4 yr old diesel, how screwed am I? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of Old 08-13-2012 Thread Starter
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4 yr old diesel, how screwed am I?

I'm currently working on a 1978 Newport 30 that, as far as I know, it has sat since 2008. The engine has been run a few times, and every time it started right up and ran fine, that's the good part. But it's only been tooled around on calm water for no more than 30 mins. I'm concerned that once the boat starts to hit choppy water or heels over and stirs the "crap" in the tank, that I may have some problems.

What needs to be done to get it in good running shape and is a "tank scrubbing" required?

Thanks for all the help.

Last edited by Doc_V; 08-13-2012 at 10:16 PM.
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post #2 of Old 08-13-2012
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Re: 4 yr old diesel, how screwed am I?

If its sat idle for an extended period of time I'd drain and clean the tank, that said if it was properly stabilized you may not have to but I would error safe. I'd definitely get a good fuel filter and a few extra cartridges for it and be prepared to change it out if you don't clean the tank.

As for it being run it will depend on other factors also, if its been kept properly it won't be much of an issue, if its been left to rust while idle its a huge issue. Only way really is top open the engine up and check the internals. You might get away with scoping it but unless you have a good mechanic that is comfortable/used to doing that I'd error safe.
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post #3 of Old 08-14-2012
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Re: 4 yr old diesel, how screwed am I?

1- Remove the inspection port and scrub the sides of the tank as much as you can.
2- Throw out the fuel or scrub the fuel, you can make a setup with a series of filters and a pump or you can pay the guy.
3- Add an appropriate fuel additive, just read the cans at the store.
4- Buy lots of filters
5- Change all of the filters.
6- Bleed the system according to your engine manufacturer's service manual.
7- Run it for a few minutes, shut it off and bleed the system again.
8- Probably bleed it again the next day.
After you go through some rough seas the engine will probably speed up and then die. Repeat steps 5-8.
I'ts common to have to bleed it 2-3-4 times after you change the filters if your fuel system is complicated like mine is. Some may only need it once but not mine.
I do have 2 Racors before the engine mounted filter so as soon as I hear the engine speed up I run down and switch over to the other filter. Then I can change the first filter with the engine running and switch back over whenever I need to. If I do it perfectly I don't need to bleed the system.
I plan to install a vacuum gauge before the filter so I can see when one is getting dirty and restricting the flow but it isn't too close to the top of the list yet.


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Last edited by sww914; 08-14-2012 at 12:06 AM. Reason: the sun got in my eyes
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post #4 of Old 08-14-2012
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Re: 4 yr old diesel, how screwed am I?

Well if you want to be really safe you could drain the fuel tank, and start with fresh fuel, but I would be inclined to change the fuel filter and just use it, and then change the filter again after a few tanks. The filter should catch any crud that might get stirred up.

I would be more worried about the water passages than the fuel system on an engine that has sat that long, particularly if it starts and runs fine. I would pull the thermostat out and check it, as well as replacing the water pump impeller.

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post #5 of Old 08-14-2012
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Re: 4 yr old diesel, how screwed am I?

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Originally Posted by Doc_V View Post
I'm currently working on a 1978 Newport 30 that, as far as I know, it has sat since 2008. The engine has been run a few times, and every time it started right up and ran fine, that's the good part. But it's only been tooled around on calm water for no more than 30 mins. I'm concerned that once the boat starts to hit choppy water or heels over and stirs the "crap" in the tank, that I may have some problems.

What needs to be done to get it in good running shape and is a "tank scrubbing" required?

Thanks for all the help.
If it ain't broke don't fix it!

Is it broke NO so don't fix it.

BUT if it were me I would carry three spare fuel filters and make sure I knew how to change them and go sailing.

If I was a worry wort AND knew I would be using the engine in places where losing it for a few minutes might be terminal then I would fit a dual filter system with the ability to switch from one to the other with the engine running. You can buy them ready made or build one yourself for less. I would have pressure guages that indicated the pressure drop across the filter which tells you if it is getting blocked. Mind you the drop in engine revs does that as well!
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post #6 of Old 08-14-2012
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Re: 4 yr old diesel, how screwed am I?

