Yacht & Coast

Broad Reach

Why marine diesels love a workout

May 10, 2015 by robert in Broad Reach, NL Excel, Power with 0 Comments

SCHIEDAM ~ The April issue of De Waterkampioen, the Netherlands’ leading boating magazine, explored marine diesel engines. “I change the oil in my marine diesel every 100 hours,” wrote a reader. “My car’s diesel engine needs an oil change after 30,000 kms, i.e. after 500 or 600 hours of use. What’s up?”

The magazine kicked the question to Bernard Jansen, service inspector of the engine division of Vetus, the Dutch developer and maker of marine engines, generators and technical equipment. “In recreational boating, diesels are used for too brief periods,” says Jansen. “Sailboat owners tend to use theirs only briefly. That’s harmful and has to do with the start-stop cycle. It’s better to start a diesel engine and run it for 8 hours straight than to use it to enter and leave a marina 20 times. Even if that also adds up to 8 hours.”

Marine diesels take loads better than sailboat engines because motor yachts are heavier. Jansen: “It’s bad for an engine to never take the full load. If diesel-powered cars go short distances they’ll require more frequent oil changes or they’ll spew black smoke. This has nothing to do with the water or air cooling of boat and car engines.”

Jansen says when used daily, marine diesels can run for 30,000 hours. “Using it only 200 hours a year will shorten their lifespan. As to oil changes, I recommend you record if you use the engine for long or short periods. In the former case, less frequent oil changes are needed. Engine manuals always recommend oil changes based on intensive engine use.”

Jansen counsels against using top-quality oils in new engines still under warranty. “The engine must still be broken in and new synthetic oils are really too rich.” Also, he says, once an engine has been warmed up it is good to “fully open the throttle every now and then to ‘clean out’ an engine.”

www.vetus.com  / www.dutchyachtbuilding.com


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