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Old 02-28-2021, 09:17 PM   #1
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Engine Surveys

Lots of talk on Engine Surveys.....


So, lets discuss this a bit,


First, how much of an engine survey do we need?


I would bet that, for the most part we would need: (simple stuff)

Overall inspection, fittings, oil leaks, mounts, etc.

How easy does it start
Color of smoke coming out after start
Run smooth and run up to full RPM, under load
Oil analysis check (Mainly for water, fuel...)
Temperature check
Alternator output



Now, if it's a more current engine low time (less than a few thousand hours) do we need to get into things like:


Crankcase differential pressure check
Boost Pressure on turbo
Boroscope of cylinder walls
Compression check


Comments?
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Old 03-01-2021, 07:49 PM   #2
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Smoke disappears in one or two minutes MAX? That may eliminate a lot of Perkins and Lehmans
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Old 03-01-2021, 07:59 PM   #3
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I agree so I should have mentioned that. THere are some engines that will smoke untill they get a load on. Cold combustion chambers will not burn fuel well creating a lot of smoke.

I will Mod. my comments.

My edit attempts dumped half my comments so I will redo and post later.
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Old 03-01-2021, 08:40 PM   #4
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My redo. I did sort of goof and then lost about half.

Generally:
--yes, oil tests of engine & gear. Not definitive unless something is really wonky. If the owner has a series of oil tests that would be a bonus.

--owner should have records of mtce done. Maybe not all receipts except for major work. Hopefully also should have the manual[s]

--general appearance good. Not spotless but not totally rust covered either.

-- engine cold startup. Off for one or two days. The engine should start quickly not quite roaring to life and settle to a smooth idle quickly. Some engines will smoke when cold, maybe a lot., until they get a load on them. Means be ready to cast off quickly after the initial start, all unneeded gear already stowed, no long warmups, just enough to get past the initial startup instability . Get moving and get a load on the engine. As the engine warms up the smoke should disappear. These older engines , designed 40-50-60 years ago didn’t have to worry about the pollution regs we have now but they can be good engines still.
The reason is the cold combustion chambers and pistons do not burn the fuel cleanly until they get heated. . Mechanics opinion here can tell a lot by how the engine starts.

--check the revs with a digital phototach to see how accurate the tachs are or are not.

--Blowby check at dock and when out for the run. Opinion. There will be some even on new engines but the question is how much. Mechanic opinion.

--WOT test for rpm indication for whether propped correctly, over temperature, vibration, turbo boost if fitted.

--General electrical that the alternator works.

--Belts and any noise that is out of place

--Gearbox operation

--Raw water pump is not leaking gobs.

--General hose condition.

--THere are other things that individual mechanics will look at based on their knowledge of that engine/gearbox.

Borescope, compression testing and such inspections are usually not done. On many engines this is highly invasive and will result in the need to reset valves, fuel control racks and possibly monkeying injector seals which mean pull the head. You can ask but I think you will be refused.

A good mechanic can tell a lot by the startup characteristics
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Old 03-01-2021, 11:56 PM   #5
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I would prefer the engine(s) survey be accomplished by a subject matter expert that specializes in the particular engine being surveyed. I learned this with our last Volvo Penta, when we found “THE guy” after using several less-capable parts changers. Our guy looked at several engines and drives like ours per week, attended training annually, and knew shortcuts to save us time and $$.

When we bought our current boat, I contacted a large reputable Seattle marine diesel business that dealt in the three brands we have aboard. I was under self-imposed pressure to get the process done, and I didn’t put in the effort on the front end to find the right people. The technician quickly made it clear he was available for a long sea trial, and he did not want me in the engine room with him. He didn’t really provide any value - other than I was able to say we had an engine survey done. For example, he did not fill out the oil analysis forms correctly so the lab did not have the baseline data. The analysis were not useful. Basic inattention to detail. One boat buck, gone.

Fortunately, the boat was lightly used and the engines common and reliable. My surveyor provided far more value in the engine room than the “technician”, finding things the technician missed. He patiently explained his observations and fixed some things along the way.

So if I could do it again, I would have taken the time to find the right technician. My risk was low because of the condition and age of the boat, but the result was predictable.
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Old 03-02-2021, 08:40 AM   #6
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A lot of what needs to be done you can and should do yourself first in the slip. Especially the visual stuff.
If it passes your inspection then it's time to get an "expert".
That's MY opinion.
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Old 03-02-2021, 09:51 AM   #7
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Minimum for me on a diesel would be a professional tech, familiar with the specific engine performing survey. Would need to include visual inspection, fluid samples, examination of computer (if electronically controlled) and sea trial to ensure it was meeting operating specs for temps, pressures, and RPM. If that all came back clean and I had good maintenance records, I'd be comfortable.
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Old 03-11-2021, 05:43 PM   #8
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At survey (pre-purchase)visual insp; oil analysis (E & T); Run test all metrics incl wot and back down test, etc.
An engine inspection and evaluation requires instruments is whole different testing protocol.
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:43 PM   #9
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At survey (pre-purchase)visual insp; oil analysis (E & T); Run test all metrics incl wot and back down test, etc.
An engine inspection and evaluation requires instruments is whole different testing protocol.
What exactly would that protocol be? My insurer required me to get one, but couldn't provide any direction to the "Inspector".
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Old 03-11-2021, 09:25 PM   #10
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What exactly would that protocol be? My insurer required me to get one, but couldn't provide any direction to the "Inspector".
Can't answer the protocol part, but what reason did the insurer want the engine inspection? Are they insuring the engines?
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Old 03-11-2021, 10:15 PM   #11
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Can't answer the protocol part, but what reason did the insurer want the engine inspection? Are they insuring the engines?
You bet they are.
I bet more insurance payouts are for engine "consequential damage" than any non-fire cause. Maybe an insurance guy will chime in and give the numbers.

