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Old 11-28-2021, 08:05 AM   #1
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Small Exhaust Leak - What would you do?

We have a cracked manifold on one of our 1975 Perkins 6.354’s and have probably had a small exhaust leak for a long time. We have never smelled it, probably because the air intake is just over a foot away and it simply gets re-circulated. We have smelled exhaust in the cabin only when running directly down wind with the windows open and the wind faster than the boat. It’s very obvious then and we know the smell. We have never smelled exhaust any other time. I go into the engine room right after shut down to turn off some switches and have not noticed anything but the usual diesel smell.

A JB repair lasted 4 days before cracking in the same place. The only immediate fix with replacement parts for these old engines that I have been able to find is a nice upgrade but would come to about 1/4 the current market value of this boat for both engines and also replace the heat exchangers which we recently did. We can neither afford nor justify that investment at our age.

The only welder I have found who is confident he can repair the manifold is in Maine. He did a lot of beautiful work on my sailboat and has fixed many “un-repairable” manifolds and other parts for the Portland fishing fleet. He is certified to weld nuclear power plant piping while underwater so not your usual rod pusher.

The boat is in Savannah and we are back in New York dealing with non boating things for a couple months. Local knowledge doesn’t turn up anyone we would trust to remove the manifold and ship it in our absence. We can only afford to keep this boat if I do most of the work myself anyway.

So: Would it be reasonable to put a couple more CO detectors around the boat, keep an eye on this, and not give up our winter cruising plans? It will be a lot easier to deal with it in the spring when the boat is back north and we can drive the manifold to Maine. These engines run at about a quarter their rated output in cruise and the exhaust is crystal clear. It’s hard to believe they are producing much CO running that lean anyway.

What would you do (on a shoestring)?
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Old 11-28-2021, 09:02 AM   #2
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There are 2 ways to rejoin broken cast iron. The oldest and most common is brazing with an oxyacetylene flame. The second is stick welding wit a special high nickel rod from Eutecic Castolin. Here’s a link to their website product page; https://www.castolin.com/product/eut...ing-electrodes

Snoop around for brazing rods and flux- they make those also. Better yet, call their Tech Support- it’s awesome. Note: brazing is more difficult than stick welding.

I’m certain there are a dozen backyard shops around Savanna that can weld that manifold with this stick material.

The stick welding isn’t difficult nor overly technical. I’m not a highly skilled welder and have used the stick to repair a broken bell housing on an old Massey Furgeson tractor 45 yrs ago and it’s still holding!

Just make sure the gasket face of the manifold is rigidly clamped to a robust, flat surface before welding so it doesn’t warp. Weld prep bevel should be 1/4” +/- bevel.
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Old 11-28-2021, 10:41 AM   #3
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Greetings,
Mr. RL. Perhaps a picture of the site of the crack might generate more "shoestring" ideas. Can you get a clamp in the area? Is there anything you can wedge a patch onto?
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Old 11-28-2021, 10:55 AM   #4
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I cannot help with any useful info regarding the method of repair or whether replacement is in order. However, I can say this: use extreme caution when it comes to carbon monoxide. As you probably already know, it is colourless, tasteless, and does not smell. It mixes well in air (about the same density), and it is insidious. Most often, it's affects are cumulative, and people being exposed have no idea they are being exposed until it is too late. Larger exposures require medical treatment as CO binds to the blood better than oxygen, or worse (results).

I suggest being very, very careful operating with an exhaust leak. After all, What is your life worth? CO monitors are always a good idea regardless.
Good luck with your dilemma and I hope you can find a "workable" solution, but be safe.
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Old 11-28-2021, 11:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RT Firefly View Post
Greetings,
Mr. RL. Perhaps a picture of the site of the crack might generate more "shoestring" ideas. Can you get a clamp in the area? Is there anything you can wedge a patch onto?

Crack looks big but leak is just a pin hole. Looking for a welder in the Savannah area who is as experienced as the guy I know in Maine.
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Old 11-28-2021, 12:10 PM   #6
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Old 11-28-2021, 12:14 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by firehoser75 View Post
I suggest being very, very careful operating with an exhaust leak.

I dealt a lot with the CO issue while managing aircraft. Learned, for example, that standard household detectors are set at a level higher than that which can impair the ability to do complex tasks. Otherwise, they would be going off constantly in cities. We had to get a medical Rx to buy ones with a digital read out and lower alarm settings from a source in Canada. Slight impairment landing a plane is probably a bigger deal than docking a boat.


