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Old 07-21-2020, 06:11 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by SoWhat View Post
At some point PO could not lift the hatches. Maintenance took a dive. They are heavy. I'm looking into hinges and struts, but even then, they are not something I would want to fool with offshore. I rely on oil pressure, water temp, and EGT. Thermistors and digital readouts are extremely easy to add so I anticipate adding more to monitor block temps. I want early warning if a hose pops.

Hi SoWhat. Wouldn't you worry that by the time the oil pressure shows "too low" (as a result of lack of oil), it's already too late...and that damage has already been done? Along the same lines, I recently installed an exhaust temperature alarm...because by the time the cooling water temp gauges show overheating, the exhaust system may already be in crisis.
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Old 07-21-2020, 06:13 AM   #42
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That's what I did on my boat to make ER access faster. The carpet guy called it "upholstering the hatches". All my floor hatches (5)
are done in this manner.

Thanks for the idea, Codger2. Looks like a nice, clean solution, in the photo. I will be up for new carpeting before long and will give "upholstering the hatches" strong consideration!
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Old 07-24-2020, 01:33 PM   #43
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Using camera to check fluid levels

I like the idea of the sight gage. I have multiple PTZ 1080p wifi cameras in my engine room arranged so I can pan around, look and listen while on boat and remote. On Amazon around $40 they are almost throw away cheep but have lasted 2 years so far. I have found a pinhole diesel, clogged filters, and diesel filter vacuum by strategic positioning and panning cameras. Adding the sight tube to oil and trans. answers that one too.
I also find them useful to monitor the bilges.
IR capability shows what's up even in the dark and shows excessive heating.
Hard to see but I highlighted on of the cameras in yellow.
App can pan and zoom in on gages of interest. Not 2nd pict. diesel filter gage and tank sight tube. Easily zooms in to view.
Attached Thumbnails
Engine room.JPG   Engine room 2.JPG  
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Old 07-24-2020, 01:34 PM   #44
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oil level monitor.

If you are worried about engine oil level underway, the easiest way to keep your eye on what is happening is to attach a thermocouple to the side of the sump with glue and monitor the oil temperature as part of your hourly log. Put an alarm in the system and you can get the alarm to tell you when the oil temperature is getting too high. You can set the temerature yourself by noting what is 'normal' and adding say 10 degrees to the alarm level. Temperature gauges and alarms are so much easier to fit. I do have one on my exhaust mixer and one attached to the side of my Jabsco with alarms on both. The Jabsco will warm up if water fails and if you set it to 50C it will give you a good warning that you only have a few minutes before the Jabsco will fail. The temperature and alarm at the exhaust mixer will be following close behind!
I would expect the oil temp to go up gradually and only experinece will tell you what to set its temperature alarm at. These temperature alarms are quite cheap and easy to fit.
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Old 07-24-2020, 01:49 PM   #45
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While all these remote reading ideas are great, as a pilot, mechanic (A&P/IA) and avid boater, I am a strong believer in a physical check of the engine room. Both a "preflight" check of fluid levels, belts, leaks, loose equipment/accessories and general condition as well as periodic checks of the engine room while underway. I am afraid that the only suggestion that I can make is to modify your ER access to make this easier.
I have also just re-read Beebe's book "Voyaging Under Power" where he spends a lot of time discussing engine rooms and ER checks. Access us important
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Old 07-24-2020, 02:20 PM   #46
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I would think this switch, which I use as a bilge pump switch. Could be connected to a tube which would replace your dipstick and show a idiot light when oil was low. Then you could open the hatch and replace the tube with the dipstick b/4 deciding to add oil or mark the tube to match the dipstick and eliminate the original dipstick. I don't think it would be too accurate while running as it would be reading crankcase pressure also but then neither would a level sensor.
https://www.ebay.com/b/Maytag-Washer...697/bn_3214368


These switches are very reliable and have much to recommend them as bilge pump switches Par and Groco both make a bilge pump switch based on this.
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Old 07-24-2020, 04:41 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottC View Post
The recent thread on ST44 Daily Engine Checks prompted me to create this thread.


