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Old 05-07-2011, 17:53   #16
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Re: Cruiser Stranded in Need of Advice

Not 100% sure here but if a valve were stuck compression would be lost either out the air intake or out the exhaust, Not into the crankcase. If a ring were broke/ fractured then yes compression could blow past ring and into crankcase / out oil cap?
Then again if it were a bad ring shouldnt she be cranking and still running on the other cylinders?
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Old 05-07-2011, 18:31   #17
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Re: Cruiser Stranded in Need of Advice

I had an exhaust valve bearing tower break on a 3gm30 down in Florida. Looks like it was bad casting as the bearing surface was fine. It also dropped oil pressure to 20 psi. It kept #3 exhaust valve closed. This was 25 mile offshore.

I ended up taking a socket, penny and a bit of duct tape to fit over the exhaust valve and then wired the decompression lever to hold the socket/valve open. Ran the engine for 5 hours getting back to the dock. So it will run fine on two cylinders. A new valve tower was $56 which was cheap back then.

Thing is you will feel air coming out the oil fill even with a good engine, specially if the crankcase breather is clogged. Take the valve cover off and check that the valves all work, (Ie crank the engine a few turns) with the valve cover off.



Yes I learned Engine repair from my shade tree mechanic dad back in Georgia, who could fix just about anything.
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Old 05-07-2011, 18:42   #18
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Re: Cruiser Stranded in Need of Advice

Thanks for all the advice so far.

We want to get to MD ideally but if we have to land in Florida we can most likely do it ourselves.

We are probably the worst sailors ever which is why we would be looking for help to MD. We took the ICW down and I wouldn't go back up it without an engine. So that leaves sailing on the outside and with an extra crew we could do it straight through without having to come close to land to anchor. Plus we have serious sailing upwind issues that our 3rd man would be able to correct for us.

To answer a few of your questions: We never noticed a loss in oil pressure and the alarm never sounded, the alarm does come on for a few seconds when we turn the ignition as always so we assume it works. Oil was leaking at a faster rate though and we had been adding oil every two engine use days as it got low.

The second mechanic was able to get it to run sort of while I held the starter button down on two cylinders. It sounded like it was running on two cylinders but died when I let go of the starter button.

We like the outboard engine solution. We have a 3.5 hp Mercury on our dinghy. I tied it to the aft quarter of the boat the other day and it did move it pretty well.

If anyone is interested in crewing to MD from Nassau let me know.
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Old 05-07-2011, 18:44   #19
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Re: Cruiser Stranded in Need of Advice

Also oil out the exhaust is more likely diesel. Unless you heard alot of grinding noises it's probably not a blown piston, more likely a blown head gasket or a stuck injector or two. As you checked the fuel filter, did you rebleed the engine. I find it easy to crack open the high pressure lines at the injectors and crank for a few seconds (with raw water off). Maybe replace the fuel filter first, before pulling the head or engine.
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Old 05-07-2011, 18:54   #20
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Re: Cruiser Stranded in Need of Advice

Oops, just saw your post. My guess is a blown head gasket. A 3gm will run on two good cylinders, big I don't think on one. The blown head gasket would account for the missing oil and is a pretty easy fix with a new head gasket and torque wrench. Have a mechanic run a compression check first.

Plus a good time to clean out the water passages on the raw water side
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Old 05-07-2011, 18:59   #21
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Re: Cruiser Stranded in Need of Advice

I do love this forum. When a person is in real need they get a huge response within one hour and even more thereafter.

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Old 05-07-2011, 19:33   #22
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Re: Cruiser Stranded in Need of Advice

I agree Cruiser Forum takes care of it's members. I appreciate the quick and substantial responses!

I did bleed the engine and fuel came out of all of the high pressure lines. Some other important info: I replaced the water pump">raw water pump, the raw water hoses, the fuel lift pump, the on engine fuel filter casing, the primary fuel filter (racor 500), the fuel lines, the exhaust manifold cover, the thermostat, all three zincs, and the exhaust muffler all within the last year.

Tomorrow I will open up the hood (take off the valve cover) and see what I see.

