SailNet Community

SailNet Community (
-   Engines (
-   -   old engine, new engine (

paikea 04-03-2016 11:40 AM

old engine, new engine
Hi all,

Late autumn last year, I purchased a 28 feet, '76 sailboat, the winter was just around the corner, so at that point my priority was to prepare her for winter (diver cleaned her bottom, I removed her sails, I winterised her engine, the water tank,etc ). Now the spring is here and I am getting her ready for sailing.
The few times times that I took her out before was to test few things at her at leisure, one of them being the engine. She has the original engine on her, a 10 hp, it usually starts after the first few times. I am no pro on engines, in fact, don’t know anything about them, but even I can hear that the engine speed (whatever thats called in english) is too high, it also gets too hot after some motoring. But my problem is when we are in reverse getting in and out of the marina docking place, it just doesn’t responds well, meaning, it takes at least several additional yards for the boat to respond when I switch gears from going forward to reverse or viceversa, especially on reverse. I know physics enough to know about speed inertia, but it can’t be that, we are going too slow as it is, and I am talking about too many yards here, the propeller was freshly cleaned, so that didn’t seem to be a factor either. It wasn’t fun when I almost entered the nice all glass waterfront restaurant at the marina. The gear box certainly seem to have an issue to start with.

So, do I bother trying to get a mechanic to look at the 40 year old engine and try to fix it, are they even “fixable” or do I just go and invest in a new one?
Of course money are a factor, always nice not to have to spend them unnecessary, but if necessary, yes, I will invest in a new engine, not a problem.

I am not an experienced sailor be far, I have sailing courses. Thats the whole point of this boat, to learn all the aspect as a whole. But for that I need to be able to safely get in and out of the marina without everyone else around me to worry how strong their insurance is with me around.

I will be literally living and working from the boat the whole summer so thats not the casual sail every now and then, but taking her out almost daily if I can on whatever weather as practice. I got this boat purely as practice and experience and knowledge, experience in buying a boat, practice in sailing single handed, and learning/practice in using everything on her. Final boat will be a larger one as a live aboard long term, but thats later. Right now I have this one and she is my focus, and thats not to say I consider this one junk, on the contrary, I would smack anyone who would use that word for her.
She is a good boat, she might be old, but she has awesome reinforced rigging, and no other issues that would be a safety concern "from what I can tell", and just needs some basic cosmetics.

The engine is a problem though because its a safety issue for both me and others and I don’t know what to do with it.
Yes, I heard all about people sailing for centuries without engines, and people use anchors to nicely guide a boat at the docking place, although I think that only works on good weather, and also heard the “any idiot can sail a boat only a sailor can stop one”. I am still in idiot phase. I need to practice so I need a safe way to practice.

The old owner also had an outboard attached to the boat, still there actually, most probably because of the "laziness" of the inboard one.
Again, dont know if I could attempt to control this boat in bad weather with a smaller outboard engine and remove the inboard altogether.

I am hoping some experienced brains can help a little here with some ideas.

Faster 04-03-2016 11:54 AM

Re: old engine, new engine
A 10 HP is pretty typical for that size/era of boat. Your problem most likely is a poorly performing folding prop, or a badly fouled one. It is not at all unusual for a folding prop to take some considerable time/distance to arrest forward motion, and even more to induce backing. To some extent it's a matter of practice and familiarity.. or a 'better' prop.

paikea 04-03-2016 12:36 PM

Re: old engine, new engine
So in other words, might not be worthy/necessary to change the old engine, just have someone look at it and especially at the propeller?
I am getting the boat out now for a week for a bottom paint, thats why I asked, I want to see what I can organize now while the boat is out, if actually trying to figure out the engine issue is better done while the boat is out, dont really know that either.

Faster 04-03-2016 12:44 PM

Re: old engine, new engine
The issue of 'push' is likely prop related, IMO... However if the engine overheats at normal RPM then there's another symptom. At this age the most likely culprit is the mixing elbow (where the cooling water renters the exhaust system) plugging up. (However this usually also limits RPM).This can be removed and cleaned out, or replaced if corroding and becoming thin. Other overheating causes would be a damaged impeller on your water pump (assuming Raw (sea) water cooled?) Is plenty of water spitting out with your exhaust.

You say you can 'hear' the motor is running too fast - I suggest you get a second opinion on that.

Yet another possibility is that the gearbox is not engaging and slipping.. this would account for 'high revs', and lack of stopping/starting push that would not come back to the propellor, but it is a bit counter-intuitive regarding overheating - there would be little load.

