Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Engine Woes

Changing the oil and the filters.  It sounds like such a simple maintenance task, and on our last boat, it was.  On this boat, however, we had forgotten to add the necessary time to compensate for a learning curve with a new engine (which is a Perkins 4-236, fyi).  Yesterday, this little operation took a whopping eight hours.

I won't go into boring detail, but when you change oil and filters on an engine, you introduce a bit of air into that engine.  Engines do not run with air in their systems, so it is imperative that you bleed that air out.  Turns out, this "bleeding" process was the tricky part on this engine and it took three very skilled boat guys to figure it out.  Basically, because our priming lever was not working properly (which took a while to diagnose) it did not bleed all the air out of the system like it should have.  As a result, we needed to prime the entire fuel line manually by tracing the diesel from the tank to each of the injectors, venting the air out as it went using a wrench and closing those valves when the fuel got to it.  This was a two person job with one person cranking the engine and the other following the fuel while opening and closing the injectors.  Good times.  On the bright side, Isla slept through the whole thing so it doesn't seem that the engine running will be a problem for her.
Shane and Scott working in tandem to bleed the air.
Travis, working away
Anyway, we got the engine running and now she has nice new filters, slick new oil and is purring like a kitting.  Huge thanks to our friends Travis and Shane for their painstaking efforts in helping us.  It was a long night.

While Scott worked away in the engine room all day I finished up the provisioning and purchased all our fresh food as well as wine and beer.  The boat is now fully loaded and we are now (dare I say) good to go.  I'll share my provisioning list soon so you can see what we've jammed into this beauty.  Believe it or now, we even have a couple inches of waterline to spare.  Plans are written in sand over here, but we are still on track to head to the Bahamas by the end of the week...fingers crossed.


Robert Salnick said...

Eolian too has a 4-236. Priming for us is much easier because we have an electric fuel pump that I can valve in-line between the tanks and the engine lift pump. No fiddling with that tiny lift pump lever.

I also usually have to crack the line going to an injector, but once the air is out of one of the lines, the others seem to clear on their own, and all 4 cylinders start firing.

FWIW, the electric fuel pump was originally installed as a transfer pump, allowing us to move fuel around.

s/v Eolian

Anonymous said...

Think of it as a learning experience. I had to learn to bleed my engine at night anchored in the intra-coastal.

Ben said...

Is that the normal procedure, or did something just go funny (i.e. not funny)? 2 person job on an oil change seems excessive to me.

Steve said...

we've got a perkins 6-354...like the poster above, installed a 12v fuel priming pump (about $40.00). money well spent. Perkins are bullet proof so you will have many years of reliable power. Steve

Sandy Montgomery said...

"Purring like a kitting" ? That's a new one to me!


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