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-   -   Engine destroyed by anti-siphon valve (http://www.sailnet.com/forums/gear-maintenance/39808-engine-destroyed-anti-siphon-valve.html)

jimfortuna 01-11-2008 12:58 PM

Engine destroyed by anti-siphon valve
 
I recently purchased a 1991 43' moderately heavy sailboat in Annapolis after I received a glowing survey, successful sea trial and reassurances from the owner and broker that everything was in great shape. I signed the papers, then had the fuel polished, and had a diesel mechanic change filters, and do baseline service. When he started the engine, his face went blank. The engine was loping at low speeds, and had had a unsteady sound. He unloaded the fuel injectors by cracking the connection one at a time, and found the #2 cylinder dead. The local Yanmar dealer did a compression check, changed the injectors, and still no #2. He looked into the cylinder with a boroscope, and found "sodium deposits" from seawater in the cylinder. The most likely source was seawater siphoning back into the engine likely because of a bad antisiphon valve. After removing the head, and measuring the cylinders and spotting extensive corrosion, he concluded that the engine needed extensive overhaul, and it may be more cost effective to replace the engine. In any event, the engine will have to come out of the boat. Fortunately, the existing exhaust has 3" pipes, required for the new Yanmar. Ironically, the boat has never left the slip since I owned it, (only a couple of weeks)

I am planning on replacing the Yanmar 4JH2E (1991 54 HP with 3000hr) with a new Yanmar 4JH4TE (75HP and only slightly more expensive). The gearing will be optimized for use with my existing Autoprop.
<O:p
Does anyone have experience with a bad survey, and engine flaws from the previous owner (who must have known if he did the service he claimed)? Are there any big penalties going to a more powerful engine (turbo with same block size)?

TSteele65 01-11-2008 01:04 PM

Was the engine surveyed by a marine diesel mechanic, or just the general surveyor? The general surveyor will only do a cursory inspection of the engine.

camaraderie 01-11-2008 01:15 PM

Jim...that is a shame. Don't think you can go after the surveyor...but with the testimony of a marine diesel guy, perhaps you could get a small claims court redress with the owner for some of the cost of the damage. The key issue will be "did the prior owner know". You said you went on sea trial and found no issues so it is possible that the owner did not know if the engine performed properly on trial.
I generally advise against turbo models due to the added complexity and parts. I would think 54hp is plenty even for a moderately heavy 43 footer. Why do you feel you need the additional HP?
Finally...for others reading....ALWAYS get a separate survey of the diesel engine on a boat and arrange for the mechanic to accompany the boat on sea trial and put the engine through its' paces. Regular surveyor are generally not equipped to evaluate anything other than GROSS engine issues. A few hundred extra for a qualified diesel guy can save thousands of $$'s

mentalfee 01-11-2008 01:16 PM

You may want to consider askuing more questions about the change in engines. Turbos tend to need to run at higher RPMs to keep things happy as opposed to a naturally aspirated one. If you need to use the engine for a lot of charging while on the hook this may be something to consider.

jimfortuna 01-11-2008 01:35 PM

The surveyor claims 20 yr surveying experience, USCG Master's rating, and is a former Safety Engineer. He said that he saw no need for a compression check since the engine started right away.

The engine sounded similar my 3 cylinder Universal on my 1996 Catalina 30 when it was running at cruising speed, but it produced more smoke, which I was told would go away after it is run for a while. Back soot developed on flat surfaces around the exhaust exit after the 30 minute sea trial (discovered when I was cleaning the boat in the slip).

Later, when the diesel mechanic started at the engine, a noticible light blue and white smoke was evident.

teshannon 01-11-2008 02:01 PM

im,
Unfortunately, what one should disclose ethicly and what one should disclose legally are two different things. I'm assuming you were at the sea trials and the engine ran fine? Were there other surveys and sea trials from potential buyers before you? If so, the broker and surveyor cumminity in Annapolis is a tight knit community and previous engine problems would probably have been know by your broker and surveyor. All that leads me to believe there were no prior problems and the seller in all probability did not know. Sad story but another good example of why you should have separate engine and rigging surveys.

hellosailor 01-11-2008 02:03 PM

It doesn't make sense to me, that the engine would perform fine in sea trials and then suddenly start loping and running poorly after "just" fuel polishing. Which shouldn't affect the engine at all.

Whether the surveyor was right to just listen to the engine, or to do something more invasive (using a borescope, as the Yanmar dealer did) is a good question. Many owners would have no idea about the engine ingesting some sea water, and without a specific engine mechanic's survey, most general surveys will not look any further than "how does the engine sound".

