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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 02-26-2010
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Oh I do like it when I find someone who is seemingly as mechanically inept as moi !!
Is that even possible???

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2700rpm ? Holy crap....our red noisy smelly thing would have conniptions if we even approached 2700rpm.

Then again slow measured progress is our way, the only way to get plastered on the Womboat is with me and the Wombet over dinner and a bottle or so of vino.
Personally, I prefer to keep the engines on a boat as simple as possible. The less complicated they are, the less likely they are to fail or need very expensive repairs. Given the usage of an engine on a well-found sailboat, having a turbo really doesn't make much sense... this does not necessarily apply to motorsailers, which have a different purpose and usage by design.
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Old 02-26-2010
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My 2 cents. I been hired to move boats that have turbos, but turbos make me nervous. There are lots of things that can be fixed underway on a naturally aspirated diesel. But, I have never been on a boat that had a spare turbo on board in case of a break down. Not being a diesel mechanic, I don't know that I would try to replace one underway, because looking at it, it looks to be major surgery.
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  #13  
Old 02-26-2010
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I could see them being very helpful... I would think that they would also give you a very long service life being that they aren't spooled up beyond belief like there OTR counterparts. My 04 VW GLI had a 1.8T in it with a chip to increase boost to around 14 to 18 PSI. Needless to say that car has seen three turbo's simply because of the abuse and miles. A sailboat that's not motored for thousands of miles and never raced port to port, via power, i'd think it's a great option.
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Provided you are not pushing the stock parameters, a turbo should have approximately the same overhaul life as the engine. In OTR trucks, most turbos spin up to 125,000 rpm and almost all last a full rebuild without problems.

For people who are concerned about a turbo failing them, they are quite easy to check. You take off the hose coming from your air filter and grab the turbine wheel and try to shake it. If there is significant play in there, your turbo is getting near the end of its life. Like a jet engine, they are incredibly simple devices and will run for a very long time. Personally, I have never felt the need to carry a spare turbo but if you did, they would be relatively easy to change (a lot easier than a piston which I know some people to carry) since it is just 4 hoses/manifolds and possibly a boost line depending on the engine.

It is true that KISS would say a turbo is not good. However, I feel that common rail injection and other things like that violate this principal much worse.
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Klem—

I can't think of any small sailboat diesels that use common rail injection off the top of my head. That's usually a feature on bigger diesels...
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  #16  
Old 02-26-2010
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Turbos are very reliable, but do add another level of things that could go wrong. While marine use usually eliminates one big killer of turbos, dirty air (sandblasting), there are still several things that can cause failure. My son has a Yanmar with a turbo and while the PO was in the Bahamas the seal(s) let go allowing oil to enter the intake and exhaust. Fortunately they shut the engine down before all the oil was gone which would have destroyed the engine. Most of the turbo failures that I have personally experienced have been similar to this, the internal seals will start leaking, usually on the exhaust side (hot) causing a lot of smoke and sometimes damage to the bearings due to lack of lubrication. The other failures have been from faulty or plugged air cleaners allowing dust and sand to destroy the actual vanes, but that was with construction equipment in very dirty conditions, not likely on a boat. Although reliable, I know a lot of pilots that won't have a plane with a turbo engine because they don't want to have to worry about it. I don't either.
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Old 02-26-2010
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Airplanes go up where the air is thin, so it can be a good idea to have a turbo on a piston-powered airplane -- especially since it can help you get up higher over weather. (I'm with jrd on that though.) People with planes also like to go fast. Operating effectively in thinner air helps you go really fast.

In a sailboat you are at sea level (except for our freshwater friends) where the air is pretty thick. Speed-wise, you can only go a few knots. What's the point in adding complexity to solve a problem that doesn't exist?

My thoughts anyway. I wouldn't discount a sailboat that had a turbo, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get one.

(I'm not a mechanic nor do I play one on TV.)

Regards,
Brad
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Old 02-26-2010
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I shy away from them (on sailboats) too, but would not necessarily disqualify a desirable boat due to a turbo engine. Especially one with a low-boost version. I could live with it if adequately/properly heat shielded.

Also, there's boost and then there's boost. Our 31 footer has a naturally aspirated 3 cylinder 27 hp Yanmar. My brothers 31 footer has a 6 cylinder Yanmar turbo that puts out 440 hp. Now that's some boost!!
That is how I feel, exactly. I have the 4JH3e, no turbo.

Brian
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  #19  
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On a boat there seems to be a little upside that comes with a huge downside. On an airplane -- as Bene says -- they're especially useful as at altitude the air is thinner and the turbo brings in all this compressed air so that the engine can perform as though at sea level.

But even on an aircraft engine that has to pass an annual engine exam, a turbo life is dramatically shorter -- something like 30% shorter. As JRD says, the seals start leaking, and bearings are stressed, gaskets get leaky.... I would think that the carbon build-up would be the least of your worries.

They need to make a marine engine that runs on vodka tonics.
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