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Old 04-05-2012, 03:24   #1
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Yanmar Puking Oil into the Bilge

We've had the most terrible weather in England I've ever seen in three years of sailing here -- gale after gale after gale, blowing in on an endless parade of deep Atlantic lows. Just my luck to have had three weeks on the boat, just at this time.

The weekend was really bad -- a violent Nor'easter was blowing, and at Cowes it blew all night without getting below 40 knots, with gusts in the 50's. Cowes is exposed to the Northeast. Five boats sank at their moorings.

I was in Poole with a friend who had to catch a plane to the U.S. The forecast for Sunday was NE 5, which would have been perfectly decent conditions to get back to the Hamble. Even if it was really a F6 (usually the wind is one force above the forecast), it would not have been a problem.

But in the event it was blowing a full F8, and directly from ENE, our direction of travel. We headed out of the Swash Channel right into the teeth of it, with big square waves (wind against tide -- another hard lesson) washing the deck. The nav lights look funny glowing under the surface of the water.

I made NE to get closer to the shore where there is less tidal flow and less fetch, and the sea state gradually eased, letting me eventually get up to 5 knots, then 6. It was a hard crossing of Christchurch Bay into the teeth of that gale. One crewmember became violently seasick.

By the time we got into the Solent via the North Channel, the sea state was fine, and I put some sail up and motor sailed.

Back on my mooring on the Hamble, I discovered a lot of engine oil in the bilge. This happened to me once before -- motorsailing against a full gale at night in the English Channel, coming back from Cherbourg, last year. On that occasion, there was so much oil that the turbocharger bogged down, making me think the engine was going. This time I didn't have any power problems; the engine ran fine with good vital signs the entire trip. The oil level was even ok when I arrived.

Does this happen to any of you? Is this inherent when operating a Yanmar in rough conditions? Or is there something wrong with my engine? Last time I thought the engine was overfilled. But this time I checked the oil before setting out -- seemed to be at the right level. I really don't get it.
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Old 04-05-2012, 03:31   #2
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Re: Yanmar Puking Oil into the Bilge

And a follow-up question -- how to clean out the bilge properly? I don't want the motor oil to end up in the river (or gumming up my bilge pumps, either).

I thought to pump it out with my oil change pump, and then dispose of it at the used oil disposal station at a nearby marina. Then what? Break down what's left with dishwashing liquid? Or what? Then pump it out far out to sea? Or what?
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Old 04-05-2012, 04:21   #3
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Re: Yanmar Puking Oil into the Bilge

i am assuming the oil is coming from the engine breather that leads to the air filter.

excessive oil from the breather can be caused by crankcase blowby=worn rings
or poor oil quality,old oil breaking down,over filling of oil,fuel entering the sump.

i have found that in clean bilges even a little oil can seem like a lot on top of water.
kids disposable nappies are good for soaking up surface oil.

also in rough weather consider the possability that the oil has come from another location where it may have been trapped untill the boat started bouncing around.
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Old 04-05-2012, 23:14   #4
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Atoll's on the money.

Hard motoring in hard seas. What can also happen is due to pitching the oil, which is usually below the level of the crankshaft, gets into the crankshaft and the crankshaft can foam it up pretty good. Vapor which usually flows out the breather now contains lots of atomized oil. The breather might or might not be connected to the air inlet side to recirculate crankcase fumes. I've seen tons of breathers just open to the engine compartment.

Did you check the level of oil at the end of the journey and compare levels? Sometimes a little oil goes a long way as Atoll suggested but I wouldn't be surprised at the loss of 1/2 to 1 quart.

Also after a rough journey with completely dry bilges lots of water shows up in my bilge. There are short bulkheads in my boat with no drain holes so it takes some heel to get it to the lowest bilge.

Nappys or purpose built oil absorbent pads are the "legal" method for cleaning the bilges.
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Old 04-05-2012, 23:44   #5
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Re: Yanmar Puking Oil into the Bilge

Another possibility for the oil while motor-sailing is the dip stick tube. If the crankcase breather is plugged and the boat's on a tack with the tube on the lower side there maybe enough crankcase pressure to force it out the tube.

Yanmars don't have an air filter per se, but and air box. If oil were coming out the breather it would fill the air box. Also there is a diaphragm in the breather that needs to be cleaned/replace on occasion. If it's plugged it'll create CC pressure.

Absorbent pads to get the majority, then bilge cleaner w/water. Not knowing the access to your bilges it's had to say how to dispose of the soup. I just used some West Marine bilge cleaner and a stiff brush on some 15 YO sludge and it worked great.
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Old 04-05-2012, 23:59   #6
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Re: Yanmar Puking Oil into the Bilge

Yeah, I've found bilge cleaner to really help. You can flush the stuff from under the engine with it.
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Old 05-05-2012, 07:31   #7
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Re: Yanmar Puking Oil into the Bilge

Don't leave disposable diapers in the bilge......they turn into a soggy gooey mess once they get wet.
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:10   #8
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Re: Yanmar Puking Oil into the Bilge

I found some oil in the bilge in similar circumstances (well, not that much wind). It kept appearing for a few weeks and I couldn't figure out from where in the back end of it. The Yanmar specialists suggested one of the bearings inside the gearbox. However, I found that for some reason I over-filled the gearbox slightly and it was coming from there. Once the overfill had come out completely it stopped.

I use washing up liquid and a big wet and dry vacuum cleaner which I empty in my oil change can and take to the recycling station. West Marine bilge cleaner is better as it takes older stuff and makes it smell sweeter.

Good luck.
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:16   #9
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Re: Yanmar Puking Oil into the Bilge

A diesel mechanic once told me that Dawn dishwashing liquid mixed with water is a good bilge cleaner. Never tried it, but I will sometime.
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:10   #10
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Re: Yanmar Puking Oil into the Bilge

Don't forget some large, heavy-duty plastic garbage bags....you'll need them for the soggy mess from the diapers....oops, sorry, nappies....or oil absorbent pads!

If you're going to use nappies you might as well include a bottle of Gripewater for yourself. I hear it's about 80 proof :-)

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Old 05-05-2012, 10:32   #11
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Re: Yanmar Puking Oil into the Bilge

Joy or dawn are good detergents, detergents break up oil pretty well. I think some of the bilge products work a little better though. I would buy some oil absorbant pads first and get as much out of there before adding the cleaners/ chemicals.... PS: it might be up under your floor boards etc from the sea state.... tough job to get rid of the smell....
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:39   #12
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Re: Yanmar Puking Oil into the Bilge

There is a product called purple power that is simply the best, its a degreaser- ive also used the west marine stuff, not as good and a whole lot more money-
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