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Old 17-11-2014, 10:06   #1
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Beware new yanmars

Having just ordered a new yanmar 4jh diesel be advised that this is now an electronically controlled engine . Any number of electrical glitches or issues can and will disable this engine . No amount of tinkering or expert mechanicing will make it run again. It is loaded with sensors and all manner of electrical and electronic stuff . I haven't found a dealer / mechanic yet who has any idea how to work on one of these things . I called mack boring to see if I could carry a spare ecu and they told me absolutely not - the only way to deal with a problem is to remove the ecu and send it to them and they would replace and re-program it and send it back ,then if you can find a factory trained yanmar guy with a laptop and software he can get you going again . Maybe . Do you need to reprogram the ecu to replace any one of the many sensors whose failure will leave you engineless ? Expense ( major ) and time ( major ) aside this is just not acceptable for anyone who plans on traveling more than a few miles from a yanmar tech . Hit by lightning ? Forget about using your engine afterwards . I've read about ecu 's that were fried because the key switch was turned off before the stop switch . Is a bad ground enough to fry your ecu in the middle of no- where ?Several years ago I was at Hinckleys in Maine and a freshly launched jet boat wouldn't start . Nada . There wasn't a mechanic there , and there were some top notch mechanics , that could get a peep out of that engine . They had to fly in a yanmar tech to fix the electronics . If you search the sailing / cruising forums on line you will encounter numerous stories of unexplained failures of ecu's after less than 50 hours ! When I first looked at the new engine they shipped me and realized it was electronic ( I had been shown a new install of a 4jh mechanical injection engine ) I tried to send it back but was given a run around .Dealing with yanmar is like dealing with a stone wall . Note that neither yanmar nor Mack boring have an email address . If anyone wants to buy the latest in smooth , clean , efficient diesel technology I've got a brand new engine for sale .
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Old 17-11-2014, 10:21   #2
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Re: Beware new yanmars

Sounds like another vote for rebuilding that old Perkins... :>)
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Old 17-11-2014, 10:30   #3
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Re: Beware new yanmars

I have heard a horror story or two about the "new" generation diesels with ecu's. If I were repowering or getting a new boat I would run from any diesel with ecu's. The beauty of diesels was its simplicity. Now we have to hitch a computer to them?
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Old 17-11-2014, 10:36   #4
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Re: Beware new yanmars

My marine pro buddy who works as a maintenance manager at a sailing club tells me pretty much same thing. He basically grades Yanmars (his favorite engine) - 1. very old ones are the best as they are the sturdiest, easiest to fix and basically indestructible with regular maintenance. 2nd come in the next generation with thinner metal and more electronic bells and whistles but still manageable. And last come in the very latest models which he complains of and whenever club owners ask for his opinion as to the engine to order he opts for proven older models with the least of electronics controls. I would guess that the same would go for most newer engines.

We once at length discussed deisel's life span and he mentioned that with routine maintenance it should easily last 5,000-10,000hrs before overhaul. And that most problems are caused by either operator's errors, dirty fuels, clogged mixing elbows, incorrectly pitched prop, etc. Issues which will also defeat any new diesel installed to replace an old one. He's of the opinion that most people replacing old diesels will encounter the same problems with the new ones which led to the demise of the old one and that they are just buying themselves some extra time with the new engine. Apparently old diesels were made with a 50 year life span in mind. And the new ones are made under pressure from marketing departments to be replaceable at much shorter intervals.
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Old 17-11-2014, 11:39   #5
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Re: Beware new yanmars

This is all driven by environmental regulations, yup same regulations that pushed out your light simple 4hp 2 stroke outboard. I'm not an anti environmentalist by no means, but sometimes the regulations just go too far.

I'm still very surprised you could not buy a spare ECU, try calling Mastry.
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Old 17-11-2014, 12:01   #6
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Re: Beware new yanmars

Common rail fuel injection has essentially revolutionized Diesels, they are far more powerful, more RPM flexible, much less NVH (noise vibration harshness), but unfortunately not simple things and are computer controlled.

