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Old 04-11-2012, 17:22   #61
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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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.
Well...I'll tell you but please do your own research also. My information came from my work shop manual, owners manual and the diesel machine shop. In the summer when the humidity is low, I start it every 2 months if I'm not going to be sailing. There is no set time as to how long you run it as much as the temperature it runs at. I start it, check for exhaust water and idle at 1100. When it reaches 140F, I put it in gear, still at 1100, when it reaches 160F, I throttle up to 1500 until the temp is 170F and run for 5 minutes. The temp will climb to it's final resting place of 180F, which is where it runs when I'm motoring. Then idle down, out of gear, wait 1 minute and off. With the cooler temps in the winter, I will run up every 2 months. Mostly to take moisture out of the suspension in the oil. This is why I change my oil only when the dryer weather is around.
But like you say, it's best to find what works for you and I would say 1 out of 10 here know what they are talking about due to their background. That's not to say the others are inept, but should not rely on folklore for information.
I know nothing about chart plotters. So you won't find me participating in a thread, spewing tons of information about them that I think I know.
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Old 04-11-2012, 17:36   #62
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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I start it every 2 months if I'm not going to be sailing. There is no set time as to how long you run it as much as the temperature it runs at. I start it, check for exhaust water and idle at 1100. When it reaches 140F, I put it in gear, still at 1100, when it reaches 160F, I throttle up to 1500 until the temp is 170F and run for 5 minutes. The temp will climb to it's final resting place of 180F, which is where it runs when I'm motoring. Then idle down, out of gear, wait 1 minute and off.
Yes, that is basically what I do except also charge batteries at the same time. Running like this also keeps my raw water impeller lubricated. Can't hurt the pump either. Sweet!
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Old 04-11-2012, 17:40   #63
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

Its good to kill 2 birds with one stone in regards to charging batteries at the same time. But for those who think you are loading an engine with the alternator alone is not right. I doubt the engine feels much of it.
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Old 04-11-2012, 17:45   #64
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

KKMI, the biggest yard in SF Bay and Yanmar dealer says to never run the engine without a load for any longish period. They say to put the engine in gear and run it that way in the slip. The running under load may be why the Yanmar people told you to go to sea to charge batteries. According to KKMI, run the engine in reverse at anchor when you need to charge batteries. Seems awfully wasteful of fuel but will definitely get your anchor dug in.

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Old 04-11-2012, 18:22   #65
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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(...) 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.(...)
Yep. I can imagine. I assume decompressing, then turning it for 10-15 secs with the starter, while the stop wire is pulled out, mitigates this issue?

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Old 04-11-2012, 19:44   #66
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

One of the things that I have always done is to rev the engine to the governor limit and then pull the kill cable this will help blow out excess water and lube the cylinders as the engine winds down without firing
Most catastrophic engine failures are due to total lack of oil ! water! or water getting into the engine and seizing it, most of which is from the lack of use
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Old 04-11-2012, 20:16   #67
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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I have 6,200 hours on my 4JH3E Yanmar and it continues to serve me well with little trouble. When I'm at the dock and not cruising I run my engine for one half hour a week. I leave it at idle in neutral until the temperature warms and then in forward at about 1200 rpm. I'm with those that suggest, "use it or lose it".
That isn't consistent with manufacturer John Deere's recommendation for my marine diesel. JD says not to idle for longer than five minutes at a time. The engine takes at least 10 to 15 minutes to reach operating temperature even with much of that time under load at 1200 to 1400 RPM (idle for the engine is 750, max is 2400). My procedure is to start and remain at idle while disconnecting dock lines (less than five minutes), maneuver in the marina at 1000 RPM (about three or four minutes), and once leaving the marina slowly raise to 1400 RPM until the gauge indicates operating temperature is reached. Then raise RPM to 1700/1800 RPM to reach cruising speed. After engine is thoroughly warmed, occasionally operate at 2200 RPM (high cruise). Remaining at the dock can't duplicate this (leastwise with the dock cleats here, but maybe with a weak auxiliary engine one could). Where boating can be a year-round activity, one shouldn't look for excuses for not taking the boat out every week or two.
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Old 04-11-2012, 20:39   #68
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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One of the things that I have always done is to rev the engine to the governor limit and then pull the kill cable this will help blow out excess water and lube the cylinders as the engine winds down without firing
I think all that accomplished is diluting the lube oil with the unburned diesel fuel and flushing lube oil away from the cylinder walls and rings.
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Old 04-11-2012, 20:49   #69
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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That isn't consistent with manufacturer John Deere's recommendation for my marine diesel. JD says not to idle for longer than five minutes at a time. The engine takes at least 10 to 15 minutes to reach operating temperature even with much of that time under load at 1200 to 1400 RPM (idle for the engine is 750, max is 2400). My procedure is to start and remain at idle while disconnecting dock lines (less than five minutes), maneuver in the marina at 1000 RPM (about three or four minutes), and once leaving the marina slowly raise to 1400 RPM until the gauge indicates operating temperature is reached. Then raise RPM to 1700/1800 RPM to reach cruising speed. After engine is thoroughly warmed, occasionally operate at 2200 RPM (high cruise). Remaining at the dock can't duplicate this (leastwise with the dock cleats here, but maybe with a weak auxiliary engine one could). Where boating can be a year-round activity, one shouldn't look for excuses for not taking the boat out every week or two.
Markpierce, I am surprised that you have made so many assumptions about my comments. I stated that I run my engine at idle until it "warms". This is less than the five minutes that you stipulate as I am not waiting for full operating temperature. I'm sure your vessel is well powered; however, I'm also sure there are many commonly found docks that can secure a 35 foot trawler under full load. In addition, I need to confirm that I am not looking for excuses not to take my boat out. I left this slip April 22nd and did not return until October 19th while remaining underway most days. I was out sailing yesterday, but not today. I've only spent a small fraction of the 6,200 hours on my engine in the slip. If I do not take my boat out for a week; then, yes, I run my diesel at my slip and not in conflict the the John Deere's recommendations you list. By the way, I think your method excels and I'm sure you make good use of getting away from the dock.
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Old 04-11-2012, 21:43   #70
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

