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Old 06-27-2014, 12:05 PM   #1
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Bad start to the summer

Yesterday while moving from A to B I noticed that my engine would not reach my normal cruising RPM of 2700. I understand that my engine (Volvo TAMD30) is capable of reaching 3500+ RPM but I have never had it above 2900. I was able to reach 2600 so almost there but not quite. Since I had just been crawling around the engine making checks I thought I must have bumped or stepped on something and decided to continue my travels and check it out when we settled in for the night.
After about 30 minutes I noticed that the engine temperature had settled at a higher than normal position on the temperature gauge. We continued on. After about 1 hour the temperature started to climb and it began a cycle of up and down never exceeding 200 deg but definitely trending up. This continued like this for maybe the next hour. Suddenly the temperature shot up above 200 deg. This has really got my attention now, I was thinking maybe my raw water impellor might be shot so I asked my wife to have a look at the exhaust to see how much or if any water was coming out of the exhaust exit point, she came back and told me both the water and smoke was black. I had not noticed any smoke coming from the exhaust, black or otherwise from my position at the helm.
I throttled back to 2250 and noticed an immediate response on the temperature gauge, my wife also noticed that the exhaust cleared up right away as well. We continued on course like this and the engine temperature settled in at its normal position and never moved for the remainder of our transit.
Iím not much of a hands on mechanic but I have a good understanding of how things work, so in my mind the inability to reach normal RPM and the black exhaust is telling me that Iím not getting a proper air/fuel ratio. Specifically, not enough air. This morning Iím going to check out the intake to make sure itís clear but Iím afraid that itís actually the turbo that is the problem. One thing I donít understand is the raise in engine temperature, is this a normal condition when a turbo fails or am I totally wrong with my diagnosis. If I find the turbo to be stiff or stuck has anyone had any success in freeing them up. What else should I be looking for.
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Old 06-27-2014, 12:12 PM   #2
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The black smoke could also be an indicator of a heavy load on the engine. Any chance you might have a kelp bed attached to the hull?
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Old 06-27-2014, 12:22 PM   #3
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No kelp bed, hauled out last fall, so some growth for sure but it should be washed off by now. I also though of heavy loading but quickly dismissed it.
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Old 06-27-2014, 12:42 PM   #4
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Don't dismiss it have a diver look at the prop
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Old 06-27-2014, 12:43 PM   #5
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Black smoke means incomplete combustion and that will build heat.
So the scenario makes sense to me IF it is a failed turbo or blockage in the air intake plumbing.

If you have WD 40 or some kind of "carburetor cleaner" you can carefully spray inside the turbo intake and likely free it up if it's stuck due to a build up of crud.

It could also be a leak in the compressed air system after the turbo. You may have to be underway with a load on to find that kind of a leak.

If the smoke is due to kelp or whatever as has been suggested, then take care of that.
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Old 06-27-2014, 01:54 PM   #6
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I didn't just dismiss kelp or some other debris around the prop, I gave it some serious thought, but even in neutral I can only get 2600 rpm out of my engine so that's what I'm focused on. If the light is right I can see my prop from my dinghy while at the back of the boat, I'll be checking it today just to confirm but I don't see it being the problem.
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Old 06-27-2014, 02:14 PM   #7
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Well, at least based on the info you shared, compromised combustion is likely to come from either blockage in front of or at the rear of the combustion. If the intake is clean and the turbo seems OK. also consider that your exhaust side could be restricted. You should be able to spin the turbo with your finger. A broomstick or something like it from the turbo to the ear while the engine is running would reveal bearing problems. Truly, it sounds as if it's not breathing. If all those things check out, maybe you got some bad fuel....typical if you got some in the Islands, but could happen anywhere. Since the lack of efficient combustion would definitely swing the temperature a bit, there's no other way to account for it. Not being able to get past 2600 or so with no load discounts the chance of it being hull or driveline related.
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Old 06-27-2014, 02:18 PM   #8
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I'ld check the turbo, take the air end intake off and check the wheel for freedom of rotation. If that's good check it for end play or wobble and for oil residue in the housing. Is your oil consumption up?
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Old 06-27-2014, 02:22 PM   #9
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WD40 in the turbo could cause serious damage or even runaway.
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Old 06-27-2014, 02:33 PM   #10
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I'm thinking turbo as well.

A Boost gauge will tell you for sure.

When long ago I lost my first turbo I was most unhappy. Visions of dollar signs danced through my head.

Then I bought boost and EGT gauges.
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Old 06-27-2014, 03:15 PM   #11
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Could be a turbo. Could be a fuel filter issue.

But no matter what it is, in the future run your engine up to max rpm once in a while for a few minutes or so, so you can catch problems like this before they start effecting your normal cruising rpm.
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Old 06-27-2014, 03:23 PM   #12
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Too bad it wasn't a kelp bed. Probably a less expensive solution, and you could eat well for months.....

BC Kelp- Kelp / Seaweed Recipes British Columbia Kelp/Canada* BC Kelp-* British Columbia Kelp/Canada* BC Kelp-* British Columbia Kelp/Canada BC Kelp-Seaweed Recipes
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Old 06-27-2014, 03:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
WD40 in the turbo could cause serious damage or even runaway.
Not a couple of shots.
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Old 06-27-2014, 05:02 PM   #14
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Well good news, for me anyway. It has turned out to be the air filter. So a lesson learned for me to change it during my annual servicing. I had it out last month but put it back in because it just didn't look bad, and it still doesn't, but installed the engine gets 2600 and removed 3400. So a new one is on the way and I'll replace it and get back to the business of cruising. Thanks for all the helpful replies and happy cruising.
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Old 06-27-2014, 05:05 PM   #15
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Thanks for posting the result. All the more motivation to check my filter often.
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Old 06-27-2014, 05:06 PM   #16
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Also, thanks for all those wonderful kelp recipes, no need to ever be hungry on the coast.
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Old 06-27-2014, 07:49 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Also, thanks for all those wonderful kelp recipes, no need to ever be hungry on the coast.
No need to thank me!!!!
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