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Old 06-06-2013, 12:20 AM   #1
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One happy dude...Cummins related.

For those that don't know and have after cooled Cummins engines, the after coolers are the life and death of those engines. They should be serviced at least once every forum years and some would argue more often...every two years. Lets just say 2-4 years. I just bought a boat that is 12 years old with no evidence of the after coolers being serviced....also luckily, no evidence of damage caused by a failing after cooler. New ones cost in the $2500 range and times two, that can be some money. But I budgeted for worst case scenario.
The Cummins tech took them apart and while they were dirty and pretty clogged up with crap, they were structurally sound. They were able to clean them up and got them back on the boat. They are supposed to be sending pics of the job but haven't received them yet.

So a $5000 swing in my favor!!!! I am a happy dude!!!! Propellers are the next question mark. Should know the answer by tomorrow!!!

And if you own after cooled Cummins engines, do not ignorantly look away from your after coolers. If they leak, saltwater goes directly into the intake of the engine!
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:39 AM   #2
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I hope your lucky streak continues. If the props are OK, more money available for electronics, right?
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:42 AM   #3
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Good news that saves you five boat bucks is always welcome news. Way to go!!!
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:50 AM   #4
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We had our aftercooler serviced last year, The yard made some sort of mod to it so that it drains or can be drained (gotta revisit that).
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:02 AM   #5
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The cold water in the aftercooler condenses inside when the engine is running "easy" or at idle and the drain is to be able to let that water out after shutdown. I thik that's a Cummins sanctioned modification.
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Old 06-06-2013, 11:19 AM   #6
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It is my understanding that the condensate drain that Cummins added was the result of litigation. Tony Athens, the Cummins guru on boatdiesel, believes that the drain is useless. He says that any condensate is perfectly clean and will be blown through and burned with no harm to the engine.

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Old 06-06-2013, 11:58 AM   #7
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:14 PM   #8
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He says that any condensate is perfectly clean and will be blown through and burned with no harm to the engine.
It's not the water that gets "blown through" that is a problem. It's the water that can collect in low spots and cause corrosion damage. In the worst case scenario, a slug of water can cause thermal shock damage to an intake valve, breaking it off and destroying the engine.

The water that collects is far from clean. The same soot and sulfuric acid compounds that accumulate to block and corrode the surfaces of the cooler concentrate in the condensation that can pool in the charge air passages.

A drain is hardly a waste of time and money.
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Old 06-06-2013, 01:00 PM   #9
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The water that collects is far from clean. The same soot and sulfuric acid compounds that accumulate to block and corrode the surfaces of the cooler concentrate in the condensation that can pool in the charge air passages.
A drain is hardly a waste of time and money.
Condensation = distilled water
Soot, acid in exhaust yes; aftercooler no.
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:59 PM   #10
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Condensation = distilled water
Soot, acid in exhaust yes; aftercooler no.
If that were the case, no one would ever have to clean the airside of an aftercooler, would they?

What do you think that nasty stuff is that collects on the airside of the tubes enough to eventually block the air flow? Where does your crankcase vent to? What is in the blowby that comes out your crankcase vent?
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Old 06-06-2013, 04:55 PM   #11
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Whiskey? Also, I frequently clean up "condensate" spills from the oil fields. Most mimic gasoline and diesel in chemical composition...
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Old 06-06-2013, 05:34 PM   #12
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I have read that the drain is "minimally effective".
I was knowledgeable of this issue when I did my repower of my ex, the old Mainship I. I chose the 270 hp version of the 6BTA because it was "jacket water aftercooled" meaning antifreeze cooled. Yes the aftercooler was less efficient hence the "only" 270 rating but it was also virtually maintenance free as far as the aftercooler was concerned. It also smoked less at idle because the air charge was not being supercooled.
I also chose to vent my crancase into a container that did not allow it to be sucked back into the engine so my intake system would stay clean. That is easy and cheap to do.
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:21 PM   #13
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We had our aftercooler serviced last year.
I stopped by the Cummins dealer to see what they thought of Baker's post. They agreed with it and I'm scheduled for an after cooler service next week.
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:44 PM   #14
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I'd sure like to know what is entailed in aftercooler service. I have a Cummins QSB 5.9. Can someone enlighten me? Is this something I can do? So far, all I have done is renew the pencil zinc once a year. Thanks.

