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Old 03-20-2016, 11:28 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by No Mast;
We use a checklist I've posted in the past. Keeps us from forgetting something. I'll track it down and repost it later or tomorrow when I get back to my laptop.
Found it.
Good thread.
Thanks.
Startup and underway checklist
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Old 03-21-2016, 07:23 AM   #42
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So, if an hourly eye-sight inspection is warranted, isn't every quarter hour four times better? So, why not continuous? And that often only covers the visual.
Yes, you're right (even though I sense you're being sarcastic). That's why ships have engineers and mechanics in shifts in their engine rooms 24/7. For a trawler crossing the Gulf Stream, I think hourly checks with video monitoring in-between is a good compromise.

Your question could equally go the other way. If it's good enough to just check the engines and mechanics when you start up, once a day, why not once a week? Or month? I bet I used to check the oil in my car about 2 times a year. Why not keep the engine room off limits and just hope for the best?
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Old 03-21-2016, 07:47 AM   #43
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Mark, here is the big difference: you boat entirely smack in the middle of one of the largest urban areas in the country. It's the equivalent of driving a car. The other big difference is that boats are far more complex systems than cars, and exist in a more hostile environment in salt water rather than on asphalt.

One's perspective changes quickly when far out of sight of land and cell phone range; or even inshore, but a long ways from the nearest marina or tow service.

PS: gauges and sensors are points of failure too, which is why one "trusts, but verifies".
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Old 03-21-2016, 08:56 AM   #44
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Two motors, raw water alarms, full electronic instruments with alarms and an engine room camera allowing for constant real time monitoring. Much better than crawling into the engine room whilst under way.
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Old 03-21-2016, 09:44 AM   #45
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Part of this discussion should also include duty cycle, low rpm Leman just chugging along is under a lot less stress then that of one on top (planning), which even minor issue could be real bad real fast.

Full check usually the day before leaving, which also includes starting up the Yanmar diesels and another look around and listening. Underway typically every couple hours will go down to engine room while running and do a look around for leaks or off sounds, but the truth is in rough conditions, I don't go down there and that's probably the time to do it in reality.
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Old 03-21-2016, 09:54 AM   #46
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...I have found multiple minor issues over the year that easily could have turned into real problems. ..
Jeff: Care to share a few examples? Did you find them through temp readings or visual observations?

I check temp readings with my infrared but only after I've done some major work or troubling shooting. Right now that's not part of our regular monitoring.
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Old 03-21-2016, 10:28 AM   #47
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Of all the crap that is worried about here, I find it curious why people wouldn't take a peek on a regular schedule no matter where you are.

A single engine failing near a bridge or rock pile with a bad fair current that might have been prevented by a peek say a 1/2 hour earlier...or even peeks just before critical situations like coming into a difficult marina...somehow to me seem like a no brainer. Again...if ER is difficult to access, then yes plenty of sensors and cameras ...one camera can't see on the back side of thing or down a parallel surface well....

For those that check before engine start, how about after start?
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Old 03-21-2016, 10:38 AM   #48
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...For those that check before engine start, how about after start?
Always, well all most.

I'm pretty lax after the first hour but within 5-10 minutes of start up, I'm in the engine room for a visual. I'm also checking the charging system via the Link and a visual on the exhaust. I also check the domestic water system, head and house systems.

If something is going to fail, we've found it usually happens right after startup or there may be a good indication something is a miss. Lena refers to it as "SID".
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Old 03-21-2016, 10:53 AM   #49
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I too like many get lax here and there....when you do anything for thousands of hours most go through cycles of lax to near paranoia about certain things.

The other day I blew one of the fuses between my hose and start battery banks. I realized what I had done wrong and different from years ago after the install. Now I make sure the connector switch is off for engine starts which will give me a better indicator when the start batt idying and it also forces me back in the engine room right after stsrting.
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Old 03-21-2016, 11:21 AM   #50
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We have every possible guage and warning, plus cameras with audio, but still check. We go through a full check list at start up, we check as we get up to speed and full operating temperature and then we check in person one hour after that check and every two hours the rest of the trip.

Is the amount of checking we do absolutely necessary? Perhaps not, but it gives us peace of mind and much of our boating is far offshore. Now, on the walk through, we're checking many things, not just the main engines. Checking the Racors, checking the generators, checking the watermaker, checking for smells that would indicate any kind of issue from a hose leak to a toilet or holding tank issue, even checking the freezer.
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Old 03-21-2016, 11:25 AM   #51
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I too like many get lax here and there....when you do anything for thousands of hours most go through cycles of lax to near paranoia about certain things.
Our way of avoiding becoming lax is the use of tablets with check lists and prompts and with us actually recording when we do the checks. Yes, more than most would want to do, but laminated cards do much the same for people.
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Old 03-21-2016, 11:41 AM   #52
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Jeff: Care to share a few examples? Did you find them through temp readings or visual observations?
I use the temperature readings, especially at the exhaust discharge on the engine, as my gauge to scheduling a heat exchanger cleaning. I usually do that every 3-4 years. It slowly changes - 1 degree - but it's consistent. It's sort of like Racor filters. I never change them based on time. I change them based on suction reading. They sit at 0 for many months (more than a year when we're moving a lot). Then they'll slowly go to 1-2. When they inch to 5, it's less than a week before they're at 11. So I've learned to change them at 5.

