Maintenance of Marine Diesel Engine

  • Aryan Jaswal 
  • 5 min read

What is the need for Maintenance of Marine Diesel Engine?

The marine diesel engine is also known as the heart of the ship; and it needs proper maintenance for the smooth working of the vessel. Moreover, if we look from a monetary point of a view, since the main engine accounts for more than 30% of the total machinery cost in the engine room, it becomes important to keep it in proper shape.

Maintenance of Marine Diesel Engine
Maintenance of Marine Diesel Engine

Moreover, since the marine diesel engines are widely used across a diverse array of applications, the maintenance of marine diesel engines is a vital part of maintaining the overall health of a boat or a ship, especially those of mammoth size.

In order to prevent the diesel engines from ending up in troublesome situations, routine marine diesel engine maintenance is a must. Routine maintenance of the marine diesel engine would improve the fuel economy of the engine, levels of performance and would decrease the emissions and the frequency of repairs.

How often does a marine diesel engine needs to be inspected?

A marine diesel engine can be subjected to daily inspection or to an inspection which is needed after 8000 hours of operation of the diesel engine.

Depending on the running hours of the marine diesel engine the inspection processes are divided into six main types:

1)Daily Checks & Inspection carried on the main engine

One of the best ways to do the maintenance of the main diesel engine is to take a call with the running engine parameters. It is the duty of the watch keeping officer to take note of all the various engine parameters, that includes the sump lube oil level, jacket water temperature, the fuel oil level in a settling tank, lube oil temperature, and lube oil pressure.

Furthermore, lubrication of the fuel rack assembly, lubrication of the rocker arm, is also to be inspected.

Rocker Arm
Rocker Arm

Moreover, maintaining the proper temperature of inlet and outlet jacket water temperature is important as; it reduces thermal stress, and lowers exhaust emissions which enhances the working life of the engine.

2)Checks carried on the engine after 250 hours of operation

After every 250 hours of ship’s engine operation, it is important to inspect the lube and fuel oil filters and clean them. Furthermore, the air filters of the turbocharger inlet are also required to be inspected and cleaned.

Fuel oil filter
Fuel oil filter

To ensure proper lubricating property of the lube oil it is important to have lube oil free of any abrasive particles. Thus, there are filters that are installed on both the inlet and outlet side of the lube oil pump. Thus, it is important to inspect and clean these filters before they are fully blocked.

3) Checks carried on the engine after 1000 hours of operation

It is requisite to perform the crankcase inspection after running the engine for more than 1000 hours, inspect and maintain the tappet clearance separating the valve stem and the rocker arm and check and maintain turbocharger oil level.

4) Checks carried on the engine after 2000 hours of operation

The three major checks that are to be done before the 2000 hours of engine operation are stuffing box overhaul, scavenge space inspection and crankshaft deflection.

Stuffing box overhaul
Stuffing box overhaul
Scavenge space inspection
Scavenge space inspection

5) Checks carried on the engine after 4000 hours of operation

After 4000 hours of run of the marine diesel engine it is important to overhaul some of its major parts. The inlet and exhaust valves are overhauled. Furthermore, the cam case is also inspected for any sign of wear or damage on the roller surface.

6) Checks carried on the engine after 8000 hours of operation

8000 hours of operation of the marine diesel engine accounts for the complete decarbonization. Therefore, after 8000 hours of operation, overhauling of the cylinder head, exhaust valve and piston assembly.

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