You'd probably have a 50-50 chance of recovering against either one of them, flip of a coin and the written terms of the survey to decide the details.

"He said that he saw no need for a compression check since the engine started right away. " Then again, an engine will start nice and fast when there's a little LESS compression, so the starter can spin it up real fast. And, something like carbon deposits (or calcium) would serve to BOOST the compression...so the surveyor's statement on this would seem totally illogical.

sailingdog 01-11-2008 02:45 PM

20 Years of experience doesn't necessarily mean much, since even a bad surveyor can get away with it that long if they're not completely incompetent. The Master's rating and being a safety engineer are nice, but doesn't necessarily mean they know how to survey or evaluate a diesel engine.
Quote:

Originally Posted by jimfortuna (Post 248799)
The surveyor claims 20 yr surveying experience, USCG Master's rating, and is a former Safety Engineer. He said that he saw no need for a compression check since the engine started right away.

Just curious, did they use the boat after you did your sea trial?? Could the flooding have happened after your sea trial and survey???

brak 01-11-2008 03:12 PM

I would be careful to not overpay for work that may or may not be necessary. If the engine worked in a seatrial - it may very well be repairable.
My boat has the same engine of approximately same vintage (few years younger) and I do get some soot deposits on the transom when running and also some smoke, especially when starting cold. That said, it got me through almost 600 miles of ICW without a hitch.
Diesel engines are almost always repairable and replacement is almost always significantly more expensive (though of course new engine would be great for the boat).

That said, you probably won't achieve much. For about 10-15K of expense that engine swap would cost, you are not likely to find a lawyer that would take a case, even if there is one. And, of course, since there is a lot of uncertainty and deniability - you are not likely to get anything. Of course, I'd be very pissed in similar circumstances (and I've been in situations where such misrepresenttion occured).

cardiacpaul 01-11-2008 06:04 PM

I recently purchased a 1991 43' moderately heavy sailboat in Annapolis after I received a glowing survey, successful sea trial and reassurances from the owner and broker that everything was in great shape. I signed the papers, then had the fuel polished, and had a diesel mechanic change filters, and do baseline service. When he started the engine, his face went blank.
The engine was loping at low speeds, and had had a unsteady sound. He unloaded the fuel injectors by cracking the connection one at a time, and found the #2 cylinder dead.

did it sound like this during the sea trial.


The local Yanmar dealer did a compression check, changed the injectors, and still no #2. He looked into the cylinder with a boroscope, and found "sodium deposits" from seawater in the cylinder. The most likely source was seawater siphoning back into the engine likely because of a bad antisiphon valve. After removing the head, and measuring the cylinders and spotting extensive corrosion, he concluded that the engine needed extensive overhaul,

that may not have happened during the short time between seatrial and diesel guy... "extensive" is a relative term, but to me, sounds like a longer period of exposure than what is being said.



and it may be more cost effective to replace the engine. In any event, the engine will have to come out of the boat. Fortunately, the existing exhaust has 3" pipes, required for the new Yanmar. Ironically, the boat has never left the slip since I owned it, (only a couple of weeks)

just the oil and carbon buildup of normal operation wouldn't allow such "extensive" damage.

I am planning on replacing the Yanmar 4JH2E (1991 54 HP with 3000hr) with a new Yanmar 4JH4TE (75HP and only slightly more expensive). The gearing will be optimized for use with my existing Autoprop.

let me see if I have this straight, you're "optimizing" the engine and tranny to match an existing prop... 9-12k, vs 1500 for a different prop?

Does anyone have experience with a bad survey, and engine flaws from the previous owner (who must have known if he did the service he claimed)? Are there any big penalties going to a more powerful engine (turbo with same block size)?[/I]

Usually, there is O&E insurance (omissions and errors) but I'm not sure this would be applicable. I wouldn't have done a compression check either. If the engine sounded like it was having a problem during the seatrial, I'd have heard it. So would the surveyor (assuming... i know, i know) FOLKS THIS IS WHY YOU GET A DAMN OIL SAMPLE!!!!! A perfect time for one would have been at the completion of the sea trial. This would have given you an idea about when, where, why and who regarding the condition of the motor AT THAT MOMENT OF TIME.

Did the diesel guy start it before the repair? (if he was doing an oil change, he should have.
Did anyone take the boat out after the seatrial?

what to do now.
a) whoa there big fella.. Get a second opinion as to if the motor can be repaired. And what the failure was, and what it is caused by.
b) Start gathering records, oil changes, maintence, find out who did what, when, ask the mechanics about the motor and boat.
c) Heres my take on turbos's. They have no place on a sailboat. they run at higher rpms, hotter temps, neither good for the engine room of a sailboat.


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