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Discussion Starter #1
Towards the end of last sailing season, the Yanmar 4JH4AE diesel engine (with less than 130 hours) on my 2010 Beneteau 43, lost a valve seat and a valve dropped into the piston and the resulting mayhem cracked the block.

My insurance company, Seaworthy, sent a surveyor who determined that the engine was a complete loss due to "mechanical failure." Yanmar, through Mack Boring, says that the engine is out of warranty by over 1.5 years, and the extended warranty does not cover valves.

Now, I have a useless engine on a practically new sailboat with no recourse but to repower at my own expense. Before you purchase a boat, I urge you to consider my experience and make an educated decision based on how companies support (or, do not support) their products.
 

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Yanmar makes an very good engine. I suppose they may not be so good at reacting to this type of thing because it just doe snot happen often. I think they make the majority of their revenue on OEM installations.

Did you receive any warning of this impending doom? It must have made a hell of a racket but for how long before it stopped?
 

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Towards the end of last sailing season, the Yanmar 4JH4AE diesel engine (with less than 130 hours) on my 2010 Beneteau 43, lost a valve seat and a valve dropped into the piston and the resulting mayhem cracked the block.

My insurance company, Seaworthy, sent a surveyor who determined that the engine was a complete loss due to "mechanical failure." Yanmar, through Mack Boring, says that the engine is out of warranty by over 1.5 years, and the extended warranty does not cover valves.

Now, I have a useless engine on a practically new sailboat with no recourse but to repower at my own expense. Before you purchase a boat, I urge you to consider my experience and make an educated decision based on how companies support (or, do not support) their products.
engine survey and oil analysis show anything?

Did the surveyor (who came out on behalf of the insurance comp) speculate as to what caused the valve seat failure on such a short time engine??

generally these engines are quite the workhorse and very reliable.
 

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Just curious, is the vale seat an insert or just part of the head? If an insert did it come loose, not allowing the valve to close properly and have the piston hit it? Any history of the engine running hot? Was ether ever used in it?

Not that any of that matters, as it is out of warrantee, but I am just curious. I would think that the dealer or factory rep would offer some kind of a "compromise" fix, like parts at their cost or a break on labor? That is not many hours on the engine.

Paul T
 

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In my experience, Yanmar does not give many breaks. I had a $1000 heat exchanger fail. When I got the new one it had obviously been redesigned to prevent the failure I experienced. I asked nicely for a price break and they said no.
 

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It might be worth reading the extended warranty (presumably a high-priced warranty sold by the dealer?) and the exact reason given for the seat failure exact parts, etc. to see if there's anything to be wrung out of that. An extended warranty is "insurance" and I've seen a lot of insurers try to weasel out of things by redefining and misdefining things after the fact.

In my limited experience, I never have heard of a valve seat simply failing without cause.
 

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It might be worth reading the extended warranty (presumably a high-priced warranty sold by the dealer?) and the exact reason given for the seat failure exact parts, etc. to see if there's anything to be wrung out of that. An extended warranty is "insurance" and I've seen a lot of insurers try to weasel out of things by redefining and misdefining things after the fact.

In my limited experience, I never have heard of a valve seat simply failing without cause.
I had stellite? valve seat inserts installed in a Continental flat head six because on ongoing valve burning problems. Solved the burning problem & lasted the life of the engine.

Pretty straight forward installation, bore the block, warm the block, freeze the inserts, and press them in. I would assume the same process for putting them in a head? Aside from a possible overheating incident, I can't think of any reason for them to come loose. Were any of the other inserts loose or damaged?, that might help your cause.

Paul T
 

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if a motor suffers from ongoing seat drops etc what dabnis said is what yo need to do

I almost did this on my air cooled enduro honda xr600, you ca add stellite seats and precision fit....I did do the stem guides and that made a huge difference in oil burning...

if a manufacturer doesnt want to fix something you are only left with yourself and research

