FREE Advice: Why Using the Correct Metal Fittings is Important
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FREE Advice: Why Using the Correct Metal Fittings is Important

FREE Advice: Why Using the Correct Metal Fittings is Important

For seasoned captains this is a no brainer but foe those “less than mechanically inclined” this is a great teachable moment so that when “bubba” says, “Aww, it’s ok. It won’t hurt a thing,” you will be armed with knowledge.

Case: Kohler 6.5 Generator not used by current owner because it was “left for junk” by PO and deemed unfix-able. (I can’t count the times I’ve heard this one.)

We always evaluate everything, and decide if the cost will justify. In this scenario, we divided it into stages. 1) Will the engine turn, make compression, and spark? if Yes, then move to 2) Can we get it to run correctly? If yes then move to 3) Will it produce power?  The limited info we had from the PO was “he worked and worked, but never really got it to work”  After we diagnosed compression through the heat exchanger it was time for a top end. ( Head gasket, and valve job.)  along with going through the sea water pump, Carburetor, and fuel system. We did all of this through the winter while she was laid up. After putting it all back together, it was time to fire it off and see what happens. She fired and was ready for testing. But we needed water for that so come back in the springtime and give it a shot. The owner knew we had passed through numbers 1 and 2 so this was looking up but number 3 could kill it all still.  It was still a gamble. but at this point we had about a little over a thousand in her parts and labor which is about 1/10th of a new unit installed so the risk meter really wasn’t even remotely wiggling at this point.

Fast Forward to this past weekend. Aboard and in the water, I laid into answering the million dollar question….. but she wouldn’t start….. Spin Spin Spin nothing.  hmmm “how much gas in the boat?” answer, a little less than a 1/4 tank.  Off to the fuel dock we go while explaining that Generator pickups are usually higher than the engine so if the generator quits you can still get home.

Back at the dock, Now we have a running engine and a relieved mind.. but no water out the exhaust… (Always check this when you crank an engine)  While looking and looking and looking, I came back into the salon to find Mt Vesuvius shooting seawater EVERYWHERE… ok a busted hose, and lots of cleanup. (Did I mention I was in salt water?) Off to get a new hose and clamps, and retry. As soon a I hit the button, the new hose swelled and stretched and got ready to give me another bath…. Shut it down quickly and find the obstruction.  That was pretty easy. The Fittings that carry the water from the sea pump to the heat exchanger and to the exhaust were galvanized….. Not brass, bronze or stainless but galv…. Do you know what happens over a few years with Galvanized pipe that passes salt water? ( or even fresh after a longer time?)  take a look:


So we replace the fittings with brass, new hoses, got it running and dialed it in, and let it carry the new AC in the fwd cabin, the battery charger, and the fridge for about 45 minutes.So after 40 years she still lives to see the anchorage.  Kohler as well as some Onan’s make a really good engine and as long as the electrical side is operational your odds of reviving one are pretty good.  Our chief Commander Dick Morland did a repair similar and eventually (just because he got bored), a complete overhaul of the one that ex Patty Wagon (38) Now Sharondippity has in her, and to my knowledge still hums right along with a little love each year.  I’ll close using the link option on our new site for the first time to show you what an old piece of iron junk left to rot looks and sounds like after a little love.

See it run! <—- Click

Cheers!  Lee Dahlen


(This post was originally made by Lee Dahlen over in the Commander Club forums. Click here to see the original post.)

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