Barry's Blog #152 - You can't do that!

Updated: Oct 17, 2020

"Oh no. You can't do that." said the guy on the other end of the phone.

"Why not?" was the response.

" Errm, because it's a turbo engine, so it has to have a turbo."

That was the word from Yanmar Turkey when our favourite mechanic Aydin spoke to them on the phone about the issue we were having with our engine.

I'll dive deeper into that conversation later in this blog, but for now let's start at the beginning.

Back to Kaş

The beautiful area of Kekova Roads on the south west coast of Turkey is one of the places that we plan on taking Patreon guests to visit and we wanted to scope out as many anchorages as possible. After 5 days of exploring and watching our exhaust smoke issue getting worse by the day we decided that it would be best to head back to Kaş and call in Aydin the mechanic.

Before we departed Kekova the engine oil was topped off with 2 litres of oil and we headed out with Jim and Kev, on our buddy boats Acheron and Barbara Ann, following slightly behind us so that they could observe the smoky exhaust. Jim and Kev, on our buddy boats Acheron and Barbara Ann, following slightly behind us so that they could observe the smoky exhaust. There was no wind at all so the 4 hour trip back to Kaş was all done under engine and Kev said that the smoke was definitely getting worse as the journey wore on. As we rounded the peninsula headland at the entrance to Kaş marina the oil pressure warning sound and light burst into life. A quick decision was made to switch the engine off and while we drifted in the wide channel add another litre of oil to the engine for the last 1km (0.6 mile) trip to our berth. We also took the opportunity to lower the dinghy from the davits and tie her to the amidships cleat in preparation to reversing onto the pontoon.

Once we were safely tied up and the engine off I asked our friend Tayfun to make a call to Aydin to see if he was available to come and have a look at our engine issue. I have to say that the smoke from the exhaust while we were manoeuvring into our spot was embarrassing and it lingered a while because there was no wind to carry it away. Engine inspection

Later that afternoon Aydin arrived and observed the voluminous, oily smelling smoke bellowing from our exhaust upon engine start up. Then he visually inspected the engine for 5 minutes and announced his verdict. It could be one of three things. The fuel injectors, the turbo or the piston rings. They all sounded rather expensive.

With a plan to return at 10:00 hrs on Monday Aydin left and much discussion between ourselves and our neighbours about what the problem might be, lasted throughout the weekend. I did some research on the Interwebs about all three propositions that Aydin had put forward and I learned a lot. With our 25 year old engine having been serviced regularly and with just 2,500 hours on the clock it was highly unlikely that it was the piston rings. Plus the onset of symptoms would've been much more gradual. This was good, as replacing the piston rings was the most expensive option because it would require the engine to be removed from A B Sea and taken to a workshop.

The fuel injectors were also not a likely candidate because alongside the smoky exhaust there would be other symptoms and the engine would run rough. Thankfully this wasn't happening.

That left us with the turbo option and I secretly wanted the problem to be the turbo. After reading up on them they are prissy little buggers that cause way too many issues if you don't treat them with kid gloves.

They spin at speeds between 80,000 and 200,000 RPM and operate at temperatures that can melt glass. And those two features are where the problems begin. Upon starting the engine, time must be allowed for the oil to come up to sufficient pressure to begin feeding oil into the turbo housing, where it both lubricates and slightly cools the turbo bearings. When stopping the engine, it must be allowed to idle for quite some time, to let the fast spinning turbo come to a stop