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Old 03-28-2013
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Basic Diesel Course

Can anyone suggest a basic diesel maintenance type course in Florida? Looking for a 1-3 day course for beginners. Thanks.
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Old 03-28-2013
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Re: Basic Diesel Course

D,

I can't make any recommendations on a formal course, but here are a couple of options you might want to explore.

Find a fellow boater who would be willing to spend a couple of hours showing you the ropes. You might need to spring for beer, but that's a fair trade. Of course, the best would be to find someone who has the same engine that you do, but generally diesels are all very similar (and relatively simple.)

Another alternative would be to hire a good, reputable diesel mechanic to come to your boat and do the same thing. Of course, that'll cost you more than a couple of beers and some Fritos.

For basic maintenance stuff, all you are talking about is actually doing the things that the owner's manual tells you to do:
- Check fluid levels.
- Change fluids.
- Bleeding the fuel system.
- Adjusting belt tension.
- Winterizing (which even in FL is good to know if you ever need to work on your cooling system.)
- Battery maintenance.

All of the above could be covered in an afternoon.
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Re: Basic Diesel Course

Thanks for your input.
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Old 03-28-2013
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Re: Basic Diesel Course

Basic diesel courses are good for people who learn better from seeing than by reading. The issue most common is that one ends up learning on an engine that is different than the one on your own boat. I find that counterproductive. For example, Yanmars do NOT have glow plugs, but my Universal does, so it wouldn't have helped me a lot to learn on a Yanmar.

Diesels are pretty simple. Have you considered starting with a book?

And please understand that this is written by a guy who put off buying a bigger boat with a diesel engine for many years - it was easier for me to lug the outboard into a shop for service!

But a few days after we bought our boat, I read, and read, and read and repaired an overheating problem the PO had had for five years!

You CAN do it.
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Re: Basic Diesel Course

Contact American Diesel Corp. You can google them. They offer classes thru Trawlerfest. The owner, Bob Smith is the daddy of the marinized Ford Lehman and knows diesels about as good as anyone. A friend of mine, who is the handiest person I've ever known in a wide variety of activities, took the class and said it was the best class he's ever taken covering any topic.
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Old 03-28-2013
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Re: Basic Diesel Course

If no convenient course is available, hiring a qualified mechanic to teach you on your own boat is not a bad idea and would likely cost no more than a course.

Asking experienced people on the dock is an absolute no-no as you do not have the knowledge to discriminate between someone who knows what he is doing and the usual "dock expert know it all".

Taking a course is best as the instructor is more likely to know what he's doing and if he has done it for a while he will also have a method and order down pat which is very important. Being able to do it is one thing, teaching it is a different skill.
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Old 03-28-2013
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Re: Basic Diesel Course

D Schuller - if you could say what part of the country you are from that might help. While there is not a nation-wide franchised based coarse, depending where you are from there might be someone with local knowledge that could point you in a direction. Seattle, for instance has some decent options.
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Re: Basic Diesel Course

Mack Boring in Union, NJ has a strong training program for boat owners.Mack Boring & Parts Company - Reliable Power. Everywhere. Although their training is heavily focused on Yanmar engines and all the hands on work is on Yanmars, you would probably find it worthwhile to review their curriculum. If you can't find a course in local boating publications, I'd check the Power Squadron and local community colleges.
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Re: Basic Diesel Course

Check your local community college, they sometimes offer a tech oriented curriculum that is very very transportable to boats.

Bearing in mind some of the input above - I sort of agree, a course on yanmar's is nice if you own a yanmar. Look around for a good, small time diesel mechanic and get him/her to give you a personal lesson, even at 100 a hour you get a good walkthrough on YOUR engine, as installed, on your boat.
I've done that on every boat I've owned and never regretted it.
Be very clear with contracting that out - make sure they KNOW you expect them to show and tell.
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Old 03-28-2013
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Re: Basic Diesel Course

Quote:
Originally Posted by D Schuller View Post
Can anyone suggest a basic diesel maintenance type course in Florida? Looking for a 1-3 day course for beginners. Thanks.
I'm going to search for the same thing... After this weekend. I'm sailing my new (34 yr-old) boat for the first time this weekend.

If you find a program, please let me know. Where in Florida are you located? I might join you.
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