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Old 11-22-2013, 07:52 AM   #1
City: Fort Myers
Country: USA
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What mechanical diesel engine failure has occurred while underway?

From your own experience, whether single or twins, what mechanical diesel engine failure has occurred while underway. If someday moving to a single engine trawler I would like to see what the studio audience has seen.

I’ll start off, twin Yanmar diesels, at about 10 years of age and 1800 house the exhaust riser that connects to the turbo cracked while underway, thus emitting hot exhaust into the engine room and melting the shift cable. I was able to get back on one, although those cables where stiff as well.

This is not a single vs twin debate, just what have people experienced.

Thanks for participating.

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Old 11-22-2013, 08:02 AM   #2
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Collapsed fuel line on a single diesel. Took awhile to diagnose.

Broken tooth on a drive gear for a drive gear on the front of a Cat 3208. It threw everything out of time. Had to rebuild the injection pump.

Don on Moonstruck
Sabre 42 Hardtop Express & Blackfin 25 CC
When cruising life is simpler, but on a grander scale (author unknown)
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Old 11-22-2013, 09:10 AM   #3
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The pulley on a newly reconditioned (by a well known rebuilder) Jabsco raw water pump worked its way outward on it's shaft and kept throwing the drive belt....middle of the night, middle of a very bumpy Lake Michigan. Engine temperature alarm worked as advertised (200 degrees F). Reinstalled the belt twice (major PITA) before removing the pump and taking a closer look. Replaced the "new" pump with the spare. Not precisely a "mechanical diesel" issue...
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Old 11-22-2013, 09:30 AM   #4
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1997 CAT 3116 in our Mainship 350 - ZERO failures in almost 2,000 engine hours. Change filters, impellers, belts, oil, antifreeze on a regular basis whether needed or not. Knock on wood!
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Old 11-22-2013, 09:39 AM   #5
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Single Yanmar with electronic controls on an 07 Mainship 400 shutdown to 1000 rpm get home speed because of a faulty turbo boost sensor. A month or two after that, the engine shutdown again due to a faulty oil pressure sensor. They are identical sensors with different Yanmar engine parts numbers. A case of the engine doing what it is supposed to do with bad info coming from faulty sensors.
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Old 11-22-2013, 09:49 AM   #6
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cummins 6bta5.9

Return hard fuel line cracked underway, spraying fuel on engine. Repaired with piece of small hose

Turbo failure. Continued trip at displacement speed.
Kevin Sanders
Bayliner 4788
Seward, Alaska
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Old 11-22-2013, 10:14 AM   #7
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Been towed twice in 50+ years (outboards excepted) Both times were damper plates. Listen to your plates w/ hatches open and change at first sign of a rattle, replace with one with "get home" feature. You can't do mutch about these on the water although I did change mine on my mooring after getting the parts and proper equipment.
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:02 PM   #8
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Looking through my maintenance log:

7/77 Starboard engine overheating (Brother-in-law, then my boat partner closed strainer valve while servicing same and reopened it only part way) Docked at Deer Harbor, Wa and replaced raw water impeller.

8/78 Starboard engine stopped during a rough crossing between Naniamo, BC and Texada Island on the way to Desolation Sound (Primary fuel filter plugged) Continued to Pender Harbor, BC, anchored and changed out filter.

8/78 Starboard engine stopped again while passing through Dodd Narrows (Primary fuel filter plugged) Anchored at Pirates Cove, BC and changed out filter.

8/78 Starboard fuel tanks drained and tanks taken to Ken's radiator for cleaning.

10/83 Anchored at McKay Harbor, Wa.; Discovered Port engine, crankcase 3 quarts over full (diaphram failed on fuel lift pump) Ran on starboard engine to Friday Harbor, Wa, for parts , docked and replaced pump, changed lube oil and filter.

9/88 Starboard engine went down to an idle and stayed there. (screw fell out of throttle linkage at injector pump) shut engine down and continued to James Island State Park, Wa. found tiny screw and washer in engine catch pan and replaced same with Loctite.

5/2011 Port engine low oil pressure alarm went off while fishing. (Gasket on Baldwin spin-on lube oil filter failed) Engine was shut down and went into Eagle Harbor, Wa. and anchored. Replaced filter and oil, then spent the next four hours cleaning oil out of the bilge. Since the gasket blew sideways much of the lube oil missed the catch pan and ended up under the catch pan and in the bilge.

