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Old 07-01-2009, 14:00   #1
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BMW diesel and black steel diesel fuel tanks

Hi all,
I'm new at this and I finally figured out how to start "a thread", rather than just "jump" into one with similar questions, and inevitably (unintentionally) hi-jack it.
I have been seriously looking at a Lord Nelson 41, 1981 in fairly good shape. Most systems however, are original, like the BMW D50 50 HP 3 cyl. diesel with some five thousand hours, which, according to Kanani should have a cup of oil analysed, after a good warm up, to determine the state of the engine.
Should the engine need an OH, how difficult would it be to source replacement parts?
Also, the survey reads: original black steel diesel fuel tanks (which are now twenty eight years old), although visibly sound, is there not a corrosion concern with this type of metal?
I will probably have more technical questions as I familiarize myself with the boat.
In the meanwhile, I am sure to appreciate the technical feedback and thank you in advance for it.
J.P.
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Old 07-01-2009, 14:37   #2
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I can't help you with the engine but some tips on the tank. You should drain and clean the tanks in order to inspect them. That is the only way you will know what shape they are in. If they have been kept clean and free of water they could be in excellent shape. If they have been neglected they could be rusting from the inside out. Much also depends on how they are mounted. If they are in the open (meaning air can circulate around them) and mounted on material that does not hold moisture they could very well be in good shape. However, if they are surrounded by foam or mounted against wood they could be in bad shape. Can't be more specific than that. You just need to inspect them very carefully. Good luck and welcome to the forum.
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Old 07-01-2009, 14:54   #3
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Here is a link to information on the BMW engines http://www.bmwmarine.com/parts.html

The US contact guy for BMW Marine is Rich Langtry of V12 Engineering
V12 Engineering - BMW Marine Engines & Parts
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Old 08-01-2009, 08:34   #4
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Thank you both for the info.
I'll have to wait till March or early April now to visit and look at the boat again since it is shrink wrapped and snowed in.
As for the tanks, when the owner first showed me the boat, they looked pretty clean from the outside, and he claims he has maintained them since he took ownership.
As for the engine, the owner claims he has always maintained it to specs. I checked V12 Engineering's online part list for the D50 model and without specifying the year of the engine, it looks like part availability would be limited, therefore I'm not certain a complete OH, if necessary, could be done. I would have to speak with Rich Langtry and hear what he has to say.
Thanks again,
J.P.
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Old 08-01-2009, 09:48   #5
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The previously-linked BMW PARTS:
http://www.bmwmarine.com/parts.html

Includins: BMW Marine Engine D50 Diesel

* Parts Catalog
* Detailed Engine Information
* Parts List
* Workshop Manual


BMW Marine Diesels (D35 / D50) Brochure:
http://www.bmwmarine.net/manuals/fix...20Brochure.pdf
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:18   #6
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Thank you both for the info.
I'll have to wait till March or early April now to visit and look at the boat again since it is shrink wrapped and snowed in.
As for the tanks, when the owner first showed me the boat, they looked pretty clean from the outside, and he claims he has maintained them since he took ownership.
As for the engine, the owner claims he has always maintained it to specs. I checked V12 Engineering's online part list for the D50 model and without specifying the year of the engine, it looks like part availability would be limited, therefore I'm not certain a complete OH, if necessary, could be done. I would have to speak with Rich Langtry and hear what he has to say.
Thanks again,
J.P.
J.P.

I don't think that I would be all that concerned about an OH.....5K hrs on a well maintained diesel may be about 1/2 life. The engine is 28 years old. That means that it has averaged about 178 hours per year......how long do you think that you may own this vessel??

You really won't know anything until you get that engine oil analyzed. I think that you may be surprised at the results. My 1980 88HP, Ford Lehman Diesel had almost 3K hours on it when I bought the boat in 1990. I guess the owner's skipper motored everywhere with that vessel for some reason. It belonged to the owner of a big business in Hawaii and I think that his employees used it a lot (with a professional skipper who liked to motor). I had similar concerns but an oil analysis revealed that the engine hadn't even reached 1/2 life.

I met a large fishing boat owner in American Samoa. He had my exact same engine as his generator. That engine ran 24/7. That's over 8000 hrs a year and the engine was 10 years old. He told me that they tore it down and rebuilt it once a year as routine maintenance. He felt that they probably could have got double the hrs out of that engine but a break down would be catastrophic.

