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Best Diesel Maintenance Course

By The Ithaka - Published September 23, 2005 - Viewed 1753 times

Best Diesel Maintenance Course

You said in one of your articles that you took a diesel course. Can you tell us about it? Would you recommend it?
- Ted McCarthy, Boston, Massachusetts

From Bernadette: We took "Diesel Engine Maintenance," a three-day hands-on course taught by engine guru Larry Berlin, head of training at Engine City Tech (the professional mechanics school) in New Jersey. We took the class at Mack Boring in Marlboro, Massachusetts. Here's the way it works: Larry is hired by Yanmar to teach their two- and three-day Owners' School at various Yanmar distributors around the country. He's also hired by the National Women's Sailing Association to teach diesel-engine maintenance at their different seminars throughout the year (at selected boat shows, and at their excellent weekend cruising courses).

Larry is a brilliant teacher, clear, thorough, and no BS about what works and what doesn't. We highly recommend that you take this course. (We actually took it twice. Once before we got our boat and knew what kind of engine we were going to have, and once recently now that we have a 1992 Yanmar 3HM35.)

First, Larry takes you through some classroom time as he explains the theory of how engines work, then its out into the shop to work on an engine identical to the one you have in your boat. This two days inside your engine is a critical element of the success of the course. You learn from Larry how to bleed the engine, how to troubleshoot AND FIX all kinds of typical problems that occur, and how to maintain it in top working order, which is a formidable task, to be honest with you, so it's important to learn how to do it right and how to set up a maintenance schedule that is appropriate for your engine's requirements. Larry does all this with you.

Take the course, and sign up early (all his classes are getting sold out, now that the word is spreading about how good this guy is). It'll be the best money and time you'll ever spend. Fixing one engine problem yourself, instead of calling the Yanmar repair man, instantly will save you the price of the course. Find out about dates by calling the National Women's Sailing Association at 800-566-6972. Their email address is wsf@womensailing.org. You can reach Engine City Tech at 800-305-3487 (ask for Lorraine). Or you can find them on the web at enginecitytech.com )

In addition to the engine course, we also took an excellent five-day course called "Heavy Weather Avoidance" taught by Michael Carr and Lea Chesneau at the Marine Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (Lithinicum, Maryland, 5 minutes from BWI) - a no-nonsense, intense course on weather prediction and how to read the 500-millibar (upper-atmosphere) charts. We highly recommend that you take this course if you're planning to go offshore. Contact MITAGS for dates and course descriptions: 410-859-5700. