Marine Diesel

The engine is back in our friendship sloop, and more importantly the engine mounts have been replaced and the engine space reorganized.  If you look at the before and after pictures below, you can see the difference fairly clearly.

Engine and engine space before the overhaul.

After overhaul (ignore the extension cord in the foreground).

Note for example that in the before picture you cannot even see the stuffing box. Imagine trying to put a wrench on it. The other thing that is clear (aside from the TLC that the motor needed in the first place) is that the old engine mounts were in pretty bad shape.

I cannot say that the engine re-installation went flawlessly. The replacement of the engine mounts required that the holes in the engine beds be filled in and that we start with a fresh slate. With mounts attached to the engine, but not to the engine bed, I did an alignment with the prop shaft. When I go it as close as I could, I spray-painted the feet of the engine mounts so that there would be an outline of the mounts on the engine bed. I let this dry overnight, and then to be extra sure I traced the holes on the newly sanded and painted engine bed. With the engine once more lifted out-of-the-way I drilled new holes in the engine bed, lowered the engine back into place and started the process of bolting down the new engine mounts and once again aligning the engine. The alignment will have to be checked when the boat is back in the water, but right now the alignment is better than it has been in ten years.

After all the work on the engine and the engine space, I was extremely let down when I could not restart the motor. It turned over perfectly and in fact ran perfectly until you let out the preheat button, which instantly shut off the motor. I put on my thinking cap and went through the systems mentally; I knew I had good compression, and the system was shutting down as though one of the built-in shutdown switches indicated either a bad water pump, bad oil pressure, or problem with the solenoid. But I was also confident that these were all good. It was a puzzlement. I decided the best plan was to go eat lunch and review the whole engine installation process before I went any further.

After lunch, while reading over engine manuals and searching engine forums on-line, I had a mild epiphany; I had removed the engine fire suppression tank to have it checked along with the fire extinguishers and I had not re-installed it yet. I went back down to the  boat shed, plugged the tank back in, and the engine fired on the first try. It ran smoother than it has in ten years. You would think I would have figured it out sooner, those wires had been hanging down and hitting me in the face continually over the last two weeks while I was working in the engine space…of well live and learn. On to things a little less  technical—paint and varnish.

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