I had the engine oil analyzed again after the 1st 100 hours and it showed that the oil didn't even need to be changed yet. I changed it anyway and after 150 hours (on the new oil), I had it analyzed again. The oil didn't need to be changed after 150hrs.

When I sold the boat in 2000 (the engine had almost 5000 hrs) after a circumnavigation), the buyer had the oil analyzed (on my recommendation). It was compared to the 1990, 1992 and 1996 analysis and it had changed very little.
What is Oil Analysis?

IMHO, an oil analysis should be performed in every marine survey then again at 500 hr intervals. This will not only give you peace of mind, it will tell you more about your engine, establish a history for possible problem solving, decrease maintenance costs and increase the saleability of your boat.
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:27   #7
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I'd use the BMW until the first substantial failure. Then I'd make it a mooring. Parts availability and pricing makes Volvo look inexpensive.
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Old 08-01-2009, 13:40   #8
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Again, thank you for the advice in reference to the oil analysis, If, indeed the engine is in great condition, then the situation speaks for itself. It's that moment when you're in the middle of the Panama Canal, and you least expect it, Murphy's Law kicks in, then what...
Parts availability and pricing are still a serious concern even though as Kanani says the engine will probably accumulate up to ten thousand hours.
Are today's BMW engines identical to those manufactured in the early eighties? Are parts interchangeable?
J.P.
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Old 08-01-2009, 13:59   #9
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Again, thank you for the advice in reference to the oil analysis, If, indeed the engine is in great condition, then the situation speaks for itself. It's that moment when you're in the middle of the Panama Canal, and you least expect it, Murphy's Law kicks in, then what...
Parts availability and pricing are still a serious concern even though as Kanani says the engine will probably accumulate up to ten thousand hours.
J.P.
Diesel engines seldom have catastrophic failures, like breaking a rod or spinning a main bearing. They usually just wear-out over time and/or neglect. There are usually tell-tail signs as the engine gets old...like....it starts smoking and/or using oil.

You should have low oil pressure and high temp alarms that prevent that sort of thing.

The most common failures are water pump impellers and oil cooler failures. Every once in a while you hear of the odd head gskt failure. These don't have to be catastrophic and you should have spares on board for these things. (it's a good idea to carry a complete engine overhaul gskt set).

Things like injector problems and injector pump problems are usually easily resolved. It's a good idea to keep a spare injector on-board too.

Last and certainly not least.....let's not forget that it is a sailboat....... I'm serious about that too. I am amazed at how many sailboats are abandoned because of engine failure... In the end, it usually ends up being something simple but the person just couldn't figure out what the problem was.
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Old 08-01-2009, 14:50   #10
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Actually most diesel engine problems are fuel related. These failures can almost be eliminated 100% by keeping the tank and the filters clean. A good fuel polishing system goes a long way to keeping the tank clean and the fuel in good condition. They work best though if starting with a clean tank. Next, dual switchable filters that can be switched quickly if needed and changed in a sea way will almost eliminate any fuel related problems that will shut you down in a seaway. Fuel pumps should also be removed and inspected on a regular basis, although the failure rate on those is fairly low.

Another serious problem area is the impeller. Again proper maintenance can almost totally eliminate that failure source.

In fact, if proper maintenance is done on the whole boat you will have very few surprises. However sometimes "s**t happens".
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Old 08-01-2009, 15:02   #11
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Kanani,
I will have the opportunity to see the engine run, once the boat is back in the water. That's probably at the end of April, at which point I will ask the owner for a warm cup of oil.
also, it would be interesting to know/find out if all Lord Nelson's cruising out there are powered by BMW D50, and hear what the owners have to say about their engines, especially those which have accumulated closer to eight thousand hours (of course that is if there are any).
Thank you for your input,
J.P.
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Old 08-01-2009, 15:21   #12
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DeepFrz,
Definitely very true. When I got my first boat about ten years ago, in the Lauderdale area, I was so eager to "take it out", I never bothered to check anything, the survey was the bible.
Needless to say, in a seaway, clogged with traffic, very close to the 17th Street Bridge, the engine kept stalling. To make a story short, after a quick phone call, some one came down to the dock at the marina, with something that looked like a large shop vac and a spare tank. He emptied my fuel tank into his tank while flushing my tank, filtered the fuel and back into my tank it went. No problem thereafter.
Looks like I learned (the hard way) that lesson already, but thanks anyway
J.P.
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Old 08-01-2009, 15:30   #13
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I now of at least one that has been repowerd to Yanmar
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