Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Re: Engine Problems Amel 54

James Wendell <ms42phantom54@...>

Thanks for the support Bill. Good comments indeed - I am still pondering a plan of attack based on all the feedback I have gotten.

Unfortunately, no one has yet given me any conclusive evidence as to what is wrong with the engine, so yeah (as an engineer myself who has rebuilt several gasoline engines in my youth) I have derived many of my own opinions. If I knew of a company or individual with proven expertise, I would bring them in for a final assessment. I try to be my own "expert," and all my boat issues have certainly given me a lot of hands-on knowledge of the boat and its systems. The only one I have not resolved is the engine. I do not have any misgivings for Gary, as I know he relied on all the "experts" out there supposedly supporting him.

By the way, the rep that "tested" a new ECM (based on Volvo recommendations) has agreed to refund my money. The fuel pump is a lost cause unfortunately.

Jamie Wendell
s/v Phantom

On Saturday, November 14, 2015 2:22 PM, "'Bill & Judy Rouse' yahoogroups@... [amelyachtowners]" wrote:


My take away from all of your posts is that the mechanics and other experts that you have hired have done nothing except throw parts at your engine hoping that the part dejour will solve the problem. 

Also, it seems to me that most of the diagnoses that you have written about has come from you and not the people you hired to diagnose the engine non-starting problem.

If you are replacing the engine because you have had a series of people do nothing toward identifying the problem, you could be making another mistake. What if the problem is external of your engine?

I would raise all sorts of hell with Volvo Penta and demand that they identify someone who can give you a diagnoses and a recommended solution. I would also insist on some sort of compensation for parts replaced in error. I am not sure that I would get anywhere with these things, but I would work at it very hard.

If you are not going to do this, do you plan to buy and install a Volvo? And, if you are going to change that engine to Yanmar, you may be looking at all sorts of other issues...the house 24VDC alternator, motor mounts, Vetus coupling, etc.

Just my two cents worth. 

One last comment: That boat does not appear to have been maintained properly...probably not neglect, but likely some things were not completely understood by the the barnacle and marine growth...possibly there was an engine overheating issue...a proper compression test would give you a strong indication of damage. That boat spent a lot of time in Curacao where the barnacles breed like few other places. Gary left most things up to mechanics in marinas rather than being hands-on...and you know the quality of mechanics in marinas...I think you have met some recently.

BeBe #387

On Sat, Nov 14, 2015 at 6:07 PM, James Wendell ms42phantom54@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:

Kent, I certainly appreciate the input, and I have to agree with you in principle. The engine seems to have expired prematurely, but that 10,000 hours is only realistic if properly maintained. But I have no other explanation, as we have tried almost every possible "solution" to no avail. Many folks have tested, diagnosed, and assessed the engine. I have listened to the engine spin and everyone (including myself) feels that it spins too easily. Spraying WD40 into the air intake should have at least allowed the engine to "cough" or "kick." It did not, and this is not the first time we have tried to inject "fuel" directly into the combustion chambers. I do not know how to explain that except with low compression in at least 2 or more cylinders. Plus, the suction at the intake during cranking seems quite weak.

We have not tried a compression check at this point, since that in itself is a fairly involved process. If we discover anything other than adequate compression, then I am faced with further engine tear down. Even if the compression is good, what then? We have tried almost everything else we could try. The technician did not actually volunteer the possibility that fuel starvation could have caused the problem, but when I explained to him that the engine stopped and failed to restart during sea trial (filters were solid black with contamination), he concluded that lack of fuel "lubrication" could have at least contributed to engine failure. He could not positively identify the problem without further investigation.

At this point I am becoming more and more convinced that there is internal engine damage. Again, I feel that chasing the problem will be quite costly unless I undertake that expedition on my own. I am most weary of fighting with this engine, as it has not run for the last 4 months, and I have already replaced a bunch of parts that have not allowed it to start.

If you do get an opinion from your contacts, I would sure welcome additional inputs.

Thanks, and I do agree with your opinion on Yanmars.............

Jamie Wendell

On Saturday, November 14, 2015 11:56 AM, "Kent Robertson karkauai@... [amelyachtowners]" <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:

He "thinks"???  Has he actually checked compression?  I'm skeptical.  I wrote to Danny Ramos but he didn't reply, sorry.
If it really is a low compression problem, how does he's explain that fuel starvation caused the problem?  Does he explain what he thinks is the problem?  Bad rings? Bad valves?

I would guess that engine should be good for 10000 hrs.  I'd contact Danny Ramos at Marine Mechanical in Fajardo, PR before I bought a new engine.

If you're set on re powering, look at a new Yanmar.  Much easier to work on, get parts, etc.
SM 243

On Nov 14, 2015, at 11:35 AM, ms42phantom54@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:

I want to thank everyone for the great advice and suggestions regarding my Amel 54 (Phantom) engine "no-start" issue. Since no one has been able to pinpoint the problem, I just had a Volvo Penta factory technician out to survey the situation. He thinks the compression is low on the engine, as it would not fire even as we sprayed WD40 into the intake. Although he had no specific rationale as to the possible cause of this conclusion, he did suggest that earlier fuel-starvation could have caused the problem, stressing the importance of maintaining a clean fuel supply at all times.

I have decided to replace the engine. That will restart the clock with zero hours and a 5-year warranty. The alternative would be to start tearing down the engine to determine the problem. Even if we do find something (blown head gasket, stuck valves, scored cylinders, etc.), chasing this "rebuild" tactic would be a very expensive and time-consuming operation - and it will still be a 9-year-old engine with 2500 hours. Although hugely expensive, a new engine is the only rational option. I do not want to continue chasing "ghosts."

Thanks again for the support.
Jamie Wendell
s/v Phantom

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