Yanmar head gasket replacement as preventive maintenance? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 15 Old 05-12-2015 Thread Starter
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Yanmar head gasket replacement as preventive maintenance?

I have read a number of comments that many of the Yanmar GM series engines die as a result of water leaking past the head gasket, so that has raised the question of doing something like replacing just the gasket before it has failed. Is this something that is done by fastidious owners of older motors (1985 here)? If not, would periodic (2-3 year interval) oil analysis be a good back-up for early warnings about water getting past gasket? Or, does everyone just wait for a problem on the theory that it is not very common? so far, I have a really sweet running well maintained motor and would not want to destroy it with careless maintenance.

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post #2 of 15 Old 05-12-2015
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Re: Yanmar head gasket replacement as preventive maintenance?

Oil analysis is a good idea. Changing a head gasket preemptively is overkill, IMHO, and if not done right (including pulling and reinstalling all the injectors, fuel lines, etc) will cause problems of its own. If it ain't broke...
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post #3 of 15 Old 05-12-2015
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Re: Yanmar head gasket replacement as preventive maintenance?

My guess is that by changing a head gasket before it fails you are more likely to cause a problem than prevent one.

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Re: Yanmar head gasket replacement as preventive maintenance?

Periodic checking the head bolt torque values won't hurt...
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Re: Yanmar head gasket replacement as preventive maintenance?

Don't mess with it is my normal motto also, unless the problem is well known and happens suddenly with major effect. With periodic oil analysis, would a water leak from gasket generally be something that develops slowly and likely to be caught early enough to avoid big issues? I am in the typical 50 hour/year user group, but the motor does get well warmed up on most trips and is moored in a tidal estuary with high fresh water flow (5 knot current often) so it soaks in less salty water for the most part. I'd have to admit I have never actually done oil analysis either, but will probably start doing that.

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post #6 of 15 Old 05-12-2015
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Re: Yanmar head gasket replacement as preventive maintenance?

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Originally Posted by aa3jy View Post
Periodic checking the head bolt torque values won't hurt...
With this I can agree. However, be aware that for some engines the bolts are engineered so that once they are torqued they cannot be taken out and re-torqued (I used to have a Chevy pickup with such an engine). But, I have no idea whether Yanmar engines are like this.
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post #7 of 15 Old 05-12-2015
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Re: Yanmar head gasket replacement as preventive maintenance?

aa3jy has got it 100% right .... periodically retorque the engine head. Such will keep the correct pressure onto the head gasket, prevent/lessen the head from warping, etc. etc.

You should be periodically checking/resetting the valve rocker gaps ... additionally thats a good time to retorque the head. A fifteen minute job once your 'already inside' the valve cover.
Yanmar does not use 'stretch' head bolts for thier heads; so, just retorque to spec (retorque 3 times each bolt in the pattern shown in the engine's service manual).
;-)

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post #8 of 15 Old 05-12-2015
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Re: Yanmar head gasket replacement as preventive maintenance?

That would be serious overkill and I will second the oil analysis suggestion too.

Maybe I would do so, if another issue required me to strip it down close to that far anyway. To do properly, you may need to mill the surface of the head or the new gasket might not seat properly and cause the leak you're trying to prevent. Not a straightforward job, nor one typically done as a prophylactic.


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post #9 of 15 Old 05-12-2015
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Re: Yanmar head gasket replacement as preventive maintenance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aa3jy View Post
Periodic checking the head bolt torque values won't hurt...
Isn't this an "old school" belief? I remember my Dad saying; "Gotta run it and tighten the bolts after it heats up a few times"

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post #10 of 15 Old 05-12-2015
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Re: Yanmar head gasket replacement as preventive maintenance?

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Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
Isn't this an "old school" belief? I remember my Dad saying; "Gotta run it and tighten the bolts after it heats up a few times"
With my recent issues I was speaking to a mechanic on this issue. There are SOME engines where the torque bolts can not be re-used or re-tightened. They must actually be thrown away if they are too loose or are taken out. I believe that MOST engines, this is not the case, but because there is a difference I would consult a mechanic first. Indeed many of the things that "pa" used to do are not, in fact best practices.

You can be assured though that no harm should come to your engine from an oil analysis.

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