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Old 04-11-2012, 05:08   #46
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

If the engine is to sit for long periods I prefer to disconnect the wet exhaust hose. Leaving this hose connected is a direct path to moisture, condensation and rust corrosion in the exhaust ports, valves etc.. I learned this trick from an old time lobsterman who had over 11k hours on his engine. Since that time I have had the chance to see this corrosion on an improperly winterized engine that spit freeze plugs.. It takes me a few minutes to isolate the engine from the wet exhaust but some boats take longer...
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:34   #47
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
There are about as many opinions here as posters. Why anyone would ask non-diesel mechanics is beyond me. Why not just ask, 1) The manufacturer. 2) A certified diesel mechanic or 3) A diesel rebuild shop.
When I bought this boat the engine would only rotate 350 degrees. The reason was that it has been started once a week, allowed to idle until warm, then shut off by the previous owners friends because the PO was very sick. This went on for a year and finally the PO past away. Then the boat sat for 1 1/2 years. The carbon that formed on top of the piston, swelled and prevented the piston from going over TDC.
I have a routine handed down to me by the machine shop that did all my machine work. You're best to stay away from armchair professionals.
I appreciate listening to information and advice from other sailors. I found that there is a good percentage of sailors here at CF who are experts in specific fields: mechanical, navigation, sails&rig, to name just a few.

What is the correct procedure, in case of your engine, and what engine do you have?

barnie
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:38   #48
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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If a boat is tied to the dock (not meant to go sailing in foreseeable future) and if her owner does not want her engine winterized, then how often should the engine be started and how hard should it be run?

To say: if not actually used for motoring, what is the optimum diesel starting regime/schedule?

-once a week, just start it?
-once a week, run it hot?
-a different schedule?

And why?

b.
I assume there is no need to run it to provide power?

I am actually not convinced that running it at dock in neutral would do much good.

I would say you have two issues to maintain the engine's continuing health: One relates to the quality of the fuel and the other relates to the state of the oil.

If I KNEW I didn't need to run the engine for a long time to any degree, I would consider sealing off the main tanks (or draining them entirely and cleaning them out) and having merely a five or ten gallon (25 to 50 litre) "daytank" installed, post-filters, so that I was refreshing the diesel I did use from a jerrycan. Fresh is better.

If you do wish to run the engine, I would say you could motor for two hours once every two weeks, but you must put a load on the engine, which means leaving the dock. Getting up to proper operating temperatures and 75%-80% RPMs is a good idea, but that takes time. The benefit is that all parts of the diesel get fed nice, hot oil. I would suggest that doing two hours at cruise speed, even as little as once a month, is better than doing four hours at the dock in neutral idle. Besides, you erode some of the growth off the hull.

I would also consider a corrosion-inhibiting oil like ENSIS for the engine if you don't intend to run at all. I don't actually know if ENSIS or simliar products can be used in a running engine, though I'm not sure why not.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:45   #49
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
I turn my engine over by hand several rotations, once a week. That seems to keep the cylinder walls oiled, without the wear of starting it up.

I know **** about diesels and that may be a stupid thing to do. . . but its worked ok so far for me.
Quite an admission from you, Evans!

"Hand cranking" can't be a bad thing, however. My smaller boat has an Atomic 4 I rebuilt in 2005. As part of my winterization procedure, I remove the sparks, put a teaspoon of Marvel Mystery Oil down each cylinder, and use the A4 hand crank to coat the pistons and cylinder walls. Then I clean and regap the spark plugs, put them back in and wait for spring.

The only penalty is a few puffs of smoke in the spring, but it certainly starts up smoothly and I have no sticky piston ring or valve issues.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:51   #50
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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Originally Posted by Maine Sail View Post
If the engine is to sit for long periods I prefer to disconnect the wet exhaust hose. Leaving this hose connected is a direct path to moisture, condensation and rust corrosion in the exhaust ports, valves etc.. I learned this trick from an old time lobsterman who had over 11k hours on his engine. Since that time I have had the chance to see this corrosion on an improperly winterized engine that spit freeze plugs.. It takes me a few minutes to isolate the engine from the wet exhaust but some boats take longer...
Do you advocate exhaust hose shut-off, MS? We have an exhaust outlet not at the stern, but on the starboard side of the hull, just above the waterline. I am considering putting in a large bronze valve to avoid siphoning on a heel into the waterlift, but your comment about moisture ingress gives me another reason.

Whether to have a solenoid to open and close said seacock linked to the key at the helm is another issue, I suppose.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:42   #51
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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Quite an admission from you, Evans!

I really should take a diesel course one of the days, but so far I have just learned what I need as I go along. Whenever something does not work perfectly I get the shop manual out and try to figure it out. If that does not work I invite the best diesel guy in the anchorage over for a beer
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Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
Do you advocate exhaust hose shut-off,

I have one, and close it (And drain the water muffler) when not using the engine for a while. Figure it can not hurt. I originally put it on to for 'heavy weather' safety - to be able to prevent big stern waves flooding up the exhaust.