The only way to check the oil level in my 165hp turbo diesel engine is via the dipstick. In order to do this, I must take up the carpet and padding in the main salon and raise a very large and heavy engine hatch (that has the dining table permanently bolted to it). A real PITA.


I thought maybe I could find some type of electro-sensor device I could insert in place of the dipstick, such that I could have an oil-level gauge at the helm. So far, I haven't been able to come up with one. Has anyone ever seen anything like this? Or, does anyone have any alternative solution to suggest?


I have ruled out cutting an access hole in the hatch because the construction of the hatch would not allow me to position such a hole in the necessary location.



Thank you, in advance, for your thoughts on this!
Hi, I do not recommend the short-cut. One of the important details of being a seaman is to--just piddle around the bilges—you never know what you’ll find. Let me copy here an article I wrote for Professional Boatbuilder:
THE GENIE IN THE CIGAR BOX
September 15, 2008

Back in Havana in 1945 we were about to finish the construction of our new sailboat, ALFIN. An old seaman by the name of Cucho had found our first boat, the Black Eagle, for us a couple of years before, and let us moor her at his dock, where he watched out for her. He had become a good friend of our family. One Sunday afternoon, while I (age 14) was visiting Cucho’s home, he told me this story about his own youth and his father.
“My father was, as I am, a commercial fisherman. He fished on a sailboat with a small auxiliary engine, the type of boat they call a goleta. We were living in Regla, a town directly across the entrance channel of the port of Havana.
“Our family lived in a small house not far up the hill from the port, from which you could see many landmarks: the National Observatory; La Cabaña, the Spanish fort defending the east side of the harbor’s entrance; and next to it, the Morro Castle, which was right at the entrance to the harbor.
Cucho grew up helping his father in his spare time. When the old man decided to give up the hard life of fishing and retire to a home he owned inland, Cucho left school at the age of 17 to captain his father’s 45-ft Goleta. His family, which included several brothers and sisters, depended on the income from his fishing.
Six months into this operation, Cucho’s father came to see the family on one of his periodic but not-too-frequent visits. Sitting with Cucho on the porch that evening, he asked his boy about the fishing business and the Goleta.
“It’s not going well, Father. I just don’t seem to be able to keep up with things breaking. I’m always having problems with maintenance, and I’m about to give up and sell the boat.”
Cucho clearly remembered that his father jumped up, put his hands on his head, and said to him, “Ay, Cuchito, I am so sorry that I completely forgot to give you my genie.”
“A genie? Father, I’m serious. The boat seems to break down on every trip. That prevents me from fishing, and you want me to get a genie?”
His dad went to a closet in the back of the house and brought Cucho a small cigar box closed up tight, with paper and fibers from a tow-sack glued over it to keep it shut.
“Son,” he said, “inside this box there is a genie--a maintenance genie. My father had him for years, and now you will inherit him from me. Never--remember never, ever--open the box and allow the genie to fly off. Keep him aboard the boat, and just get in the habit of moving him every Sunday. Take the box from where you had it last week, and put it somewhere else on the boat, as far from the previous place as possible. You should know that the genie is a solitary fellow and favors places in the boat that a person can hardly get to. You know: those really out-of-the-way places in the bilge and in the forepeak and under the engine. Promise me that you’ll do this every week, and I can assure you that the genie will take care of the maintenance problems.”
Six months later, on his father’s next visit, Cucho could not wait to talk to him about the fishing, the goleta, and the genie. “Father,” said Cucho, “that genie is fantastic! The boat has had absolutely no problems since you gave him to me. Just last Sunday, while I was moving his box, I discovered a sea-cock that was about to fail and could have sunk the goleta. I’m now moving him twice a week, and you won’t believe the things I’m finding that need repairing. I wouldn’t trade him for a million pesos!”
EL FIN (THE END)
Kiko Villalon, Pine Island, Florida
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Old 07-24-2020, 07:42 PM   #48
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I watch the pressure.
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Old 07-25-2020, 09:15 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by hpogue123 View Post
I like the idea of the sight gage. I have multiple PTZ 1080p wifi cameras in my engine room arranged so I can pan around, look and listen while on boat and remote. On Amazon around $40 they are almost throw away cheep but have lasted 2 years so far. I have found a pinhole diesel, clogged filters, and diesel filter vacuum by strategic positioning and panning cameras. Adding the sight tube to oil and trans. answers that one too.
I also find them useful to monitor the bilges.
IR capability shows what's up even in the dark and shows excessive heating.
Hard to see but I highlighted on of the cameras in yellow.
App can pan and zoom in on gages of interest. Not 2nd pict. diesel filter gage and tank sight tube. Easily zooms in to view.



