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Old 25-08-2014, 23:17   #1
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Question Help with a Repower, maybe with a Hand Crank Diesel?

Hi gents,
I may be doing a repower not too far down the road, & was hoping to get some tips & links on the subject.
First off, skill level wise, things glass & or wood aren't much of an obstacle for me, up to & including building engine beds, or cutting the sole out of the cockpit to remove, or install things. Nor is creating & running a simple to mid-level wiring harness for an engine. But as to line boring for shafts, & custom fabricating P-brackets, etc. I know that's where I'd be hiring some help. But no worries on that, knock on wood.

What I'm wondering is, who out there has installed & or lived with a diesel which could be started by means other than it's battery operated starter? Anywhere from 20-60hp is enough propulsive power, & there's plenty of room on the boat for (almost) any iron jenny. I'm just not sure what to look for & where. And whether or not it's possible/reasonable to start a 50hp diesel, even if it has a compression release.

Part of me toying with the idea of a hand or via other unique means, crankable engine, is that it's a nice feature when your batteries have gone flat. Plus it's good to know mentally, that you have an ace up your sleeve. I LOVED being able to do this when I had an Atomic-4 on my 1st boat, ages ago. Not that I did it a lot, but it was handy as heck.

Knock on wood, I've been sailing long enough, that I FAR prefer a vessel which sails well. And thus, primarily, the engine is a crowded harbor maneuvering tool. And the wind & sun primarily provide the "trons" to run my toys, lights, & radios etc.
As they say, if you're in a hurry, hop onto a plane.

Although I did read about a gent who built the family's 40' or so, boat, with a 27hp'ish SAAB, an exhaust pyrometer, & a controllable pitch propeller. And said setup did the trick for them. The pyrometer letting them know when & how much pitch to dial into the prop so as to maximize power transmission to the H2O, without overloading/overheating the engine.
Which sounds like a reasonable setup, at least to me, in my "under-educated bliss".

So... I know that some of that's kinda' vague, but it's because I'm looking for any & all of the info which I can get on the topic. Books, links, & skinned knuckles (within reason), included. PLUS, of course, I'm on a budget ;-)

Thanks in advance.

PS: I've also heard of emergency starters which operate on power stored in a large spring. As well as systems where as a SCUBA bottle is plumbed into the engine's systems, & used to get things spinning up to speed, prior to hitting the ignition switch. Albeit I've ZERO experience or real knowledge of either.
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Old 25-08-2014, 23:37   #2
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Re: Help with a Repower, maybe with a Hand Crank Diesel?

Use the search feature and type in HYDRAULIC START PERKINS. It is an interesting alternative. There have been many small diesels with compression reliefs and hand cranks, but at 40 HP the pickings are slim. I dont know just what model the lifeboat Perkins were, but with a 12 volt pump to work most of the time, and the hand pump for when your electrics pack up, it seems like a good alternative. People who go to sea depending on electrons, often get bite on the backside. ______Grant.
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Old 25-08-2014, 23:51   #3
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Re: Help with a Repower, maybe with a Hand Crank Diesel?

You will have a hard time finding a new hand crank startable diesel. Volvo, SABB, etc are either out of business or no longer making them.

If you can find one in decent condition, a Volvo MD3 would be a good fit in a boat your size. You'll have to hit all the Craig's Lists in world to find one, unfortunately. One was for sail in the SF Bay area a while back but undoubtedly long since sold. Did see a Sabb 2 cylinder in India that was lifeboat takeout. Supposedly very low hours and in good condition. The SABB's were real torquers and have variable pitch props so worked in boats that you'd think would need a larger engine.

Crank started my MD2 Volvo for 10 years. Wasn't a big thing to get it started. Actually started MD3 Volvo which took a lot more strength to get rotating. Don't know if I'd want to do it on a regular basis unless I was still 30 years old and in good shape.

Think there used to be a requirement that lifeboat engines be capable of crank starting. Apparently that requirement was dropped and demand for them went away. Anyone verify this??
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Old 25-08-2014, 23:59   #4
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Re: Help with a Repower, maybe with a Hand Crank Diesel?

Thanks gents, I'll start in with the Googlefu in the am.
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Old 27-08-2014, 01:18   #5
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Re: Help with a Repower, maybe with a Hand Crank Diesel?

check out Lister. We used to use them to run our compressors in the oilfield. They were hand crank and ran 24/7. Minimal problems. This was 30 years ago.
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Old 27-08-2014, 03:09   #6
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Help with a Repower, maybe with a Hand Crank Diesel?

I know this is a really boring suggestion but I simply bought a spare new starter motor and have a house battery bank made up of multiples of 12 volts so that I can combine them for our 24 volt engine start if the engine bank fails. KISS principal really.

Matt

P.S. There is no way I going to be able hand start our 3.5 litre 4 pot.

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Old 27-08-2014, 04:41   #7
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Re: Help with a Repower, maybe with a Hand Crank Diesel?

I put an old hand start 7 hp yanmar into a yacht I built many years ago. My 30 year old self had no trouble but age and larger engines make hand starting much more problematic.

There are spring starters available for many diesel engines. Try Google.

My opinion is that if a diesel, the fuel system, the electrical system and all associated components are well designed and maintained then starting is not going to be a problem.

Having a backup charging system like a bank of solar panels may be desirable.
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Old 27-08-2014, 05:58   #8
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Re: Help with a Repower, maybe with a Hand Crank Diesel?

Few today are built to be started by hand. Look up Bukh.

Youtube Bukh hand start etc shows how easy it is.

We have an older VP MD7. Easily started by hand.

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Old 27-08-2014, 06:05   #9
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Re: Help with a Repower, maybe with a Hand Crank Diesel?

Fully rebuilt Lister hand start diesels are available from Lister UK
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Old 27-08-2014, 06:28   #10
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Re: Help with a Repower, maybe with a Hand Crank Diesel?

Remember,a hand start diesel with decompression levers is probably going to be very heavy,compared to a similar capacity electric start. They have a huge flywheel to keep it spinning as you throw the levers.
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Old 27-08-2014, 10:22   #11
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Re: Help with a Repower, maybe with a Hand Crank Diesel?

Volvo MD6 - 10hp/MD7A - 13hp/MD7B - 17hp all have a special fitting for hand start.

The PO of my boat did hand start the MD7A once in a while, to show off.

I gave it a go once and had trouble keeping the damn thing spinning while I threw the compression release. Maybe I can do it if I have a second person to throw the compression release or gigger a way to do it faster.

But these are OLD engines.

An alternative would be to have a gas powered generator (al la Honda EU2000) which could charge a battery bank to spin the starter and a spare starter. I kinda like that approach as the EU2000 has a lot of applications.
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Old 27-08-2014, 10:36   #12
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Re: Help with a Repower, maybe with a Hand Crank Diesel?

One word. Bukh!

Or any SOLAS level engine used in lifeboats.
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Old 27-08-2014, 11:01   #13
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Re: Help with a Repower, maybe with a Hand Crank Diesel?

How about two engines....the main uses an air starter, then a smaller single cylinder engine with a recoil start runs an air compressor. It's good enough for offshore platforms!!


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Old 29-08-2014, 01:19   #14
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Re: Help with a Repower, maybe with a Hand Crank Diesel?

Thanks for all the tips, Truly!
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