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Old 04-30-2019, 04:49 PM   #1
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A variety of odd issues. Electical, plumbing, navigation

Wow, what a week. First I have been having problems with my port alternator putting out 10 or 11 amps depending on which gauge I'm looking at. So I replaced it. No change. What?? Also, my port engine stop solenoid activates when I turn the port key on. So my electrician says I probably need a new Fireboy control box. He asserts that a bad diode in the box activates the system and tries to stop the port engine as if there was a fire in the engine room. Then, perhaps the low volt reading is an artifact of this. By the way, I have a Fireboy box for the port engine and for the Starboard engine. To start the port engine I must activate the Fireboy bypass switch, start the starboard engine, then I can start the port.

Ok, while I am waiting for the control box to be installed I decided to add some fuel to the tanks. I used the above work around, started the engines, and left the dock for a longish ride. After ramping up the engines to reach my happy place 10 knots I took a glance at my gauges and the starboard temp gauge was hitting 220 and rising. I ran back to the stern and saw no water coming out. This is my first run after rebuilding both water pumps. I quickly took a look in the engine room--nothing odd there. I dropped the throttles down to idle and went to the stern. Plenty of nice cold water coming out. I got the laser temp tester and started shooting all over the engine and found no temp out of the ordinary. I ramped the rpms up again, went to the stern and no water. yiikes!!! I dropped it again to idle and then had plenty of water. Cruised to the fuel stop at idle speed. Temp gauge still over 200. After filling up and leaving the dock I limped home on the port engine alone. So, today I looked at the impeller and it was fine. I pulled out the sea strainer and it was clean enough. Started the stb engine at the dock and there was water out the exhaust. I brought RPMs to 900 no prob. 1200 no prob, 1500 no problem. I let the temp run up to 185. Took the temp gun to the engine room and shot all over, no over temp problems. Hey wait. I'm looking at the down helm gauges, so I go up to the fly bridge and yep that gauge reads 235F. Ok that sort of explains my problem. But what about not seeing water coming out of the exhaust at least twice while underway and suspecting an over temp issue? I know the muffler will occasionally burp but the only two times I look its holding water?


Ok then also out of the blue my Chartplotter says I'm heading 165 when I'm heading 140. My boat image is moving with me but I'm not heading into the breakwater like the GPS is showing me. Maybe all these things are linked.
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Old 04-30-2019, 05:24 PM   #2
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Maybe there is a female hiding in a locker, holding some bananas, whistling?

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If that checks clear, then maybe the boat is looking for you to shower it with boatbucks to get the season started off!

Seriously, I would take a second look at the cooling water. We we acquired our boat and started evaluating its systems, we replaced some exhaust hose in our genset system after discovering the previous owner had run it too long with the wrong type of impeller; ie no cooling water. We found the hose coming from the exhaust to the waterlift, and the hose coming out of the waterlift both had interior damage that consisted of flaps of rubber hanging loose inside. I don't know if something like that would mimic your symptoms, but if you weren't seeing the water flow you expected, I would look deeper. IE if it doesn't seem right it isn't. Your twins should be remarkable similar.

I can't comment on the fireboy, I don't know anything about those systems.

I have recently added some new electronics to my boat, and am trying to figure out issues with magnetic heading from a fluxgate compass and true from my several satellite sources, might you have an error there? (Or was there a solar storm that day?!?!)

(forgive me if my frasology seems odd, I'm trying to choose words with none of the letter between O and Q because its not working on my keyboard this afternoon! The only way I get it to show is to type a close error that the spelling check can fix to that letter!!! I might be catching it from you're thread!)
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Old 04-30-2019, 05:26 PM   #3
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You must have entered the twighlight zone, be careful.
To be a bit more serious, if yo don't see water coming out of your exhaust, either it is going somewhere else, or it is no coming in. Any air leak maybe?