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Old 06-07-2013, 05:35 AM   #15
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I was alerted by one of the Cummins mechanics in my area to be careful to seal the aluminum housing well from the nickel alloy cooler so you don't end up with a lot of corrosion in just a few months. When originally made the painted coating on the aluminum does that pretty well but tends to pull off and leave bare metal after disassembly.
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Old 06-07-2013, 08:00 AM   #16
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I'd sure like to know what is entailed in aftercooler service. I have a Cummins QSB 5.9. Can someone enlighten me? Is this something I can do? So far, all I have done is renew the pencil zinc once a year. Thanks.

Ron
If you do some reading on www.boatdiesel.com you'll learn what you need to do. There are lots of threads about it.
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Old 06-07-2013, 02:21 PM   #17
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I stopped by the Cummins dealer to see what they thought of Baker's post. They agreed with it and I'm scheduled for an after cooler service next week.
Glad I could get you moving, Walt. You have known my disdain(for lack of a better word) for Cummins engines and ultimately the reason for that disdain is the premature failure of these engines. The reason for that premature failure is that people do not service these after coolers. They begin to leak and then you end up with saltwater in your charge air....ie your intake!!!!! That is not a good thing and it will cause bad things as you could imagine. The 6BT is a great engine at its core as has been proven on the road and in other applications. It will ingest saltwater with great aplomb...it just cant do it for a long period of time....as you would imagine. I ultimately had to join boatdiesel.com so I could get some expert counsel on what is up with these engines so that I could sleep at night after purchasing a Cummins powered boat. And also so I could relax while boating instead of worrying about the next $30k puff of white smoke that may issue from the exhaust at any minute. I am being a bit melodramatic here...to make a point!!!

I would highly recommend joining boatdiesel to anyone that operates after cooled cummins engines. It is only $25 a year. I also caution you that it is people with problems that are posting so you don't exactly get a warm and fuzzy feeling about your engines while you are on there...just a heads up. But you can learn from others mistakes and learn a lot from the gurus on there.
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Old 06-07-2013, 02:32 PM   #18
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I'd sure like to know what is entailed in aftercooler service. I have a Cummins QSB 5.9. Can someone enlighten me? Is this something I can do? So far, all I have done is renew the pencil zinc once a year. Thanks.

Ron
I would imagine the QSBs are similar to the Bs except electronically controlled. Like the above poster said, you can learn eu thing you need to know on boatdiesel.con. I do not know if you can glean the information you are looking for without joining. But $25 is pretty cheap. Also, I don't know where you are and your proximity to a Certified Cummins tech, but the going rate to service these things seems to be about $350-500 per engine. That is awfully cheap insurance and peace of mind considering there is a lot of other shit on a boat that can cost you a lot more. One boat buck over 2-4 years ain't bad when you are maintaining the heart of your boat!

I think Timjet on here does his own...maybe he will chime in...
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:55 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windmist View Post
I'd sure like to know what is entailed in aftercooler service. I have a Cummins QSB 5.9. Can someone enlighten me? Is this something I can do? So far, all I have done is renew the pencil zinc once a year. Thanks.

Ron
Cummins engines are very easy to work on; you can do all needed services with minimal drama.

boatdiesel has all the info you need.
Aftercooler Maintenance - Cummins
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Old 06-07-2013, 06:04 PM   #20
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Glad I could get you moving, Walt. You have known my disdain(for lack of a better word) for Cummins engines and ultimately the reason for that disdain is the premature failure of these engines. The reason for that premature failure is that people do not service these after coolers. They begin to leak and then you end up with saltwater in your charge air....ie your intake!!!!! That is not a good thing and it will cause bad things as you could imagine. The 6BT is a great engine at its core as has been proven on the road and in other applications. It will ingest saltwater with great aplomb...it just cant do it for a long period of time....as you would imagine. I ultimately had to join boatdiesel.com so I could get some expert counsel on what is up with these engines so that I could sleep at night after purchasing a Cummins powered boat. And also so I could relax while boating instead of worrying about the next $30k puff of white smoke that may issue from the exhaust at any minute. I am being a bit melodramatic here...to make a point!!!

I would highly recommend joining boatdiesel to anyone that operates after cooled cummins engines. It is only $25 a year. I also caution you that it is people with problems that are posting so you don't exactly get a warm and fuzzy feeling about your engines while you are on there...just a heads up. But you can learn from others mistakes and learn a lot from the gurus on there.
Your concerns along with their shortened lifespan due to over propping was the main reason I bought a boat that was a repower candidate.

That way I know the engines history and am less likely to receive a visit from mr big bill
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