Most of the emergency types of things have involved some type of water infiltration - a raw water pump or especially an exhaust leak. In last week's newsletter, I wrote about an exhaust problem patched while underway before it became something dangerous. I'd hate to think of the extra problems just that incident would have caused had I waited 5-6 hours to pull in for the night.

I feel like making those bi-hourly in-the-engine-room checks, moving around, poking, measuring, touching, and smelling, over 13 years gives me an understanding of my engines that can't be obtained in any other way.
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Old 03-21-2016, 11:57 AM   #53
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The key to peace of mind is having the right instruments.

As my engine room is directly below the helm in the wheelhouse it would be way too invasive and impractical to keep lifting the boards and having a peek mid journey.

So I fitted 3x cctv cams, one on each shaft and one on the bilge and fuel filters. I check them all regularly whilst on any journey.

In addition, digital exhaust temp sensors monitor the actual temps so I can see rising and falling trends and learn what is normal and unusual, I also fitted an ambient engine bay temp sensor with digital readout.

Together with the standard set of engine instruments, these give a full picture of exactly what's happening. Bilge pumps (small and LARGE) have audio buzzers on them not just lights, to attract my attention as soon as they activate.

It wouldn't be a restful journey to have to keep physically checking the engine bay. That's what instrumentation is for - it's just a case of fitting the right instruments to give early detection and warning in virtually any circumstance.
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Old 03-21-2016, 12:16 PM   #54
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It wouldn't be a restful journey to have to keep physically checking the engine bay.
Walking to the engine room 4 times during the course of a 10 hour journey is going to keep it from being restful?

We use instruments too. Guess we check those a few hundred times during a 10 hour journey but that doesn't prevent it from being restful. We talk about sight and sound most. They are only two of our senses. Do your cams have audio so you can listen? Then come the other senses. Smell is one that I don't have on my instrument panel.
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Old 03-21-2016, 12:56 PM   #55
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As has been mentioned, the nose is a key and unique "sensor" for detecting trouble. It is very easy to identify a shorted wire, an overheated component or a coolant loss by smell. It is also very quick and easy to sniff the ER just by opening a door or a hatch.

Last summer I did a 24 hour non-stop crossing (Gulf of Kotor, Montenegro to Corfu, Greece) in which I would have felt irresponsible without hourly ER checks. This is of course in addition to frequent instrument checks (every 5 minutes).

I my case, the ER check underway is easy: I just open the door to each stand-up engine room from a central companionway.
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:08 PM   #56
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Greetings,
Mr. X. I think you have hit on the key point. Ease of checking. For those who have to lift deck panels, hourly checks are a hassle and potentially dangerous in any sort of weather. For those of us with much more accessible ER's. Less of a problem.
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:15 PM   #57
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So for those who also fly airplanes, I assume you do a thorough check before takeoff, but how often during a flight will you physically go check the engine(s)?
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:29 PM   #58
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So for those who also fly airplanes, I assume you do a thorough check before takeoff, but how often during a flight will you physically go check the engine(s)?
Does your airplane engine have sea water and coolant running through it? Is there a transmission involved, freshwater pumps, HVAC also dependent on sea water, large battery banks, stuff like that?
Do you check the engine compartment thoroughly after you land, and before you take off again?

In other words, what's the point, just curiosity or do you think flying a small plane is the same as cruising a boat, with just slightly different design?
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:32 PM   #59
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Greetings,
Mr. X. I think you have hit on the key point. Ease of checking. For those who have to lift deck panels, hourly checks are a hassle and potentially dangerous in any sort of weather. For those of us with much more accessible ER's. Less of a problem.
Yes indeed. That's why when buying a boat to go full time cruising in, ER easy access and ergonomics were a key issue.

Xlantic, your ER access is very much the same as that on my old Hatteras. I hadn't realized there were GB models designed like that; really a nice set up, isn't it?

As for the noises issue, there are certain noises that will be masked by the overall noise of the engine and/or any intervening sound barriers. I wore ear protection that filtered out the roar of the engine, but could still hear clicks and squeaks. Same kind of sets, apparently, used by airport ground crews.
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Old 03-21-2016, 01:48 PM   #60
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So for those who also fly airplanes, I assume you do a thorough check before takeoff, but how often during a flight will you physically go check thaftere engine(s)?
after 5000 hrs flight time with the USCG in conditions and areas most pilots can't even dream about...if I could have stared at my engines I would have.

Comparing cars and planes to boats to me just shows a lack of long term xperience with one or the other.
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