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04-18-2013 08:24 AM
Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

Originally Posted by ltgoshen View Post
.....My 2-cylinder Yanmar has a rated maximum RPM of 3,400. I routinely run it at 2,400 RPM (75-80% of the max)....
Is that new math?

24/34 = 0.7

I've been running my 3000rpm max at between 1800 and 2200 and do think I haven't been hard enough on it. 60% - 73% I think I'm going to stick with 2200, as it does want to be there.
04-18-2013 08:14 AM
Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

Fallard I was told all Diesel engines will have black oil after an hour or two of run time on a new oil change? "Always...

1. Don’t baby the engine. Diesels don’t like to idle in neutral, or even in gear at low speeds; they do like to work hard under load. Properly matched to its boat, a diesel engine can run at cruising RPM (the “sweet spot”) for hour after hour, day after day. What’s cruising RPM? Generally, the sweet spot is approximately 75-80% of the maximum RPM as defined in the owner’s manual. However, the sweet spot will vary from one engine brand to another. Volvo- Penta, for example, recommends that some of its larger engines be run at 200 RPM below the “obtainable maximum RPM.”
Running at the sweet spot, after just a few minutes of initial warm-up, the engine should move the boat at reasonable speed with minimal noise and very little harmonic vibration. The sweet spot also maximizes fuel efficiency and longevity of the engine. Example: My 2-cylinder Yanmar has a rated maximum RPM of 3,400. I routinely run it at 2,400 RPM (75-80% of the max), and at that speed it moves my 8,4000-pound sloop at 5.8 knots, consuming approximately 1/2 GPH.

Especially avoid idling the engine for long periods. At idle speeds, fuel combustion is incomplete (compared to cruising RPM under load) so excessive idling wastes fuel. Excessive idling also accelerates wear and tear on the engine, leads to gradual build-up of detrimental varnish on the cylinders, and deposits soot and carbon on the engine’s valves and in the exhaust system, particularly at the manifold injection elbow where raw cooling water exiting the engine mates with the exhaust gases.

So, don’t baby your engine. Run it hard. However...after running at cruising RPM for several hours, a brief cool-down at idle speed, with no load, is beneficial. A few minutes is enough

04-18-2013 07:15 AM
Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

My ex father-in-law owned a trucking company and had about a dozen diesel trucks. The amount of miles on those diesels without being rebuilt was simply unbelievable. He had some trucks with a million miles on them. He also had a full time mechanic, whose only job was to regularly service them.

He used to say that he didn't think it would be impossible to engineer a diesel engine that would run longer than an average human could live.

Disuse is almost always worse for a diesel engine than use.
04-16-2013 10:05 PM
Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

Actually, you may wonder that the engine doesn't have ENOUGH hours on it at that age. If the engine was used like hellosailor describes, it may be in worse shape that one with 2500 hours.

Diesels like to run under load and they like to run warmed up so all the metal parts expand properly. Otherwise you'll get products of combustion blowing past the pistons and fouling the oil in the sump. Like the guys at Mack Boring will tell you, sailboaters need to periodically run their engines as if they were on a power boat--several hours under load--to make all the metal parts happy. (Perhaps not the most scientific explanation!) If you are running your engine for 10 minutes at a time, you are not getting it properly warmed up and are doing it more harm than you might think.

One indicator of blow-by is black oil on your dipstick. This occurs in short order on most sailboats after an oil change, but takes a lot longer on a powerboat for the reason mentioned above.
04-16-2013 10:04 PM
Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

You might grab the serial number off the engine and confirm its actually original.
04-16-2013 09:24 PM
Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

I believe it. A friend of mine has a 1988 34 ft Catalina on lake Norman with 235 hours on it. The main channel sits 200 yards away from his marina. Once the boat is outside of the no wake zone, the engine is shut off.
04-16-2013 07:35 PM
Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

My 27 year old diesel motor has twice that much and it's perfectly fine. Maintenance is always the key issue. keeping it clean and balanced.

You're always taking a gamble when buying used but I don't think this should be a red flag.
04-16-2013 06:45 PM
Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

Dave, that would average out to 56 hours a year. Not knowing anything about how active the boaters were, or the timeshare, or whether they had to motor out from a dock or mooring, it is hard to say. But for a boat on a mooring, used 6? 8? days a month for six months? That's 48 days a year of sailing, and we might run the engine for ten minutes to clear the mooring field, and ten more to return while stowing the sails, 20 minutes on the average day times 48 days, a piddling 16 hours a year, which leaves 40 more hours for "light it, we're out of wind".

So back to the original question, the number of hours might not be out of line at all. Without knowing the details of how that boat was used every year, you're still better off doing the oil analysis and mechanical survey. And of course, sea trial for actual performance.
04-16-2013 05:11 PM
Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

Not sure, but 1,300 hours seems like the boat never left the dock very often. Of course, that depends upon how close the boat was docked to accessible sailing waters. Keep in mind that a couple trips up and down the ICW would likely result in 1,300 hours engine time.

Now, 1,300 hours is nothing when it comes to relative terms of engine usage. If the hour meter is correct, this could mean the engine had a lot of down time with repairs, or the person just didn't use the boat very often. I believe the later may be the case. I usually make 50 to 70 trips during the season, but at my marina there are boats that may go out a dozen times a year on day trips and that's it. There are some that I've never seen leave the dock unless the boat is being launched or put up for winter storage. Some serve as nothing more than a waterside getaway where people spend their weekends partying with drinking friends at the marina.

Good Luck,

04-15-2013 08:50 PM
Re: 1300 hrs. on sailboat engine in 23 years??

Engine survey and oil analysis ($25) on the engine to confirm what's happening inside it. That will warn you of bearing failure and other issues that no mechanic can really see.
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