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BlueStringPudding

BMC Engine spewing white smoke...

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Hello all,

 

I'd like your advice about an engine, please

 

My brother's keen to buy a twenty year old boat with a BMC four cylinder, 36hp diesel engine.

 

Kev and he took it for a test drive yesterday. The engine took a couple of tries to get it started, but once running was responsive and had quite a lot of welly, which is good. :lol:

 

They drove it for around half an hour. Throughout that entire half an hour though, there was white smoke issuing from under the floor in the engine room - according to Kev. Kev didn't lift the boards to have a proper look at where the smoke was coming from though.

 

Now bearing in mind that the boat has been left dormant since December, could this just be a little moisture in the diesel causing this - maybe combined with a leaky exhaust pipe (hence the smoke appearing inside the engine room rather than outside the boat) - or could this be something more sinister?

 

This may be entirely unrelated but the boat has a built-in generator in the engine bay which runs off the same diesel tank as the engine. Said generator turns over but doesn't start. Like I said this might bear no relevance at all.

 

Lastly, as Kev got home last night absolutely plastered thdrinking.gif that's all the coherent information I could get out of him, so any speculation as to the possible causes of the white smoke in engine cabin would be much appreciated!

 

Thanks

Edited by BlueStringPudding

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Lastly, as Kev got home last night absolutely plastered thdrinking.gif that's all the coherent information I could get out of him, so any speculation as to the possible causes of the white smoke in engine cabin would be much appreciated!

 

That explains all: Kev was clearly spilling beer onto the floorboards which dripped onto the engine, hence white smoke. :lol:

 

Seriously, a fluid leak (antifreeze or diesel or oil) onto a hot engine part like the exhaust manifold can cause this. The smell of the smoke is normally diagnostic of what fluid is leaking. Without further information the underlying problem could mean anything from a trivial fix to a new engine.....

 

 

MP.

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Yeah, what does the smoke smell of would be key? Ontop of where its coming from.

- £3 worth of split hose would leak coolent onto a hot exhast and make steam, but then again so could more expensive parts!

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I've just spoken to my brother and he's fairly certain it was steam. He said it had no smell.

 

However they're as useless as each other because neither Dave or Kev lifted up the floor to look at where the steam/smoke was coming from nor did they check any of the dials next to them which had the temperature gauge, oil gauage etc... :lol:

 

;) Send a man to do a woman's job... ;):o (I'm joshing! I'm joshing!)

 

And based on that utter lack of information and through the clouds of billowing steam, they put an offer in on the boat. :lol::lol::lol: No wonder they got p*ssed afterwards.

Edited by BlueStringPudding

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could have been a loose weed hatch chucking water on the exhaust and the boat may have sunk by now :lol: ps you sure they were sober before the trial run

Edited by denboy

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could have been a loose weed hatch chucking water on the exhaust and the boat may have sunk by now :lol: ps you sure they were sober before the trial run

 

 

:lol:

 

Yeah, all bevvies were consumed at Wetherspoons after the event! Which is why Kev missed no less than four trains home! :lol::lol:

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I've just spoken to my brother and he's fairly certain it was steam. He said it had no smell.

 

However they're as useless as each other because neither Dave or Kev lifted up the floor to look at where the steam/smoke was coming from nor did they check any of the dials next to them which had the temperature gauge, oil gauage etc... :lol:

 

:o Send a man to do a woman's job... ;):lol: (I'm joshing! I'm joshing!)

 

And based on that utter lack of information and through the clouds of billowing steam, they put an offer in on the boat. :lol::lol::lol: No wonder they got p*ssed afterwards.

 

Wow, where can I find a couple of of mu**, sorry customers, like that the next time I'm selling something. In that case BSP you are quite correct, anybody could have done a more thorough job of the pre-purchase trial. ;)

Roger

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In that case BSP you are quite correct, anybody could have done a more thorough job of the pre-purchase trial. :lol:

 

As probably could anybody's pet rabbit.................. :lol:

 

(Says the man with the BMC 1800 that overheated yesterday and filled the engine compartment with enough steam and fumes that I thought we had a fire...... :lol: )

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D'oh! Well, if the survey finds it's a dud, that's an expensive way to find out. But at least find out he will.

 

Tragically it will mean the next boat will have an even lower offer put on it because the surveyor will be saying thankyou very much with a wad of his budget. :lol:

 

Let's hope it's okay.

 

Numskees, the pair of 'em.

Edited by BlueStringPudding

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As probably could anybody's pet rabbit.................. :lol:

 

(Says the man with the BMC 1800 that overheated yesterday and filled the engine compartment with enough steam and fumes that I thought we had a fire...... :lol: )

Oh dear I hope that was just a minor glitch and nothing too serious then.

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Hello, me again.

 

I've just spoken to Dave on the phone at the hospital (no, I didn't kick his head in for putting an offer in on a boat with a steamy engine! :lol: Entirely unrelated reason for being at the hospital) and now that the offer has been accepted he wants to go up to Reading to put his deposit on the boat tomorrow.

