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Showing posts from June 11, 2017

The best possible news...

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When I started to tear down my ailing engine and think about causes, the very best possible outcome seemed to be a broken ring.  Given that all the components in the head measured within spec, and the cylinder wall seems unblemished, I was beginning to wonder if i would take the piston out and find it undamaged.  That would have left only the cooling system and the dreaded governor as possible culprits.

The thermostat came out of the head with some difficulty, and it was sufficiently encrusted to make me suspicious that a clogged thermostat and clogged hoses were part of my problem (the hoses were pretty crusty when I got them off).  Surprisingly, it still worked when put in a pan of water, but that doesn't mean it was entirely functional in the running engine.  Inspection of the cooling ports in both the block and the head suggests that the rest of the system is unoccluded, but a blockage at the thermostat could certainly result in an overheated engine. The instrument panel for …

The State of Head

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If you're going to rebuild an engine, it is pretty convenient that you can hold the head in your hand. Put aside the sludge factor and it would almost be cute.  Nothing this oily fits in that category, though, and when you get over that, the next emotion is awe.  This 9 horsepower engine turned turned over 110,000,000 times just on my Alaska trip.  Another 350,000 times last year... never mind all the other shorter seasons it has seen.  Half the horsepower of a John Deere lawn tractor, it has pushed a 6,000 lb boat 5,000 miles in the last couple years. Try riding your lawn tractor to New York and halfway back. Diesel engines rock, and this 20+ year old Yanmar has put in some time.

So why quit now? The hour meter has clocked a mere 2500 hours since the last rebuild (I'm assuming it has been rebuilt, but I don't even know that for sure).... That is very low for a diesel, and unless I can find the answer, I wonder if I can ever be confidant in it again?

I have the head off, a…

What could go wrong?

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The business end of my Yanmar 1GM10 block
A week ago I set off with a friend and colleague on the beginning of a 6 week circumnavigation around Vancouver Island.  It ended the first day, with an engine failure of significant proportion, which definitively called us home.  A winter's preparation, an overhaul of paint and varnish, many fiddly projects on my part took up weeks of effort. My crew spent treasure or family time or both to arrange their lives and schedules around three two-week legs.

There was no ambiguity about the sentence. Limping into Kingston for a night, then a tow back to Seattle by my sympathetic brother made the situation crystal clear.

My initial efforts to find a mechanic to take on the job have not been fruitful, and the prospect of re-powering, enormously seductive as it is, is an order of magnitude more costly.  Why not try doing the job myself?  As Calder says..."this procedure is well within the capability of an amateur mechanic and should give no c…