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

James Wendell <ms42phantom54@...>

Tony, how did you figure out that the sensor had failed? When my Volvo guy connected the VODIA tool to the engine and cranked it, it showed about 240 bar of pressure. He also disconnected it (at my insistence) and then checked it with his meter. He told me it showed the correct readings.

There were no error codes on my display or the diagnostics tool.

I could just go ahead and replace it, but it costs about $450. If I have low compression I might be wasting more money.

What did you see on your engine?

Jamie Wendell
s/v Phantom Amel 54

On Thursday, November 19, 2015 3:30 PM, "Tony Robinson tonywrobinson51@... [amelyachtowners]" wrote:

I agree....that's what the problem was on my Volvo D3 - a failed sensor on the end of the common rail. And it also took forever to diagnose.....

Tony Robinson - Catriona R

From: "Jeff Wingfield ki4jde@... [amelyachtowners]"
To: amelyachtowners@...
Sent: Sunday, November 15, 2015 7:54 PM
Subject: Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Re: Engine Problems Amel 54


It still sounds to me as a failed sensor for the common rail. 


On Nov 15, 2015, at 10:06, James Wendell ms42phantom54@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:

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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