Port Engine Problems

Ok, so on a catamaran like Ocean Breeze there are two engines one in the transom of the port hull and one in the transom of the starboard hull..  Ocean Breeze has two 30 hp Diesel engines but the starboard engine is rather new (about 600 hours) while the port engine is rather old and probably was original equipment in 1997 when the boat was originall commissioned..  After this Prout 45 was tested in a sea trial, the boat was hauled out of the water and the engines haven’t been turned over for at least a month and a half.. Let’s just say 45 days as a best guess.. needless to say there were problems to be attended to.
There are many local mechanics in Curaçao. Andreas, pictured here helped us double check that we were in fact getting fuel to the cylinders and that there was no air in the lines. Both Nick and I had already done this but Andreas had an electric pump which we put into the fuel supply line to be absolutely sure there was fuel.. First the batteries were old and needed charging.. so much so that Nick decided to buy two new batteries in order to assure that we would have the appropriate starting power..  when we incstalled the new batteries, the port engine still wasn’t turning over turns out the alternator had seized and the belt was just traveling over the alternator as though it were a brake rather than a part of the engine. I installed the new alternator which Nick had brought along. Nick had already checked the fluids and changed the impeller and re-installed the muffler system..
  • Check the oil
  • check the coolant
  • open through hole valve
  • check for water flow
  • check battery connections
  • inspect engine belt / strap
  • check fuel supply / shut off valve
  • check stop mechanism / make sure it’s not pulled
  • try glow plugs – heat up the engine a little bit
Looking out from the salon you can see the port winch. Inside there is a well organized electric panel..  Because the engine wouldn’t start we had begun making plans to run with just one engine. In the process of planning the trip with just the starboard engine we were also attempting to start the port engine from time to time. Once while I was inside Nick used the glow plugs for an extended period of time and poof engine started. After another hour of cleaning the lines and the muffler of the carbon and the gunk the engine seems to be operating normally. The moral of the story is run an engine regularly! Use the glow plugs.. after changing filter run the engine for an extended period of time to assure proper fuel flow. Assure good connections / contacts with battery terminals and clean out carbon deposits regularly with a burst of rpm on the engine. This is especially helpful when the engine has been running for a while.. The port engine on Ocean Breeze had been out of commission for almost 45 days and the filters had been changed, and the alternator was dragging and slowing the starter motor and there was excess oil and other deposit material in the muffler. And the list goes on but after two days of troubleshooting an engine and deciding that it may have to be rebuilt, a long extended hold of the glow plugs and some additional tender loving care produced a little engine that could.. so to speak…