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Old 05-03-2009, 20:44   #1
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Check the Oil, Dummy!

I didn't have my mast up for most of last summer, so spent a fair bit of time motoring around. Checked the oil at launch and a couple of times over the first few weeks, then sort of neglected it.

Toward the end of September, we pulled into the dock after motoring around for a few hours, and I notice a reflection in the bilge. So I pull up the deck plate and find a glossy black pool just about level with the floors. Not only am I leaking around the stuffing box, I have now got oil in the bilge as well.

So I open up the engine compartment, grab a rag and pull out the dipstick. Wipe it down and insert. Pull it out. Bright shiny steel. NO OIL AT ALL!

Needless to say I dumped a few liters in the pan asap. Just sheer luck that the engine didn't run out and seize up while out there with no mast.

Never happen again.

Sabre
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Old 05-03-2009, 20:51   #2
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How did the oil escape?
I had a similar experience a few years ago.
I hadn't run the engine, but found all my oil in the bilge.
The pan (Volvo 2020) had a few pinhole rust spots.
I raised the engine using the boom, removed the pan and soldered the holes.
Then I painted it and reinstalled it.
No problems since, but I keep an eye on it!

Steve B.
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Old 05-03-2009, 21:34   #3
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I wonder if it would be a good idea for some one to come up with a low oil level alarm?
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Old 05-03-2009, 22:22   #4
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I wonder if it would be a good idea for some one to come up with a low oil level alarm?
I had a factory installed oil level gauge on my 1969 Porsche 911E.

The engine had a dry sump, and the gauge was standard equipment and worked off a float in the oil tank.

I've often wondered why boat engines don't use that system.

Steve B.
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Old 05-03-2009, 23:24   #5
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Dang!!! Did we just give away the invention of the century???
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Old 06-03-2009, 00:13   #6
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I hate to admit it but I lost one of my twin engines on my second boat (1981) because the oil pressure alarm failed. I thought for sure I heard it before starting up but found out later that is was the water temp alarm only which had shorted out giving me a since of security.

Lessons learned from the skewl of hard knocks. It was great to be young once.
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:28   #7
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With the creep of aging slowly settleing into my body, I no longer say,.. Been there, Done that,.... now it's just,..Been there, Can't do that anymore!
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Old 06-03-2009, 09:35   #8
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I bought a 1990 Albin Trawler back in 93 the boat only had 124 hours on the engine-anyway before I would make a trip(charter) to the Bahamas I would take my time and go over everything with a fine tooth comb- check hose fittings, ect-
When I checked the Hurth 360 Gear for oil it looked fine- until after 5 hours of running and insight of West End, Grand Bahamas- I blew the Gear out-
I took a look and somehow I must not have put the dip stick in firmly as it rattled out and all the oil blew out the dip stick hole- I radioed for help and a tow boat was sent to tow us back to Palm Beach ($1800) ugggg wile we were waiting many hours for the tow boat we started fishing and hooked a large Blur Marlin and fought it about 2 hours So my charter folks was not so disipointed

Then a year later the cooler for the Gear box developed a pin hole in it that allowed salt water to mix with the gear oil and again I ruined that gear - so I bought a new gear box and change the cooler every few years - I now have 2700 hours on it and all runs fine
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:39   #9
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Mine likes to crack the oil filter and fill the bilge without warning. I think I'm going to rig a remote filter so I can cure that.
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Old 08-03-2009, 18:08   #10
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I haven't been able to get into the engine compartment to have a decent look at it. The access on this boat sucks major, and will require some serious carpentry with the power saw before I can get in there. However, its starting to warm up again (thank the gods) so I'll be able to get on with it in a couple of weeks or so. I won't be launching Sabre Dance this year until I've sorted out this glitch, replaced the shaft log, changed the cockpit drainage, and a few other minor details.

I've been trying to sell my other boat for a year now, So I'm going to lauch her, and see if I can flog her off while working on SD.

Sabre
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Old 08-03-2009, 18:52   #11
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Could be a blown main seal on the engine, since the rear main seal is out of sight--that's a very likely culprit and a classic case of a $2 part that needs $300 worth of labor to access and replace. (Or a full day of your time with a helper.)

"I wonder if it would be a good idea for some one to come up with a low oil level alarm?"
If you have an oil pressure alarm, that will usually go off as the level drops and the pump can't scavenge enough oil, in plenty of time. Or, if you have an oil temperature guage/alarm, which can be bought aftermarket and tapped into the pan (same as a drain plug actually) the temperature usually will shoot up as the oil level gets low and it doesn't get a full chance to cool down in the pan.
I used to have a car with a small block V8 that took about 5 quarts, when it was down one quart the oil temperature would shoot up from 180F to 200+F without fail, almost like someone threw a switch.
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Old 08-03-2009, 21:56   #12
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Could be a blown main seal on the engine, since the rear main seal is out of sight--that's a very likely culprit and a classic case of a $2 part that needs $300 worth of labor to access and replace. (Or a full day of your time with a helper.)
$300.00 wow you can come and replace my rear main any day. I just finished replacing one and would not even consider it for anything less than 1k!!!
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Old 09-03-2009, 08:20   #13
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Cool Some rear main seals are easier than others!

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$300.00 wow you can come and replace my rear main any day. I just finished replacing one and would not even consider it for anything less than 1k!!!
And Maine Sail has it easier with that particular V-drive! He can pull the coupling and then the V-drive with out having to remove the shaft (although he has in this case) and could be done in the water w/o having to haul on to the hard and all of this in the comfort of his cabin... close to the cooler food and music! Much better than having to possibly pull the engine or at the very least working upside down through one of the cockpit lockers under the cockpit sole!

Here is to you Maine and your nice clean working environment. I really do like the way you do things!

Regards,

John
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Old 09-03-2009, 09:27   #14
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As for a low oil level alarm, our 1989 Toyota van had a small float switch that went into the side of the oil pan for a low lever light (just as easily a low level alarm). It would be a simple mod of the oil pan to install one of these and they should be available from a Toyota dealer. The hard part would be pulling the oil pan and locating the switch in the correct position without interfering with the crank or rods.
In the van, it only took about 10 minutes to change it out (when I broke it )
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Old 09-03-2009, 10:07   #15
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I'mnot sure I'd want a float switch in the oil pan. More stuff to break--and potentially jam the inlet line or get eaten by the camshaft and bearings as it bounces around at the worst possible moment. I think I'd rather have a solid-state sensor screwed in, drain hole plug style. (And yes, I know what ABYC and the USCG have to say about drain plugs in oil pans. I concede they have a point!)

Halekai, OF COURSE your engine would cost more, isn't that a Westerbleak [sic] painted all shiny and red? All over everything? How'd they miss painting over the rear main seal? Or, is that why the original one failed?
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