Re: [Amel Yacht Owners] Smoking Gun...

W Porter McRoberts <portermcroberts@...>

Gentlemen (and any ladies),

Once again I need your sage advice.

The situation exists as follows:

I’ve found what appears to be a great boat, for what I think a reasonable price with a quite reasonable owner.  2010 54 hull 152.

The survey with Dave Huffman confirms an excellent boat free of any serious concerns save a smoking engine.

And here in lies the friction:

The engine black stacks the water under a load.  Black smoke out the exhaust with carbon on the water when increasing load. Start-up is good. Acceleration is good. Engine goes to 2700rpm and quickly.  Engine serviced very regularly without issue.  Volvo Martinique ( and multiple trips to the engine room with multiple mechanics) agrees there is an issue and have suggested either a new engine or a long-block change out, but has not offered an actual diagnosis as they agree the symptoms are present but that can’t find the disease.  Prop is reasonably clean.  

I am told by the broker that the prop is too large and this is likely the issue.
I am told by the owner (who he himself has a good working knowledge of diesels) this is normal for a diesel and there is nothing really wrong.
I am told by Nigel Calder in no uncertain terms: a common rail diesel such as the D3-110 should never smoke and is indicative of a serious issue.
The turbo is clean per Volvo.  And the owner confirms regular open throttle to clean out the turbo. 

I have already in place (3 weeks) plans to bring the boat back to the US and flag delineation etc has begun, some funds already transferred.   

Option one:  Accept the boat as is.
Option two: reject the boat and do not complete the deal, Pay crew for all cancelled airlines etc.
Option three: work towards a half way circumstance where owner and buyer share the financial burden of fix/replace.
Option four: your great ideas! 

I very much appreciate your consideration!!

Porter McRoberts

On Feb 19, 2017, at 2:38 PM, W Porter McRoberts <portermcroberts@...> wrote:

Bill- No I do not mind in the least!!!

All comments very much appreciated! I think once we get under there other findings may elucidate the nature and seriousness of the problem. A Volvo computer check would be helpful i think too.  

Interesting that you state even a Volvo mechanic would not implicitly “fully understand the Volvo system.” 
Thats a little disconcerting.  

I really appreciate it.

Thanks Amigo.


On Feb 19, 2017, at 2:29 PM, 'Bill & Judy Rouse' yahoogroups@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...> wrote:


I hope that you do not mind receiving comments that do dot definitively solve your issue. Here are some of my thoughts:

I think Nigel Calder know something about a lot of things, and I sometimes disagree with him, especially when he uses generalizations and absolutes.

As Mark said, black smoke is an indication of unburnt diesel. The Volvo D3-110 computer and sensors appear to me to be one of the most misunderstood and most criticized systems in the marine business. It is extremely difficult to find a Volvo certified mechanic that completely understands the computer logic, controls and the sensors. Most of them repair these engines using the "bingo method" of repair which is they start replacing parts until they eventually "bingo." 

Someone needs to fully understand the Volvo system to find the answer. I certainly do not and I do not intend to learn it.

That said, I am betting that the Volvo D3-110 computer primes during the beginning of the start cycle and that this increase of diesel at startup may be normal to a limit, but I do not know the limit, not do I know what controls the limit and if it is adjustable. I believe that once the engine has started the Volvo sensors and computer work together to ensure that the engine is not over-fueled...this eliminates the cause of the black smoke you see at starting.

You state that Calder said, " indicates something serious...always.” This is the type of absolute statement that really bothers me about him, because it tells you nothing...what is "serious?" My serious and your serious may be two completely different things. And, "...always" is not possible in the marine business except that things are "always" unpredictable. I know a lot of people like Calder, and he knows a lot more than me, but it is things like this that are very troubling to me, but not "always."


Galveston, Texas

On Sun, Feb 19, 2017 at 12:40 PM, Porter McRoberts portermcroberts@... [amelyachtowners] <amelyachtowners@...>wrote:

That's comforting. To say the least!  
I'll be sure to check. 

Many thanks Mark

On Feb 19, 2017, at 12:03 PM, 'Mark Erdos' mcerdos@... [amelyachtowners] <> wrote:




The good news it is definitely not the turbo charger. When the turbo charger goes out you will lack RPM and put out a huge cloud of black smoke with a warm engine (ask me how I know this).


A lot of diesels will puff a little black smoke at start. It is an indication of fuel not being burned. It can be due to any number of things such as air in the fuel line or poor fuel quality. When was the last time the fuel filters were changed? (note I said “filters” with an S). Most likely your issue, if you have an issue, is fuel related.



With best regards,





Sailing Vessel - Cream Puff - SM2K - #275

Currenlty cruising – Cambridge Cay- Exuma Islands, Bahamas


From: [] 
Sent: Sunday, February 19, 2017 11:16 AM
Subject: [Amel Yacht Owners] Smoking Gun...



Good Sunday morning you Oracles!

Just took Nigel Calder’s Diesel class.  Fascinating.  
I think humans are less complex!

Anyway quick question.  We are in the process of working through buying what seems like a great 2010 54.  

But…  did notice a big puff of black smoke on cold start up while visiting the boat.  Lasted 5 seconds then cleared up.. Owner said no problem.  Nigel disagreed.  He said on a common-rail like the Volvo D3-110 it indicates something serious.  "Always.”

Warm starts seem ok.  The remainder of the trip no smoke. I am sorry that I haven’t spent enough time in the engine room yet to have more details.  

Clearly it's a mixture issue, possible turbo?  

Any thoughts?  I am going down with Dave Huffman in a few weeks.

Always so very appreciated.



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