Somthing that seems to missed in this conversation(argument?) is that the temperature on the water temp guage is only somewhat related to oil temp. I am only speaking to fresh water cooled engines, but the thermostate restricts the flow of circulating water in the block untill it reaches a decent operating temp. That is usually in the 180 to 190 degree range. This has very little to do with the actual oil operating tempurature. If an engine is not working hard it can take quite a while for the oil temp to reach a point where it will boil off water vapor or acides caused by incomplete combustion. The people that run their engines for 15 minutes and think they have done good for it, are probably doing more damage than good. Another thing ( at risk of argument) is that the reason to not put your engine to full power too soon has little to do with oil circulation, but has everything to do with letting all of the metal parts expand to their natural running clearances before you pour the coals to it. I think you will find that boats with really expensive engines have oil temp guages along side the water temp guage, and they are both paid attention to. ____Grant.
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Old 04-11-2012, 21:51   #71
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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Somthing that seems to missed in this conversation(argument?) is that the temperature on the water temp guage is only somewhat related to oil temp. I am only speaking to fresh water cooled engines, but the thermostate restricts the flow of circulating water in the block untill it reaches a decent operating temp. That is usually in the 180 to 190 degree range. This has very little to do with the actual oil operating tempurature. If an engine is not working hard it can take quite a while for the oil temp to reach a point where it will boil off water vapor or acides caused by incomplete combustion. The people that run their engines for 15 minutes and think they have done good for it, are probably doing more damage than good. Another thing ( at risk of argument) is that the reason to not put your engine to full power too soon has little to do with oil circulation, but has everything to do with letting all of the metal parts expand to their natural running clearances before you pour the coals to it. I think you will find that boats with really expensive engines have oil temp guages along side the water temp guage, and they are both paid attention to. ____Grant.
This makes a lot of sense. Thanks.
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Old 04-11-2012, 21:54   #72
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

I agree with you, gjordan. Always puzzled why manufacturers don't routinely include an oil-temperature gauge as a standard feature since its cost would be a tiny fraction of one percent of the cost of the engine.
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Old 04-11-2012, 21:59   #73
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

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I am only speaking to fresh water cooled engines, but the thermostate restricts the flow of circulating water in the block untill it reaches a decent operating temp. That is usually in the 180 to 190 degree range. This has very little to do with the actual oil operating tempurature. If an engine is not working hard it can take quite a while for the oil temp to reach a point where it will boil off water vapor or acides caused by incomplete combustion.
That is very true. Some trawler engines have the oil cooler cooled (heated) by the coolant instead of by sea water. That is more to get the engine oil up to temp. quickly and then regulate it there.
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The people that run their engines for 15 minutes and think they have done good for it, are probably doing more damage than good.
I'm not sure about this. Especially if they run it under load for 15 mins. after it warms up.
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:14   #74
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Re: How Often to Start a Diesel Engine?

Every engine that I ever operated or worked on oil and water temp ran at about the same temp to the point that I stopped paying it any attention
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Old 05-11-2012, 08:16   #75
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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.
Because it allows you to air out the boat and, if needed, go out to the pump out limit and pump out, for one. In other words, there's a reason to leave the dock under power. Takes some of the growth off the waterline, too.

Of course you are correct in that it makes no difference to the engine. It certainly reveals poorly backed cleats or rusty dock bollards, I suppose.

Lastly, a real-life engine test should involve some hull movement that will reveal if you have dirt or particulates in the fuel. These will not get filtered at the dock, but the movement of the boat will impart movement to the particulates, which will get filtered, and the return line will give you cleaner fuel back into the main tanks/daytank.

That's my rationale. I don't insist others follow it.
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