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Old 10-08-2013, 13:56   #1
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TD Power Marine, Chinese Marine Diesel Engine

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.

The oil 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:

Buying 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.

Aye aye,

Pagu
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.
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Old 10-08-2013, 17:13   #2
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Are you sure the hose was bent before the install?
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Old 10-08-2013, 20:15   #3
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Re: TD Power Marine, Chinese marine diesel engine

What you see in the photo is as how came from factory. I took that photo BEFORE I repositioned the hose and straightened. Photo is as installed and fitted at factory. Same on both engines.

I was doubtful could have been cause of block to the oil breather - given that is how the engine came from manufacturer. But installed with a bend like that obviously makes a kink and as per my post, once I straightened. Problem of oil loss immediately solved. Problem of seized engine more complex!

Anyone else out there ever seen one of these engines? Factory tells me that is standard installation (the bent rubber hose). If that's the case I find it hard to believe that I'm the first and only buyer to have had problem with this blocking the oil breather.
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:03   #4
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Re: TD Power Marine, Chinese marine diesel engine

Wow sorry for your seized engine, we post in the previous topic some doubts about this engines , you remember well.

A ruber hose conected from the sump to the top breather? thats correct? if yes, what a lame way to design a breather conection, the engine gases and presure runing inside of the engine looking for a exit point, in your case the sump pump,quite normal as you dont have old crank seals to blow out or a loose oil dipstick. Some serious blow by in Yanmars cause the oil dipstick to blow out from their sump, if i remember in the 3gm series, now using a ruber hose in the oil sump, insane...

Now the expensive brands aka Yanmars ,, perkins , volvos , design their oil gasses breathers in the top head valve cover in some cases, no weak points like a ruber hose, even i post in the chow engines previous topic that this engines use Iron cranks and who know in the rest of internal parts, in your case quite normal , with 5 hours that engine got the crank bearings , pistons etc.. with very close tolerance , break in, no oil for few seconds and Bang!!

Thx again for posting your experience, this remind us not to expend a cent in this engines, for you ok maybe, you have 2 engines in a small power boat, imagine that scenario happen in a sailboat beating to windward in gale with a lee shore and with disable sails.

I hope the warranty cover a new engine for you, install again, money, where is the benefit??

In my case after 28 years in the boat bussines im not going to play the guinea pig with no one, not even any crapy marine gear or product coming from some crapy brands.

Bravo for you for taking the risk, we learn againg from others... Cheers...
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Old 11-08-2013, 10:24   #5
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Re: TD Power Marine, Chinese marine diesel engine

I can sugest you, take off that shity piece of rubber, get some wire reinforced marine hose , a 90 degres bronze elbow with niples, and voila!!!
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Old 12-08-2013, 03:58   #6
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Re: TD Power Marine, Chinese marine diesel engine

Thanks! A really useful item of information. I am thinking about getting one of these engines and if I do, I will surely pay attention to this possible problem. As I recall from that previous discussion - the actual engine related posts - was that one of the posters indicated that the hoses were of generally poor quality and that they should probably be immediately replaced. A similar comment also applied to the gaskets although this might be a tad more difficult and need to wait for a problem. It was also indicated that the sea water pump from the original maker was immediately replaced on European engines - and a comment on how easy this is to do might be useful. Another comment involved the penchant for older/inexpensive diesel engines to collect metal shavings in the oil. It would seem like this has two possible 'easy' solutions: first, one could add a bypass oil filter using a 'T' off the oil pressure sensor and a return line into the oil filler spout or some such; and, second, the addition of a strong magnet to collect iron/steel shavings that find their way into the oil pan. I used the first solution for many years on my MotoGuzzi motorcycle which did not have an oil filter and it kept the oil really clean. The second solution I have never used but saw it advertised as an aftermarket oil pan drain plug replacement some years ago and it struck me as a good idea that was cheap and not too difficult. Another item gained from the previous post was that the smaller TDME engines were 'based on' a Kubota design - is this true of the 385? The sales person I am emailing sent me a parts list for engine and I am requesting a number of these items with my engine order. Any other information that you can supply is very welcome.
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Old 12-08-2013, 04:13   #7
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Re: TD Power Marine, Chinese marine diesel engine

Pagu wrote: "This caused a catastrophic oil loss out of the hand sump pump." ==> I gather that this means that the engine comes with a built in hand sump pump for changing engine oil. The manual says that the oil 'can be' pumped out but doesn't make clear there is a pump for this. I am not sure the sales guy knows this as I have asked about it, but no answer yet. It is my understanding that this is an item added when the outfits that marinize Kubota engines do their thing.

They did not object to my ordering only one engine, and your positive feedback on the order process was also useful as my engine will have to be shipped to Cebu in the Philippines. One is sometimes apprehensive about send money away without knowing if the item will actually show up (one reason I have never actually used e-bay). Thanks again for your useful post.
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Old 12-08-2013, 14:31   #8
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Re: TD Power Marine, Chinese marine diesel engine

(Quote) Another item gained from the previous post was that the smaller TDME engines were 'based on' a Kubota design - is this true of the 385? The sales person I am emailing sent me a parts list for engine and I am requesting a number of these items with my engine order. Any other information that you can supply is very welcome.[/QUOTE]

I would be very wary of this claim that the engine has been based on a Kubota design. Remember that a copy that is unlikely to provide the same service life or reliability as the original. I have been on the td-power.com website and the engines shown bear no resemblance to any Kubota diesel.
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Old 12-08-2013, 15:59   #9
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Re: TD Power Marine, Chinese marine diesel engine

Hand sump pump appears to be standard, though your right it is not in the owner manual so must be relatively new.

