. :)
 
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