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Old 15 December 2009, 03:30   #1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polwart View Post
Why is there a diesel engine maintainence course but no "outboards" course?
I can only speak for us ... at SeaSkills we looked at producing an outboards course, and our conclusion was that:

- simple fault-finding and basic checks should be taught on the powerboat courses anyway, and don't need a special course to repeat them (whether or not they get taught effectively is perhaps another discussion)

- beyond the basics, modern 4-stroke engines with a high level of electronic control are not suited to owner maintenance. If something goes wrong, it is likely that it will need to be connected up to a computer diagnostic programme and workshop facilities.

- diesel engines are more suited to user maintenance, but even with diesels when we looked at a course to go beyond the basics we thought it would look more like an apprenticeship for a mechanic and wasn't feasible.
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Old 15 December 2009, 04:23   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaSkills View Post
I can only speak for us ... at SeaSkills we looked at producing an outboards course, and our conclusion was that:

- simple fault-finding and basic checks should be taught on the powerboat courses anyway, and don't need a special course to repeat them (whether or not they get taught effectively is perhaps another discussion)

- beyond the basics, modern 4-stroke engines with a high level of electronic control are not suited to owner maintenance. If something goes wrong, it is likely that it will need to be connected up to a computer diagnostic programme and workshop facilities.

- diesel engines are more suited to user maintenance, but even with diesels when we looked at a course to go beyond the basics we thought it would look more like an apprenticeship for a mechanic and wasn't feasible.
A quick google suggested that the Diesel course consists of:

* Theory of diesel 4 strokes, turbo charging and intercooling.
An outboard course would need to cover 4 strokes, traditional 2-strokes, modern DI 2-strokes. Where/how/why the oil goes!

* The fuel system
An outboard course would still need to cover this - and would need to cover both fuel injection and carbs. Plenty of opportunity for discussing tank contamination, filters, separators, even problems with priming bulbs etc. Add in spark plugs too.

*
Cooling system
The cooling system on outboards is somewhat more basic - but actually changing the impellor is a bit more daunting (remove a little plate v's take the bottom half of the engine off!).

*
Air system
I guess most outboards are simpler? in this sense.

*
Electrical system(s)
All the bits on an diesel are present on most outboards too. Add to that kill cords which can cause problems and the fact that on open boats (often the case with outboards) the electrics are more likely to be exposed and corrode.

*
Spares and tools
Just as applicable.

*Winterisation & servicing
Just as applicable

*
Fault finding
A key part? I realise that any detailed fix is too complex for a 1 day course - but a sort of flow chart based approach to debugging would be useful. Obviously that doesn't need a course - but the time to be realising you don't understand a question on the flowchart is in the classroom not mid channel!

On an outboard course you would probably want to add steering system to the course (hydraulic and cable) and the maintainence and servicing required, as well as PTT problems. I'd probably also add changing props. You might even cover the basics of what to do with an 'immersed' engine.
I think that lot - with practical hands on experience changing impellor, fuel filters etc could easily be the best part of a day bearing in mind that you need to assume the students know very little before they come. My personal experience is that engine fault finding took about 10-15 minutes on my PB2 course (I hadn't realised it was in the official syllabus - just assumed the instructor was being helpful).
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Old 15 December 2009, 04:54   #3
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Outboard Course

We run a 1 day Outboard Course.

While we fully accept that many modern engines do not lend themselves to owner tinkering its is still useful for owners of smaller engines and older engines.

The day includes
  • 2 and 4 stroke engine cycles
  • Fuel and oil systems
  • Servicing
  • Basic Fault finding
  • Electrical Testing

As the course is aimed at owners of inflatable tenders and RIBs we also include
  • Tube repairs
  • Trailer care/ Changing wheel bearings
  • Trailer electrics
I should emphasise that most of the course is spent on outboards and a much smaller component is the other stuff.

We are not looking to create outboard engineers but give people some tips.

During the course we look at something small (sub 15HP), something medium (30HP) and if appropriate to the students something large (150-250HP).
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Old 15 December 2009, 06:41   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polwart View Post
A quick google suggested that the Diesel course consists of:

* Theory of diesel 4 strokes, turbo charging and intercooling.
An outboard course would need to cover 4 strokes, traditional 2-strokes, modern DI 2-strokes. Where/how/why the oil goes!

* The fuel system
An outboard course would still need to cover this - and would need to cover both fuel injection and carbs. Plenty of opportunity for discussing tank contamination, filters, separators, even problems with priming bulbs etc. Add in spark plugs too.

