Thursday, 3 November 2016

Annual Service

As the clocks go back and the nights draw in, it's time to give Patience her annual service and get her ready for the winter. As well as the usual oil changes (engine and gearbox), filter changes (engine oil and fuel), checking and adjusting the tappets, checking the anti-freeze concentration, the electrolyte levels in the batteries and draining down the domestic water system, there were a couple of engine parts that needed replacing this time.
We had noticed a slight leak in the flexible high pressure oil pipe that runs from one side of the main cylinder block to the other (see photos). 
Original flexible oil crossover pipe going into port side of engine block
Flexible pipe connected to the starboard side of the engine below the fuel filter
The first photo shows one end of the pipe on the port side just below the gearbox oil cooler and the second photo shows the other end where it connects to the block below the fuel filter. Although the leak (where the flexible hose is swaged to the end fitting) wasn't yet serious, it is an indicator of a potential weakness that could be serious if it failed suddenly and led to a loss of engine oil pressure.

I discussed the problem with the very helpful people at Calcutt Boats, who are specialists in BMC marine diesels.  They recommended replacing it with a steel pipe pre-formed to the correct shape, which they stock in their chandlery as part number BM2M56598.  It was a surprisingly easy job to remove the old flexible pipe and replace it with the new one, which fitted round all the engine auxiliaries. This should last as long as the rest of the engine.

While removing the rocker box cover to check the tappets, I also took the opportunity of replacing the rocker box gasket, which had lost its flexibility and was showing signs of leaking.  The only task that remains to be done on the engine is cleaning out the heater plug ports (recommended every 600 hours running) but time was getting on so I left that for another day!

[See also last year's Annual Service blog entry]