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Old 15-03-2013, 20:33   #16
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Re: More electronics in diesels = more problems?

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
I think for an average user, more electronics is good.

But it is (for me) more difficult to fix up engines with too much electronics.

So to say, problem to few, blessing to most.

b.
Amen to that. I can make from scratch most wearing or corrodable parts for a diesel engine up until about the Yanmar GM series, at a pinch. Luckily, I can also buy them.

And run the resulting engine on anything resembling diesel.

If I get a fuel bug, or a clogged filter, I can fix that en route, with the resources I have.

At a pinch, I can run the engine fully submerged. Certainly with a dead battery.


From about that generation of engine, it gets progressively harder, up until the day not too long hence, when (if things continue on the current trajectory) all chance of autonomous self reliance will be off, cruising outside of the reach of FedEx will be non-viable, and we will all be tightly lashed to the apron strings of a "don't fix it, replace it" juggernaut.

If that works for some people reading this, then I'm happy for you. Just don't expect everyone else to pretend it works for them. It certainly doesn't for me.
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Old 15-03-2013, 20:39   #17
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Re: More electronics in diesels = more problems?

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Thanks, never monday, for the viewpoint.

The only thing I'd put against your positive experience is that yacht diesels are often used infrequently and lightly... over a hoped-for lifespan of decades, whereas a truck diesel engine has probably been run into the ground twice in 10 years (assuming a big rebuild after 5 years). So the question is... will a small marine diesel with common-rail, electrically controlled injectors and ECU stand up to the expected use pattern and lifespan without maintenance costs bankrupting the boat-owner?

Also, the new common-rail diesels work with a higher pressure to the injectors, and this requires a better pump and more precision in the injectors. An article i linked to earlier suggested that there were many field problems with injectors made with inferior materials compared to the Bosch injectors, and other pressure related wear and failures. Do you think these concerns are realistic?
I don't have any data yet on <50hr a year of use. Like I said, these are starting in power boat world. Most are in the 100hr/year category. The maintenance cost will be about the same as a mechanical engine. Oil, filters, coolant, impellers, etc....we don't have a procedure to replace your electrons on a 250hr interval.
The electrical parts should last pretty much forever. Baring lightning, vandalism, physical damage.

I only deal with OE parts. They are designed for the CR system pressures. The 29k psi you quoted. Is probably from system that was being over driven. Normal pressures at full load are in the 21k psi area. Dropping to 6k psi at idle. It is a variable psi based on load.
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Old 15-03-2013, 20:57   #18
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Re: More electronics in diesels = more problems?

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This isn't something that needs to be scary. It's different, new and intimidating to most. But the engineers designing these systems are boaters too.
It might look scary and overwhelming at first, like the ECDIS were when the first chartplotters and integrated electronics showed up on boats. As mentioned, the EVC systems are in use and being tested in marine environment since circa 2005. Thousands of gasoline and diesel powered boats with various engine configurations use them. Here is an example of Volvo Penta EVC environment from circa 2006 (diesel or gasoline engine, same environment):



The average sailing boat will not use most of the component above, but the ability to integrate the engine controls with boat monitoring systems exists thanks to ECU installed on the engine. Using NMEA interface this can be further integrated with other sailing boat systems like GPS, autopilot, or chartplotter.

FWIW ...
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Old 15-03-2013, 22:42   #19
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Re: More electronics in diesels = more problems?

I just today heard about a fairly late model SUV (Range Rover) which had to be written off after the 80 yo owner got in a bit of a muddle when they were crossing a river (supposedly because a quadbike seemed to be in their way), stopped, stalled, and opened a door.

The main computer being fitted under the passenger seat, this was not a good thing to do. In spite of it being fresh water, and the fact that they managed to drive out (but with random electrical things happening) the owner was told by the master dealership that the vehicle could not be repaired.

I wasn't able to verify the full story with the source and it sounds fishy to me, but it does increasingly seem that the latest crop of 4WD vehicles cannot be driven off road with impunity, because the various electrical sensors and electronic systems cannot be relied on to tolerate it.
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Old 15-03-2013, 23:01   #20
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Re: More electronics in diesels = more problems?

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I just today heard about a fairly late model SUV (Range Rover) which had to be written off after the 80 yo owner got in a bit of a muddle when they were crossing a river (supposedly because a quadbike seemed to be in their way), stopped, stalled, and opened a door.

