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Old 09-19-2019, 12:54 PM   #1
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Engine Room Temperatures

I am looking for advice and preferably experiences from those who have installed fans/blowers in the engine room to reduce ER temperatures.
Some background. I have read that engine room temperatures should never exceed 115 degrees F (mine have not) and that optimally the differential between the outside temperature and the ER temperature should not exceed 30 degrees F. So for example, if the outside temp is 68 degrees F and the ER temp is 105 degrees F, in theory your ER is too warm??
Also, having a cooler ER would benefit any installed items located there, for example battery chargers, inverters, batteries, solar controller, and even the engine alternator, etc.
My engine room temperature often exceeds the 30 degree differential and I am hoping to find a way to "cool" the ER without having to conduct major surgery like adding more holes, etc. Not going there!

I am thinking about adding a blower (maybe even 2), but don't want to go to the expense and trouble if it will not be effective. I am hoping for a reduction in temp of about 10 degrees F.
If I add blowers, my goal would be to exhaust at least as much air as I may increase intake (don't want to pressurize the ER possibly forcing gases and heat into the boat).
Has anyone had experience with this with good results? If so, what brand/model of blower and where in the ER did you locate it (them).
I have not experienced any operating problems associated with this higher than optimal temp difference, but I can understand the potential benefits (overall) of having a cooler ER.
Thanks,
Tom
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Old 09-19-2019, 12:58 PM   #2
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If you add exhaust blowers then you will probably have to add intake vents or you may starve your engine(s) of combustion air. Have you looked at Delta blowers? Good but pricey.
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Old 09-19-2019, 01:03 PM   #3
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It is difficult to cool an ER much unless you use really powerful fans. Pretty much anything in there can tolerate the higher temps seen without any added ventilation. The engines draw in a fair amount of air and that helps things stay cooler. More so with bigger engines at high power.

I would not bother. Let it find its natural temp. Batts are low and have a lot of thermal inertia, they should stay pretty cool. Inverter should be designed for warm environments and be ok too. Check the manual. Anything critical on engine is water cooled.

The only time I run engine room ventilation is on a hot day with gennie on and main engine off. Since genny end is air cooled, it can get pretty dang hot.
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Old 09-19-2019, 01:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firehoser75 View Post
I am looking for advice and preferably experiences from those who have installed fans/blowers in the engine room to reduce ER temperatures.
Some background. I have read that engine room temperatures should never exceed 115 degrees F (mine have not) and that optimally the differential between the outside temperature and the ER temperature should not exceed 30 degrees F. So for example, if the outside temp is 68 degrees F and the ER temp is 105 degrees F, in theory your ER is too warm??
Also, having a cooler ER would benefit any installed items located there, for example battery chargers, inverters, batteries, solar controller, and even the engine alternator, etc.
My engine room temperature often exceeds the 30 degree differential and I am hoping to find a way to "cool" the ER without having to conduct major surgery like adding more holes, etc. Not going there!

I am thinking about adding a blower (maybe even 2), but don't want to go to the expense and trouble if it will not be effective. I am hoping for a reduction in temp of about 10 degrees F.
If I add blowers, my goal would be to exhaust at least as much air as I may increase intake (don't want to pressurize the ER possibly forcing gases and heat into the boat).
Has anyone had experience with this with good results? If so, what brand/model of blower and where in the ER did you locate it (them).
I have not experienced any operating problems associated with this higher than optimal temp difference, but I can understand the potential benefits (overall) of having a cooler ER.
Thanks,
Tom
Hey Tom, question. Your ER does not have blowers? Gas or Diesel?
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Old 09-19-2019, 01:22 PM   #5
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MY ER usually runs about 100-105F when cruising on a warm sunny summer day. One day I tried running the main blower (250CFM) while cruising. Running it continuously for several hours while cruising the temp was about 1 degree cooler.


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Old 09-19-2019, 01:26 PM   #6
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I did fit fans intake & exhaust to my last boat (Cheoy Lee 50) after seeing 130 F temps and above. I bought 550cfm Spaal exhaust fans from the surplus center. and mounted them aft in the engine room above the risers. The intakes @500cfm were ducted to blast the cooler ambient air from outside directly to the vicinity of the engine intakes. This with natural unforced air through other areas reduced my engine room temps down by 20 degrees. The fuel economy improved as did the engine performance. Engines run smoother and perform better with cooler denser intake air. My service batteries some 10 trojans seemed to also perform better. There are also benefits to the rubber products etc in longjevity of these items (belts/hoses etc. Currently doing the same to the new boat Cheoy Lee 67. Caterpillar Have a publication showing large amounts of info on this subject. It's available on Line.
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Old 09-19-2019, 01:29 PM   #7
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There is also a thread somewhere on this subject I started a few years ago.

