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Old 08-27-2019, 01:55 PM   #1
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Diesel courses worth it? PNW

I plan to take some courses on diesel maintenance to improve my capabilities and knowledge. Is it worth it? Will it teach me enough to be able to do regular repairs, upkeep? I have an old CAT 3306 dry exhaust single engine.

Anyone can recommend diesel courses in the Seattle area?
Thanks.
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Old 08-27-2019, 02:10 PM   #2
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Sure, they are most likely have some value, depending.


Whenever I take a class, I like to see the syllabus, get a review on the instructors and figure out what my goal it.



A "general" class on diesels will be general, and probably great for a beginner. Will most likely tell you how they work, basic maintenance, typical operation and issues.


A Yanmar class will teach you specifically their engines, but not all of them. However, you'll probably learn more.


A class on the CAT 3306, you'll most likely get down to the nitty gritty. You'll learn exact specifications, limits, parts etc. on THIS engine. Perhaps a lot more valuable.


What I often do, is to hire a mechanic that specifically knows MY engine. And, I'll have him teach me every operation that I'll expect to do on that engine. If I plan on rebuilding an engine, I want to rebuild one under supervision first.



For most of us, learning the basic maintenance is enough. How to change oil, filters, hoses, belts, zincs.... perhaps changing/maintaining a starter, generator, pulleys, turbos, heat exchangers. Perhaps more.
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Old 08-27-2019, 02:30 PM   #3
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I took Bob Smiths seminar on the Lehmans. It was excellent and well worth it. As to other classes I think some may be good and some bad. It is like anything, you take your chances. But any diesel class is probably better than no diesel knowledge. I think it may depend on if you are a diesel newbie or not.
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Old 08-27-2019, 02:47 PM   #4
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But any diesel class is probably better than no diesel knowledge. I think it may depend on if you are a diesel newbie or not.
Yes, this was my thinking, too.
I am a newbie, but I know how diesels work. Basic concepts.
It seems, focusing on my engine specifically and find a course for it, would be the best way to spend the money.
I could hire a diesel mechanic, but he needs to be CAT expert. I am not sure, if the hourly wage for him, would be less than taking a course?
If I wanted to do an overhaul, I would certainly hire a mechanic to guide me. Since I only have 800 hours on the engine, hopefully it will not be due for years.
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Old 08-27-2019, 03:30 PM   #5
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I have a northern lights 9kw generator and found they have a 1 day free seminar for owners in Seattle. Was planning to fit it in, when I have time.
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Old 08-27-2019, 03:32 PM   #6
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An engine specific class would be the best or a one on one with a good diesel mechanic would be a good substitute. Maybe even better as the mechanic can teach to your specific installation.
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Old 08-27-2019, 05:21 PM   #7
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You'd get more usable info from a Cat mechanic showing you all the maintenance. On Youtube there are many videos on the 3306, There is a professional truck mechanic that has repair/troubleshooting videos on Cat engines - Adept Ape

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxz...85PAb0uXWTlWPw


Trouble shooting is about the same on all non-electronic diesels.






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Old 08-28-2019, 12:46 AM   #8
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That is going to be a tough one to find a class on since those engines probably haven't been built in over 30 years. I would try to find a good factory repair manual for it ( I found one for a 3304 on eBay for my previous boat).

It probably seems pretty overwhelming when you first look at them, but it just boils down to removing nuts and bolts to get to the part you need to fix.

Whenever I find something on the internet on my Lehman's I download it to my laptop so I have it in the future. Also, make sure to hit the watch later button on any YouTube videos you find so you will have them for future reference.
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Old 08-28-2019, 04:52 AM   #9
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Boatdiesel.com has a great Cat guru named Dave. Others on that site are very Cat specific as well. By joining for $25 you will have access to the archives, a treasure trove of information.

As mentioned, get the engine and model specific shop manual. Insure the engine has raw water flow and exhaust stream temperature detection. The 3306 iterations are super sensitive to a mild overheat.
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Old 08-28-2019, 09:36 AM   #10
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Nigel Calder offers an excellent course on diesel engines that would probably be useful. His book on diesels is also a very good general reference. He sometimes teaches at Trawler Fest in Seattle and elsewhere.

Mike Beemer is also a good instructor and teaches through the Cruisers College. He has a short course coming up. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/trouble...69934?ref=ecal
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Old 08-28-2019, 10:10 AM   #11
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Any thoughts on what the curriculum should be for a half-day class? What are the basics an operator should know? Changing/bleeding engine-mount fuel filter can be tricky so top of my list of stuff that have a high probability of needing to know at an inopportune time. Raw water impellor is another. Stuffing box adjustment (if old-school). What other types of tasks should be in the basic arsenal of a coastal cruiser?

One last thought: benefit of hiring a mechanic to walk you through on your engine as opposed to a classroom is that you will discover any special tool you may need, such as a shortened wrench or something.
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Old 08-28-2019, 12:30 PM   #12
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You could try calling the local Cat distributor for your area and ask if any of their techs have been around long enough to have spent time working on these engines. Maybe he would be willing to come aboard and spend a few hours with you. Woops... just saw you are from the PNW. That dealer would be NC Machine. They have locations all over Puget Sound and Alaska.
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Old 08-28-2019, 01:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeoKa View Post
I plan to take some courses on diesel maintenance to improve my capabilities and knowledge. Is it worth it? Will it teach me enough to be able to do regular repairs, upkeep? I have an old CAT 3306 dry exhaust single engine.

Anyone can recommend diesel courses in the Seattle area?
Thanks.
Yes, along with a good service manual for your specific engine, even if it doesn't include the marine parts.
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