TD Power Marine Engine
. TDME series marine diesel
engines. Manufactured by the Jiangyan Xinyang Machine-building Co. China
. Model TDME 385
This post is a continuation on a former thread titled Chinese Diesel
engines. That thread opened with a query if anyone had experience with TD Power Marine Diesel engines. Unfortunately from there, the thread quickly degraded into a banal diatribe on Chinese manufacturing until the moderator eventually closed the discussion down.
I’m opening the subject again to share my experience with the two TDME 385 engines I bought. My point is to offer some user feedback on these apparently little known engines and hope anyone else out there with experience with these engines will also post.
I bought 2 engines (2 I believe is the minimum order the factory will sell). I’ve a couple of project
boats in the Solomon Islands and the manufacturer arranged to have the engines shipped here for me. Buying
was easy and the contact at the manufacturer was very helpful. Nothing but praise for that part.
OK, now though the story gets more complex.
Both engines were sold and delivered with what is arguably a manufacturing fault. A simple fault that was easily fixed - once I was aware of it - but before that a fault which had very serious consequences.
breather or ventilator is connected to the sump with a length of about 15cms of rubber hose. The way that this is assembled (on the two engines I bought) the short length of hose is installed with a hard 90 degree bend. This tight bend causes the hose to kink and the oil
breather or ventilator is then blocked. This caused a catastrophic oil loss out of the hand sump pump. This occurred on both my engines. Engine
1 at 5.2 hours of operation, the second at 7.1 hours. I certainly wasn’t anticipating this! Plus the event was further compounded because engine 1 came with a malfunctioning oil pressure gauge. The oil pressure alarm
did work though, and when this went off I immediately shut the engine down. But upon refilling with oil and inspection
, I was devastated to find that the engine had seized.
I took some video when this happened and the clip can be viewed here:
TDME 385 on Vimeo
Needless to say, a brand new engine, just 5.2 hours of opeartion and just having spent quite a bit of money
to not only buy and import
it but also have it professionally installed etc. I was not just a little disappointed.
That night I emailed the manufacturer politely asking if they had any suggestions why the engine would pump out its oil from the hand sump pump. A reply came back right away saying check if anything obstructing the oil breather. I took a look. Nothing, only a suspicious looking kinked hose installation
, but that’s how it came installed from the factory and I figure they know their engines better than I do, so I left it as is.
This all occurred 120 miles from home, so following day I secured a place to leave the boat and seized engine, and with no small amount of trepidation and weary confidence, set off for home in the second boat powered by second engine.
At 7.1 hours of operation that engine also did the same spontaneous oil dump! The engine’s entire oil contents pumped out of the hand sump pump in just moments! This time though after experience with engine one, we were on guard and shut down immediately, before the oil alarm
even had the chance to light up.
Thinking of the manufacturer’s advice, I opened up the oil breather or ventilator on this engine too. Nothing, all clear. It had to be the kinked hose. So I removed the breather from the manufacturer’s positioning so that the hose was straight. Bingo! Like flicking a switch, the problem solved
. Great relief! And we could now run the second engine OK.
I"ve attached a photo
of the kinked hose installation
Back home I emailed the manufacturer and I must stress here, no hard words or accusation. I was just relived to have got home OK with the second engine and figured there must be an explanation and we could work it out. What I was most curious about is my contact at the factory had told me that he’d sold lots of these engines, so why had such a simple, but catastrophic error slipped through? Not just on one of the engines I bought, but both!!!!?
A reply was quick, but circumspect. Apologetic, but dismissive and when I pressed to the raise the subject of back up or warranty, the replies then slowed right down.
I asked why if they had sold many of these engines (as I’d been told when I enquired about their history) had they not picked up this problem in the past? The information in response is ambiguous, though in fairness that may also just simply be language. But first reply was, ‘Sorry for this problem, i sold many many this kind engines, and never meet this problem, the rubber pipe is moulded pipe.’
Did that mean that the hose should have been or is ordinarily ‘moulded pipe’? That makes sense, so I enquired again and reply, ‘Bend rubber pipe is standard for our 380/385/480 engine, we never meet this problem in other markets.’
So looks like I just had bad luck ……. not once, but twice! Mmmmm I can’t help but be a bit incredulous.
Final response has been ‘Can you find a engineer
to inspect this engine? and find the problem?’ This is referring to my question of warranty on the seized engine and fixing it, possibly no minor mechanical task and I replied asking for any technical and mechanical information? A parts
breakdown, a mud map of any kind to help mechanic
with an engine they’ve never seen/worked on before? But I’ve had no luck getting any information from the manufacturers. Only the user manual, which goes no further than explaining how to change the oil filter
So, to offer some feedback to others looking at or considering these engines. To offer some user rating:
process was good and easy. No problem handing over your money
and I rate that as GOOD.
The engines: Well, I have one that seized after just 5.2 hours, as described above and a second that after the kinked hose fault was solved
, now run for just 70 hours in a month and it appears to run well. It is showing signs of rapid rust and on close scrutiny it’s evident that the quality of the materials isn’t the greatest. For example the metal bracket that holds the plastic cooling water
reservoir snapped. The mounting feet that come with the engine I are very light construction and I didn’t use them. But hey, you get what you pay for, and at 1/3 the price
of a name engine, I wasn’t expecting a Yanmar
. Plus to be fair, the environment
here in the Solomon Islands is high humidity salty and very corrosive on everything so in even-handedness, all things rust fast here. So if I draw a median between one seized engine and one working OK, I guess AVERAGE is fair feedback on my experience with these engines.
After sales service
, back up: For me this is the real disappointing part. Like I said, you get what you pay for and they’re budget
engines, so I’m open minded and willing to accept that I took a punt on them. All I expected or want is a just plain honest discussion with the manufacturer about a solution. I feel shunned or abandoned by the people I put my trust in and that really does erode my confidence in them and the product. The guy from the factory I dealt with had been helpful during the sales process and we’d exchanged a fair bit of correspondence and I’d genuinely appreciated his assistance. However, once there was a hint of trouble, to me it felt like he just ran away and didn’t want to know about it. From my view, this is the greatest weakness with these engines and I think that this will make it difficult for most people to take these engines seriously. If the manufacturer doesn’t standby their product and runs at the first hint of trouble, it does make one wonder how much confidence they too have in what they sell. So to offer my experience rating on after-sales, I’d have to say VERY POOR.
I hope that this changes. I mean I hope that my experience with back up from the manufacturer changes. I will probably need to some how get parts
from the manufacturer when I get the seized engine apart and find out what’s still operating and what’s not, and I can only hope that they will be more helpful.
I’ll keep posting
and sharing my experience on how things go with these engines, as I put more hours on it/them. I’m hoping the plural and I can get both operating! And I’ll share too my experience with the manufacturer and how things go with getting parts/information for the seized engine.
In conclusion, my point with this post is to provide some user feedback for others interested in or considering these engines. Needless to say, I am pissed-off with the outcome and who wouldn’t be with an engine seized after just 5.2 hours! But an Internet
tirade, momentarily satisfying as it might be, doesn’t tell a full story but just mine. Like I opened with, I hope others too with experience with these engines too might join in this conversation to tell that wider story.
Gatokae Island, Solomon Islands.
PS If you’re about the hit reply with a harangue on Chinese manufacturing, can I politely suggest open a new thread and leave this one for discussion on these engines.