HP Power Loss due to high E.R. temp

HP Power Loss due to high E.R. temp
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Old 09-19-2019, 01:35 PM   #8
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I view the 30 deg max difference as more of a design target. The absolute temp is what counts in the end.
To see if a blower would make a significant difference you can estimate how much air your engines are moving. For naturally aspirated 4 stroke engines it would be displacement in liters times half the cruise RPM times 60. This yields air consumption in liters per hour. 2 stroke engines would require 2x the air and turbo engines would require significantly more.

Youíll find the engines are pretty good air pumps when running. Most blowers are just used to evacuate fumes or cool down the engine room after shutdown to allow repairs etc
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Old 09-19-2019, 03:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by gsholz View Post
I view the 30 deg max difference as more of a design target. The absolute temp is what counts in the end.

To see if a blower would make a significant difference you can estimate how much air your engines are moving. For naturally aspirated 4 stroke engines it would be displacement in liters times half the cruise RPM times 60. This yields air consumption in liters per hour. 2 stroke engines would require 2x the air and turbo engines would require significantly more.



Youíll find the engines are pretty good air pumps when running. Most blowers are just used to evacuate fumes or cool down the engine room after shutdown to allow repairs etc

That is my thought. I will often turn on the engine blower as I idle to my home dock. About 20 minutes of idling. Not sure if it helps a lot but then I leave the blower on while I connect the fresh water flush and flush the engine and then the genset. The blower on after shut down makes the ER much cooler to work in.

I donít think it would make much different at all when the engine is running at our normal cruise RPM.
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Old 09-19-2019, 03:48 PM   #10
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How is your exhaust insulation holding up? If you have turbos, do they have insulating covers? Maybe cutting down on some heat output along with adding some air movement will help.
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:42 PM   #11
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Run the mains for several hours, exhaust blower on, ER will be warm. Same scenario minus the blower, it`s seriously hot, only happens if I forget to activate the blower.
Another plus of my exhaust blower, it`s right above the compressor for the eutectic fridge and the freezer, activated, it shortens compressor run time.
I have good venting for intake, and the blower has a dedicated vent.
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskan Sea-Duction View Post
Hey Tom, question. Your ER does not have blowers? Gas or Diesel?
No blowers. Single Diesel.
The turbo does not have insulation, but the exhaust insulation is in excellent condition (only 2 years old).

This summer, I experimented a bit. I ran a small (8-10 inch)12v fan for a while just moving air around a bit, but pointed towards one of the ER vent openings. Just using this (while underway), I often lowered ER temperature by as much as 3-4 degrees F.

By the way, I usually cruise at about 1/2 throttle on my Cummins 6BTA 5.9L engine, so the turbo is normally not involved much (if at all). Normal ER temps seem to average 102 to 107 F when there are light winds, and if the wind is up (10K or above) the temps are usually a bit lower (98 - 102).
The engine cooling system is well maintained and does not run hot at all. I check fairly regularly with an IR thermometer. I am monitoring ER temps with a remote sensor from a "home type" weather station. The sensor is sitting on top of the generator (gen not running when underway) about 2.5 feet below the ceiling of the ER.
What I was hoping for, was an ER temp below 100 F even when there are light winds.
Maybe another year of experimenting?? Being as I run the inverter when underway to power the laptop, etc. maybe I should try using a 120v larger fan in the ER (similar to what I did with the 12v this year a few times) and see what that does? It might give me an idea of how effective (or not) adding a blower would be.
Martin J. I agree that cooler ER temps are better than hotter ER temps for a number of reasons.
Thanks for all your thoughts,
Tom
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Old 09-19-2019, 08:25 PM   #13
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My boat came with a beefy engine room ventilation system that works like a charm. It has about an 18"x18" intake that chases down to a large 12v radiator fan that is bolted to the wall of the engine room. There is a second chase at the top of the engine room that the dry exhaust runs through that allows the hot air to rise up and exit a large louvered grate in the back of the stack above the pilot house. Due to the stack, and the exhaust being on the back of the stack with slightly lower air pressure, convection makes it flow quite a bit even when the fan isn't on. The fan is wired to a thermostat. I usually set it at 90 degrees, and the fan seems to run about 1/4-1/2 the time depending on how hot it is outside. if you add an intake and exhaust I would put the intake near the floor, and the exhaust near the ceiling. I would go for it, it is better for the gear, and makes things much better if you have to go down there and work on something.
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:49 PM   #14
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When I bought my boat it had a single Cummins 6CTA 450 HP engine and 4 blowers of the 220 cfm variety with 2 blowing in and 2 blowing out. During my refit, I swapped to a Deere 4045TFM75 135 HP engine. Thoroughly examined the blower systems, crushed dryer hose they were hooked to, and the convoluted venting in the sides of the boat. Did some extensive research on engine room ventilation and air flow. Ended up building a pretty cool system for way to much money that keeps the inside outside differential below 25 degrees, with one 220 CFM blower!

