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post #1 of 8 Old 06-27-2009 Thread Starter
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Engine Temperature

We are sailing a Catalina 30 with a universal 3 cylinder diesel.
As you may know the engine is midships under a bunk seat. In order to fit the engine the bunk seat has a bump up of fiberglass with a matching dimple in the seat.
After motoring for about 20 minutes last week the captain noticed that the fiberglass top of the seat bunk over the engine was so hot it was melting the seat cushion bottom.
None of the gages on this boat work including temperature so we don't know the actual engine temperature.

Since I'm crew I bought a IR thermometer.
My plan is to run the engine a few minutes and shoot the engine with the non-contact thermometer just like the surveyors do.
My problem of course is what do I point it at and what reading is normal?

Last year the engine apparently got so hot it made a bad noise then seized up. After it cooled it ran pretty good and has been starting well since with quite a bit of white smoke on startup then it clears out although there is a lot of smell below.

Not my boat, this guy is not a big maintenance guy obviously.
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-27-2009
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Those IR thermoms have gotten popular this year for just such jobs. Basically, the engine should be running at 140F for a raw water cooled engine, and 170-190F for a closed heat exchanger.
You should be able to take readings on the thermostat housing, the water pump, most sections of the block including those where the cooling hoses are attached, and while there will be quite a bit of variation, very little of the block--if any--should ever run much higher than the thermostat temperature.
The spot of the block where the engine temp sensor is screwed in, should register within 5 degrees of the thermostat rating, unless something is making the engine overheat. (Betting there is a problem.)
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-28-2009 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips. So if the temperature is higher that 190 at what temperature should I shut the engine down to prevent damage? Or maybe at what temperature is the warning buzzer supposed to sound?
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I did the test with the thermometer today and the highest I could get was 160 degrees. The engine temperature sensor seemed to be working today and it registered about 167. I've been told it can go to 180 with no damage so apparently we are OK for now.
I'm definitely going to keep the IR thermometer around as it seems to be a handy gadget.
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If 150F is melting a seat cushion...maybe this is one of those "Who'd a thought?!" tales where the real problem is that the owner just recently had that seat re-upholstered. The wrong way.

You know?
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post #6 of 8 Old 06-29-2009 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
If 150F is melting a seat cushion...maybe this is one of those "Who'd a thought?!" tales where the real problem is that the owner just recently had that seat re-upholstered. The wrong way.

You know?
This owner does very little. So no chance of any stealth seat cushion work being done.

I did notice that the pressure cap with a vent is right under the seat cover. I'm wondering it it let out a little steam?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardiacpaul View Post
I'll take a swag at it.
I'll venture to say that I'll bet the head is cracked, hence the white smoke, in the vicinity of one of the intake valve guides.

Its blowing hot water/steam out of a vent.
Would that mean we should see the level in the overfill take go done pretty regularly/
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-30-2009
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Easy thing to check: That the pressure cap is working, that the seat and gasket under it are clean, that the pressure is correct and, a bit more work, to confirm if there was any damage like a cracked gasket or head from the overheat. If there was, it can go a long time without any real problem. And then fail rather dramatically and inconveniently.
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