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Old 02-01-2011, 08:11   #16
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Originally Posted by never monday View Post
Would you consider it fair if we, the mechanics. Started a thread called "Mechanics, what's your worst boat owner story."

bashing does no one good

Sure, do it!
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:15   #17
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Diesel Engines only need 3 things to run. Fuel, Air & Compression

Buy a diesel engine maintenance book. Do the work yourself
These engines are simpler than gas.
Diesel Engines only need 3 things to run. Fuel, Air & Compression
Fuel - clean with no water
Air - lots of clean are, check the air filter
Compression - after running for a few minutes no black smoke

If the engine vibrates a lot. Tighten the motor mounts first. You will be surprised how many cruisers call a mechanic to fix this DIY problem.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:38   #18
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I can relate to both sides of this topic. Having done all my own work on my machines and being paid to work on others machines.

I can't afford to hire out anything I can do myself. Boats and diesels are a new challenge for me and I hope to learn much before something malfunctions.

I second the idea of being present during repairs, especially if the technician is willing to share information with the owner. That could possibly be invaluable in some remote location where problems arise.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:49   #19
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... I second the idea of being present during repairs, especially if the technician is willing to share information with the owner. That could possibly be invaluable in some remote location where problems arise.
For sure, learn from your mechanic or other tradesmen; but try not to be a pest or know it all, or to needlessly interrupt their work. One of my least favourite comments was: “I already tried that”.
I often (half) kidded my customers about my rates:
$40 Hour.
$50 Hour if you watch.
$60 Hour if you help.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:51   #20
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Cotemar wrote:
Quote:
Diesel Engines only need 3 things to run. Fuel, Air & Compression
That is the simple story.
They need air, the right level of compression and they need clean fuel with no water or air in it delivered at the right time to clean and well maintained injectors.

Oh, should we go on to exhaust and cooling systems?

What they mostly need is timely and thorough maintenance to all of the systems on the engine. That will mostly negate the need for a mechanic.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:17   #21
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I can't see any reason, here in the days of the internet, for hooking up with an incompetent mechanic. Do your homework, find someone with a good reputation, and begin a relationship with him before the engine goes kerfluey.

As a Yanmar devote, I prefer a shop that specializes in Yanmars. For me, that's been List Marine here in Sausalito. They are professional, competent, neat, and they work fast. They have no problem with my insistence that I'm present to observe their work when they service the engine, and the particular mechanic I always request seems to enjoy giving me tips on the engine while he works.

My Yanmar needs four things to run: Fuel, Air, Compression, and Regular Maintenance. On odd-numbered years I do the maintenance, a simple matter of changing the oil and filters. On even-numbered years a pro mechanic does the maintenance, changing out the belt and impeller as well, and giving everything a good once-over. I always make it a point to be present for this, and if the windows are left open afterward, it's my fault.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:19   #22
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Would you consider it fair if we, the mechanics. Started a thread called "Mechanics, what's your worst boat owner story."
Sure, I think it would actually be useful. That way maybe we can learn what to avoid doing.



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Old 02-01-2011, 09:30   #23
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I agree Gord. My approach is to watch intently and silently. Then ask a simple question at a lull in the activity. Maybe a question about a tool involved (where to get?) or a procedure in use (could do that myself in the future?). The technician may realize you are not merely "supervising" their work but are there to learn. Then you will find out if the technician has the willingness to share, a teacher tech if you will. And one not concerned about some competition you might represent.

A mechanically inclined sailor can learn a lot in an hour with a tech like that.

An unwilling tech will reveal that inclination quickly.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:32   #24
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Gord,

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For sure, learn from your mechanic or other tradesmen; but try not to be a pest or know it all, or to needlessly interrupt their work. One of my least favourite comments was: ďI already tried thatĒ.
I've definitely gotten the feeling that the mechanics did not want anyone looking over their shoulder while they were working so any Q&A was confined to hand-the-check-over time.

I did plow through a few of the diesel mechanics books like Calder's and also the shop manual. While it is true that traditional diesels are simple in principle, I was amazed by the tolerances involved. The computerized diesels do not seem simple.

BTW, your rates seem really cheap, do you do house calls ?



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Old 02-01-2011, 09:39   #25
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... BTW, your rates seem really cheap, do you do house calls ?
I did (boat calls) in those days (1992 - 2000).
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:43   #26
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I did plow through a few of the diesel mechanics books like Calder's and also the shop manual. While it is true that traditional diesels are simple in principle, I was amazed by the tolerances involved. The computerized diesels do not seem simple.

-Sven

This inherently leads to the statement "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing"

Many, many boat owners. Believe they can properly diagnose the problem. But yet they can't fix it, so they call in a "pro" to handle the repair of their diagnosis.
After the insistence of the problem and "fix". Who's fault is it if the original problem is still present? Not mine....I did what you wanted. I still have time and possibly parts involved. I still expect to get paid for performing your directed, improper repairs. But many times the owner will refuse.

Just to make a general statement, licensed captains, and degreed engineers (ME, EE, etc) are the worst at this from my experience. Yes you have knowledge and earned the respect for your knowledge. BUT, how many 3GM30F's do you work on in any given year? 1, 2 maybe including your dock mate? While I might touch 100 or more. Theory only goes so far compared to experience.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:49   #27
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Probably the most frustrating thing is telling them what you want done days ahead of time over the phone. When you get there they have not ordered the parts they know they are going to need to replace. So you then have to wait days for those parts to arrive at the yard.

The other frustrating thing is when you say you want to have an overall servicing of the engine, they do not take the initiative to have a thorough look around the engine for problems or potential problems...all they do is the bare minimum you asked for and then get the hell out of there....usually at over $100 per hour.

I also try not to be a bad customer by asking them a million questions while they are doing their work or to hang over their shoulders the entire time as if I do not trust what they are doing.

I do ask them nicely what they are doing and why. I think that is justified.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:58   #28
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My worst diesel mechanic experience was this: I bought a new engine and had it installed in Canada. I was miles away from him in Desolation Sound. After about 20 hours of use the impeller gave out. I thought what the hell i paid for a new engine blah blah #$%Q. So I called the guy who installed the engine. He said that maybe the water strainer was too high. I lowered it same result. I called the guy who sold me the engine and he said you probably have an air leak in your intake system. I had checked all of the fittings but did it again. A second call to that mechanic and he suggested I lower the water strainer below the waterline. Ok problem solved. Thanks Pat. Two mechanics spent an hour or so diagnosing a problem for me over the phone. Turned out wasn't the mechanics fault or the engines fault but I had mixed old and new parts. There are some great mechanics you just have to ask for recommendations from multiple sources. When I bought a rebuild kit for the strainer I was able to move it back above the water line.
\In other words I have no bad tale to tell.
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Old 02-01-2011, 10:18   #29
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I still expect to get paid for performing your directed, improper repairs. But many times the owner will refuse.
Refuse ?!

Apart from the ethics issues I'm amazed that an owner would even consider that as a legal option. Don't most places have "carpenters' lien" laws so you can place a lien on the property if you aren't paid ? Maybe such liens aren't of much use on mobile property like a boat ?



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Old 02-01-2011, 10:21   #30
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Refuse ?!

Apart from the ethics issues I'm amazed that an owner would even consider that as a legal option. Don't most places have "carpenters' lien" laws so you can place a lien on the property if you aren't paid ? Maybe such liens aren't of much use on mobile property like a boat ?

-Sven
so I should spend yet another hour or two on the paperwork and hassle?

Unfortunately there are people like this.
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