 

I've suggested that before he hands over his £1500 deposit that he ask the broker to again get the engine going in gear, and to check properly where the steam in coming from, and to check all the guages, propshaft and stuff while he's at it. Dave said that when he asked the broker what the steam was he was told it's just burning off a bit of condensation - however the fact that it continued doing it for the full half hour the engine was running, sounds like that was a bit of an excuse in order to secure the sale to Mr and Mr Naive. :lol::lol:

 

This he can do, however because he doesn't know one end of an engine from another he's going to find it hard to describe where the problem is coming from. I've suggested he draw a little diagram of it to help him. Kev and I unfortunately are working our respective notice periods and cannot get any more time off work to help him this week. So - and this is a cheeky ask - is there anyone from this forum who would be willing to let Dave phone you tomorrow to talk through what seems to be going on with the engine? It's a big ask, I know. But it'd be great if he could have even a vague idea as to whether it's worth him committing his deposit and paying the surveyor, while there's such a big question mark over the condition of the engine.

Like you guys say, depending on where the steam is coming from it could be a minor problem or it could be an expensive nightmare.

 

If anyone's willing to play guess the engine part over the phone tomorrow afternoon with my (not so little) brother, please PM me. :lol:

 

Thanks

Edited by BlueStringPudding

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A bad case of Scotch Mist, I think.

 

The engine bay is probably full of water, so it might be OK. It is very hard to help on the phone but if no one else is about I'll do my best. Will PM you.

 

I think that handing over any monies will be a bad idea at the moment. Far better to pay a surveyor first. Any history from the owners?

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A bad case of Scotch Mist, I think.

 

The engine bay is probably full of water, so it might be OK. It is very hard to help on the phone but if no one else is about I'll do my best. Will PM you.

 

I think that handing over any monies will be a bad idea at the moment. Far better to pay a surveyor first. Any history from the owners?

 

None whatsoever, I'm afraid. As for handing over the deposit, he has to in order to take the boat off the market and secure it as under offer, as far as I'm aware. (I know we had to at BWML before the survey)

 

When I saw the boat (not running) last week I noticed almost no water immediately under the prop shaft, so I have little reason to suspect much water under the actual engine - but you never know. It's spectacularly hard to see under there as there's crawling space only in the engine room. I'll tell Dave to bring a torch so he can have a proper delve!

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When I saw the boat (not running) last week I noticed almost no water immediately under the prop shaft, so I have little reason to suspect much water under the actual engine - but you never know.

 

Just clutching at straws, but... this could possibly be down to the two areas having a bulkhead between, and a bilge pump under the prop shaft?

 

I think it would be a good idea for your brother to take a camera and take a few pics if possible, of the problem area.

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If anyone's willing to play guess the engine part over the phone tomorrow afternoon with my (not so little) brother, please PM me. :lol:

 

Thanks

 

 

BSP

 

Did you not get my PM?

 

I am in Reading and will happily have a look at the boat with your brother but have no intention of trying to guess items over the phone.

 

I gave you my phone number in the PM but you can send me the times & location by PM or email

 

Cheers.

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Thanks everyone - especially Tony and Bob who've PM'd me. I'll keep you posted as to the verdict.

 

Fingers, toes and eyes crossed.

Edited by BlueStringPudding

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I am in Reading and will happily have a look at the boat with your brother but have no intention of trying to guess items over the phone.

You'll not get a better offer than that !

 

I'd be far happier to have Tony's view, than what a professional surveyor might say on the topic.

 

What a generous gesture!

 

(Now, if you are ever passing Tring summit, Tony.......... :lol: :lol: :lol: )

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I've just heard from my brother - he and Tony successfully met up and took another look at the boat. I've only got the jist of this from Dave, and I'm sure Tony, when he gets a moment, might be able to share more details than I have. But it appears that the boat has no alternators! As such it has no fan belt for the cooling system. And, as such, the broker should not have taken it out for a half hour test drive! The steam was the bloomin' engine boiling away! :lol::lol::lol::lol:

 

I can't get any more info just yet because Dave's waiting for the broker to call back. But the deal is that Dave wants the vendor to sort out the engine electrics/alternator etc before he'll put a deposit down or book a survey. Just waiting to see what the vendors say about that.

 

Thanks goody goodness for Tony. And if the engine's been cooked by the broker (who claimed the steam was caused by a little condensation building up on the engine!) the vendors are going to be livid! And clearly the broker didn't bother checking any of the gauges during the test drive either - otherwise the temperature gauge might have confirmed what the steam was trying to say! Bloomin' 'eck.

 

Crisis temporarily averted, mucho beer owed to Tony, and the moral of the story is: even in the least accessible engine bay in the universe, it's worth checking that the obvious bits of kit are in fact there.

 

Apparently Tony also had a look round the rest of the boat and spotted a couple of minor points to bear in mind - but thanks again Tony for your wisdom.

