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Old 03-22-2016, 11:33 AM   #81
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I doubt most cruisers or trawler owners have worked with engines their whole lives. I would expect most have not.
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Old 03-22-2016, 12:37 PM   #82
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I check once a day unless I hear or smell something wrong or see something on a gage that motivates me.
I do what I think is a good visual daily along with fluid checks.
And I do a fair job on pm so I don't worry all that much.
I have been around engines most of my life and I trust them pretty well.
If I felt compelled to do an ER check every hour I would not boat.
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Old 03-23-2016, 02:09 PM   #83
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Hey folks....I have not read this entire thread...but I have skimmed two pages. One of the things you might want to include in your preflight check is the fuel filter bowls. That is the first place water will be. I know many of you do not have fuel coolers. But I know a lot of you do. A fuel cooler failure will return (shitloads of) raw water to your tanks where it will find its way into your engines.

I only say this because I have had a fuel cooler failure(Cummins 6BTA). And while it did not trash my engine, it sure as heel could have. It ruined two injectors and the ensuing "cleanup" ran into the thousandS!!! So just a heads up.
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Old 03-23-2016, 03:12 PM   #84
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The USCG used to do 15 minute checks on their small boats....I think that is a bit overkill...but they do sail with an engineer and he probably gets bored...

I usually lift my saloon floor engine hatch and do a quick peek. In 5 seconds I can scan fuel level (poly tanks), belt tension, drip pan for excessive oil/fuel leaks/coolant leaks and bilge water.

Usually that covers what the engine instruments/sound isn't telling me.

I should do it more...but sometimes due to navigating or moving the dog.....keeps me from taking a more regular peek.
Yep. When I was in my reading mode, I too had decided on the hourly check.

Now, I open the hatch, take IR temp readings. I do that often. Often being a function of how long I have been underway and what's going on.

On a night run, I do try to do it every three hours and once or twice a day I will go sit in front of the engine for a few minutes, so it has time to tell me how it really feels.

Admittedly I seem to do this more when I am freezing in the PH or is the boat is really rolling.
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Old 03-23-2016, 03:18 PM   #85
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Re airplanes - don't forget that those engines also get an overhaul every 1500 hours or so. Boat engines do not.
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Old 03-23-2016, 05:22 PM   #86
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I doubt most cruisers or trawler owners have worked with engines their whole lives. I would expect most have not.
Have not. Learning as I go, sometimes learning as the cash goes.
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Old 03-23-2016, 08:03 PM   #87
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A previously poster was correct. All I need to worry about in my enclosed urban environment is for the current to ram my boat into a bridge's pilings or being run over by a ship.

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Old 03-23-2016, 09:07 PM   #88
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all very good advice..I check before and after start up..underway I like to check every few hrs..always watch gauges..I know every sound and vibration on my boat ..but I still like to look under the hood every few hrs..I just lift the hatch and walk down the stairs so maybe a little easier for me them others
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Old 03-25-2016, 11:30 PM   #89
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Considering that my boat's two-on-each-side fuel tanks, I need to change to an alternate tank about every eight hours of use to maintain an even keel, requiring a visit to the engine compartment to move the fuel valves.



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Old 03-25-2016, 11:51 PM   #90
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Would it have been that difficult to route the polisher and engine feeds on the top L and R? That could have left the port feeds on the middle and lower left and the stb feeds on the middle and lower right, of course with the lower tanks on the bottom. Ok OCD satisfied.
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Old 03-26-2016, 12:03 AM   #91
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Would it have been that difficult to route the polisher and engine feeds on the top L and R? That could have left the port feeds on the middle and lower left and the stb feeds on the middle and lower right, of course with the lower tanks on the bottom. Ok OCD satisfied.
I've no problem with it. Learned to triple-check the fuel routing after having fuel beginning to leak onto the deck.
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Old 03-26-2016, 01:33 AM   #92
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"Plus I use my ears. I know what my boat sounds like, and anything amis is quickly noticed."

My ears have helped me to detect problems, even from the flybridge. My frequency of ER checks is determined by the history of problems showing up in previous ER checks. Generally, where I go, passages are of 2 to 5 hrs in length. Waves are 0 to 2 ft (or we wait till they are), conditions are good. Help is never far away. Previous ER checks have proven that it is rare that the next check will turn up a surprise.
I doubt I am any different than most of the TF readers. Just different from most who have posted here.

In over 40 yrs of boating, an ER check has saved me from catastrophe, but only once, and the rest of the time, other things have saved me. My ears, my instruments, my before start checks. Those are far more important.
In that one event, I don't know if the ER check was the only thing that saved me. My regular, every few minute instrument check would likely have saved me, but an ER check intervened. That event was an ER fire. By opening the floor hatch to the ER, providing oxygen to the fire, the situation was identified and I was able to deal with it. Maybe, had the floor hatch not been lifted, the fire would have not had enough oxygen to amount to anything before instruments would have alerted me to the problem, and the ER check rendered irrelevant. How would you know?

