School Smarts - Power & Motoryacht
Going back to school can pay off big time for your diesel engine.

Walking between a pair of 10,000-pound-plus MTU V16 Series 2000 M96L diesels in an engine room is nothing less than intimidating. But it is a wholly unique feeling to see the engine on the factory floor. Lucky for me, that’s what I got to experience at a recent Captain Training Seminar at Johnson & Towers (J&T), the Mount Laurel, New Jersey MTU engine distributor. Offered by J&T in New Jersey and Florida, the program features both MTU factory reps and J&T service providers as educators. The day-long seminar offers classroom and hands-on factory exposure that is valuable for novices and skilled yachtsmen alike. In my class were two dozen participants consisting of captains and crew, boat owners and boatbuilders.

It’s rare to see these hunks of iron outside the engine room. MTU’s Captain seminars are valuable for novices and pros alike.

It’s rare to see these hunks of iron outside the engine room. MTU’s Captain seminars are valuable for novices and pros alike.

Considerable time is spent explaining various components that comprise the construction of the engine, including specifics like turbochargers and wastegate mechanisms, intake, exhaust and combustion parameters, cooling, fuel and injection, and lube oil specifics—plus the need for regular oil sampling and to avoid using counterfeit filter elements that could lead to engine damage. Recommendations for onboard spare parts are offered, and maintenance strategy is covered in detail because preventative care goes a long way in extending your time on the water.

The MTU Premium Yacht Service warranty is discussed because it is comprehensive and covers the MTU propulsion package: Engine, transmission and the electronic controls. Combined with the brand’s Customer Assistance Center and online MTU locator, a service center is typically close by. The initial warranty in pleasure, non-commercial use is 24 months and it starts with forming a relationship with the distributor—in this case, J&T—who offers a free sea trial for the owner to become acclimated with the various systems and hands-on instruction on the proper operation and maintenance of the engine and ancillary systems. An extended propulsion coverage program for up to 11 years is available as well, with the expense based on subsequent three-year periods and engine hours. The program protects the original owner, is transferrable and an annual check-up is also provided.

Like all big oil-burning powerplants, Series 2000 M96L engines are delivered to the owner of the boat with emissions documentation. Known as EIAPP Certificates (Engine International Air Pollution Prevention), this paperwork may be requested when the yacht goes up for sale or is boarded for inspection. The class was reminded to verify said paperwork is aboard their vessel—replacement costs are significant and the lack of this documentation could stall the sale of the yacht. Equally important, EPA emission labels on the engine must not be removed, damaged or painted over.

The class continues with a plant tour, and a hands-on tutorial of the engine on display, providing thorough insight regarding components and Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) compliance, including silicone wrapped turbochargers, triple-walled jacketed exhaust manifolds and double-walled high-pressure fuel lines. Routine pointers—like closing the raw water intake seacocks before hauling the boat to prevent an airlock at relaunch—supply the operator with germane knowledge. And ample opportunity was provided to the class to experience the MTU Blue Vision/New Generation control and instrument system layouts, which allows the owner to personalize his command center at the helm.

You also may want to reach out to your engine distributor to learn if they offer similar teaching seminars. No matter which manufacturer builds your boat’s power plants, I would highly recommend finding a hands-on course like this one. After all, knowledge is power.

Marine Diesel Maintenance & Troubleshooting:

Want to learn even more? The diesel engine is the beating heart of your boat. Arguably, a good running engine is your most important single piece of safety gear. Diesel engines are economical, long-lived and reliable, yet there are a number of ways in which they can fail. This seeming contradiction brings us to the distinction that has shaped the Online Marine Diesel Maintenance & Troubleshooting course. Sign up today and use the coupon code: POWERMOTOR for 15% off. ▶

This article originally appeared in the November 2018 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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