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

Mark Erdos



Was the throttle wide open when the WD40 was sprayed into the air intake? Was the throttle control verified that the cable is opening the throttle at the engine?


Not having the compression check done at this point makes it hard to diagnose. The lack of compression is not an indication that the engine is totally shot. It simply means there is a gap somewhere allowing air to escape. The most likely causes are: stuck valves (a result of carbon build up because the engine was run at lower RPMs for extended hours, improper gapping of valve clearances etc (were these service recently - is it possible someone messed this up?). It is highly unlikely the head gasket is blown (an engine will run with a blown head gasket but spew out all sorts of smoke). You may just need a top end overhaul. Worst case is damage to the cylinder walls or rings. However, this would normally follow hours of rough running or hard to start symptoms since cylinders do not suddenly all fail at once. If I recall, your engine ran well and then quit. This is not typical of internal mechanical issues.


If the compression is within spec, you have a fuel or air problem. There is very little risk in loosening an injector nut and cranking the engine. Place a paper towel under the nut to check for diesel flow. While the pressure is high, the amount of diesel is very little. It will not spray diesel all over the engine room. You will need to look closely at the towel to check for wetness. If you have fuel to the injectors, the next step is to test the injectors themselves. They must be tested outside of the engine. Did I read you had bad fuel? (I don’t remember if that was you or someone else comment). Is it possible you have clogged all the injectors? This test can be performed when your mechanic is doing the compression check.


After these tests you will be able to focus on the true problem area.


Also, this might seem like a really dumb question but I have to ask: I am not that familiar with the Volvo. Does it have a kill device such as a stop solenoid, emergency stop device or kill switch? If so, has this been checked to see if it is functioning correctly?





With best regards,




Super Maramu 2000

Hull #275

Currently cruising:  St Augustine FL


From: amelyachtowners@... [mailto:amelyachtowners@...]
Sent: Sunday, November 15, 2015 10:06 AM
To: amelyachtowners@...
Subject: Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Re: Engine Problems Amel 54




Mark, thanks for the suggestions. As you can see this is a perplexing problem and I still do not know the culprit, but I have systematically ruled out many things. We isolated the fuel system by providing an independent day tank, eliminating the boat fuel tank and filters. I am not sure what else external to the engine could be studied. The battery is fine and the ECM is getting good voltage. As you know we replaced the ECM and then returned it.

The Volvo Tech did nothing except sit in the cockpit and watch the Seven Seas mechanic do a couple of tests. I am going to ask for a quote on doing a compression check test. Getting the injectors out does take some time as I have already done that once, and the mounting parts would have to be replaced again. Those parts alone are several hundred dollars. When you figure the labor a compression check will likely cost about $500 to $600. I have already spent nearly $4,000 replacing fuel pumps, high-pressure lines, and servicing the injectors. Maybe the added expense is worth the knowledge, and I concur that a compression check is in order.

Also, we have not cranked the engine with the fuel line to the injectors loosened. That is very risky at the high pressures generated, but we do know that fuel is returning from the injectors? Why do you think WD40 alone would not be enough to cause the engine to cough? If the engine has sufficient compression it should at least try to fire. Continuous spraying into the air intake while cranking did not do anything, and we tried it a couple times.




On Saturday, November 14, 2015 9:28 PM, "'Mark Erdos' mcerdos@... [amelyachtowners]" <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:



I have to agree with Bill regarding the fact: What if the issue is external to the engine. Personally I would like to know for certain if the engine is shot, or not.

As for the compression check. I cannot believe the Volvo Tech did not perform this. It is not hard to do and requires only mildly expensive equipment that any good mechanic would regularly carry in their tools. The compression check test each cylinder by removing the injector, attaching the gauge and cranking the engine for about 15 secs per cylinder. It should take less than an hour to test all cylinders. For a problem such as yours it would be very insightful to know if compression, or lack of it, is the issue. If the results confirm you thoughts, you may well be better replacing the engine. But what if you have good compression? If could mean you are on the wrong path of diagnosis. I have read this thread since the first post and have thought this is more likely a fuel problem. Also, you shouldn’t need a Volvo mechanic to do a compression check. Any capable diesel mechanic can do this test.

I asked these questions before but did not see a response. Has the engine been cranked with the fuel line to the injectors loosened and fuel observed leaking out of the end? Are you absolutely certain you have fuel entering the cylinders? I do not think WD40 alone would be enough to cause the engine to cough.

With best regards,


Super Maramu 2000

Hull #275

Currently cruising: St Augustine, FL

From: amelyachtowners@... [mailto:amelyachtowners@...]
Sent: Saturday, November 14, 2015 2:22 PM
To: amelyachtowners@...
Subject: Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Re: Engine Problems Amel 54


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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