Thanks for the tip hpogue! The pictures demonstrate impressive quality for an IR camera at near-throw-away pricing!
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Old 07-25-2020, 09:20 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikecambrai View Post
If you are worried about engine oil level underway, the easiest way to keep your eye on what is happening is to attach a thermocouple to the side of the sump with glue and monitor the oil temperature as part of your hourly log. Put an alarm in the system and you can get the alarm to tell you when the oil temperature is getting too high. You can set the temerature yourself by noting what is 'normal' and adding say 10 degrees to the alarm level. Temperature gauges and alarms are so much easier to fit. I do have one on my exhaust mixer and one attached to the side of my Jabsco with alarms on both. The Jabsco will warm up if water fails and if you set it to 50C it will give you a good warning that you only have a few minutes before the Jabsco will fail. The temperature and alarm at the exhaust mixer will be following close behind!
I would expect the oil temp to go up gradually and only experinece will tell you what to set its temperature alarm at. These temperature alarms are quite cheap and easy to fit.

Thank you for the idea, mikecambrai. I am happy to have all input on this topic. With this strategy, I already have two thoughts, however:
1) I'm not sure I would trust any kind of glue to reliably hold something to the side of the crankcase cover.

2) If I'm getting a low-oil "warning" as a result of temperature rise in the oil, then I think it might be already too late. Too much damage already done!
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Old 07-25-2020, 09:28 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exctyengr View Post
While all these remote reading ideas are great, as a pilot, mechanic (A&P/IA) and avid boater, I am a strong believer in a physical check of the engine room. Both a "preflight" check of fluid levels, belts, leaks, loose equipment/accessories and general condition as well as periodic checks of the engine room while underway. I am afraid that the only suggestion that I can make is to modify your ER access to make this easier.
I have also just re-read Beebe's book "Voyaging Under Power" where he spends a lot of time discussing engine rooms and ER checks. Access us important

I don't disagree. Some have suggested inspection ports on this thread and that might help me with oil and coolant checks. For the rest of the checks, the entire engine hatch has to come up. My current hatch has pistons, but even with them, the hatch is almost too heavy for me to lift. I struggle more and more with this as I get older. The table bolted to the hatch cover is a really heavy, solid table that has a lift top with a full bar inside. So this adds to the overall challenge of lifting the hatch. Perhaps I could lighten the load by first consuming the gin, vodka & rum Somebody mentioned "motorized" for the hatch. This is also something I hadn't considered. A motorized hatch together with a complete re-work of the carpeting layout might wind up being a good answer for me.


P.S. I have seen so many recommendations of "Voyaging Under Power" that I now have it on order with Amazon.
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Old 07-25-2020, 10:56 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottC View Post
Hi SoWhat. Wouldn't you worry that by the time the oil pressure shows "too low" (as a result of lack of oil), it's already too late...and that damage has already been done? Along the same lines, I recently installed an exhaust temperature alarm...because by the time the cooling water temp gauges show overheating, the exhaust system may already be in crisis.
My experience has been different. On a 2-day voyage my old Perkins developed a
slow oil leak. I noticed that the oil pressure was gradually decreasing hour after hour.
An engine check revealed that the level had dropped by a quart or two. And the leak.
No harm was done and it showed why it is so important to monitor oil pressure.
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