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Smoke - oil/diesel mix


Mel Good
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Now I don't want to panic myself too much but we recently bought a Broom Commander 35 (ca 1979) - took it on it's first journey as our boat and everything seemed to go smoothly. My husband did the first leg and myself and the kids joined him for the second part. Boat seems to be running perfectly although he did mention there was a bit of smoke when he started it 2 or 3 times throughout the day. But he said it passed quickly....

 

Two day after the trip my father in law went to move the boat for us and said there was a lot of smoke so turned it off immediately. We had a mechanic take a quick look - he is know to the family and actually deals with tractors not boats however as this is a perkins engine he said he'd take a quick look in case it was something obvious. After looking he said that somehow the diesel has mixed with the oil???? How does that even happen? We have a mechanic coming to look at it tomorrow or the next day but I thought I'd ask here if this is something that happens to boats? is it typical? has anyone any experience with it? 

 

I understand that nobody on the group can look at our boat and actually diagnose it - really just putting it out there so I can get an idea of what I might be dealing with or at least come up to speed on terminology

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just spoke to my father in law and got more details albeit somewhat vague: first injector not connected, he said no gear oil although I think he meant that it is now a mix of oil and diesel as there is a leak.... this is not a good day 

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2 hours ago, Mel Good said:

Now I don't want to panic myself too much but we recently bought a Broom Commander 35 (ca 1979) - took it on it's first journey as our boat and everything seemed to go smoothly. My husband did the first leg and myself and the kids joined him for the second part. Boat seems to be running perfectly although he did mention there was a bit of smoke when he started it 2 or 3 times throughout the day. But he said it passed quickly....

 

Two day after the trip my father in law went to move the boat for us and said there was a lot of smoke so turned it off immediately. We had a mechanic take a quick look - he is know to the family and actually deals with tractors not boats however as this is a perkins engine he said he'd take a quick look in case it was something obvious. After looking he said that somehow the diesel has mixed with the oil???? How does that even happen? We have a mechanic coming to look at it tomorrow or the next day but I thought I'd ask here if this is something that happens to boats? is it typical? has anyone any experience with it? 

 

I understand that nobody on the group can look at our boat and actually diagnose it - really just putting it out there so I can get an idea of what I might be dealing with or at least come up to speed on terminology

 

1 hour ago, Mel Good said:

just spoke to my father in law and got more details albeit somewhat vague: first injector not connected, he said no gear oil although I think he meant that it is now a mix of oil and diesel as there is a leak.... this is not a good day 

 

If it's a Perkins 4-10x then it has a DPA injector pump and when old they can leak fuel into the ENGINE oil from the main shaft seal. As Brian says a split lift pump diaphragm can also leak fuel into the oil, but often it also drips out of a breather hole in the bottom of the pump as well.

 

I can see no way that diesel can possibly get into the gearbox, so if it has lost its oil it will either be very noisy if it's a mechanical box or simply refuse to go into gear. Make & model of box?

If an injector pipe was disconnected the engine would  run on three cylinders and vibrate a lot with low power. I also doubt it would idle unless the previous owner covered the fault up by increasing the idle speed. I think FiL has the wrong. Photos always help.

 

 

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He could have misspoken about the gear oil as engine oil sounds much more viable. We are not near the boat which isn't helpful - heading to it this weekend so will take photos then. It's a 4108. 

 

The engine sounded good when we used it but now apparently there is a crackle (whatever that means) and my husband did say that the revs were jumping up and down randomly. 

 

We reached out to the previous owner who was less than helpful so not sure what's going on there. 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Mel Good said:

We reached out to the previous owner who was less than helpful so not sure what's going on there. 

 

You seem to have had a baptism of fire into the world of boat ownership, Dangerous (life threatening) gas heaters, cooker that failed its safety checks, leaking windows and now potentially serious engine problems it sounds a bit of a 'lemon'.

 

Did you have a survey before purchase? you may be able to get some comeback from the surveyor, or seller, as it not being suitable, or safe, for its intended purpose.

 

Just think - when you have repaired everything there will be nothing left to fail ...............................happy days.

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26 minutes ago, Mel Good said:

He could have misspoken about the gear oil as engine oil sounds much more viable. We are not near the boat which isn't helpful - heading to it this weekend so will take photos then. It's a 4108. 

 

The engine sounded good when we used it but now apparently there is a crackle (whatever that means) and my husband did say that the revs were jumping up and down randomly. 

 

We reached out to the previous owner who was less than helpful so not sure what's going on there. 

 

 

 

If you can maybe post a low res video of the engine revving up and down plus a good view of this  disconnected pipe. Don't run it with no oil in the engine though.

 

How much water was flowing from the exhaust when the engine is running? That crackle puts me in mind of a wet exhaust boat that has lost its raw water flow through the exhaust. That in turn would lead to overheating unless the boat is keel cooled.

 

The revs jumping up and down could be all sorts of things from a loose alternator belt, lose alternator terminal (both for an electric rev counter) or even an engine that is speeding up and slowing down for some reason. I suspect the boat is old enough to have an inductive revcounter sensor and that may have a loose connection or fault.

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2 hours ago, Mel Good said:

We reached out to the previous owner who was less than helpful so not sure what's going on there. 

