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Old 29-04-2011, 04:32   #1
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2 Dimples and $8000

I have a Volvo Penta 2002.

I had the engine out of the boat to repair the drive train. While it was out I had the local mechanic replace the front oil seal. If you want to read more about the whole fiasco go to Bristol Channel Cutter it's a long story starting with the omission of dimples for the set screws in the cutlass bearing.

The mechanic forgot to tighten the bolts holding the cover on the oil pump. So the oil pump was sucking air instead of pumping oil through the engine.

The engine would not start without using CRC into the intake (ether). We must have tried about 20 times before using the CRC. Works just like WD40 use to.

My questions are:
1) Could the hard starting have been caused by the added friction in the bearings from no oil (engine had not been started in about 3 months). Also, would the engine have been turning fast enough to oil the rings. So would the loss of compression and friction in the system been enough to keep the engine from starting?

2) With all the tries to start the engine, would this have severely damaged the engine before we even got it started?

We finally got it started and saw we had no oil pressure

I had an oil analysis done and the company said the engine was toast.

Thank you all in advance.
Gary
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Old 29-04-2011, 06:06   #2
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Re: 2 dimples and $8000

Gary:

I feel your pain. Nothing like the feeling of paying someone to break your engine. Four years ago my engine died suddenly (broken head gasket leaked and cracked a piston) spent a few months scratching my head trying to find out why it would not start and then paid a mechanic to scratch his head. After the bill and parts started to approach $1000 I stopped digging. I got rid of the diesel and installed electric propulsion and life has been so much better.
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Old 29-04-2011, 06:54   #3
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Re: 2 dimples and $8000

Since you have oil pressure now and it runs ok, you might try putting some hours on the engine with new oil in it and do another oil analysis. It might be ok since you were so diligent in shutting down immediately. Sort of related: I had a 1965 Thunderbird convertible in college in the '70s and it lost oil pressure. After pulling the engine and dropping the pan, discovered the oil pump drive shaft was broken. I must have driven that car at least 50 miles at low speeds(with no oil pressure (gauge or idiot light never worked) just lots of knocking and tapping from under the hood. Replaced the oil pump shaft, knocking stopped and drove that car for two more years thru college, including several trips from TX to Florida. I think it had about 100k when the pump shaft broke and 150k when I sold it. It never smoked or used more than a quart between oil changes. BTW, I have no idea what the hell I was thinking by driving it with a knocking engine. Sure wish I still had that old T-bird. Good Luck.
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Old 29-04-2011, 06:56   #4
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Re: 2 dimples and $8000

I've heard of excessive ether use wrecking pistons and rings in a diesel . . . but the whole engine? There may be hope. Try replacing pistons and rings and see how it runs. If it seems to run well, then do another oil analysis. (Just my very amateur guesstimate.)
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Old 29-04-2011, 07:12   #5
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Re: 2 dimples and $8000

Believe the oil analysis company. The bearings are toast. They found bearing material in the sample and LOTS of it.

As was said earlier, you can flush the engine with oil and continue to run it, but it WILL fail, but you won't know when. You could hire a vibration guy and pay him about $100 to tell you how bad they really are and give you an ESTIMATE of how long the bearings will last.
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Old 29-04-2011, 07:14   #6
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Re: 2 dimples and $8000

Making some assumptions here:
  • The engine ran OK previously
  • You shut down ASAP when no oil pressure was discovered
  • You did not spray ether more than a second
  • Oil analysis lab didn't offer any opinions about the engine, only the oil

I suspect that unless you sprayed and cranked for HOURS, or ran the engine more than a couple minutes before discovering the lack of lube pressure, there is little to no damage to the engine.

I would run the engine under normal conditions for an hour, change oil, run 50 hours and repeat the analysis. I would also bill the tests to your mechanic.
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Old 29-04-2011, 07:18   #7
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Re: 2 dimples and $8000

I agree with the above post except where he says you don't know when it will fail. I know that failure will be based on Murphy's Law and will occur at the worst possible time. 1 mile off a lee shore in a cove.....surrounded by land on three sides and a gale develops just after your jib blows out and your centerboard falls off.
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Old 29-04-2011, 07:20   #8
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Re: 2 dimples and $8000

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Burgette View Post
I agree with the above post except where he says you don't know when it will fail. I know that failure will be based on Murphy's Law and will occur at the worst possible time. 1 mile off a lee shore in a cove.....surrounded by land on three sides and a gale develops just after your jib blows out and your centerboard falls off.
Good point Bill.

