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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've been perusing the Service Manual for my Universal M-18. I generally do all of the repair and maintenance on my Catalina 27. A few small engine projects such as cleaning the heat exchanger and building a new exhaust riser.

I would like to continue learning how to maintain and repair my engine. The service manual pictures and instructions seem straightforward but I fear there are unwritten details. Don't want to learn the hard way on my engine.

So the questions are:

When it comes to (diesel) engines, when does one bit the bullet and call a mechanic?

What are things that people can typically do themselves? (gaskets? pumps? etc.)


What is typically reserved for a mechanic? (valves, etc.)?

I've considered trying to find an old Kubota tractor engine to tear down just to learn before trying to invasive maintenance/repair.

Josh
 

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For me the line between DIY and hire-a-pro was crystal clear, defined by the cost of special tools and the potential for needing them again anytime soon. So if the job requires expensive special tools and won't likely need to be repeated in the next x number of years, it's worth consulting a pro. But if the tools can be used again relatively soon, it might be worth DIY.
 

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For me the line between DIY and hire-a-pro was crystal clear, defined by the cost of special tools and the potential for needing them again anytime soon. So if the job requires expensive special tools and won't likely need to be repeated in the next x number of years, it's worth consulting a pro. But if the tools can be used again relatively soon, it might be worth DIY.
I couldn't agree more. No special tools; do it your self.
 

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Master Mariner
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Someone mechanically inclined can do all the work on a small diesel that is outside the block without a lot of specialty tools. Removing the head as a unit is simple enough but then sending it out for resurfacing, valve/seats grinding, being the best thing to do.
Rings, pistons, sleeves/liners are not easily serviced nor is the crank or bearings, but some end seals are easily owner repaired.
Do not open the fuel distribution pump or the injectors; send them out for servicing, if possible.
Given the tools and a good shop, most shop manuals are "plug and play" for all repairs to a diesel, but aboard one is limited by accessibility, space and strength.
Of course, if one is stuck on the far side of the moon, where no one speaks your language, tied up to a rusting old barge, it is amazing what can be accomplished with a hammer, cold chisel, a few tools and a whole lot of will power. Oh yeah, and bubble gum!
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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3,619 Posts
Rings pistons and crankshaft bearing shells are all within the capabilities of a shade tree mechanic.

Sleeve or liner replacement needs some special tools usually.
 

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Don't call me a "senior"!
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Anything short of machining surfaces can be DIY. Usually, if it involves machining something you can tear the engine down to that point and take the part to a machine shop. However, it is pretty cost effective to have the head rebuilt by a shop, rather than having them just do the machining.
 

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I would add "adjust valve clearances", annual replacement of the pump impellor, and inspection and replacement of engine and heat exchanger zincs to the list of things that owners can do themselves. I believe the typical interval for adjustment of valve clearances is 300 hours.
 

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Asleep at the wheel
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We had to replace the damping plate. That required disconnecting the transmission (we actually replaced the transmission, too) and that meant removing the engine from the engine compartment because you can't really get to the back of the engine all that well with the way our boat is laid out. The motor mounts were also replaced while it was out.

For me, that was not a DIY job. Getting the engine out, and then realigning the shaft, transmission, etc., was more than I wanted to handle.
 

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Master Mariner
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Rings pistons and crankshaft bearing shells are all within the capabilities of a shade tree mechanic.

Sleeve or liner replacement needs some special tools usually.
If you have ever stripped an engine down to the bare block and rolled it over in the boat, to get at the crankshaft and bearings, I'd think that it wouldn't be something you'd likely want to repeat or recommend to others lightly. It can be very dangerous and potentially do a lot of damage if you lose control of the situation when horsing around several hundred pounds of metal. But I guess if you have a shade tree in the engine space, anything can be accomplished.:)
 

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Honing stones , ridge removers and ring compressers can be rented or borrowed when needed .Even the chain block for re and re. Fancy bits like valve seats, injectors and Hi pres pumps can sent out.All the rest is well within the realm of messing with boats.Shade trees are good .
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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If you have ever stripped an engine down to the bare block and rolled it over in the boat, to get at the crankshaft and bearings, I'd think that it wouldn't be something you'd likely want to repeat or recommend to others lightly. It can be very dangerous and potentially do a lot of damage if you lose control of the situation when horsing around several hundred pounds of metal. But I guess if you have a shade tree in the engine space, anything can be accomplished.:)
Well I helped with fixing a Ford Lehman in a big Cheoy Lee where in the absence of suitable tree we used the boom and a halyard winch to lift the lump and turn it over to replace the crankshaft bearing shells.

The skipper promised faithfully to check the oil in future.
 
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