I assume this thing is common rail? Marlinmike is right, it's emissions that are driving this.
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Old 17-11-2014, 12:09   #7
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Re: Beware new yanmars

EPA Tier 4 and EU Stage IIIB nonroad emission
regulations are the culprit, after all im the lucky guy who own a old perkins M90, ohh boy that Ecu thing suck!!!! im sorry for you really!!!
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Old 17-11-2014, 12:12   #8
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Re: Beware new yanmars

Beta marine meets the epa requirements, and are still all mechanical injection. GO BETA!
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Old 17-11-2014, 12:26   #9
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Re: Beware new yanmars

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Beta marine meets the epa requirements, and are still all mechanical injection. GO BETA!
Are those the marinized Kubotas? Same as Universals?
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Old 17-11-2014, 13:23   #10
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Re: Beware new yanmars

Yes the Beta marine engine is a very well done marineized kubota diesel tractor engine. I just put a beta 50 in and no ECU. THAT WOULD TRULY SUCK ., unless the ECU 's were cheap and available so spares could be carried


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Old 17-11-2014, 13:37   #11
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Re: Beware new yanmars

Not a new story !! Had friends with engines all over the place with "contact service centre" on high tech displays LOL Best one I saw was a high tech 2M dollar cat with hybrid propulsion that had to be towed to the next port by a longtail fishing boat ! Computer control wasn't programmed right.
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Old 17-11-2014, 13:40   #12
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Re: Beware new yanmars

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Originally Posted by neilpride View Post
EPA Tier 4 and EU Stage IIIB nonroad emission
regulations are the culprit, after all im the lucky guy who own a old perkins M90, ohh boy that Ecu thing suck!!!! im sorry for you really!!!
Old M90 ? I am on my 8th rebuild of my 6354 from 1978
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Old 17-11-2014, 16:00   #13
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Re: Beware new yanmars

Mack Boring has a direct email form on their website. Alternately, you can email them at: greatlakes@mackboring.com or parts@mackboring.com or just email the president of the company - smcgovern@mackboring.com

They aren't hiding...

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Old 17-11-2014, 19:07   #14
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Re: Beware new yanmars

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Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
My marine pro buddy who works as a maintenance manager at a sailing club tells me pretty much same thing. He basically grades Yanmars (his favorite engine) - 1. very old ones are the best as they are the sturdiest, easiest to fix and basically indestructible with regular maintenance. 2nd come in the next generation with thinner metal and more electronic bells and whistles but still manageable. And last come in the very latest models which he complains of and whenever club owners ask for his opinion as to the engine to order he opts for proven older models with the least of electronics controls. I would guess that the same would go for most newer engines. ..............
That's a pretty common view of old time mechanics who haven't kept up with changes in the industry. Unfortunately, the EPA (in the USA) has pretty much dictatorial powers when it comes to things like engine emissions and the industry has to resort to more sophisticated engines to meet the requirements.

There's a good side of course just like there has been with cars. Better efficiency, longer life, smoother running and less smoke and soot.

If you're afraid of the new technology, the best plan would be to buy a rebuilt older engine. Just remember though, there will come a time when you can't get parts or service for that older engine.
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Old 17-11-2014, 19:20   #15
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Re: Beware new yanmars

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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
That's a pretty common view of old time mechanics who haven't kept up with changes in the industry. Unfortunately, the EPA (in the USA) has pretty much dictatorial powers when it comes to things like engine emissions and the industry has to resort to more sophisticated engines to meet the requirements.

There's a good side of course just like there has been with cars. Better efficiency, longer life, smoother running and less smoke and soot.

If you're afraid of the new technology, the best plan would be to buy a rebuilt older engine. Just remember though, there will come a time when you can't get parts or service for that older engine.
I think my friend speaks from the postion of someone who knows the new engines more than most of us. Prior to his current job for many years he was first a mechanic, later an engineer on oil tankers, ice breakers, cargo carriers, etc. For the past 10 years he's a head mechanic for a sailing club with about 100 boats and the club retires and replaces about 1/2 dozen each year. So he sees both the very old, the very new and everything in between. I'm just reporting here what I hear from him during our sails as we like to shoot the breeze about everything that has to do with boats. His basic complaint about new engines is their lack of durability compared to the older models. And the capricious nature of their elecrtonics. His opinion is that on a lot of new engines it looks to him as their electonics were designed and made by a non boating engineer with no thought given as to the effects of marine environment, etc. May be the cause for that as you say the EPA and their dictates and I'm not arguing the causation of this state of affairs, I am reporting what I hear from the person who deals with these problems everyday on a much larger scale than most of us ever will.
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