The main computer being fitted under the passenger seat, this was not a good thing to do. In spite of it being fresh water, and the fact that they managed to drive out (but with random electrical things happening) the owner was told by the master dealership that the vehicle could not be repaired.
Geez ... open the door ... really? Effectively this made the vehicle a flooded vehicle aka salvage covered by insurance. I bet Range Rover does not makes claims that their vehicles are marinized ...

Regarding car electronics and water ...

Once I took a dunk in Atlantic Ocean with a car remote in my pocket. Later, I was able to open the car doors, started the engine okay ... but from that moment on the car alarm sounded and disabled the car. It was rather embarrassing and a lot of pressure until I was able to open the remote, and dry and clean its guts. Also ... I had some explaining to do to the friendly local police officer.
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Old 16-03-2013, 00:06   #21
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Re: More electronics in diesels = more problems?

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Geez ... open the door ... really? Effectively this made the vehicle a flooded vehicle aka salvage covered by insurance. I bet Range Rover does not makes claims that their vehicles are marinized ...
.
Not a big deal or anything a proper 4wd off road car shouldn't face. I done my part off river crossings and the water comes in allways when the water level is high enough. Why you think we put snorkels on our off road vehicles?
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Old 16-03-2013, 04:31   #22
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Re: More electronics in diesels = more problems?

Seriously Andrew?
Are you going to fight City Hall on this issue?
This is the future of all engines, car, boat, even lawn mowers will be fuel injected eventually.
It's either accept the technology. Believe the companies want to deliver a suitable product.

Or, go simple, go now.

Thank you for your input to this thread. But I don't welcome it. I hijacked the thread to correct some misinformation. I intend this to be a factual, positive conversation.
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Old 16-03-2013, 07:04   #23
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Re: More electronics in diesels = more problems?

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I intend this to be a factual, positive conversation.
A couple of times found it a bit hard to stay positive when the immobilizer kicks in without any real reason.
On the bright side there's way looongger maintenance intervals, thou some models need computer for the task.
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Old 16-03-2013, 07:44   #24
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Re: More electronics in diesels = more problems?

sounds like i get to rebuild my perkins until i am dead, then let it be someone elses problem....glad it works perfect.....
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Old 16-03-2013, 08:04   #25
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Re: More electronics in diesels = more problems?

I have a pair of Tier 2 Cummins diesels onboard that are computer controlled with an ECM and are common rail (computer controlled, piezoelectric solenoid injectors). Common rail is not a new idea for marine Diesels, it goes back as far as 1916 in a Vickers submarine engine.

Yes, if you lose DC to the engine(s) then you are dead in the water.

The good part to computer controlled engines is that they are quieter, more efficient and much cleaner burning. You also don't need a computer to service them, the engine readout (SmartCraft panel) provides whatever codes that might come up. The SmartCraft panel provides all kinds of other engine information that you would not get with a less advanced older engine. Knowing what is going on with your engine can save you money if you take care of any problems or potential problems before things go from ok now to worse in the future.

If you engineer the electronics right then they can be extremely reliable. How often do airplanes fall out of the sky from electrical or computer problems?

I would not trade these engines for the old non-Tier 2 engines they replaced.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_rail
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Old 16-03-2013, 08:10   #26
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Re: More electronics in diesels = more problems?

FWIW,

No experience with common rail yet, but we do have two electronically controlled diesels:

The Cummins ISB in our 1998 Ram tow vehicle has been flawless for 15 years.

Our boat's Volvo KAD44 is also 15 years old, with 5100 hours on it so far. We carry spares for lots of things, belts impellers filters props etc, but none for electronics.

Its electronics got confused once, when I stupidly let one battery bank get too low by leaving the electric water heater on while sitting at the dock after unplugging from shore power and turning on the inverter. Temp alarms that were not valid began to pop up. After shutting down engine, water heater and inverter, switching batteries off to let the electronic controls reset, and then switching to the other bank, all was well. In 40,000 nm of cruising, that was the closest we ever came to having no electric power.

When a mechanical failure (the clamp between the turbo and exhaust elbow started coming apart) was sensed by the electronics, the engine went into limp home mode, rather than pumping tons of hot exhaust into the engine compartment unbeknownst to me. This also alerted me right away to the problem.

Our KAD44 smokes far less than its non-electronic predecessors, gets better mileage, and runs well at high or relatively low power levels.

Electronic engines work just fine for us.
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Old 16-03-2013, 08:31   #27
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Re: More electronics in diesels = more problems?

Before we moved to Louisiana, I worked on a lot of commerical fishing boat diesel emgines. I had a pretty good customer list. Then One of my good customers had a new Cummings engine installed ! Fine engine, but it had a bad smoking at start up and on accleration. With a little work I adjusted this out of the engine! happy customer right? not hardly! It was a electronic engine, and the cummings mechanic hooked it up to the factory with his puter stuff and the factory readjusted the engine to factory specs and it was right back to it's smoking again !! They told the boat owner that anymore adjustment would void the warrenty!! so he was stuck with a smoking engine !! I decided that I was through with electronic controlled engines! Theres nothing really wrong with the idea, but Im gonna stick with my older engines in my cruisers, that I can fix myself ! We now have a Detroit 471, that I can get parts for anywhere! and fix in the dark with a cresent wrench !! LOL theres something to be said for the old stuff ! Perkins, older volvos, leahman ect !! make me a happy mechanic!!
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Old 16-03-2013, 08:44   #28
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Re: More electronics in diesels = more problems?

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Oil, filters, coolant, impellers, etc....we don't have a procedure to replace your electrons on a 250hr interval.
The electrical parts should last pretty much forever. Baring lightning, vandalism, physical damage.

I only deal with OE parts. They are designed for the CR system pressures. The 29k psi you quoted. Is probably from system that was being over driven. Normal pressures at full load are in the 21k psi area. Dropping to 6k psi at idle. It is a variable psi based on load.
I'm in electronics, so I have pretty high faith in that part.

[edit] I sympathize with Bob's story too,. That's more a problem of the field service being restricted to following an inflexible process, and the factory refusing to acknowledge that their mandated settings need revision.

I can recall about 15 years back, BMW owners quietly circulating firmware which, when burned to a ROM IC and used to replace the factory IC, markedly improved the car performance.

I am more concerned about the higher mechanical tolerances required for the high fuel pressure and particularly for the injectors with finer tips and smaller orifices. The report I read seemed to indicate that the metallurgy and mechanical precision are that much more critical, which to me suggests that for the world-cruiser, using diesel fuel of varying composition, there may be potential for more frequent injector failures and higher repair bills.

Of course, we now have 3TB hard disk drives for $99, so the capability to mass-produce with precision seems certain.

[edit] I sympathize with Bob's story too,. That's more a problem of the field service being restricted to following an inflexible process, and the factory refusing to acknowledge that their mandated settings need revision.

I can recall about 15 years back, BMW owners quietly circulating firmware which, when burned to a ROM IC and used to replace the factory IC, markedly improved the car performance. No comment re the emissions...
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Old 16-03-2013, 09:03   #29
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Re: More electronics in diesels = more problems?

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Not a big deal or anything a proper 4wd off road car shouldn't face. I done my part off river crossings and the water comes in allways when the water level is high enough. Why you think we put snorkels on our off road vehicles?
As far as I know, any flooded vehicle claim gets written off by the insurance company. period. Regardless of whether there was lasting damage. So... 80 yo with a stock Range Rover? Of course it will be claimed, and written off. Now, can anyone direct me to where I can buy the "wreck"?
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Old 16-03-2013, 09:06   #30
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Re: More electronics in diesels = more problems?

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Before we moved to Louisiana, I worked on a lot of commerical fishing boat diesel emgines. I had a pretty good customer list. Then One of my good customers had a new Cummings engine installed ! Fine engine, but it had a bad smoking at start up and on accleration. With a little work I adjusted this out of the engine! happy customer right? not hardly! It was a electronic engine, and the cummings mechanic hooked it up to the factory with his puter stuff and the factory readjusted the engine to factory specs and it was right back to it's smoking again !! They told the boat owner that anymore adjustment would void the warrenty!! so he was stuck with a smoking engine !! I decided that I was through with electronic controlled engines! Theres nothing really wrong with the idea, but Im gonna stick with my older engines in my cruisers, that I can fix myself ! We now have a Detroit 471, that I can get parts for anywhere! and fix in the dark with a cresent wrench !! LOL theres something to be said for the old stuff ! Perkins, older volvos, leahman ect !! make me a happy mechanic!!
A smoking engine under warranty should be a free fix. Cummins has been good to me with warranty repairs.
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