Whether to have a solenoid to open and close said seacock linked to the key at the helm is another issue, I suppose.

Mine is manual. I figure simple is better. Don't want a solenoid to fail and not to be able to open it some day.
.......
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:25   #52
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

I just googled ENSIS, and it looks like a good preservative oil, but it is not designed to allow you to run the engine after it is put in ( or at least it doesnt appear that way). This doesnt sound like what Barnie is looking for. I googled AEROSHELL and they sell an oil that is sometimes refered to as a flyaway preservative oil. You put it in as a normal oil change, run it long enough to get everything circulated and you can leave the engine with protection, but be able to start it and use it if needed. It says you can run it for up to 50 hours, but since the needs of a diesel boat engine and an aviation engine are differant, I would not run it for any length of time. I suspect that all of the oil companies sell some version of a preservative oil. I hope this helps._____Grant.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:31   #53
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

The inhibiting oil is no new to me but I must admit we never used it. We simply used the regular oil for winter lay-up. I will educate myself in this direction later tonight.

barnie
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Old 04-11-2012, 15:36   #54
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
.......
I agree with the "manual is better" concept, but think I should hang the key on the seacock handle to avoid unhappiness, perhaps.

A diesel course is on my short list before we go off for the same reason I took the "Safety at Sea" course: it would help to consolidate my sketchily acquired knowledge into a more structured whole...or so I would hope.
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Old 04-11-2012, 15:44   #55
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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I just googled ENSIS, and it looks like a good preservative oil, but it is not designed to allow you to run the engine after it is put in ( or at least it doesnt appear that way). This doesnt sound like what Barnie is looking for. I googled AEROSHELL and they sell an oil that is sometimes refered to as a flyaway preservative oil. You put it in as a normal oil change, run it long enough to get everything circulated and you can leave the engine with protection, but be able to start it and use it if needed. It says you can run it for up to 50 hours, but since the needs of a diesel boat engine and an aviation engine are differant, I would not run it for any length of time. I suspect that all of the oil companies sell some version of a preservative oil. I hope this helps._____Grant.
Yes, I can see it's OK for short runs, but most engines want 15W30 of the conventional kind. Castrol makes something similar to Shell ENSIS beginning with "R" (not "Rotella") but I can't see to find it.
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Old 04-11-2012, 16:22   #56
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

b-
The main reason not to put an engine, any engine, in gear immediately after starting is because you are putting a load on unlubricated bearing surfaces and unlubricated parts and that's a very bad idea.
Of all the unlikely people, the US Navy decided this was not acceptable. Back around WW2, I believe just before WW2, the USN was very unimpressed at the way their cars and trucks (not the ships!) had ot be started and then idled before they could be used. So they passed a PURCHASING requirement, stating that they would not consider purchasing any vehicles from any source unless they were fully operational within 20 seconds after starting.
And that purchasing specification, changed the automotive world as we know it. A similar specification is the reason why the world now uses a 12-volt negative ground elecrical system in cars and trucks. So, thank the USN and know that you can definitely put your engine in gear 20 seconds after starting it. Any similar engine, car, truck, tractor, boat.
You want to give it thirty? Sure. Sixty? Ah, now you're wasting fuel.<G>

There may be some more current spec from some other source, but they're "all" built to surpass that USN spec, for many years now.
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Old 04-11-2012, 16:32   #57
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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..................................

If you do wish to run the engine, I would say you could motor for two hours once every two weeks, but you must put a load on the engine, which means leaving the dock......................................
I'm not following this idea that putting a load on the engine requires leaving the dock. I frequently run my engine in gear after warming at the dock. I'm interested in hearing why this might not be thought of as an appropriate action.
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Old 04-11-2012, 17:00   #58
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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I'm not following this idea that putting a load on the engine requires leaving the dock. I frequently run my engine in gear after warming at the dock. I'm interested in hearing why this might not be thought of as an appropriate action.
So...you see what I mean...so many different opinions. For the book I do it the same way as you as told to me by the machine shop that did my machine work. But the intervals vary with the weather.
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Old 04-11-2012, 17:06   #59
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

It appears to me that most of the posted replies are not from 'armchair' experts, but likely user experts in what works for them. I like to hear what advise others have to offer. Tens of thousands of hours of experience here. I am also be interested in what Celestial sailor's routine is.
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Old 04-11-2012, 17:14   #60
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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So...you see what I mean...so many different opinions. For the book I do it the same way as you as told to me by the machine shop that did my machine work. But the intervals vary with the weather.
I was at a large sailboat rendevous in Catalina a few years ago and a Yanmar Factory Rep was there for a presentation. They specifically told the crowd of over 150 people NOT to run their engines at the mooring to charge the batteries with the alternator. They told us to go out each day and charge the batteries. Some boats would have to go out 2-4 hours to fully charge batteries. NONSENSE! Thoughts??
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