First, where do you measure the temperature? The difference between inches off the floor and just below the ceiling can be 25 degrees or more. My digital thermometer probe is 2" below the ceiling.

If you're going to install an exhaust fan, it should also be just below the ceiling (hot air rises, and you want to exhaust the hottest air). If you're going to blow in cooler air, it should be directed to the lowest point. The object isn't to mix the air. The object is to exhaust the hottest from the top and have the cooler air replace it from the bottom. Ideally, the hot air should be evacuated from one end of the engine room and the fresh air should enter from the opposite end. All of this should seem basic and logical. Sadly most manufacturers seem to ignore the basics when it comes to venting the engine room.

Should you blow air in? It's important to have enough air for the engine(s), generator, and ventilation. If you can't supply it through enough square inches of supply vents, then a blower may be needed. IMO, that should be the last resort. The only real down sides to pressurizing the engine room is smells and possibly exhaust leaks will find their way into the living spaces within the boat, and if an intake blower fails, you may starve the engines of fresh air. So, provide enough intake air and only use blowers to exhaust gas.

A brief overview of the basic 220 CFM engine room blower:
These blowers are designed to move large volumes of air with very low static pressure and minimal vacuum. Obviously you need a free flowing volume of air for the blower as they can only create minimal vacuum. Of equal importance is the discharge resistance. Several things contribute to the loss of some to most of the CFM output. First is frictional line loss. This occurs as the air is pushed through a tube that is the same diameter as the fan. The air is moving, but the tube walls are stationary, creating a resistance to the air flow. Make the tube long enough and no air will flow through because of the resistance. Next are bends in the tube. A 90 degree bend has a significant impact on air flow. Don't quote me on this, but each 90 I believe is worth 10' of frictional line loss. Next are hoses or tubes with internal ridges (like dryer hose) which disturb the air flow (smooth tube or hose is much better). To summarize, a tube larger than the diameter of the fan, of a smooth bore, with the shortest distance, and the least amount of sweeping bends, will yield the highest airflow from the standard blower.

So, with this information, I set out to build the optimal engine room ventilation system. The supply air utilized 2 existing vents and I added two super vents (pictures at the end). The new vents enter under the winch platform, drop through the deck into the chain locker, exit into the large hollow keel, and travel back to the engine room. By entering the room through the keel, the cooler fresh air is entering at the lowest point. There is a water trap below the winch pedestal, one in the chain locker, and one before entering the engine room. In addition to supplying plenty of fresh air, the flow going through the chain locker and bilge keeps those areas dry and fresh (not musty).

For the exhaust blower I took a standard 4" blower and adapted it to 5" smooth bore fiberglass exhaust pipe (told you this was expensive). To understand the logic for 5" pipe, you need to calculate the cross sectional area of each pipe. 4" pipe has an area of 12.5". 5" pipe has an area of 19.5. With greater than 50% more area, the 5" pipe has a much lower frictional line loss. In essence, more of the air flows through the center of the pipe faster, and less is slowed down by contact with the wall. The pipe exits the engine room in the stern near the ceiling, under the back deck, around a water block loop, and exits the transom under the swim platform. The water block loop is 16" above the back deck and maybe 30" above sea level. All the 90s are sweep, smooth bore, rubber exhaust elbows (double T bolt clamped on each end ).

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So how well does all this over engineering work? When you turn the blower on with the engine running full RPM (in neutral, tied to the dock) the airflow from the blower, ripples the water out past the swim platform. I run the blower whenever the engine or generator is running. The blower typically lasts 1,500 hours. I think they're about $30 or $40 dollars which I consider a small price to pay for a cool engine room.

While it's unlikely that anyone without OCD would go to this effort and expense, I hope that those analyzing their engine room ventilation, can use some of the above information to improve their ventilation.

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Old 09-20-2019, 10:01 AM   #15
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Thanks Ted for the great, detailed (time consuming for you) response. I learned alot, and got some good ideas, although, I don't have plans to go as far as you did
I particularly liked your real world data on how long you have found that the inexpensive fans seem to last! I was looking at much more expensive models, but maybe the less expensive ones make more sense, cause in a way, I would be going with a more "hit or miss" approach.
Thanks to everyone else for your contributions, I appreciate all of the advice, opinions, and real world experiences described.