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Old 04-30-2019, 05:29 PM   #4
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Regarding the water outflow from your exhaust pipe. Could it be a hose has become soft and under increased suction (higher RPM), closes down?
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Old 05-01-2019, 09:46 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Regarding the water outflow from your exhaust pipe. Could it be a hose has become soft and under increased suction (higher RPM), closes down?
Great point. I'll check that out. Of course there is a difference between powering underway and powering at the dock. At the dock I could find no problems. But while the hoses seem solid I'll double check while underway.
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Old 05-02-2019, 06:30 AM   #6
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Rick
I'll respond to the start / FireBoy issue only
Is the boat new to you or do you have prior experience with it?
Is the current situation a new occurance or could this have been the case prior?

I'll relate it to my experience w/ my Mainship 34HT
Unknown to me - when I purchased the boat the alt was not adequately charging (any) of my battys - I didn't recognize this until we took our first extended cruise as other days I cruised I returned to the dock and shore charger took care of recharging battys.
When we were out for a solid day and didn't return I experienced a low batty signal which started the checking. To make a long story short - after removinf and having the Alt checked twice I ruled that out but still puzzled why I wasn't getting charging.
I verified + to batty and Neg Grd were good connections but when running I didn't have 12V to excite the field on my Alt - hence no (or little) output. After much time tracing wires back to the helm I discovered the excite wire ran through the FireBoy control box and apparently was used to shut down the alt if a fire signal (lo press in extinguisher) was detected. It turned out(I believe) the factory miswired the alt excite circuit and by switching from a NO to a NC contact I now had Alt output.

Have you had the old Alt checked to confirm it was not functioning or just replaced it? - Any auto elec shop will likely do this check for free.
Is your Alt the type that requires external excite? - if so is it getting 12V w/ engine on?

Suggest Verifying correct wiring thru the FireBoy control box
  • Is Port & Stbd eng Alt on the same (NC) type contacts?
  • Are the contacts operating correctly (DVOM to confirm)?
  • If you have a spare set of NC contacts switch the alt leads & test?

Do the same for the Stop Solenoid contact...
  • Does your system use time delays - If so jumpers are used - are they both (Port & Stbd) in (same) place. See section6.0 in the attached manual re time delays - apparently this reverses the NO / NC function is some conditions - Mine doesn't use this and haven't gotten into this feature
  • Is Port & Stbd eng Stop on the same (NC) type contacts?
  • Are the contacts operating correctly (DVOM to confirm)?
  • If you have a spare set of NO contacts switch the Stop leads & test?

I'll attach the FireBoy manual (for mine) which covers operation basics and connections fairly well.

One other comment - What did you place / move in the area of your FluxGate compass???
Been there Done That also - turns out I moved my tool boxes and affected my Flux Gate - removed them and back to normal!!
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Xintex Engine-Shutdown-18005-ES-ELS.pdf (1.51 MB, 12 views)
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:34 AM   #7
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Great post, thank you. This boat is new to me having been purchased last summer and I'm still just getting to know it. While I have about 500 miles on her that was just a trip to Mexico and back for the most part.

Similar to you, I'm finding that running the engines does not fully support the charging of the batteries and I have to run the generator to fully charge. My assumption has been that my 65 amp alternators are not keeping up with the amp draw of the vessel. I have a full refrigerator/freezer that draws 65 amps of 12v and a smaller refrigerator/freezer on the sun deck. Part of me thinks I should change out the alternators for ones with higher output.
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:44 AM   #8
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To help clarify the situation, my volt meters have been showing good output. Then the port engine volt meter at both helm stations showed less than 11v. Rather than spend a couple hundred $$ on trouble shooting I decided to spend $156 and replace the alternator. My mechanic removed the old alternator and installed the new one but we could not get the pulley off of the old alternator. So I took it home and did it. then I put it on the new alternator and tensioned the belt. Currently my electrician says the port alternator is putting out 12.5 volts at the alternator, which does not seem right. Should it not be more like 13.5 or 14? I looked at the photograph I took of the old alternator hook up prior to its removal and now I see a wire that was not installed by my mechanic or was disconnected by my electrician. In any event I think the Fireboy controller must be replaced before I can do much more.
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Old 05-06-2019, 04:01 PM   #9
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Update post: I reattached the wire on the alternator that showed attached in my picture of the old alternator. No change in gauge readings. Still waiting on new Fireboy controller.