Check your policy under "Hull and Mechanical"
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Old 03-11-2021, 10:32 PM   #12
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You bet they are.
I bet more insurance payouts are for engine "consequential damage" than any non-fire cause. Maybe an insurance guy will chime in and give the numbers.

Check your policy under "Hull and Mechanical"
OK, did some reading and what I find is that if the engines cause an incident otherwise not covered then it is covered. No mention of the engines being covered just the resulting damages.
Examples given is hoses cracking and letting in sea water sinking the boat. Usually a sinking due to a wear and tear item is not covered.
Is this your understanding?
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Old 03-11-2021, 10:44 PM   #13
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OK, did some reading and what I find is that if the engines cause an incident otherwise not covered then it is covered. No mention of the engines being covered just the resulting damages.
Examples given is hoses cracking and letting in sea water sinking the boat. Usually a sinking due to a wear and tear item is not covered.
Is this your understanding?
Nope, depending of course on the wording of (and resulting premium cost) your policy.
In your example, if the boat is not a total loss, would see you covered for all except the cost of the failed hose. The sinking is "consequential damage". The hose failure is a maintenance item.

Dealing with coverage for "mechanicals", if you have some maintenance item fail, that causes an engine failure, the engine is covered as "consequential damage" to the maintenance item that isn't covered.
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Old 03-11-2021, 10:52 PM   #14
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Thanks Keith. will check into it more
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Old 03-12-2021, 08:49 AM   #15
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There are also yacht policies that cover mechanical failure of engines, generator, etc... Can imagine the insurance company would want an engine survey prior to coverage.
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Old 03-12-2021, 11:01 AM   #16
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Good info! Thanks
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Old 03-15-2021, 03:34 PM   #17
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Engine Surveys

I am about to get a pre-purchase survey and the surveyor said do an oil analysis. I said, the old owner did new oil change last fall just before winter layup. He said, there is enough junk left in the pan to warrant a good sample. I'm going.....hmmm is he right?
What think the TF minds?
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Old 03-15-2021, 05:07 PM   #18
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I see a lot of talk on here about oil sampling and let me be quick to say that, in general, I think it's a good idea - depending. My experience with it is in general aviation aircraft engines and I was religious about it. BUT - my feeling was, and my highly experienced A&P/IA (mechanic) agreed, that unless the oil had some hours on it and the sample was taken soon after engine operation, there wasn't a lot useful to be gleaned. The lab we used agreed and a couple of times when I sent samples with low hours, their feedback commented on the limited trend analysis generated.

Boat-wise, I probably know just enough about diesel engines to be dangerous (15 years maintaining my sailboat's Universal M18), and I'm still learning Serena's Westerbeke W100 (3 years now). The trawler had a recent clean hull survey (no actual engine survey) when I bought her, and I rolled the dice on foregoing one. When I sea-trialed with the broker he said let me take her out of the harbor and then she's yours to drive. I guess I surprised him by saying, "No, you drive awhile. I want to spend the first 30 mins in the engine room looking and listening with my inspection light, stethoscope, and IR thermometer." Which I did. I didn't see or hear anything that scared me, so I bought the boat; so far, so good. The engine had 3500 hours at the time.

So, IMO, it comes down to your comfort level with your chosen surveyor/mechanic and what you can glean about the boat maintenance history. As far as oil sampling, I'm generally 'fer' it, but I make sure the samples are taken when they'll mean something.
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Old 03-15-2021, 06:18 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrie View Post
I am about to get a pre-purchase survey and the surveyor said do an oil analysis. I said, the old owner did new oil change last fall just before winter layup. He said, there is enough junk left in the pan to warrant a good sample. I'm going.....hmmm is he right?
What think the TF minds?
Thanks
Tried to buy a trawler through a broker who was rep'ing a purported "professional diesel mechanic" owner. Mechanical raised some questions, but the fluids testing had a shocking result. The $60 X 3 oil, trans, and coolant tests saved me a crapload of cash.
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Old 03-15-2021, 07:10 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by TollerTrawler View Post
Tried to buy a trawler ... Mechanical raised some questions, but the fluids testing had a shocking result. The $60 X 3 oil, trans, and coolant tests saved me a crapload of cash.
Can you elaborate a bit? What did you end up finding?
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