In any event if the engine starts reliably and easily the compression is likely fine.. I expect your problems to lie outside the engine itself - ie.. prop, water pump, gearbox, exhaust system.

eherlihy 04-03-2016 12:57 PM

Re: old engine, new engine
Quick, cheap and EASY suggestion; get a sailing instructor, or better a DOCKING instructor, to come aboard and provide you with a couple of hours of theory, and practice on your boat. Most would charge ~$50/hr. For a hundred or so bucks, you'll be able to dock better, and should get a preliminary diagnosis of the problem with your engine.

capta 04-03-2016 01:53 PM

Re: old engine, new engine
I'm one for the older gear. My 30+ year old Onan has zero electronics on it. Instead of an $800.00 PC board I have half a dozen $15.00 relays, available at any auto parts store.
Same for my main engine. NO electronics at all, only a solenoid for shut down. And my engine develops it's operating horse power at 1800 to 2250 rpm, not the 3200 most more modern engines run at.
Over and over I've seen boat owners 'upgrade' to fancy new engines, only to be held hostage by a part only available from a dealer far away.
Never mind the six to ten grand you'll put out for one of these new motors.
Find yourself a good mechanic to go over your engine and bring it back to serviceable standards, understanding that you'll never recoup the expenditure of a new motor when you go to sell your boat.
Good luck.

paikea 04-03-2016 01:53 PM

Re: old engine, new engine
Thank you both!
This is really helpful. I was hoping for a solution that doesnt just involves throwing money in to fix something by just changing the whole engine. I might in fact learn more by just trying to get to understand whats the problem with the existing one. And Faster indicated several areas to look into.

eherlihy, thats indeed a very good idea. I know more or less in theory docking and all that, did it in courses, on larger boats, but really could use more of these lessons and also someone more experienced could get a feel of the engine, after all, what do I know really about engines.

MarkSF 04-04-2016 04:17 PM

Re: old engine, new engine
Having re-read your original post, despite what you say, it really sounds like you are not appreciating how long it should take a boat to stop in reverse. "several additional yards" after you put it in reverse is perfectly normal.

When I dock the boat, the whole thing is accomplished at idle engine speed. That is how fast you should be going in the marina anyway. It would be a good exercise for you to try docking without use of high RPM.

There is a question about whether your transmission is slipping. This can easily be confirmed in the dock, providing you have reasonably secure docking lines. Go from forward to reverse, and observe the prop shaft. Is it rotating at engine speed? Is it rotating at the same speed in reverse as in forward?

Have you checked the transmission fluid? The linkage adjustment?

The overheating problem is something else. Treat one problem at a time. Suggest the overheating first.

I am seriously concerned that you're a danger to yourself and to others. The one thing you really need when you're inexperienced is an engine you can rely on (well, a boat that doesn't sink is important too ;) ). Now is a good time to learn all about the engine, fix everything that's not spot on, so you can have faith in it.

MarkSF 04-04-2016 04:21 PM

Re: old engine, new engine

Originally Posted by eherlihy (Post 3422489)
Quick, cheap and EASY suggestion; get a sailing instructor, or better a DOCKING instructor, to come aboard and provide you with a couple of hours of theory, and practice on your boat. Most would charge ~$50/hr. For a hundred or so bucks, you'll be able to dock better, and should get a preliminary diagnosis of the problem with your engine.

Great suggestion. When I transitioned to an inboard diesel, I did just this. Paid for a couple of hours tuition from an ASA instructor, practicing manoeuvres - quick stop, back and fill turns, docking, and so on. Best $100 I ever spent.

paikea 04-04-2016 04:40 PM

Re: old engine, new engine
Thank you MarkSF.
Yes I am aware that I am still unexperienced, although something I am trying to change.
I have docked boats, much larger boats than what I have now, in sailing courses, so just based on that little experience something didnt feel right with my engine. I could be wrong, of course, but I am trying to build on knowledge and experience as I go along the best I can.
I am pretty sure you are also correct when you say that I might not appreciate the boat motion, I think that takes a little time for any beginner, its not like driving a car at all so it does require a little remapping the brain.

I am now convinced I should not replace the engine because in fact its a perfect example of learning a lot from whatever seems to be an issue and I will certainly getting an instructor as well to get additional practice.
I am in fact doing even more sailing courses in few weeks. Dont be too concerned. :)
We all start somewhere.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:32 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
(c) LLC 2000-2012

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome