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Old 03-19-2018, 04:15 PM   #1
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Question Recommendations for a Hands-On Diesel Engine Maintenance Course?

Hi,

I researching the options for a hands-on diesel engine maintenance course. I am hoping to purchase a "Classic" Ranger 29 and to do the Loop. I have no experience in maintaining a diesel engine, so would need something which starts from a very basic perspective. Depending on the year of boat which I buy the engine could be a Yanmar or a Volvo.

I've done some research online and found:
* a one-day course in Orange County, CA for $295
* a two-day class at the Annapolis School of Seamanship for $395 (with an option for an additional two day advanced course)
* a five-day course at Wooden Boat School (Maine) for $800.

Do you have any thoughts/experience regarding the above classes, or any other recommendations?

Thanks for any assistance.
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:20 PM   #2
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I attended the Annapolis School of Seamanship class with the extension. I needed CEs for one of my certifications, so already was familiar with the material. That being said, I thought the class was well done with an excellent instructor (at least a few years ago anyway). Stay for the additional 2 days, that's when you get good hands on experience.
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:39 PM   #3
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Diesel Engine Maintenance Course Recommendation

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I attended the Annapolis School of Seamanship class with the extension. I needed CEs for one of my certifications, so already was familiar with the material. That being said, I thought the class was well done with an excellent instructor (at least a few years ago anyway). Stay for the additional 2 days, that's when you get good hands on experience.
Thanks Scott,

From your comment, do you not get so much hands-on time during the first 2-day class?

Gordon
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Old 03-19-2018, 05:14 PM   #4
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You might check with Passagemaker magazine on any such training they offer. I recall that in past years their Trawler Fest events in Anacortes had an diesel engine course.
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Old 03-19-2018, 05:14 PM   #5
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I'd suggest a course specific to your engine. Learning how to service a rack on a DD will do you no good if you bought a Volvo.

Maybe once you've bought the boat then hire a good mechanic to change fluids, impellers, filters, clean heat exchanger and after coolers. Look over his shoulder. This way you get necessary work done and learn how to do it.
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Old 03-19-2018, 05:21 PM   #6
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Since you are in Santa Clara, call Club Nautique in Alameda and ask who they may recommend. They also have some very basic courses/seminars now and then, but usually not as comprehensive as you are looking for. One of their owners used to (maybe still) be a Ranger dealer.
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Old 03-19-2018, 05:31 PM   #7
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If you are in Santa Clara, California you are somewhat close to List Marine in Sausalito. They are a reputable engine shop for primarily Yanmar sailboat diesels.
They are well known for their 'Diesel Engine 101' course. It is popular with Bay Area sailors. I know it's primarily focused on Yanmars, but as an introduction, and overview, of modern, albeit smaller, diesels, it might be a good primer for you.
I remember it being one or two day, hands on, course at their Sausalito shop.
Not affiliated, but I have done satisfying business with them and I have friends who have taken the course and were very happy with it.

https://www.listmarine.com
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Old 03-19-2018, 07:10 PM   #8
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Diesel Engine Courses

Thanks for the great responses! I will contact List to see what they offer.

Regarding Trawlerfest; their's is a 2-day course ($495). From the Passagemaker website I can't tell if it is hands-on or not. The one in Stuart Florida which they recently held featured Steve Zimmerman and Nigel Calder, who would be great folks to learn from.

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Old 03-19-2018, 07:31 PM   #9
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I think it is so much more productive to be trained on your specific engine. When we bought our boat, the engine surveyor included a full orientation to the engines if we bought the boat, plus phone support. The guy was a great teacher, as was the mechanic we used in North Carolina... somewhat unusual for mechanics. But you should check for that when you buy your boat. If I got stumped on something, either one could walk me through it over the phone. That and a shop manual worked great for a klutz like me.
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Old 03-20-2018, 08:28 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokeyham View Post
* a two-day class at the Annapolis School of Seamanship for $395 (with an option for an additional two day advanced course)

Do you have any thoughts/experience regarding the above classes, or any other recommendations?

I took the Annapolis courses. I thought very good. The first course is introductory but with some hands-on. The second course includes more troubleshooting, and the "final test" is to make a sabotaged engine start and run.

Nigel Calder's book was the textbook. They use small diesels for hands-on in the classroom, so that means no exposure there to aftercoolers and turbos... but I didn't find that to be an impediment.

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Old 03-20-2018, 08:51 AM   #11
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"... The guy was a great teacher, as was the mechanic we used in North Carolina... somewhat unusual for mechanics."

George,

We are in New Bern, would you mind sharing the name of the mechanic you used in NC?

Thanks,

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Old 03-20-2018, 09:35 AM   #12
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Jim Oberci. I am pretty sure he is retired now. Lives across the Neuse west of Bridgeton/ Vanceboro. He was an expert on Detroits but worked on all sorts of big diesels.

Last numbers I had was 252 244 2161 (home?) or 558 2098 or 726-8814.. one of those is for his now closed shop in Morehead. If you get a hold of him, he might have someone to refer you to. I also reallyliked Mike Collins of L&M Marine out of Beaufort. Really smart guy and the best generalist I've ever encountered. O: 252-728-6190 C: 241-2273.
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Old 03-20-2018, 09:42 AM   #13
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Hire Ski for a day. Hands on beats lips on.
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Old 03-20-2018, 10:49 AM   #14
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No help with courses although I'll 2nd Ski.

Any trade schools in your area? Contact them and even some of the dealers in your area. They may offer engines 101, enough to get you a serious start.

Get the books for the engine and the gearbox. Owners Manual, Parts manual, Service or Shop manual. Even if you don't do a lot of the work yourself having those manuals may be invaluable someday. The longer you wait to get them the tougher it will be to do so.

I can't believe the number of people who do not have anything and then can't figure out anything. The manuals won't answer everything but are a darn good primer. {Rant end.}
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Old 03-20-2018, 11:01 AM   #15
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I would recommend a hybrid approach:
  1. Take a general course on diesels first (broad-brush, low cost) to know what someone is referring to. You can get most of this at boatdiesel.com and the interwebs if you're willing to put in the time.
  2. THEN get a mechanic or someone who knows your engine well to show you around it, one-on-one.

If you do step 1 first, then step 2 will cost less, be more informative, and detailed information retained MUCH better.
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Old 03-20-2018, 01:25 PM   #16
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Get the books for the engine and the gearbox. Owners Manual, Parts manual, Service or Shop manual. Even if you don't do a lot of the work yourself having those manuals may be invaluable someday. The longer you wait to get them the tougher it will be to do so.

I can't believe the number of people who do not have anything and then can't figure out anything. The manuals won't answer everything but are a darn good primer. {Rant end.}
Get the manuals for everything on your boat. I can't believe how many questions people ask or ponder that are answered clearly in the manuals and answered correctly there as opposed to some percentage of answers when asked elsewhere will be wrong.
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Old 03-20-2018, 01:43 PM   #17
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Hire Ski for a day. Hands on beats lips on.
If I were in his area, that's what I would do.
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Old 03-20-2018, 04:40 PM   #18
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Another thing to think about: Once you find your Ranger, presumably you will have a survey done and many people recommend you have two different surveyors; one for the boat, and one for the engine.
If you get an engine surveyor that is extremely thorough and willing to show you everything during his inspection, it is incredibly useful. I did this on a previous survey one time and it was almost like taking a short diesel class from the guy.
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