Thats all with this boat and never been towed (knock on wood
Larry B
Careful . . .I Have a Generator and I'm not afraid to use it !
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Old 11-22-2013, 12:24 PM   #9
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over 20,000 hours in my log. 12,000 of those on the same boat (in my avatar).
3 break downs, all raw water pump related.
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Old 11-22-2013, 01:30 PM   #10
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Had what would have been a serious overheat problem but my Murphy Alarm warned me the coolant level was low. Went back to the anchorage we just had left and after a time found a 3" bronze pipe that was leaking (cracked). Repaired w hose and brass hose fittings and continued the trip. Would have overheated in front of Cape Caution w an onshore wind and 7' seas.

In the same spot our engine slowed to an idle and wouldn't respond for 10 min or so on the return trip 8years later. Never did quit and came back to normal in about 5 minutes. Lack of fuel delivery.

Engine quit an hour or so south of Comox BC. Spent 3 days in Comox working on the engine. More fuel starvation and never did positively identify the problem.

After launch next summer we're putting the "A" team on the fuel system.

North Western Washington State USA
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Old 11-22-2013, 01:35 PM   #11
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A short hunk of 3/4 hose in the cooling system let go.

Repair tape and tap water , to get back underway.

Replace hose and drain, flush and refill with anti-freez mix to cure.
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:59 PM   #12
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These are all with single diesel boats over the course of 22 years and about 3500 hours.
1 V belt broke. Easy fix as I carry spares.
Several fuel clogs in my Mainship all ahead of the filters (I took on a bad load of fuel and it haunted me for a couple of years).
Chafed turbo oil feed hose, had to get towed in.

Collapsed fuel hose in my Lehman (on maiden delivery voyage) caused several shutdowns, (one of those was in the East River).

I did not include anything that caused me to find an anchorage early in the day so that I could fix something I didn't like for example change an alternator with a spare, or replace a fuel filter that may have caused a slight engine "sputter" at higher cruise speed, etc.
Jay Leonard
Attitude Adjustment
40 Albin
Mystic,Ct. /New Port Richey,Fl
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Old 11-22-2013, 03:15 PM   #13
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Excellent stuff, keep it going!!
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Old 11-22-2013, 03:46 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ronlord View Post
1997 CAT 3116 in our Mainship 350 - ZERO failures in almost 2,000 engine hours. Change filters, impellers, belts, oil, antifreeze on a regular basis whether needed or not. Knock on wood!
Now you done did it!!
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:04 PM   #15
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I had a lift pump break an internal part and it was on and off with pumping. It finally quit running while underway and I replaced it after troubleshooting the pump. I always carry spare pumps and repair kits too. It was the starboard engine and I had to lay on top of the engine reaching over to get to the pump. Try that underway with a hot engine. I used a small carpet rug as my insulator. It was in July too so it was a sweat and cuss event.

Had the coupler for the raw water pump come lose and I over heated. Made it back to port. Found the set screw failed. Replaced it and the next time out the same thing happened. This time back in port I managed to drill a small hole in the shaft and not ruin the threads. The new set screw is holding well.
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:42 PM   #16
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Lift pump on my Perkins T6.354.4 y-day. Replaced with a spare and continued on my way.

Broke injector tip on old Volvo-loads of smoke, lots of heat. I was in my late teens and it was on one of our commercial trawlers. I dont remember all the damage (piston/liner,injector) but I do remember we replaced the engine with a DD453 instead of dealing with anymore of Volvo's expensive parts BS..

Many of the "failures" that diesels produce while underway can be dealt with-provided you have a proper stash of spares and tools. My engine came with a VERY expensive optional cruiser's spares kit. It is the size of a small duffle but has many things many would NEVER consider spending the money on for a self assembled spares kit. raw water pump rebuild kit, circulating pump, 1 fuel injector, lift pump, thermostats, gaskets for everything short of pulling the head! I'd love to add a starter and alternator, and will if I ever come across decent ones used at a great price. I also keep several gallons of engine oil, trans oil, distilled water, steering oil, and water/AF. I keep a small set of CHEAP tools aboard and can wrench on most thiings I have a snowball's chance of fixing away from the dock anyway. Remember having all the tools in the world will do nothing without part to fix the problem and vice versa.