Buying, sending money was fine. Good. I too was very apprehensive and have been done before on eBay doing this.

I’d ask them about back up in advent of incidents like mine. Chance now to raise up front while your holding the cards i.e haven’t paid yet!

I wish I had a known about this hose in advance – would have saved me a seized engine. I am incredulous that the factory would ordinarily manufacturer engines with the kink hose installation. Who knows what happened. Perhaps the person who did that assembly was inexperienced, or they were short of hose that day so made the length too short.

The core of the engine system may be OK. I’ll be able to comment more after further hours. I’m not necessarily saying the engines aren’t worth their money. The alternative I was considering was recon’d known brands and those engines were near double the price of these. Obviously these won’t suit every buyer. Neil’s scenario of the sailboat beating off a lee shore; I wouldn’t be installing one of these if I ever thought it likely I’d be in situation where I really need to depend on them! We won’t know until more guinea pig buyers, mugs like me who have an engine seize over a 15cm length of hose worth a couple of $ at most!

I missed the post about the water pump replacement in European engines? Can you tell more about this?

I too received parts list from sales guy. Standard and easily recplaceable parts though, not rings, bearings etc that I’m now anticipating! I ordered a couple of spare impellors. It took a lot of emails to eventually get them, but they did arrive and they are identical to a common Johnson impeller available from any irrigation shop in Australia so that’s handy rather than having to go back to dozens of emails to the manufacturer.

As for Kubota comparison. I’m not familiar enough with Kubota to compare. The boss at the yard I had them installed in my boats said they looked like a copy of Masey Fergusson tractor engines!

Lastly I’m about to head out to a remote atoll for a few weeks so off line until then.
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Old 12-08-2013, 19:53   #10
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Re: TD Power Marine, Chinese marine diesel engine

With respect to the European pump replacement - this was one of the few useful posts in the previous closed thread. Manitu wrote: "I know that the question is in the metallurgy, at least when we are talking about kubota copies. I was hoping that they could use genuine kubota parts if some parts are rubbish. I know their seawater pumps are crap, bur engines sold in europe has a johnson pump fitted. Oh, and by the way, tdme/m-power has retailers in norway,sweden,UK,Netherlands,spain...."

Based on your yard's observation that it looks like a Massey Rergusson (now AGCO) - the fact that you have found a common Johnson impeller to fit is also useful - the part number would be useful when you get around to it. Perhaps Manitu's wish to use original parts for repair will still be possible if we can pin down the MF diesel that the TDME-385 is based on (some of their model numbers look similar).
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Old 13-08-2013, 01:24   #11
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Re: TD Power Marine, Chinese marine diesel engine

For sure I'll pass on that impeller info and post some photos of pump when I'm back in range of good Internet again.

I'd like to know more about European dealers too. Any knowledge of who and how contact? I'd be very curious to try get to the bottom of the 'kinked hose' installation. If the 'bent hose' is standard across all engines, I can't believe I'm the only person to have had an issue with? Doesn't make any sense…..
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Old 14-08-2013, 19:57   #12
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Re: TD Power Marine, Chinese marine diesel engine

"I'd like to know more about European dealers too." - Manitu was the one who originally discovered the pump replacement, perhaps he can find out the model of the Johnson pump that is used and post it. Or, we could work backwards from the impellers you found - ask your source which pumps they fit. I ordered two spare impellers with my engine but not a spare pump - hopefully the original pump will work while I am finding and obtaining one of the appropriate Johnson pumps.
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Old 14-08-2013, 20:35   #13
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Re: TD Power Marine, Chinese marine diesel engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by pagu View Post
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.

The oil 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:

Buying 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.

Aye aye,

Pagu
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.
How interesting. A real world indictment on Chinese manufacturing coupled with a warning not to criticize Chinese manufacturing.

As I recall from the prior thread, those with actual experience dealing with some Chinese factories noted that frequently the excellence of the product produced was subject to engineering and QC guidance from others who actually give a rip about such things. I guess what we can learn from your experience is that these folks were probably correct, although I gather you didn't find their caution compelling.
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Old 14-08-2013, 20:55   #14
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Re: TD Power Marine, Chinese marine diesel engine

There was a post on here a couple of Mos ago, On that one I posted the trouble we have had down the bayou with these engines, Seems like somebody did not listen !! LOl do the word junk come to mind?? Sorry you got took but so did a bunch of shrimp fishermen down here !! To bad ya did not read the prior post, or listen to it !!
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Old 14-08-2013, 21:17   #15
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Re: TD Power Marine, Chinese marine diesel engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobconnie View Post
There was a post on here a couple of Mos ago, On that one I posted the trouble we have had down the bayou with these engines, Seems like somebody did not listen !! LOl do the word junk come to mind?? Sorry you got took but so did a bunch of shrimp fishermen down here !! To bad ya did not read the prior post, or listen to it !!
As sad as the OP's experience has been, I doubt that the cause of the immediate problem is the only issue with these engines. That may be correct, but can a process with QC insufficient to catch an obvious engine killing defect be up to the task of ensuring that the thousands of other details that go into producing a long lived diesel engine are looked after? Probably not, but hope springs eternal I guess.
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