 

Can't help thinking this may well be why he sold the boat. 

 

 

 

Mind you, Dorothy Perkins made good basic reliable engines, as well as women's clothes. 

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7 hours ago, MtB said:

 

Can't help thinking this may well be why he sold the boat. 

 

 

 

Mind you, Dorothy Perkins made good basic reliable engines, as well as women's clothes. 

 

I also got that impression, but I am not so keen on those Perkins engines, preferring the BMC. That is just personal prejudice though.

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Yeah it's honestly hard not to think the worst but I am moving away from my normal sceptical self and trying to focus on the positives. We knew about the heating at the start and reduced our offer with the idea that it would need to be replaced. The windows are going to 'get it' in terms of a good clean and review this weekend. The cooker has been looked at and can be salvaged thankfully - the problem was more with the way it had been installed and secured so that we can fix. And now the engine....as you said @Alan de Enfield there will be nothing left to fail... ;o)) I work in technical emergency management so at least I am not overly surprised but outages and degradations - the only thing here is that I do not yet have the knowledge to assess these myself....clearly that will come and possibly quickly than I expected. 

 

Second mechanic is going to look at the boat either today or tomorrow and then we should know where we stand. The first guy as I mentioned knows his tractor engines and is used to fixing things on land - I will feel more comfortable with a boat person investigating it. I don't think I will like the bill but I guess the saying "Having a boat will make you a millionaire....but only if you're a billionaire when you buy it" is true 

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That engine was used in Massey Ferguson tractors and I suspect there are still a good number in use in the smaller farms, so he should have known what he was dealing with unless he worked for a large manufacturer's agent where it is all computers and things these days.

 

Once we see and possibly hear on video what the problems are you will get lots of help, not all of which will be correct but you will soon learn to judge who is more likely to be correct.

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I believe this mechanic is knowledgeable about the engine, however what he really struggles with is working and manoeuvring in a boat. He struggled to get the right position, and his solution is to take it out of the boat, as that is what he is used to. I'm hoping (perhaps unrealistically) that someone more accustomed to working on boats will be able to repair it on the spot - does that sound unlikely?

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16 minutes ago, Mel Good said:

I believe this mechanic is knowledgeable about the engine, however what he really struggles with is working and manoeuvring in a boat. He struggled to get the right position, and his solution is to take it out of the boat, as that is what he is used to. I'm hoping (perhaps unrealistically) that someone more accustomed to working on boats will be able to repair it on the spot - does that sound unlikely?

If it is the lift pump then just a couple of bolts and pipe connections. The Injector pump a bit more involved but not an engine out.

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The main reasons the engine has to come out of most boats are:

 

internal inspection of the crankshaft area

leaking sump gasket.

engine overhaul.

 

Given space almost everything else can be done in place but it might be a struggle.

 

I am still pondering that supposedly disconnected injector pipe and suspect it might be part of an unused thermostart system for cold starting, but if so it does not say much for the mechanic.

 

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17 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

I am still pondering that supposedly disconnected injector pipe

 

Me too. I really can't imagine any competent diesel technician claiming an injector pipe was not connected unless that really was the case. Yet on the other hand it is virtually unheard of for a diesel to have been used for any amount of time in such a condition, as fuel will have been getting squirted all over the engine, it would stink, and it would be obvious there was a major fuel leak. 

 

A video (with sound) will reveal everything....

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1 minute ago, ditchcrawler said:

Remember this is third hand info, the mechanic told her FiL who told Mel who told us, it may be slightly off course 

 

The WW1 message that started out as "Send reinforcements we are going to advance"  ended up as "Send three and four-pence we are going to a dance" by the time it got back to HQ

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Well I finally have good news and a ton of lessons learned. So it turns out that one of the pistons physically broke! Oil/diesel might be a red herring as he was unable to verify a mix - in fact he said there was too much oil and he felt it was thin so possibly just bad cheap oil. He took out all oil and put good oil in and replaced the piston.
 

We now have to keep an eye on the oil level - I have everything crossed. 

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I would be very surprised if he has replaced a piston.  That is a major job in most engines and an engine out job for most boats.    I  think the Perkins 4.108 had a sump underneath, rather than crankcase doors, and that has to come off to get at the big end and then the piston goes out upwards  with the cylinder head off the engine.

 

That said  a failed piston will result in lots of diesel in the oil  and IME with vehicle engines in clouds of smoke out of the exhaust.  The engine will also run as rough as Badger's bum.

 

N

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Our heads were spinning with all the new terminology- not to mention the first quote we got which was €4000!!! I felt we hadn’t quite the right people involved and am thankful I went with my gut here. Fingers crossed this is the fix 

 

he checked the compression and mentioned one area was high and that maybe oil was dripping on to one of the pistons….(that’s where pistons came into play) 

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13 minutes ago, Mel Good said:

Our heads were spinning with all the new terminology- not to mention the first quote we got which was €4000!!! I felt we hadn’t quite the right people involved and am thankful I went with my gut here. Fingers crossed this is the fix 

 

he checked the compression and mentioned one area was high and that maybe oil was dripping on to one of the pistons….(that’s where pistons came into play) 

Excellent, sounds like a guy who knows his onions.  Hope it all works out for you.

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