A couple of years ago my boss had an engine shut down on his Cal 27-7. We were in fairly rough chop just off the Toronto Islands and wind was on our nose. He changed the filter but it wouldn't start.
We limped into the Outer Harbour marina (not his home marina) by tacking every 100 yards. His mechanic took 6 hours to finally figure out that the our bouncing around had knocked a piece of caulking loose inside the gas tank. That had been sucked up and was blocking the gasoline.
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post #7 of Old 08-14-2012
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Re: 4 yr old diesel, how screwed am I?

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...His mechanic took 6 hours to finally figure out that the our bouncing around had knocked a piece of caulking loose inside the gas tank. That had been sucked up and was blocking the gasoline.
Six hours to figure out that the engine wasn't getting fuel? I'd be looking for a new mechanic...
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post #8 of Old 08-14-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: 4 yr old diesel, how screwed am I?

The boat was a lien sale, so it was purchased direct from the marina and I've have no idea the last time the owner was aboard. That said, based on everything the previous owner left behind and all the stacks of receipts, paperwork, gear, etc., they appeared to be pretty meticulous.

I'm basing the 4 years on all the dates of the receipts and batteries etc. There's nothing past 2008.

I'm not looking for problems, but I don't want to get caught out on the water with a dead motor. ...Mainly because it's a friend's boat that I found for them... So I feel responsible if something goes bad since it's their fist boat.

I plan to replace the filters and impeller, and I'll be sure to get a couple extra filters to carry. That said, are there any good additives that should be used to help minimize the problem, and if so, which ones?

...Also, as for the duel-filter set up, [ballpark figures] how much would it cost to make one vs. buy?

Lastly, shouldn't this stuff have been mentioned on the survey? Granted, the boat was already on the hoist when the surveyor showed up, but I would have thought that they should have mentioned these things. ...That said, they were chosen from a list provided by the marina/boatyard who was selling the boat... I'm beginning to wonder if they were being favorable to the owner of the boatyard, rather than scare us off. Hmmm.....???

Last edited by Doc_V; 08-14-2012 at 11:56 AM.
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post #9 of Old 08-14-2012
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Re: 4 yr old diesel, how screwed am I?

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Originally Posted by Doc_V View Post
The boat was a lien sale, so it was purchased from the Marina and I've have no idea the last time the owner was aboard. That said, based on everything they left behind and all the stacks of receipts, paperwork etc., they appeared to be pretty meticulous. I'm basing the 4 years on the dates of the receipts and batteries etc. I'm not looking for problems, but I don't want to get caught out on the water with a dead motor. ...Mainly because it's a friend's boat that I found for them... So I kind of feel responsible if something goes bad.

I plan to replace the filters and impeller, and I'll be sure to get a couple extra filters to carry. That said, are there any good additives that should be used to help minimize the likelihood of encountering any issues while underway?

...Also, as for the duel-filter set up, [ballpark figures] how much would it cost to make one vs. buy?

Lastly, shouldn't this stuff have been mentioned on the survey? Granted, the boat was already out of the water when the surveyor showed up, but I would have thought that they should have mentioned these things. ...They were chosen from a list provided by the marina/boatyard who was selling the boat... I'm beginning to wonder if they were being favorable to the owner of the boatyard, rather than scare us off. Hmmm.....???
It all depends on how you plan to use the boat and the current filtration setup.

If you are not going off shore, have simple towing insurance in case you really get into a jam and the boat is set up with a Racor type filter that can be inspected visibly then use up the old fuel. Just keep checking the Racor for water or junk floating around.

You got some good advise though. If I where taking any long trips I would clean the tank and closely inspect the system first. It's not expensive, just a pain in the ass.
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post #10 of Old 08-14-2012
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Re: 4 yr old diesel, how screwed am I?

IMHO if it has sat that long have the tank pumped and cleaned and the fuel polished. You should always have a couple of extra filters on board. Then you can relax and go sailing - what the heck its only money, isn't that's what boats are for.
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