View Poll Results: Check all that apply to you.
Have never had an engine failure in my twin engine boat. 6 17.14%
Have had one or more failures that could be fixed at sea. 17 48.57%
Have had one or more failures that couldn't be fixed at sea. 16 45.71%
Have had both engines fail at the same time, getting a single to cut my failures in half. 1 2.86%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 35. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-21-2016, 10:22 AM   #1
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Twin engine failures

Just curious how common the loss (can't be fixed at sea) of one engine is on a twin engine boat.

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Old 05-21-2016, 10:33 AM   #2
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I towed someone last weekend who had lost both engines. Of course it was from running out of fuel...
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:36 AM   #3
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I've never seen any hard figures, but it's always seemed reasonable (to me) to assume that it's much more common than a single engine boat losing an engine. I just looked on the BoatUS Seaworthy site and didn't spot anything particular to this situation, though there are some items in "The Most Common Insurance Claims" that might be relevant.
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:51 AM   #4
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I had an overheating issue that plagued me for a few months when I first got the boat. I needed a haulout for that one, as the problem was a broken check valve in the lower unit. That put me down one engine.

I had a coupler strip out, which was another haulout repair. Down one engine.

I had a fuel filter pack up on me, which knocked one engine out. I thought I had a spare, but didn't. Turns out replacements are extremely hard to find. The same trip I had a fuel pump die on me. Down one engine.

I had lots of problems with my shift/throttle cables not wanting to stay properly adjusted for any amount of time, causing either/both engines to stall out at inopportune times.

I was never stranded without any either engine, aside from that one time I found out that my fuel gauge was way off... like 30% off.

After all of these calamities, I decided to get myself a Towboat US membership. I never used it though, thankfully.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:01 AM   #5
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When I was commercial fishing, all our boats were singles and we had our share of breakdowns. Some, often filters, could be fixed at sea and some we towed each other in.

I've owned my twin engine boat since 1976 and have had too many to count engine failures in one engine. Some simple ones were repaired underway, some we just chose to proceed to harbor on one engine, and several could only be repaired at the dock.

I've never been towed with this boat.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:06 AM   #6
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My old outboard boat had twin 250's and every now and then one would suck some sand up and overheat alarms would go off. Never left me offshore though.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:20 AM   #7
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Lost one engine (only once) while underway due to a fuel starvation problem. Not a filter issue. Proceeded back in on one screw. My trannies can freewheel without damage.

Were I a better mechanic, I could have fixed it underway - if there is a next time, I can handle it now.

One engine failure in 6-700 hours of operation over 5 years. Due to the PO's use of a marginal part.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:54 AM   #8
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Have owned single screw boats since 1986 and have many thousand of hours on the engines with only one breakdown. A Cat 3208 raw water pump pully separated due to failure of the tack welds that held the two halfs together. I sent it back to Cat and they sent me another one. The pullies need stronger welds and I noticed the new pully did have marginally better welds. I do not know if Cat made the pully or it was outsourced.

In our waters there is a problem with twins being impacted to the running gear, usually to both the port and starboard damaged together.
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Old 05-21-2016, 12:11 PM   #9
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All else being the same, the odds of losing one in a twin is twice that of a single......
Odds of losing both VERY remote, unless it's a fuel starvation/contamination issue.

But, there are way too many variables and as Keith said, no good date.

I mean, are single engine operators more likely to maintain their motor because it's the only one they have? Are single engine boats more likely to operate at 65%/hull speed -1 whereas twins want to plane and are at WOT to get there more often?

Good science is a lot of work.......

I've had two breakdowns in a single at sea. It was a clogged fuel filter (new boat to me, first time in rough weather in a long time). It was fixed at sea. Second was a failed starter. Mallotized it and it never did it again.
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Old 05-21-2016, 12:25 PM   #10
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We've had two singles and one twin. No the two singles did not add up to twins. Just luck I think, never had an issue with the singles, Cummins and Yanmar. The twins are Cummins, yard installed incorrect alternator on starboard, tore two belts before 3rd mechanic told me the alternator was wrong, all were from yard that installed it. A couple of weeks ago, I was taking Amazing Grace to Deltaville and the port engine slowed then quit. I limped in on one, lot of fun docking in wind, and later discovered part of wiring had worked loose, engine ground wire had come out of poorly made connection.
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Old 05-21-2016, 12:30 PM   #11
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This spring I figured out what was my enduring fuel pump issue of the last 2 years.
It got progressively worse that random engine shut down due to no fuel.

