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Old 13-10-2020, 05:30   #1
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Common Rail Experience?

Has anyone actually accumulated some experience with the Yanmar or other common rail diesel engines?


So vastly superior -- on paper. Does that hold up in real life? Are they killed by the tiniest imperfection in the fuel; circuit boards die; any other nightmares?
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Old 13-10-2020, 06:14   #2
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Re: Common Rail Experience?

In 2007 - 2008 I used 2x25 kw gensets from GlacierBay they used Smart Car common rail diesel engines. Expect problems I had more related to GlacierBay's adaptation of those engines not engines themselves.

GlacierBay no longer in business and expect any problems with those engines that may have existed would have been resolved by now.
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Old 13-10-2020, 06:20   #3
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Common Rail Experience?

When I last chartered 18 months ago the charter base boat manager said they’ve had some issues with their CR equipped boats, mostly minor sensor issues, and a couple of lightning strikes had fried ECUs. My boat had a 4JH45 CR Yanmar and it was very smooth but probably not noticeably different than my beta 50 at cruising RPMs- though definitely smoother at idle than my Beta

Fully acknowledge you were looking for more in-depth experience but thought I’d add this small scale anecdotal bit of data.
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Old 13-10-2020, 06:27   #4
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Re: Common Rail Experience?

Every data point helps!
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Old 14-10-2020, 01:11   #5
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Re: Common Rail Experience?

No experience of one in a boat but my Transit van has CR and I would not have another if I have a choice in either a boat or road vehicle. I can fix anything on my boat and have been doing so for decades, even marinized a Kubuto for my last boat myself including fabricating a SS water cooled exhaust system and an alloy bell housing with dual starter motors, but I can't break that damned van of it's bad habits.
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Old 14-10-2020, 17:53   #6
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Re: Common Rail Experience?

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Originally Posted by RaymondR View Post
No experience of one in a boat but my Transit van has CR and I would not have another if I have a choice in either a boat or road vehicle. I can fix anything on my boat and have been doing so for decades, even marinized a Kubuto for my last boat myself including fabricating a SS water cooled exhaust system and an alloy bell housing with dual starter motors, but I can't break that damned van of it's bad habits.

Please elaborate on yr Cr vans bad habits. Just out of curiosity mind as I don't think I'll be buying a CR diesel anytime soon but the vehicles I've rode in with them seem good.
The price of the ECU scares me off for a start but if you can afford them....
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Old 14-10-2020, 18:10   #7
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Re: Common Rail Experience?

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Originally Posted by Compass790 View Post
Please elaborate on yr Cr vans bad habits. Just out of curiosity mind as I don't think I'll be buying a CR diesel anytime soon but the vehicles I've rode in with them seem good.
The price of the ECU scares me off for a start but if you can afford them....
The problem is that above about 70 kilometers an hour if you floor it, it goes into limp mode and above about 90 the engine shuts down. I have learned to live with it and don't want to go to the expense of getting it fixed as I don't use the vehicle much and then largely in town where the limit is 60k anyway.
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Old 14-10-2020, 19:43   #8
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Re: Common Rail Experience?

No experience in a marine environment.

However in trucks and agricultural applications they generally give great service initially. Better fuel economy and power. Diagnosing problems requires a Compatible scan tool (computer) which can be expensive. Replacement parts are generally more expensive than mechanical Injection systems. Over time reliability often suffers due to bad connections, shorts, ground issues, etc.

I am concerned corrosion will reduce the reliability of common rail engines in a salt water environment.

Thx-Ace
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Old 14-10-2020, 20:30   #9
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Re: Common Rail Experience?

According to Mr Google it's because of a drop in pressure in the common rail during periods of high demand. The computer thinks it's because of a stuck open injector and responds to prevent damage to the engine.

If I could crank up enough curiosity I might get the harness (or wifi gadget) and software to access the computer and down load the memory and have a go at analyzing the problem but I have boat stuff to take care of for the near future.

These systems are quiet fascinating mechanically, electrically and electronically. I had some rural land and my neighbor had a tractor which recorded the fuel usage contours whilst he ploughed. The recordings were sent to Germany and modifications made to improve fuel use economy and sent back to him to load into the fuel computer.

Before I bought the Ford van I was offered a very good deal on a Mercedes van. Being suspicious I went to the mechanic I use and asked him why so cheap. His reply was that for some weird reason he could probably drop a new engine in the Mercedes for less than the cost of replacing a full set of injectors. I don't know if this was hyperbole but it agreed with my prejudices so I bought the Transit instead.

Fantastic technology but I have the same suspicions re reliability in the marine environment as you. You could break a salty wave over the running, old tech diesel in my boat and as long as it did not get into the air intake it would probably cause no lasting damage but I'm not so certain of the modern high tech stuff.
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Old 15-10-2020, 06:33   #10
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Re: Common Rail Experience?

Re: post 3
Boat mentioned in post 2 experienced a near by lightning strike in 2009. Damaged most electronics onboard including GlacierBay dc genset and electric motors. Boat was repowered using Yanmar diesels.
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Old 16-10-2020, 14:19   #11
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Re: Common Rail Experience?

3 years ago, I repowered my 1982 Tartan 42, that had the original Westerbeke 50, with a Yanmar 4JH57 and have now accumulated about 350 hours on it. I am happy to report no problems, not that I would expect any on a brand new engine.

This year we spent the entire season in New England (14 weeks or so) cruising from Block Island, Rhode Island to Acadia, Maine. And with the light August winds in Maine, we relied on the engine quite a bit.

I love the "self bleeding" and the fuel efficiency that is afforded by the common rail design. We burn about 1.3 gal/hour at 2300 RPM which pushes our 20,000 lb vessel to 6.5 Knots in calm water. Of course, having a new engine (after caring for a ~40 year old engine) has been a plus as well.

I can't say that I have been struck by lightning yet so cannot attest to the Yanmar's resistance to high voltage conditioning. Among the things I generally worry about, that is not at the top of my list.

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Old 16-10-2020, 15:01   #12
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Re: Common Rail Experience?

In general, like any engine, there's the important question of how to maintain it. As with an old tech engine, parts pricing and availability for the engine in question matters. Knowing you can get a part that you're unlikely to carry with you quickly in any location you're likely to cruise matters. With computer controlled stuff, knowing what tools / software you need to diagnose the thing (and the cost of such tools) matters too.
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Old 16-10-2020, 15:02   #13
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Re: Common Rail Experience?

Quote:
I love the "self bleeding" and the fuel efficiency that is afforded by the common rail design. We burn about 1.3 gal/hour at 2300 RPM which pushes our 20,000 lb vessel to 6.5 Knots in calm water.
Is this supposed to reflect good fuel efficiency? Our bog standard old Kubota based Nanni 43 pushes our ~25000 lb boat at similar speeds using only ~2.5 liters/hr.

Something fishy here...

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Old 16-10-2020, 15:23   #14
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Re: Common Rail Experience?

ECU even with OBD and sware on a boat No thanks .. Heard too many stories from people on passages .
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Old 16-10-2020, 15:25   #15
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Re: Common Rail Experience?

As another good point on which common rail stuff to trust, engines from a family that see lots of commercial service (with a good reputation) should have a well known / trusted electronics package running them.
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