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Old 12-01-2017, 09:50 PM   #1
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Generator Heat Exchanger

Iíve got a 1991 Diesel Generator with the original heat exchanger. No sign of and problems. Should I️ just clean it and continue to use it? Whatís the worse that could happen if it were to fail?
Raw water and freshwater mix?
I donít mind purchasing a new one if it could cause some sort of damage to the engine if it fails, but donít want to spend the $300. If itís not necessary.
Whatís your thoughts?

Thanks
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Old 12-02-2017, 03:07 AM   #2
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Pay me now or pay me later, your choice.

If you are concerned, pull off the heat exchanger and have it pressure tested, if it passes and you are diligent about changing zincs then there is little to worry about.
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Old 12-02-2017, 09:59 AM   #3
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Pay me now or pay me later, your choice.

If you are concerned, pull off the heat exchanger and have it pressure tested, if it passes and you are diligent about changing zincs then there is little to worry about.
Exactly, might as well have it professionally cleaned while it's out. Hopefully Ski NC will chime in for good places to have it done, where in NC is the boat?
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Old 12-02-2017, 10:17 AM   #4
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Boat is in Arapahoe . Iím in Goldsboro. Thereís a radiator shop here that can clean and pressure test it. Think that will be my plan of action.
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Old 12-02-2017, 12:14 PM   #5
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Pressure testing just tells you one thing...good for today, not necessarily tomorrow.

Trans and oil coolers are way more critical than a heat exchanger.

A heat exchanger that fails is you either loose coolant or dilute coolant.

Both can be monitored and alarmed.

Replacement is good risk management, but not the only solution..... with failure probably not resulting in any significant damage from what several experts have told me.
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Old 12-02-2017, 03:17 PM   #6
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Just a visual inspection is the first step, pull off the covers and have a look.
Take pictures, post them up.
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Old 12-02-2017, 03:33 PM   #7
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If its running great why mess with it? Flush the genny cooling system, put in fresh antifreeze and call it good.
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Old 12-02-2017, 07:32 PM   #8
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Pressure testing just tells you one thing...good for today, not necessarily tomorrow.

Trans and oil coolers are way more critical than a heat exchanger.

A heat exchanger that fails is you either loose coolant or dilute coolant.

Both can be monitored and alarmed.

Replacement is good risk management, but not the only solution..... with failure probably not resulting in any significant damage from what several experts have told me.
Have to disagree with all of that.

First, I doubt strongly his generator has an oil cooler and certainly not a trans cooler.

Second a failed heat exchanger can ruin coolant water pumps (don't ask me how I know this). Depending on engine design cause corrosion issues further into the cooling system. Cleaning the HX is a key piece of PM,as is occasionally testing it.

If the guy doesn't know when the last time it was cleaned or tested, why discourage him from doing so? People on internet forums do tend to play fast and loose with other people's money and equipment.
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:44 PM   #9
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Remove it, have it cooked clean, pressure test it, and re-install it. You'll know that it's OK at that point, but unfortunately, no assurance that it will be OK the following day.

OTOH, with the age of the HX in question, with not quite as much effort as the drill above, you could replace it and have more assurance that it'll last longer, probably close to the same interval that brought it to the present.

If you're cruising to remote areas and your genset is mission-critical, you may want to consider having a spare on board. Then run it till it fails. It's a lot less trouble than having to order a replacement and have it shipped to you when you're in the boonies. (Like the Bahamas!- I can tell you it's EXPENSIVE!)

Bottom line, it's a decision the OP must make, taking into consideration all the options that apply to his particular circumstance.
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:07 PM   #10
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Just passing along my comnercial and personal experience plus advice from experts more than "cruiser joe''s".

Not playing any faster or looser with peoples money or equipment any more than the other end of the spectrum ....which can be excessive PM or early replacement which sometimes runs rampant here on TF.

A lot can be said for closely monitoring....but sure, if the age/condition is suspect.... replace.

But my main point is a HE failure that is caught early is usually no big deal...but you do have to catch it.
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