*
Cooling system
The cooling system on outboards is somewhat more basic - but actually changing the impellor is a bit more daunting (remove a little plate v's take the bottom half of the engine off!).

*
Air system
I guess most outboards are simpler? in this sense.

*
Electrical system(s)
All the bits on an diesel are present on most outboards too. Add to that kill cords which can cause problems and the fact that on open boats (often the case with outboards) the electrics are more likely to be exposed and corrode.

*
Spares and tools
Just as applicable.

*Winterisation & servicing
Just as applicable

*
Fault finding
A key part? I realise that any detailed fix is too complex for a 1 day course - but a sort of flow chart based approach to debugging would be useful. Obviously that doesn't need a course - but the time to be realising you don't understand a question on the flowchart is in the classroom not mid channel!

On an outboard course you would probably want to add steering system to the course (hydraulic and cable) and the maintainence and servicing required, as well as PTT problems. I'd probably also add changing props. You might even cover the basics of what to do with an 'immersed' engine.
I think that lot - with practical hands on experience changing impellor, fuel filters etc could easily be the best part of a day bearing in mind that you need to assume the students know very little before they come. My personal experience is that engine fault finding took about 10-15 minutes on my PB2 course (I hadn't realised it was in the official syllabus - just assumed the instructor was being helpful).
Looks about right. Well, it isn't an RYA course, so you wouldn't have to be recognised as a training centre to run it. I'll send you the people we turn away
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Old 15 December 2009, 08:05   #5
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Some useful Options

The RYA book of outboards has a useful fault finding flow chart and good pictures of changing impeller and gearbox oil winterising and so on.

Most large modern outboards are run by a electronic control device so even if you can or could fix the problem unless you have the computer software on your lap top to cancel the fault it will keep sending the alarm and will keep your engine in guardian mode depending on the fault of course.

The course Doug mentions is the British Sub Aqua Clubs Skills Development Course and covers engines, trailers, patching tubes and repairing dings in your gel coat it is a one day course but in my humble opinion there is not enough time in one day to do all of it and allow the students hands on time of changing bearings applying a patch and repairing a ding and then going onto the outboards two or four strokes and as Doug mentions it is better suited to older engines non EDC .The time would be better spent over two day's but if one school offers the same course over one day for x amount of pounds and my school offers the same course over two days for twice the price it is very hard to compete.

The RYA Diesel course is excellent in that it covers the basics changing filters , belts , bleeding the system cooling systems fault diagnosis and smoke tell tales IE black , blue or white and so on and some excellent publications out there produced by the RYA and others to give you a better insight to the workings of said engines.

Also you invalidate any warranty you have on your engine if you start tinkering with it , Sea Start membership is always one option and regular servicing is always recommended.
Merry Christmas
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Old 15 December 2009, 08:51   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaSkills View Post

- beyond the basics, modern 4-stroke engines with a high level of electronic control are not suited to owner maintenance. If something goes wrong, it is likely that it will need to be connected up to a computer diagnostic programme and workshop facilities.
Indeed, and if it dies whilst beeping at you and flashing messages across your digital display about no signal at Hex location A13D4, then yep, you are probably right. (but most modern Engine management will try to keep it running, even at reduced power so you're not left getting swept towards the rocks / niagra falls.

It's the "user fixable" things that would be more useful - e.g. checking it's getting fuel, that the E- throttle is still talking to the servo on the engine, etc etc. But thsy are covered o nthe PB2

The only failure I ever had on my Suzi DT25 was that one day it decided it would only hold > idle throttle for 27 seconds, including a warning hesitation at "T+20". I can tell you it was 27 seconds, because we tried umpteen methods of getting it to stay at open thriottle, but withiout fail, the same fault conditon happend.
I had nothing to plug into the CDI, but by a process of deduction worked out it was likely the throttle sensor, as any other sensor on the engine would shut it down completely (e.g. oil, temp) . I limped home at idle with the aux thrashing its guts out alongside it. Once back home, a test circuit was built as per good old Clymer, and sure enough, the TPS was gubbed (stuuck feeding "idle" level signal to the CDi). At just shy of 150, not the sort of thing that I'll be carrying a spare in the seat, but by working it out, I gave myself an extra 2-3Hp on the way home as idling was not a problem.

By teaching the theory of electronic engine control, and which bit does what, people may be able to, as I did, limp home instead of floating around waiting for Seastart.


And spot on with the warranty / servicing commets!
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Old 15 December 2009, 09:36   #7
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Doug/Tim,

Yes trailer bearings etc would be a good addition to the course (and for those on here patching tubes etc). Interesting to know that BSAC perceive a need/interest but the RYA don't.

