Hard to write a title for this one and maybe harder yet to describe the problem.
I have 3126 Cat engines in my 36 Sabreline Trawler. At some point in time, the starter on the port motor was removed and reinstalled by a PO. The starter is located on inboard side, right up against the stringer. It is held on by 3 bolts. The first 2, not a problem because I could get a wrench on them. The third is in the 8 o'clock position which puts it right at the stringer. Because the cast housing is recessed 2/3 of the way around--imagine from 6 o'clock to 11 o'clock, and the starter motor itself is fatter at the forward end than at the bolt on end, the bolt cannot be accessed straight on.
Before anyone points out that the PO should have used what I think are called "socket" type bolts where the head extends out further to clear the housing--well he didn't. So as it sits, an open end wrench can just barely get on part of the bolt at a really odd angle, but then there is no room for it to swing so you can't even break it loose. I looked at cutting a saddle into the stringer, but would have to go down about 2 1/2 inches to gain clearance for a wrench to turn, which I don't like--the stringer is solid at the top but not so below about 4-5 inches.
So after all of that, my question. One person told me that the only want to solve the problem is to haul out, pull the shaft back, jack the engine and remove the starter that way. Today I was told that if I disconnect the vibration damper from the engine after chalk-marking the alignment point between the 2, I should be able to loosen the motor mounts and jack the engine high enough to get to the bolt and remover the starter, and then when I put it back, reconnect the damper with the chalk marks aligned and lower the engine back in place and the engine and shaft will still be aligned.
Has anyone ever done this? I don't know if I want to take this on myself but I would value any advice on whether the second solution is feasible. Believe me that starter will not go back the same way--there will be access to a correct bolt.