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Old 15-05-2008, 17:52   #1
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A plug for preventative maintenance

I work in commercial aviation, so I am used to the idea that there is work to be done to engines and airframes/boats simply due to the passage of a specific interval of calendar time or engine hour meter time. ("TBO" Time between overhaul" is the term.) Above and beyond oil / filter changes.

That said, I was *VERY* reluctant to take my smooth as silk running little Westerbeke 21 for work since "if it ain't broke....." --- delayed it for month after month and a few hundred hours operation looking for just the right mechanic and repair situation.

I used the Westerbeke Owner's Manual, Service Manual, some checklists from this forum, some info from Pat at IMD, and made myself a master maintenance schedule for the engine, researched all the books and decided if the 17-year prior owners (who were anal compulsive meticulous savers of every receipt/invoice/instrution manual/etc. and paid a fortune to keep the boat up) hadn't done it, it needed it.

Wow. The "to do list" was a little overwhelming. I found a fantastic boatyard (I did say those words in the same sentence, and still mean them two weeks later!) to work with me --- do the stuff I could not, show me the stuff I can learn, and let me do whatever I could to keep costs down. My return --- I didn't hold them to a schedule, so it has taken far longer than it needed if they did it all, but I have learned a ton, and the education was one of the goals. And, honestly, we've moved along at a pace that is as fast as I and my boat partner can work, so.......

This is longwinded, but the take-home for me was : HEED those "due in this amount of time" guidelines, even if you think your engine is a sweet runnin' thang. When you look closely at things that are fine, you will find it ain't so!

The injectors failed their pressure test miserably and dripped like fiends, and when disassembled for rebuild were sticky and foul. The valves were way out of adjustment. The glowplugs tested strong and turned out to have been replaced but not documented, and I learned how to replace one. The coolant hoses were choked with crunchy things near the heat exchanger. the siphon break on the exhaust was welded shut with crud The heat exchanger was insanely clogged, and the little elbow that comes off the top of the engine block was blocked solid. The alignment was good, but the couplings were in need of tightening. The head bolts were working loose. All this from an engine that runs smooth, cool, and generally efficiently. I'm excited to see how much better things are now that they are cleaned up.

And, while climbing around in there, we've found little lengths of hose that needed replacing in the bilge pump system, more siphon breaks clogged, cracked fittings behind the water heater, and handfuls of little things that needed attention at the start of a big journey --- amazing what spending two weeks straight in your lazarettes, bildges and engine rooms will reveal.

So --- heed those "TBO" (time between overhaul" guidelines b/c just when you think it is all fine......


When is the last time you tried something for the first time?
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Old 16-05-2008, 01:58   #2
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A stitch in time saves nine.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The first recorded instance of the phrase, "a stitch in time saves nine" appeared in 1732, in a book called “Gnomologia”, by Thomas Fuller. It is unknown if he coined the phrase, or simply used a proverb popular during the time.

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"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 16-05-2008, 04:34   #3
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That's a good story and good advice, too.


The sea is always beautiful, sometimes mysterious and, on occasions, frighteningly powerful.
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Old 03-08-2008, 12:53   #4
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Which boatyard did you use? I am in the bay area as well and looking around for some one to help me with my diesel engine.
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Old 03-08-2008, 14:48   #5
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It's always nice to read about doing things right that need to be right. The "ain't broke don't fix it crowd" never did much for me. Boats are much as aircraft - composed of too many parts. Something is always about to break. The ones you catch under schedule cost a whole lot less than the ones on the water.
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 03-08-2008, 15:08   #6
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AYB: Ain't your boat......(advice to paid crew) The owner can do anything he wants as long as he doesn't put others in danger...he's payin to fix it.

"Sir....I wouldn't go over is a shoaly area.....(Slow stop in Chesapeake mud bottom...and the tide is going out.....)

Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
A stitch in time saves nine.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The first recorded instance of the phrase, "a stitch in time saves nine" appeared in 1732, in a book called “Gnomologia”, by Thomas Fuller. It is unknown if he coined the phrase, or simply used a proverb popular during the time.

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