Thanks again
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Old 05-07-2011, 19:48   #23
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Re: Cruiser Stranded in Need of Advice

Sounds like a similar issue to the problem I had with my 3GM30. It ended up being a cracked piston. (2600 hours on the engine) I had mine fixed in the Virgin islands. The cylinder bore was not damaged, so the cylinders were honed and the great mechanic put a new piston rod/ bearing set in all 3 cylinders. The bill was I think $2200 or somthing like that, which included removing the engine dockside and putting it back. The head had been rebuilt in St Martin, by a mechanic who didnt diagnose it right. We almost got in a fist fight.... but that's another story...
If the engine doesnt start...replacing all those peripheral pumps etc isnt helping anything... removing the head might tell you if it's a head gasket...but if you're getting black oil out of the engine...sounds like a piston... unless the gasket if blown into an oil passageway...in which case it should run but smoke a lot....If you can find a good mechanic in Nassau, then educate yourself on the cost of pistons etc. Trying to push your boat with the dingy wont be easy in the gulfstream... if you try that, gettin a bigger outboard might help... Sailorchic is right...get that valve cover off and see what's going on....
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Old 05-07-2011, 19:51   #24
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Re: Cruiser Stranded in Need of Advice

Do you have enough power generation to run your electric without the engine? With autopilot 2 shouldnt have too much problem once you get used to a sleep schedule. Generator? Solar? Windgen?
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Old 05-07-2011, 19:54   #25
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Re: Cruiser Stranded in Need of Advice

interesting. our engine has 2560 hours on it.

Like I said the first place quoted us close to $10k for a new engine install. The other place quoted $2-3k plus parts for a rebuild. But I feel like if I let them take the engine out here I'm committed to whatever they want to do. So if the engine has to come out, that can wait till the States.
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Old 05-07-2011, 19:55   #26
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Re: Cruiser Stranded in Need of Advice

Bright eyes- I have a friend that has a 3gm that was running only at 2/3 max speed throwing tons of raw fuel out the exhaust. I was thinking rings or something. Someone said check the exhaust elbow- they get clogged. His elbow was partially plugged. Before making major investment I would remove the elbow.
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Old 05-07-2011, 20:01   #27
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Re: Cruiser Stranded in Need of Advice

While I'm taking thing apart I might as well take the elbow out too. I've always heard to check there, thanks.

Yes we have two 85watt solar panels. Our batteries don't hold much power at night though. Thanks for reminding me of that. We would probably put one new battery in for the trip. If that Garmin died in the middle of the night in the Atlantic there would be serious mutiny aboard...
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Old 05-07-2011, 20:35   #28
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Re: Cruiser Stranded in Need of Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bright Eyes View Post
. . . If that Garmin died in the middle of the night in the Atlantic there would be serious mutiny aboard...
I thought you were in Nassau, Bahamas. The route back to Florida is pretty straight west across the Banks and then 45nm across the Gulf Stream. Unless you are seriously lost you will never be out "in the middle of the Atlantic." So long as you are able to steer "westward" you will run into the USA.
- - But anyway, a portable GPS like the Garmin 76 or other series runs on AA batteries, so have a drawer full before heading out.
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Old 05-07-2011, 20:38   #29
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Re: Cruiser Stranded in Need of Advice

I don't think small Yanmars react well to starting fluid and if not before than I would now suspect a broken ring land which would contribute to the blow by. This may or may not be easily visible when the head is pulled off but a little thin oil on top of each piston will indicate a bad one or ones by the rate the oil disappears. I'd gladly help if I was there.
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Old 05-07-2011, 21:00   #30
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Re: Cruiser Stranded in Need of Advice

I'm not a sailor or a Yanmar sort of guy but I am a Heavy Equip. mechanic and my mind is travelling in the same direction as Vribusunitis, judging from the horsepower and perhaps even the model number, this engine is multicylinder. It's odd that a valve or piston (singular problem) would prevent all cylinders from doing something. I urge you to look for problems that are common to all the cylinders. A chain is an excellent possibility but does not necessarily address the oil issue. Does the chain also drive the fuel pump? When you crank it over does it spin unusually fast? (compression loss) I notice you mentioned compression levers.... in any case dealing with a mechanic you don't trust is worse than no mechanic at all. Sounds to me there are some folks here who believe you can get the ol' girl back to Florida and some friendly eyes. By the way, if you start ripping and tearing away at that engine yourself, do you have a means to control water flow (sea cocks)?

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