squealing, this is another indication that
it needs tightening or that a bearing
is going. If it’s an old belt, replace it
and clean the dust, then watch carefully.
Unless you see another line building up
quickly, you may have solved the problem.
If there’s still an issue, get a qualified
mechanic to check it out. You may,
unfortunately, have a bearing problem
developing. In the meantime, just keep a
close eye on the belt for slipping, uneven
wear, squealing, or significant increasing
of the dust line. I wouldn’t suggest a belt
dressing. This may help the problem for
a while but has a tendency to cover it up
rather than actually fix the problem.
I’m trying to understand why everyone
says a sailboat diesel engine should be run
“hard.” I’d think Yanmar and other manufacturers of sailboat diesels would understand their engines wouldn’t be run hard
most of the time. Does it hurt my engine
by not running it hard all the time?
DON CASEY No. What hurts a diesel
is long hours at low loads – running
your main engine just to charge batteries
or make hot water, for example. To run
efficiently, meaning to burn all of the fuel
injected into the cylinder, diesel engines
require relatively high cylinder temperatures, which they cannot achieve under
light load. If your engine is sized correctly
for your boat and you run the engine to
push it along at more or less hull speed,
you won’t be hurting the engine based on
your throttle setting.
Most manufacturers recommend
varying the engine speed periodically,
ostensibly to prevent cylinder glazing.
They also recommend pushing the engine
to near redline occasionally to “blow out
carbon deposits.” I have my doubts, but
following this protocol shouldn’t hurt
anything, does reassure that you’ll have
full power if you ever need it, and might
have some beneficial cleaning effect on
cylinders and exhaust plumbing.
If, like most recreational sailors,
you run your diesel engine for only a
few minutes to get in and out of your
marina or inlet, the cylinders never reach
proper operating temperature despite the
heat-gauge reading. For the weekend
sailor, making a habit of running the
engine hard for 20 or 30 minutes should
help to avoid the problems that arise from
condensation and incomplete combustion
that low operating temperature fosters.
ASK OUR EXPERTS
Our editor at large, liveaboard and
DIY tech guru Tom Neale, creates this
column from correspondence he has
with our members. This month, he’s also
gotten great advice from John Adey,
the president of the American Boat &
Yacht Council, and liveaboard cruiser
Don Casey, the author of This Old Boat.
Don’t forget to read Tom’s exclusive
column, “On Board With Tom Neale,”
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