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Old 06-27-2022, 09:49 AM   #1
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heater exchanger cleaning

I have twin yanmar 4lha diesels. My mechanic has quoted me a price to remove,acid clean / boil out and replace the two oil coolers, two trans coolers and 2 raw water heat exchangers . Is $5000 a fair price. ?
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Old 06-27-2022, 10:13 AM   #2
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Probably 70-80% of the cost (and time) or that job is to disassemble and reassemble the engines as necessary to access the coolers. That makes comparisons difficult unless someone else has the same boat and engines.

I paid more than that to service all the coolers on a previous boat. It was a small sportfisher with twins and everything was tough to access. If access was easy, your $5 quote is high.

Hopefully someone here will have done this job on a Mainship with Yanmars and can offer a specific comparison.

Just keep in mind it will be tough to compare prices from jobs with anything other than your boat and engines. Your best route is to get comparison pricing from more than one qualified mechanic. Sometimes that’s difficult depending on where you are located.
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Old 06-27-2022, 10:39 AM   #3
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I have twin yanmar 4lha diesels. My mechanic has quoted me a price to remove,acid clean / boil out and replace the two oil coolers, two trans coolers and 2 raw water heat exchangers . Is $5000 a fair price. ?
Are they DTE's? If so you also have after coolers to deal with. It is a labor intensive job and that price is probably reasonable. I have done my own and it takes time.

Another option is using Barnacle Buster. It does a great job with no disassembly. Having done it both ways and assuming no other problems are present I would go the Barnacle Buster route.
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Old 06-27-2022, 10:46 AM   #4
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I do the basic PM’s on our Cummins QSB, but this is one of those projects that I defer to a good Tech. Others will likely chime in and say its easy and to do it yourself which is fine if you have the time and skills. It’s fairly labor intensive and they are driving back and forth to the radiator shop, so that price appears reasonable but others who have your engine can give you a better feel.

Also, you didn't mention an after cooler so I assume you dont have a Turbo. Pressure testing this at the shop during the acid clean is important.

An acid clean (BB) is the second choice as noted. A lot of discussion and dock talk on the forums about whether this is too harsh , but a lot of people do it and appear to have good results. For a newer gen engine, its not something I would personally do.
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Old 06-28-2022, 05:30 AM   #5
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On the Cummins QSB, you remove all 3 coolers?
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Old 06-28-2022, 08:59 AM   #6
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You have a 2006 boat. Can we assume the engines and coolers are the same age? If so would not use barnacle buster. With the system disassembled you can look inside the tubes and inside all fittings and junctures. Be on the boat during disassemble. Look yourself. If the tube walls are in bad shape or there’s corrosion around the inside of fittings using barnacle buster you run the risk of failure. Can we also assume the reason you are thinking about this job is your temperatures are rising? Again looking and seeing if something is blocking some tubes and can be mechanically cleared would seem wise before using any acid. Had a cooler cleaned with ultra sound no acid. First just mechanically as prior owner had a impeller fail. At the same time replaced stock mixing elbow with custom. The mixing elbow looked just fine from the outside but was near failure when you looked inside. Your boat is old enough I would want disassembly. Depending upon what you see replacement of it or other parts maybe required. I did some of the prep work but agree hiring a skilled knowledgeable tech is worthwhile. This was on a small yanmar inside a sailboat but assume the same applies with trawlers.
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Old 06-28-2022, 09:33 AM   #7
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On the Cummins QSB, you remove all 3 coolers?
The Sbar Marine website provides good information on cleaning HXers on Cummins engines, applicable to most marine engines most likely. Removal is standard, for many of the reasons Hippo mentions.
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Old 06-28-2022, 10:38 AM   #8
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OP, if you have not dealt with this before, here is a pic of a QSB Trans Cooler after 2 years. This is by far the smallest of the 3 coolers on the engine and most susceptible to blockage. They are designed to still operate with some blockage, but after time the tubes will become occluded. A lot of people dont pull them and send them to the shop due to the cost. Everyone needs to make their own decisions, but I put this in the pay me now, or later category.

As Sun notes, Sbmar is the go to site for Cummins and where I learned about the topic in detail when we switched to a diesel boat 8 years ago. Tonyís shop services a lot of work boats in the 30 to 100 ft class for people who make a living on the water.
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Old 06-28-2022, 01:22 PM   #9
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Regular fresh water flushing extends the service interval of the salty side of the cooling system.
Mine gets flushed every time the motor runs, the flush out hose fitting is mounted on deck 5’ from the dock water spigot, so it’s a no brainer. Tie up the boat, hook up the flush hose, sit down 5 minutes to fill in the logbook, and it’s done.
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Old 06-30-2022, 02:29 PM   #10
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Personally, I don't understand the "use Barnacle Buster" is "good enough" crowd??
There is much more to properly servicing the cooling system than just ensuring the tubes are relatively clear. It is critically important that we keep the various fluids in the correct locations and only in the correct locations. EG. we don't want seawater in the transmission oil, or seawater mixed in with the engine coolant, or worse yet (for those with aftercoolers) a seawater spray going straight into the engine air intake!!!
The only way I know of to prevent (or greatly reduce the probability of) these failures, is to periodically replace the various seals, O rings, etc. and to PRESSURE TEST the various components. Occasionally, the component itself will require repair or replacement. None of this is possible without taking the units off of the engine, and doing a complete off engine service.
As far as I know, BB is best used as a temporary measure to extend the existing season by clearing partially blocked passages until a proper off engine service can be done (say in the Fall).
I agree totally with kapnd, regular freshwater flushing can extend the time between the off engine services, but it does not eliminate the various problems.
However, as with all things boating, it is your boat, your engine, your money, and you being the person potentially stranded (with a vacation cut short) should a failure or severe overheat occur.
I also agree with the others about comparing accurate costs (same engines etc.) but $5000 for 2 engines does not seem way out of line to me. This cost can be cut down significantly by DIY which is usually not that difficult. Maybe hire a pro and have him instruct you as he goes along?
Good luck.
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Old 06-30-2022, 07:03 PM   #11
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FH75, most people would concur that removing, cleaning, and pressure testing is the preferred method. But not everyone wants to absorb that cost. For an older boat, used for a periodic bay cruise then an acid flush may be best for them. That is for them to decide. I have one engine and rely it on it heavily. It’s get treated like one of my kids when they were still in diapers…everything it needs and that includes cooler servicing per the engine manufacturers recommendations.
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Old 07-01-2022, 09:55 AM   #12
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Thanks for all the info. I think I will bite the bullet and pay the $$. I have become aware that marine diesels have a much longer life expect. but regular/some times expensive maintaince is part of the deal!!
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Old 07-01-2022, 12:15 PM   #13
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Just my two cents before you bite the bullet. I consider heat exchangers throwaway items if they’re over 10 years old. You can rebuild one as a spare for emergency but I would just buy all new. The absolute best place I know to buy heat exchangers is Lenco on Long Island, New York.
https://lencoheatexchangers.com/
They are the OEM for Mali engine rebuilders. They know your heat exchanger. The building to your specifications. If you want to add a drain port they will add one.
They’re fast turn around and their prices are extremely reasonable.
Worth a telephone call.
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Old 07-01-2022, 03:43 PM   #14
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Agree price about right- for removal, cleaning, testing, reinstall, etc. X 2.
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Old 07-01-2022, 03:51 PM   #15
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Are they DTE's? If so you also have after coolers to deal with. It is a labor intensive job and that price is probably reasonable. I have done my own and it takes time.

Another option is using Barnacle Buster. It does a great job with no disassembly. Having done it both ways and assuming no other problems are present I would go the Barnacle Buster route.
Agree, Barnacle Buster is a good option, and less invasive, however, you should still remove end caps to inspect and clean as BB won't dissolve things like impeller parts, sea grass etc.

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Old 07-01-2022, 04:46 PM   #16
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One other consideration when using Barnacle Buster is that it will only clean tubes that are open passages. If you have plugged tubes, Barnacle Buster can't flow through them and unplug them.

It works really well on raw water cooled air conditioning condensers.

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Old 07-01-2022, 07:21 PM   #17
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Agree, Barnacle Buster is a good option, and less invasive, however, you should still remove end caps to inspect and clean as BB won't dissolve things like impeller parts, sea grass etc.

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Sitka? So am I. Eliason dock 4 space 9. Salish Nomad.
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Old 07-01-2022, 07:30 PM   #18
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+ for Barnacle Buster

I have the 4lh-ste series in a Mainship Sedan Bridge V-drive, and yes, most of the cost for the job you describe is due to the lack of accessibility.
Mine are 25 years old, ~4000 hours, and run like a top. I periodically flush with BB, every 3-4 years, then have a full-blown service done when flushing no longer solves a warm running situation. These are great engines as long as propped properly and not allowed to overheat.
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Old 07-03-2022, 11:00 AM   #19
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Sitka? So am I. Eliason dock 4 space 9. Salish Nomad.
Ah too bad, we are pulling out in a few minutes.
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