Edited by BlueStringPudding

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You'll not get a better offer than that !

 

I'd be far happier to have Tony's view, than what a professional surveyor might say on the topic.

 

What a generous gesture!

 

(Now, if you are ever passing Tring summit, Tony.......... :lol: :lol: :lol: )

 

 

Lisa & Dave now have my report and Lisa may see fit to post it here.

 

What I would say is that missing inverters from another branch of the company and a missing alternator start to make the suited & booted brokers look a bit iffy.

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Thanks for your report Tony - very comprehensive! I wondered why there were both 24v and 12v (and 240v!) systems going on in the boat.

 

Here is Tony's report:

 

We have had a look at the boat and overall does not seem a bad buy @ £18000 save for the a few reservations.

 

All the basic equipment was there with fire extinguishers only being one month out of date for re-test. The fridge is an Engel with what looks like their own proprietary compressor unit. This has been discontinued so if it fails a new fridge may be the cheapest option. However I had no opportunity to test it.

 

The hull looked in fair condition but cosmetically requires work to give a sound base for a repaint which would be well worth doing in time. The gas box floor needs testing for thickness by the surveyor because it is rust pitted but seems sound (without removing the bottles) One small length of gas pipe run may not be clipped to BSS standards but then it never has been and of it produced a fail would be easy to put right.

 

The rudder bearing has a little play in it but nothing that would worry me. The stern gland & shaft appeared perfectly serviceable.

 

The gearbox appears to work as intended but I could not get it hot to do a hot test on it - see below. There were no audible signs of drive plate failure.

 

The domestic battery bank consists of 4 pairs (may be 3) of 12v batteries connected to produce 24 volts so the domestic system mis 24 volts. Only one pair was connected with zero volts showing on the 24 volt voltmeter when the domestic master switch was turned on. I suspect all the domestic batteries will need replacing. This means I could not test the domestic equipment. I did not touch the gas because of possible liability issues.

 

It appears the engine uses 12v electrics and is equipped with a small, newish battery but as this has never been charged has a voltage of less than 12 volts on crap gauges. There is NO ALTERNATOR fitted to the engine so the engine battery charging could not be checked. The oil pressure and temperature gauge did not work although the engine started well with such a low battery voltage.

 

There is some type of 24 - 13.6V inverter with possibly French writing on it. I suspect this may be used to charge the 12v battery form a 24 volt engine alternator but was not able to confirm this.

 

I was told the on-board generator did not work so did not investigate this or the 24 volt system charging method. It appears there is a rotary inverter, again non-working under the bed. These are old, not very efficient technology and if required would probably be better replaced with a modern inverter. It is worth pointing out that if the generator spins over as I have been told but does not starts it might just be that its diesel pick up is higher than the engine pick up but the fuel level is between the two. I am sorry but I was not prepared to investigate this and base my views of the boat on the generator being inoperative.

 

I could not test the diesel heating boiler because of the 24 volt electrical situation.

 

I would advise that in the event of purchase an early job would be to clean and reblack the domestic water tank. I would also advise that the element be removed from the water filter under the sink unless replacements can be found and FREQUENTLY changed.

 

The "white smoke" must have been steam from the boiling engine caused by the lack of drive to the engine water pump. There is now no water visible in the engine header tank.

 

The cylinder head is covered in "black". This makes it look as if the head has been "cooked" when the engine boiled but I think it is rubber dust from a failing alternator belt (of which there is no sign) but number 4 injector does have slightly heat discolouration on it. My view, having account of how the engine started and ran, in & out of gear, is that there is not a lot wrong with the engine BUT not being able to run it under load when hot makes this a speculative statement. The engine sounded fine for the short time we ran it.

 

Dave pressed me to advise him about purchasing the boat but I honestly can not. I advised that if he intended to make an offer then that offer must be conditional upon the alternator and engine electrics being sorted out and a satisfactory engine test taking place. I also told him to ensure the offer was subject to survey and the deposit would be returned in the event of the sale not taking place - all to be recorded on his receipt.

 

My gut feeling is he has a potential bargain but so much could not be tested it could turn out to be far from a bargain - especially the non-working generator.

 

Thanks again Tony. The non-working generator was less of a concern than all the electrics/engine system as it's something that could be serviced much later on, budgets pending!

 

Dave rang again to say that the vendor says he took the alternator out of the boat himself without telling the broker - in order to have it worked on. A bit silly not telling anyone. They claim the vendor will have it back in place and all functioning by the weekend. and based on that verbal promise they've asked Dave for the deposit.

 

My gut reaction is that Dave shouldn't hand a penny over till he sees the engine running soundly - then, as Tony says, hand over the deposit on the proviso that the engine and electrics are sound in the surveyors eyes too. (Not to mention the hull, of course).

The broker has suggested Dave send the deposit as a cheque now, with an accompanying letter outlining the conditions.

Edited by BlueStringPudding

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