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  • How well do you know your Diesel engine?
  • Do you know what the different arrows are pointing at on the diesel engines??
  • Have you ever air-locked your engine? Are you nervous about changing the fuel filter on your engine for the first time?
  • Can you change your own oil and filters?
  • Do you want to know how to test your alternator? Or, how to test your start battery? Do you know how to start the engine with an emergency start switch?
  • Have you inspected your cooling system? How about the transmission cooler?

Learn more at the Hands-On Diesel Troubleshooting Seminar on November 5th


We will be offering this course again in March 2017

Check back for registration information

The goal of this course is to help you become proficient with the care and maintenance of your diesel engine through a combination of classroom lectures and sessions with real engines you can walk around, observe and start. By the end of this course, you will be comfortable with a Diesel engine. You will even know how to bleed the fuel system for an engine.

Instructor: Mike Beemer

Presented by the Waggoner Cruising Guide and Fine Edge Nautical Seminars

Do You Know Your Diesel Engine?

Having your Diesel engine fail while underway can ruin your day. Worse, it could put you and your crew in a dangerous position. In general, marine diesel engines are incredibly reliable. They seem just to need, air, fuel, and water for cooling. You could add electrical power for starting, and you have covered the range of needs for a diesel engine. Most engine problems are due to fuel issues or keeping the engine cool.

Quick Tips:

  1. Install a vacuum gauge in your fuel system after the primary fuel filter to tell you if the system has a blockage or if the primary filter is dirty from bad fuel or a problem in the tank.
  2. Overheating can kill a diesel engine. Make sure your cooling system is maintained including flushing the heat exchanger every 3-4  years.
  3. There is no warning for salt water incursion in your transmission cooling system. Inspect it annually and replace it every 3-4 years.
  4. Impellers should be inspected annually and replaced every 1-2 years depending on use.
  5. Consider replacing hoses and belts every five years.

Here are two quick tips for maintaining your diesel engine. 1) Make sure the engine is getting a good supply of fuel. 2) With good maintenance keep the engine running at its proper temperature – from 185 degrees to 205 degrees. You can kill an engine far before it is worn out by a lack of cooling system maintenance. How do you know you have problems? The engine loose RPM’s and quits in a seaway or you get a blaring high temp alarm from the engine’s cooling system.

What can you do to prevent this? First, make sure you have an early warning indicator for your fuel system, and check on it. How? Every proper cruising vessel has a vacuum gauge installed in the fuel system, after the primary fuel filter system, and before the engine. If your fuel system is starting to get fouled or plugged, the engine is pulling harder than normal, and this will result in negative pressure after the primary fuel filter. Eventually, this negative pressure will get excessive and overcome the engine, resulting in loss of power or an engine failure.

The early warning system is a proper vacuum gauge that is installed after the primary filter and before the secondary fuel filter on the engine. The choice of manufacturer isn’t as important as having a “Tell-Tail” – a red needle that records the highest value while running. Make it part of the daily checklist when in the engine room! They usually are color coordinated with green being good, yellow indicating it is time for a filter change, and red for when the engine is about to quit. You can install a remote mounted gauge, but the installation is very critical because you have to have a line connected into the fuel system all the way to the helm station. This arrangement is much better for constant monitoring, but with the risk of a fuel leak,  or air leaking into the system resulting in a stalled engine. A vacuum gauge can pay for itself. It will tell you when you need to replace the fuel filter rather than the alternative of replacing the fuel filter each year.

Next, maintain your coolant system. Replace the coolant each year. Inspect the heat exchanger at least every other year. When you see that it is scaling up, send it out to a radiator repair shop for cleaning and flushing. The cost is typically reasonable. On most engines, it requires only a basic mechanical ability to remove the heat exchanger. If a shop does the work on your engine, it should require minimal time to remove and replace the heat exchanger. Inspect your water pump and replace the impeller. Many replace their impeller every year, depending on use, you might replace it every other year. Inspect all belts and hoses for wear and consider replacing hoses every five years.



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