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......