My monel tank brass pickup tube had rotted and split. So port engine closer to tank would keep running while starboard engine would randomly quit with pump sucking air.
Pickup is missing the bottom 6 inches.
So yes fuel tank brass corrosion does occur with E10 gasoline.

E10 by its nature wants to create acids, and due to it getting microscopically wet while not yet phase separated even so creates galvanic current corrosion in the fuel itself. Brass is less noble than Monel so is anodic and corrodes.

Typically I run both engines from port tank.


That happened after E10 showed up in 2006. So in 10 years, the brass was wasted away destroyed by E10.
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Old 05-21-2016, 01:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayfarer View Post
I had an overheating issue that plagued me for a few months when I first got the boat. I needed a haulout for that one, as the problem was a broken check valve in the lower unit. That put me down one engine.

I had a coupler strip out, which was another haulout repair. Down one engine.

I had a fuel filter pack up on me, which knocked one engine out. I thought I had a spare, but didn't. Turns out replacements are extremely hard to find. The same trip I had a fuel pump die on me. Down one engine.

I had lots of problems with my shift/throttle cables not wanting to stay properly adjusted for any amount of time, causing either/both engines to stall out at inopportune times.
Dave, please don't take offense, but I'm not sure I'll invite you out for a trip on my boat. Your luck may rub off.
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Old 05-21-2016, 04:18 PM   #13
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I had a 5.7L Crusader engine trashed by a failed exhaust riser. It was the delivery run. The risers were 12 YO, way overdue for rreplacement. Shut the engine down after 100 miles to check fluids and oil level went up 2 inches. Nice to have twins. New long block time.
Also had a 140 Evinrude block sieze up 20 miles off the beach. Again, twins got me to port.
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Old 05-21-2016, 07:22 PM   #14
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I've not done this much (boating), my wife were out just after we bought the boat. Port engine died, would not restart. Thank heaven I own tractors, I new right away it was a fuel problem, however; I had never laid eyes on Racor filters or anything like it (marine) fuel systems. I changed the filter while the wife drove the boat (spooked her to death) from the flybridge. Tried a re-start that didn't happen. I worked like a cat on a hot roof to bleed the fuel system frm the 1st filter thru the injectors before it re-started. Two of those monsters in the bottom of the boat has got to better than one, right?
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Old 05-21-2016, 10:48 PM   #15
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It appears that most diesel engine failures are fuel related, second to raw water supply. A twin engine boat is no better than a single engine boat if both engines share a common fuel supply.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:18 PM   #16
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I lost one engine last year due to massive oil loss.
Fortunately I caught it before any damage was caused beyond the cause of the oil loss.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:42 PM   #17
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Latter 1950's through now in 2016 I've been towed in twice while engine[s] were down. 1st time was single screw with totally blocked fuel line... 2nd time was twins running off one tank that had gone dry. 1st one was multi mile CG tow into Block Island. 2nd was 1/2 mile side tow in narrow canal to yacht harbor slip.
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Old 05-22-2016, 03:57 AM   #18
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We've had four boats with twin engines and had single engine failures on all four which required coming home on one. The first was a catastrophic failure where the engine through a conrod thought the side of the block, second a gearbox failure, third an injection pump failed and fourth a fuel filter failed.

The other engine got us home safely in all cases.
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Old 05-22-2016, 04:41 AM   #19
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Lost a raw water pump just last week on the way to Gulfport. Second engine saved the day.
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Old 05-22-2016, 07:45 AM   #20
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May depend on what one calls a failure.

I have had major fuel and oil leaks on a single but continued on to port where with twins they would have been shut down.

Also true of alternator failures where a broken belt may take out the cooling system
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