Ted, are those fans you described by any chance "reversible" as to direction of flow?
Just thinking...... as my ER vents are on the side of the hull it might be good to be able to reverse the flow so as not to "fight" the natural ventilation when the wind is coming more one side than the other???? Maybe I am overthinking this?
Thanks again,
Tom
PS: Just curious Ted, why the switch to the smaller engine? Did fuel economy improve alot? Boat performance improve?
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Old 09-21-2019, 06:46 AM   #16
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Ted, are those fans you described by any chance "reversible" as to direction of flow?
Just thinking...... as my ER vents are on the side of the hull it might be good to be able to reverse the flow so as not to "fight" the natural ventilation when the wind is coming more one side than the other???? Maybe I am overthinking this?
Thanks again,
Tom
PS: Just curious Ted, why the switch to the smaller engine? Did fuel economy improve alot? Boat performance improve?
Don't know if the blowers are reversible, but if it's having a hard time exhausting against the wind, it's probably time to seek safe harbor.

Regarding switching to a smaller engine for better fuel economy, here is a post I wrote on the subject:

New Engine Economy Numbers

It's from this thread on my refit project

My Short Haul Refit

All in with the new prop I have about $12K invested. The numbers worked for me, but most people would have 3 times as much invested and wouldn't cruise enough to begin to recover the money. With the current price of fuel, My break even between repower cost and fuel cost savings is about 3,000 hours (which I will reach next summer). For most, it could be 9,000 hours.

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Old 09-22-2019, 05:39 AM   #17
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Has a wave ever climbed aboard flooding the air intakes offshore?


Do you have storm covers?
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Old 09-22-2019, 06:36 AM   #18
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Has a wave ever climbed aboard flooding the air intakes offshore?


Do you have storm covers?
No, the forward deck is over 5' above sea level and the front of the bulwarks are around 8' above sea level. The forward deck also has substantial scuppers. Been bow into 7' seas without anything but spray coming over the bulwarks. There is a water block in the form of a square fiberglass and coosa board tube that is fiberglassed to the deck and goes up about 12" behindthe front vents. The area below the tube is the chain locker which has 3' high walls, and an overboard discharge pump with float switch. Boat is a coastal cruiser and have no intention of seeing 7' seas again.

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Old 09-22-2019, 09:04 AM   #19
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Has a wave ever climbed aboard flooding the air intakes offshore?

Do you have storm covers?

That can be a concern. I've taken water (although not very much) down an engine room vent only once that I know of. The bigger concern was that it damaged the stainless steel vent which had to be replaced.

I think with decently designed vent boxes and a bilge drainage and pump layout that can easily handle a little water at the vent locations, it would take fairly bad conditions to get enough water down there to be a problem.
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Old 09-28-2019, 06:18 AM   #20
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Cooling the ER

Quote:
Originally Posted by firehoser75 View Post
I am looking for advice and preferably experiences from those who have installed fans/blowers in the engine room to reduce ER temperatures.
Some background. I have read that engine room temperatures should never exceed 115 degrees F (mine have not) and that optimally the differential between the outside temperature and the ER temperature should not exceed 30 degrees F. So for example, if the outside temp is 68 degrees F and the ER temp is 105 degrees F, in theory your ER is too warm??
Also, having a cooler ER would benefit any installed items located there, for example battery chargers, inverters, batteries, solar controller, and even the engine alternator, etc.
My engine room temperature often exceeds the 30 degree differential and I am hoping to find a way to "cool" the ER without having to conduct major surgery like adding more holes, etc. Not going there!


Has anyone had experience with this with good results? If so, what brand/model of blower and where in the ER did you locate it (them).
I have not experienced any operating problems associated with this higher than optimal temp difference, but I can understand the potential benefits (overall) of having a cooler ER.
Thanks,
Tom
AS with the comments from Tom above, I, too was "concerned" about ER temperatures, so I put a thermocouple in the ER, located directly above the engine, probably the hottest location. I found that the temperature on a warm day of about 80 degrees was about 125. I considered that reasonable, so I pulled the thermocouple out and quit worrying. I'm sure the temperature varies widely depending on wind speed and direction.
So what is bad about higher engine room temperatures? Yes, the maximum power of the engine is pretty much inversely proportional to absolute temperature of the inlet air. A 5-degree(F) drop will produce about 1% more power. However, that is only when running at full power. With a diesel running at partial power (how much time do trawler operators run at full power? I would guess essentially zero) HIGHER inlet air temperature is a benefit in that it reduces ignition delay and therefore combustion noise. Engine efficiency also increases.
Does a "high" ER temperature decrease the life of rubber components? I doubt at any temperature below 200 there is a measurable difference. Does it increase the amount of heat conducted into the cabin? Certainly, but the temperature, at least in my Nordic Tug, is barely noticeable.
One responder noted that he had an air-cooled generator mounted in the ER. That is a totally different situation and I would recommend adding a sealed duct to direct the cooling discharge air to the outside.
The only complaints from my crew is that the "cold" water isn't cold. Yes, eventually the water supply system in the ER gets warmed up. I've thought about moving that out of the ER, but that's a lot of work.
So my recommendation is to simply not to worry about it.
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