I don't consider running hot due to an impeller or debris a "failure"-that's boating.
TIME well wasted
34' Mainship III
Cape Coral, FL
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Old 11-22-2013, 06:40 PM   #17
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On the 200hp Volvo TAMD 41 on my previous boat, Camano 31, the composite cap of the engine mounted raw water trainer cracked. It had a habit of dripping unless it was on very tight and got overtightened once too often. It happened about 3 miles from my slip, I was able to jury rig with some tape and drove home with the engine compartment open and me driving while standing on the engine with one foot on the top of the cracked cap which kept it from leaking too badly. I still got about 10 gal. of water in the bilge. I ordered a new cap and all was well.
Steve W.
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Old 11-22-2013, 06:44 PM   #18
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City: Saltspring Island
Country: BC, canada
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1 Blew a hose off of a heat exchanger, so all of the salt cooling water went into the bilge, and none into the exhaust. I was up on the flybridge, and heard the change in tone of the port exhaust, so went to investigate, but not before the plastic water lift muffler had melted. Had to do the rest of that trip on one.

2 Fire in the engine room, when a hydraulic hose from the transmission to the cooler let go and spewed transmission fluid over the tranny. Running without fluid, it soon became cherry red and when, for no particular reason, I lifted the hatch, I had an instant conflagration. Quick work with the extinguisher saved the boat. Had to do the rest of that trip on one engine.

3 Failed injector sleeve, causing exhaust to exit past the injector. eventually got noisy enough to have me investigate. Again, the rest of the trip on one.

4 Failed starter (not really an underway event, as I hadn't left the dock) again, did the trip on one.

5 Leak from the oil cooler, alarms ringing as the oil pressure dropped. Filled it up again and did three more weeks of a holiday trip on one engine, uning the second only for manouvering, catching the leaking oil and pouring it back in the top. Fuel savings by doing 6 knots instead of 8, for 3 weeks, = cost to repair.

All in 21 summer seasons. Never missed a trip due to mechanical breakdown.

And you said this wasn't about singles v twins
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Old 11-22-2013, 07:31 PM   #19
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Oh yeah, had a solenoid shut off fail on the Cat 3208. Took it off, and used my finger to shut the engine down. That's always a good thing when taking folks to dinner.
Don on Moonstruck
Sabre 42 Hardtop Express & Blackfin 25 CC
When cruising life is simpler, but on a grander scale (author unknown)
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Old 11-23-2013, 12:42 PM   #20
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City: Holladay, UT
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Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 37-065
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In 5,553 hours so far:

The supercharger belt's tensioner disintegrated, wiping out that belt and the others as well. Fortunately I had spare belts. Supercharger belt was not required to make it back to Campbell River, where a new tensioner and service could be obtained. Unfortunately a piece of belt had lodged in the front main crank seal, which then had to be replaced. Tensioners and adjustment mechanisms were later replaced by a re-engineered improved setup, which has worked perfectly for the last 13 years.

Stern drive blew up, about a year out of warranty. Came back in 12 miles on the kicker, hauled the boat out of Lake Powell onto the trailer, and took her home. Volvo had the drive inspected by a stern drive wizard (a boat drag racer), who determined that some shafts and gears had been out-of-spec. Volvo replaced the drive leg on their nickel.

One of the two oil hoses between block and oil filter popped off its connection, more than a year out of warranty. Thank goodness we were at idle speed at the time. Left the boat anchored in Blunden Harbour and went to Port Hardy with our cruising buddies. Volvo said thay had had some unexpected failures on these hoses, and sent new ones out to Port Hardy no charge. What a mess to clean up the engine and bilge!

The v-clamp holding turbo to exhaust elbow fell apart after eleven years and too many drips of salt water on it, allowing exhaust into the engine compartment. Volvo's electronic controls wisely put the engine into limp mode, so no damage was done. Went about three miles back to Ketchikan and got another v-clamp.

The replacement v-clamp failed a year later, in part because mating surfaces between turbo and exhaust elbow were too corroded and eaten away. Guess I should have known earlier that the exhaust elbow should have been replaced. We were up in Glacier Bay at the time, but made it back to Bartlett Cove on the kicker. A new v-clamp was flown in from Juneau that very afternoon, and we were able to poke back in to Juneau over the next three days. Flew replacement turbo, exhaust elbow, and hose in to Auke Bay, and replaced everything myself.

This past summer a water seal on the raw water pump started leaking. Since the original was already 15 years old, I flew a fresh raw water pump in to Petersburg, and swapped pumps.

Richard Cook
Dream Catcher (Nordic Tug 37-065)
"Cruising in a Big Way"
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