I haven't given up ER checks, nor have I gone anal over them.
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Old 03-26-2016, 01:54 AM   #93
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We are very sensitive to sound as well. However, there are limitations. Take a boat where the engines create 75 to 80 decibels of sound at the helm, then you'll certainly notice a change in them, but the quiet generator won't be heard over it. Now on the other end, if the sound from the engines is only 54 decibels at the helm, then will you hear them well enough.

I don't know the answers to either. However, I think using multiple tools is beneficial. That includes some amount of instrumentation, some amount of listening, and some amount of checks. Those all vary person to person and boat to boat and based on cruising patterns.

When we do an hour and fifteen minute run to Miami Beach we just check before the run. However, when we do a 60 hour run off shore in 4-6' or more, we feel regular checks of the engine room are important. Note, I said "engine room" not "engines." We're really checking everything there.

Those are extremes of usage that require very different levels of care.
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Old 03-26-2016, 01:55 AM   #94
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I do hourly ER checks, including IR temps. It takes about 2 minutes. And gauge readings are recorded each half hour on the ships bell by whoever is on the helm.

On one of these ER checks I found a cracked house alternator bracket, noticed because of excess vibration. I was able to secure the system with hose clamps and transited about 3hr to a repair place in Shearwater, BC. Left unattended, the alternator would likely have broken off completely and there would have been substantial damage. So I know the bracket was broken for <1hr.

The IR checks on heat exchanger, transmission and oil cooler give me a good baseline. I know what the temperature differential is on the inlet and outlet side of the heat exchanged so have a measure on its performance. I am pretty sure that a broken vane in the exchanger would show up in the temperature differential.

So I will likely keep on doing what I am dong.

An exhaust temperature monitor/alarm is on my list.
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Old 03-26-2016, 06:35 AM   #95
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As some people suggested, engine checks 10 -15 after startup are critical. Everything is up to full temperature/pressure and an early check a problem before it turns into a disaster. I've found that the first 15 minutes is the most likely time for problems.

Early checks saved my butt a while ago, when I lifted the hatch to find sea water half way up the engine block. The exhaust hose had slipped off the muffler, and the bilge pump switch had failed. A bad combination! Another minute or two and the engine would have been sucking in water.
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Old 03-26-2016, 07:10 AM   #96
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For those who do hourly ER checks and run your generator 24/7 if no shore power:
Do you still do hourly ER checks all night when not under way (at anchor or a dock without power)? Isn't the risk of fire from a broken injector line still there?

Ted
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Old 03-26-2016, 07:17 AM   #97
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Early checks saved my butt a while ago, when I lifted the hatch to find sea water half way up the engine block. The exhaust hose had slipped off the muffler, and the bilge pump switch had failed. A bad combination! Another minute or two and the engine would have been sucking in water.
Only one bilge pump?
If you don't have it, add a light and buzzer on back up pump, at the helm to alert you to the pump running.

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Old 03-26-2016, 09:05 AM   #98
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Our boat is a converted launch , so to examine the iron , one must roll off a rug , move sound damping and lift a hatch.

This is done at the completion of a days cruise.The DD is painted white so an oil leak would stand out. The dip stick is checked to make sure the engine is not "making" oil.

The alt belt and the PS belts are looked at , thats it.

Should some exciting thing happen in the dark air , I am sure all is well in the ER and the engine can be started instantly.

Low oil and coolant overheat are on a loud alarm buzzer , so if my engine scan breaks down while cruising , I get a warning.

With over 1,600 hours of cruising so far , and no problems , this works for me.
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Old 03-26-2016, 12:09 PM   #99
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For those who do hourly ER checks and run your generator 24/7 if no shore power:
Do you still do hourly ER checks all night when not under way (at anchor or a dock without power)? Isn't the risk of fire from a broken injector line still there?

Ted
Ah, Ted's really thinking now. Ok, first, we don't do hourly checks, every other hour. Second, we do that when cruising.

Then to the question, we don't check the generator every two hours during the night. We do have alarms for water, fire, temperature, and everything else we can think of. We differentiate this versus running off shore in that the risk of being left stranded is less. However, we still recognize the risk of flooding or fire and the point is valid, that we might catch something slightly slower at night. Hopefully we've protected ourselves reasonably with alarms. We've made a judgement that we have. Fires from broken injector lines on generators that wouldn't set off alarms in time are something we've determined to be an acceptable risk. We check the ER before going to bed and upon waking.
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Old 03-26-2016, 12:19 PM   #100
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Only one bilge pump?
If you don't have it, add a light and buzzer on back up pump, at the helm to alert you to the pump running.

Ted

It's been on the "list" for a while now. I've been a bit slack. It's now made it to the top of the page.
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