I stand corrected!
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Old 29-04-2011, 07:25   #9
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Re: 2 dimples and $8000

I disagree guys! Small diesels are incredibly tough, and from the sounds of it, this one will not catastrophically fail, but will just produce less and less power as time goes on; eventually not starting at all
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Old 29-04-2011, 07:47   #10
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Re: 2 dimples and $8000

Gary, if your worried about the bearings, why not pull the engine and replace the shells for the mains, big and little ends, or at least get a quote for this. Whilst at it have the bores measured or at least inspected. You might get away with a quick hone if it was rebuilt 500 hours ago.

I suspect the hard starting was the lack of oil in the top end reducing the compression.

I wouldn't give up on the engine just yet.

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Old 29-04-2011, 07:49   #11
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Re: 2 dimples and $8000

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Originally Posted by capngeo View Post
I disagree guys! Small diesels are incredibly tough, and from the sounds of it, this one will not catastrophically fail, but will just produce less and less power as time goes on; eventually not starting at all
Let me explain my reasoning, and I'll admit I could be wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by seacap View Post
The mechanic forgot to tighten the bolts holding the cover on the oil pump. So the oil pump was sucking air instead of pumping oil through the engine.

The engine would not start without using CRC into the intake (ether). We must have tried about 20 times before using the CRC. Works just like WD40 use to.

My questions are:
1) Could the hard starting have been caused by the added friction in the bearings from no oil (engine had not been started in about 3 months). Also, would the engine have been turning fast enough to oil the rings. So would the loss of compression and friction in the system been enough to keep the engine from starting?

2) With all the tries to start the engine, would this have severely damaged the engine before we even got it started?

We finally got it started and saw we had no oil pressure

I had an oil analysis done and the company said the engine was toast.

Gary
Engine sat for 3 months so the bearings were dry to start with.

OP cranked the engine over many times with no oil comming from the pump due to the air leak.

Didn't have oil pressure when the engine started and I see nothing in his post where he shut it off immedately after it started, so it ran without oil.

Oil analysis showed bearing damage.

There is a reason big companies spend big bucks on oil sampling and analysis and PdM (predictive maintenance) programs like the one I run, because it is about 100% accurate.

No they can't tell you when, but they can tell you it is going to and the big boys like the company I work for will repair the equipment before it breaks, thus minimizing their risk and potential monetary loss.

I'm lucky, I can use my technicians vibration equipment to "see" how bad the damage is and plan accordingly, unless OP wants to spring for more money and hire a vibration analysis guy, he won't have that luxury and is running on borrowed time.

Although for $8000, I'd contact the Volvo International rep and find out what it would cost for and on site rebuild, my guess is less than half.

As I said, I could be wrong, but I personally wouldn't risk my boat and perhaps my life with that engine.
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Old 29-04-2011, 07:59   #12
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Re: 2 dimples and $8000

I think that all the efforts to start an engine that had not been turned over for 3 months could hurt the bearings and maybe even the rings. There would have been no oil and you would have had direct contact between the crankshaft and the bearings. This may have caused some galling of the bearings and is irreversible. The rings may have scored the cylinder walls for the same reason. Mostly dry after 3 months and a lot of movement of the rings in an unlubricated bore. Even at only 1500 RPM the piston is going up and down 15 times every second. That's a lot of metal to metal contact.

I would start it, watch my oil pressure after it gets hot and only use it when you have other options, such as wind. If all appears to be well after a few hours/days/weeks or months, you may again have confidence in it.

The folks that did your oil analysis know what metals go where and can tell what's worn by the bits floating around. If they found excess tin, lead, copper or antimony that is a sure sign of bearing failure. The chromium in the rings will show up in an analysis and let you know about any excessive ring wear. These metals are rarely used anywhere in the engine.

If there was excess chromium it may have come from the oil pump rotors also (they were dry) and that would be good news because the metal may not have come from the rings. I'd just run it easily and check it out for awhile and see where it goes.

Since it's already "Toast", what's to lose?
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Old 29-04-2011, 07:59   #13
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Re: 2 dimples and $8000

I think you need to hold the mechanic liable for destroying your engine. It might be time to go to small claims court. You are owed an engine that is in same or better condition than before this self-proclaimed mechanic started working on it. This is the real solution.
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Old 29-04-2011, 08:17   #14
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Re: 2 dimples and $8000

This is why in another thread I mentioned we need to learn to do repairs ourselves. Spending big money is no promise it is right. Especially if you will go cruising...........i2f
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Old 29-04-2011, 10:02   #15
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Re: 2 dimples and $8000

Unfortunately it sounds like that oil seal job was done over two years ago. . . . Hard to go back for restitution after so much time.
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