I second the overheating(even just a few times) can be enough to plop seats out...once it happens you can quickly shutdown and hopefully just replace said set of valves and piston but if it cracked the block you have to fix that

reweleding blocks can be easy or very tricky...do that or find a new block and plop all your "newish" stuff on

if this is hard to do or too expensive then dont know bud...sucks really
 

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If money is a concern, you can purchase a "short block" and put your old parts (alternator, intake and exhaust manifolds, heat exchanger, etc) on that, at a considerable savings. Getting the head repaired should not be a major expense or require a dealer to get done. If this is work you can do, it will save you thousands over a new engine, even if you have to build an A-frame to hoist the thing in and out.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Here's my update: My insurance company assigned a second surveyor due to the inconsistencies of the first surveyor's report. Second surveyor has sent the head to a metallurgist for analysis. In the meantime, my mechanic contacted the regional Yanmar rep in NJ and was told that they cannot sell him just the block, and quoted him a full retail price on a new engine. No trade-in values, no consideration for the circumstances (remember, this engine is less than 130 hours). Total repower cost is in excess of $16K! I sent a copy of my original post to Yanmar. Their response: a cease and desist letter from their lawyer! So disappointing....
 

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How much is a remanufactured engine installed? The same, or its younger twin model, from a company that knows how to rebuild them well.
Two years ago a friend seized his CS36 Yanmar. The next port in upstate NY, had the same engine, new, and sitting on a shelf for 10 years. It cost 10K installed.
Explore all possibilities.
 

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"Their response: a cease and desist letter from their lawyer! So disappointing.... "
In my uneducated point of view...Oh, wait, no, there's a piece of sheepskin that says I'm a gentlemen and a scholar so make that in my educated point of view...
I don't see why a lawyer should makes threats at you. It isn't as if you'd baselessly accused Yanmar of shoddy manufacturing, or failing to honor a warranty, or being tight-fisted SOBs. Which might insult their parents more than anyone else.
The tiny devil on my shoulder says their lawyer needs a complaint filed with their state bar association for improper action, improper co-ercion, and questioning an illegal interstate criminal conspiracy (RICO) violation based on the same. Won't get them disbarred, sadly, but you know these days you can't just keel-haul an attorney without an EPA permit.

So far it seems like all you've done is state there was a catastrophic failure in a very young engine, indicative of a manufacturing defect, that happened after all applicable warranties had expired. And that Yanmar wasn't interested in cutting any slack for that.

If they have a problem with that...maybe they need to look in the mirror? And consider that moral or ethical obligations to the customer may exceed the statutory ones?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
"So far it seems like all you've done is state there was a catastrophic failure in a very young engine, indicative of a manufacturing defect, that happened after all applicable warranties had expired. And that Yanmar wasn't interested in cutting any slack for that."

Absolutely. I've attempted to simply state the facts as they are occurring. I think it was Ronald Reagan who said, "Facts are pesky little things."
 

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And as a prominent politician, I'll bet Reagan was pesked by them many times, so he'd certainly know about that.

It will be interesting to hear what the metallurgist says. Your boat insurance covers mechanical failures to the engine?? Or that's from other insurance, extended warranty or something?
 

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Just curious, has Yanmar accused or intimated that the engine was not properly maintained or was mis-used? Did they do an oil analysis or any other type of inspection?

Interesting that they cannot/will not sell you a short block? Maybe a search of re-builders/salvagers?

Paul T
 

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Personally I would be contacting Beta Marine. They have drop in kits for lots of engines, and will likely be based on a Kubota block. May not save you much money, but prevents you from paying Yanmar any money and might let them know they are not the only game in town. You might sleep easier knowing it is not a Yanmar in there. Seems they think you are going to just drop them the coin, so why should they work with you?
 

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I don't think that the problem was only the valve. Prior to the failure, you had a previous owner, winterizations, two occasions of white clouds of smoke, and loosely clamped cooling hoses.
Going from a defective valve to a cracked block, is a bit of a stretch, and highly suspect.
Mention diesels and overheat, in the same sentence, and there you have a catalyst.
 

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Yanmar makes an very good engine. I suppose they may not be so good at reacting to this type of thing because it just doe snot happen often. I think they make the majority of their revenue on OEM installations.

Did you receive any warning of this impending doom? It must have made a hell of a racket but for how long before it stopped?
If yanmar makes a good engine and it doesn't happen ceru often, they should stand behind their products on the rare occasion they make a bad engine.

Then, they would have a reputaion for reliability and service.
 

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May have to lick your wounds and tell all about Yanmars .Kyboto a better engine anyway. At least they don't have an issue with fractured cranks within the aft main bearing.
 
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