The two engines are sucking 143 CFM out of the engine room at 1400 cruise RPM. That's a cube of air over 5 feet on a side. Engine room volume is about 500 cubic feet so an air change about every 3 1/2 minutes. Since we smell the highly diluted stuff that comes with the CO when conditions are right to bring it all the way around from the transom, it's hard to believe we wouldn't smell the same stuff coming from a small leak in the engine room. Diesels make much less CO than gas engines anyway.

If we do run the boat before a fix, I'll put one of those CO detectors right in the engine room and report back.
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Old 11-28-2021, 12:16 PM   #8
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Thanks. That might work where the JB High Temp didn't; especially if reinforced with some fiberglass cloth.
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Old 11-28-2021, 12:24 PM   #9
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From the above postings, I am going to assume there is at least one CO monitor aboard. The idea of adding more reminds me of what I did last year while delivering a twin gas engine houseboat with a known proclivity to spread exhaust gases through the aft sliding glass doors. I first installed a boat CO alarm and after a test run added two more bought at a local hardware store before setting out. At what I considered a fast-ish cruising speed of around ten mph the CO detector with wind from the stbd bow the CO alarm aft near the doors went off followed by the midships one and finally by the boat CO alarm at the helm well forward in the cabin. We immediately opened all the forward doors and windows and slowed to a trot. It was 47F outside, and we were now cold! While the alarms ceased sounding one by one, I taped up all the crevices around the aft doors and cracked open the forward and amidships windows while cranking up the reverse cycle AC to WARM. Thereafter, during the two-week delivery, we would occasionally get the aft CO alarm going off at which point we always slowed the boat and threw open the windows to eventually silence the alarm. When at anchor, we ran the gasoline generator all night with the CO alarms surrounding the bed but never had an alert.
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Old 11-28-2021, 12:50 PM   #10
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From the above postings, I am going to assume there is at least one CO monitor aboard.

Two actually. Never gone off and I'm sure this leak has been going on for a while. Going to add another at the helm and one in the engine room itself.
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Old 11-28-2021, 01:08 PM   #11
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Diesels run at light to moderate load make very little CO. I'm not freaked out with the safety aspect of this, as long as you do have a functioning CO monitor or two.

Kinda looks like a Bowman manifold. Are you sure it is not aluminum?
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Old 11-28-2021, 01:39 PM   #12
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Kinda looks like a Bowman manifold. Are you sure it is not aluminum?

Never occurred to me. I believe it was made by Bowman. Aluminum would be good because probably more reliable to weld.


Does anyone know the material? I'm far away from the boat.
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Old 11-28-2021, 01:43 PM   #13
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And.
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Old 11-28-2021, 01:44 PM   #14
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The engine in question.
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Old 11-28-2021, 02:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Crack looks big but leak is just a pin hole. Looking for a welder in the Savannah area who is as experienced as the guy I know in Maine.
If it really is a pinhole you can drill it, tap it and insert a fastener.
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Old 11-28-2021, 02:19 PM   #16
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I would find a replacement manifold.

There has to be something out there. A used manifold would be fine.

From a safety standpoint, folks often overlook that diesel engines produce so little CO that it's almost impossible to find a documented case of CO poisoning from a diesel engine.

Try it sometime... Lots of cases from everything But a diesel engine.

Thats one of the arguments for diesel engines in boats.
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Old 11-28-2021, 03:42 PM   #17
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If you run with widows open then smaller risk of CO building up. I would not run with windows closed. If you take the risk, then be aware of creeping tunnel vision. If the edges of your vision start going black, you probably have 30 sec or less to get outside the cabin. If you make it, you will have the king of all headaches. If not...
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Old 11-28-2021, 08:11 PM   #18
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I once had a leak in the turbo housing of a T6.354. Mechanic(ex submariner) was very concerned, especially if we would have children onboard, pending replacement he advised a temporary fix using auto muffler putty and a wrap of auto "muffler bandage" which once wrapped on goes hard with heat. It worked pending the yard manufacturing a new cover for $1K AUD.
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Old 11-29-2021, 08:32 AM   #19
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If it really is a pinhole you can drill it, tap it and insert a fastener.
Not a bad idea.....if nothing else, might keep the hole from enlarging.

I would be a bit nervous about the large crack. Has a decent head start on becoming a bigger problem.

Good luck

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Old 11-29-2021, 08:47 AM   #20
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Maybe rig up a regular 12v bilge blower.....flex hose over to a small metal hood arrangement at manifold?
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