I took the boat out yesterday and ran her up to 1500 rpm while watching for water flow from the starboard engine. Water flow would be good, then slow down, then good, then slow than blast. Checked the port side, did a little of the same but never blasted while I was watching. Temps normal using heat gun even shooting right at the temp sender, normal at down helm, overheating at fly bridge. Now that blast has me wondering. It is a full circumference (7"?) spraying blast for about a second. Then back to a modest pour. Water was warm to the touch. Is that normal? If not. What is causing it? Some movable obstruction? None of my hoses are soft with potential for collapse and my raw water strainers are clean. Could it be a muffler issue?
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Old 05-07-2019, 07:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickyD View Post
Temps normal using heat gun even shooting right at the temp sender, normal at down helm, overheating at fly bridge. Now that blast has me wondering. It is a full circumference (7"?) spraying blast for about a second. Then back to a modest pour. Water was warm to the touch. Is that normal? If not. What is causing it? Some movable obstruction? None of my hoses are soft with potential for collapse and my raw water strainers are clean. Could it be a muffler issue?
I think that there is an issue is obvious. I don't have enough experience to answer for you what that is. If I were seeing what you are seeing, I would think the volume of cooling water on that side is reduced, causing odd behaviour that isn't normal. (ie less water flow, takes longer to build up in the waterlift to get lifted out, heats up more, acts different when it does get pushed out.)

You may be seeing that there is a cooling issue that at 1500 RPM is sufficient to keep your freshwater cooling side at an acceptable temp level (or not, depending on whether your gauges are actually correct) but is in some way not operating at its optimum.

I would go through your entire raw water system, the most obvious (and easiest) things to check the impeller and heat exchangers. Check the impeller for being intact, check the HE's for obstructions. Just because the strainer is clear doesn't mean there isn't an obstruction in your raw water inlet/seacock. The space between the inlet on the outside of the hull and the seacock is harder to check with the boat in the water, but a diver can look at the outside inlet. You can (if you are slightly brave) take the hose and elbow off the seacock, and probe it with a skinny screwdriver to ensure it is clear. (Close seacock, take off hose and elbow if it has one, select long screwdriver that will fit through and grill/slots in your intake, put it in top of seacock, wrap a good thick rag or towel around it to minimize water coming in, open seacock, probe inlet, reverse process.)

I have a long endoscope camera that proports to be waterproof and can be used underwater, but I've never tried looking at the bottom of the boat to inspect with it. This is prompting me to go try, who knows when I might need to do that out on the water.

The first thing I did when we bought our boat was some work on the raw water system, which included making sure the seacocks moved (they didn't, at least not all of them) and replaced some aged or incorrect raw water hoses. I found one inlet hose on one engine that looked good, the surveyor thought was fine or didn't notice it; once we had it on the hard and squeezed it good we realized it was marine water hose with no wire reinforcement. It collapsed when I bent it. On that same side I found the seacock was partially plugged with seaweed debris that did not make it through to the strainer.

The last bit of common obstruction would be the buildup of corrosion in the exhaust elbow...
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Old 05-08-2019, 01:06 PM   #11
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Thanks Phreak for your thoughtful response. I also worry that things are not quite right with the exhaust water flow. Actual temps have not been a problem only a gauge but still something seems wrong. Both my water pumps recently began to drip a little so I have them both removed and rebuilt. I checked the stb engine impeller after this happened and it is perfect. I'll have my diver really investigate the through hull as best they can when they come again soon. After that, I may have to dismantle my cooling pipes and look for debris that may have come from an incident before I purchased the boat. In my last boat I had an impeller break up and I had to clean rubber chunks out of the pipes. I will look at the heat exchangers also. These Cat 3208s are new to me. Hard to pay $190 per hour to have a mechanic do this work.
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