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Engine refit

Refit of the Engine!!

Let’s talk about oil, pumps, compression ratios, injection! Yumeee!


On a sailing yacht, the engine is not the main propulsion method, but it serves many other purposes that requires us to trust it 100%, hence the refit!

1/ Harbour manoeuvres: You could use your sails to dock, but it requires extremely favorable conditions (light wind, small current, available space…). So most of the time, you will use the engine propeller to motor your way into the harbour.

2/ Energy generator: On board, you use electrical energy stored into batteries for all equipements (fridge, navigation instruments, lights). Solar Panel, Wind turbines, and hydro-generator can produce the required energy in a sustainable way! So can the engine, less renewable but output is guaranteed!

3/ Emergency boost: The engine is your last resort to manoeuver your boat quickly and precisely when need (Man Over Board, absence of wind, storm)

Compared to an car engine, our old marine diesel engine is quite simple ; no turbo, limited electronics, all is visible and accessible if you are flexible enough ! We checked the airflow, the oil circuit, the fuel flow, the sea water cooling system, and the electronics!

A tip we found very useful :  perform all those steps one by one, starting the engine between each to quickly correct any problems as soon as they appear.


Air flow

This is the easiest step;). First locate the air intake, find the air filter, follow the tube onto the engine block. then the exhaust mixing elbow and all the exhaust line until it leaves the boat.

We took out and thoroughly cleaned the air intake filter, the mixing elbow, the exhaust anti return box.

The mixing elbow was leaking, so we took it to a welder Olivier to fix it!

Oil circuit

Usual maintenance is quite simple: every 150 hours, check the oil level, the oil filter ; every 300 hours oil and filter change! The required tools are oil filter socket (to tighten the said oil filter) and an oil pump (unlike on a car, there is no accessible low point)

Fuel flow

We started from the diesel tank, emptied them, cleaned the bituminus residue. We heared that the majority of engine problems come from the diesel tank so no compromise there! A good tip is to have prepared an emergency short circuit, a dedicated diesel can, manual pump and hoses, that you can plug quickly next to the engine just in case.

After the tanks, we looked into the 2 diesel filters and pumps admission and injection. We changed the filters (and took spare ones with us) cleaned the hoses and screws from any corrosion traces.

Heat exchanger

You know the drill now ;).
Purge, unscrew, wash with clear water, check the gaskets. screw back and fill it up again (you can use any cooling liquid adapted to cars = save some euros)

Exhaust line

First the mixing elbow! That’s where the exhaust gases are cooled by the sea water coming from the heat exchanger

We had to fight against rusty bolts to unscrew it… Huge pain but necessary as our mixing elbow was leaking inside the engine compartment…

Remember to check all our exhaust line even after the mixing elbow, for the silencer the « flow back preventer ».