SeaStart only available in some parts of the country so not a complete answer.

Warranty issues must also apply to diesels - but there is a perceived need for a course; and only applies to newish engines (probably least likely to break down).

I appreciate that there's not much you can fix yourself - but get you home repairs there may be. Or get you back from the 'safe haven' to your trailer when the impellor fails etc.

I would speculate that actually whilst a lot of yacht (diesel engine) owners join the RYA perhaps those of us with petrol outboards tend not to become members. That may skew the percieved need.
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Old 15 December 2009, 10:54   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polwart View Post
I appreciate that there's not much you can fix yourself - but get you home repairs there may be. Or get you back from the 'safe haven' to your trailer when the impellor fails etc.
Thing is most "big" failures usually need more than you could feasibly do while bobbing around on your favourite stretch of water - e.g. even if I had a spare throttle sensor, it's 3 tiny screws in a bl**dy inaccessible (well, without removing the oil tank, amongst other things) location, and then it needs fine tuned. Not going to happen afloat.

Even those who carry spare props. You still need to get to a safe haven where you could beach the boat to realistically be able to change it.......

A dead water pump? You're talking dropping the grearbox!


What I'm pointing out here is that other than simple electrical failures, or bits of your throttle / gear linkage falling off, realistically, there's not a lot you can easily do whilst afloat in a swell.

> Cruise in company or buy an Aux!
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Old 15 December 2009, 12:05   #9
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Perhaps this is normally covered in PB2 courses but not mine. I've got a reasonable idea of my way around an engine now - but I might still be tempted if there was a course - for interest and experience.

Quote:
or buy an Aux!
You know I have taken that approach (which will soon result in my indoctrination into the world of carb cleaning) - and it probably cost about the same as a course would. I guess its not necessarily about being able to fix anything significant - but about being confident that something trivial won't mean you call out the lifeboat for a tow home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 9D280 View Post
What I'm pointing out here is that other than simple electrical failures, or bits of your throttle / gear linkage falling off, realistically, there's not a lot you can easily do whilst afloat in a swell.
I realise that but the following is a list of typical 'minor' issues people here (or others I know) have reported over the years on a mixture of older and newer engines.

- 'Corrosion' / 'short' on kill cord (or even remembering to check its fitted!)
- 'Start in gear' protection failing so engine wont start
- Water in fuel [draining carbs was covered on my PB2]
- Blocked fuel filters
- Gear linkage disconnected or adjusted wrong so stuck in gear
- Air in hydraulic steering
- Flat battery - how many people have used the emergency pull start for real?
- Fuel line primer problems
- Fouled plugs
- Warning buzzers - and tracing possible cause (heat, oil - which one and which sensor)
- What to do after leaving your 4str Aux on its side so sump oil gets in cylinders

They are all things which I can deal with now, but which as a beginner with outboards a few years ago I would/could have been a bit stuck with.
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Old 15 December 2009, 17:26   #10
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Quote:
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Doug/Tim,

I would speculate that actually whilst a lot of yacht (diesel engine) owners join the RYA perhaps those of us with petrol outboards tend not to become members. That may skew the percieved need.
I don't have the figures to hand (they are in the office) but there are more new members each year from small power than from sail cruising.

The diesel course however was written at a time when the RYA's representation was more yachtie (diesel). As alredy discussed more and more outboards are no longer owner servicable. Coupled with the fact that the tinkering DIY mentaility is more common in displacement boats than planning boats (however not on this site) there is only limited demand for an Outboard Course.

We run both
  • RYA Diesel Outboard
  • BSAC OUtboard

We do about 5% outboard courses of our diesels over a year. The vast majority of the outboard students opt not to pay the premium price for the certificate.

RYA marketing is far more effective than the BSAC and the diesel course is more widley avalible and pushed harder howeever I am not conviced there is a huge demand for outboard courses.

I belive we are 1 of 2 schools that offer it in our area and despite it being a good course I don't see many enquiries.

We actually get more students wanting bespoke advanced diesel (ie not certificate but beyond the RYA 1 day course) than we get wanting the outboard course. Yet we deliver more practical powerboat (petrol outboard) courses than we do displacmnet and yachting (diesel) courses. There is clearly a different mentality from sailors (who make up the larger proportion of diesel students) than from power boaters.

Draw from this your own conclusions.

Worth being aware that commercial skippers operating in Cat 1 and 0 areas (i.e. more than 60NM offshore) must hold RYA Diesel or MCA AEC (as appropriate).
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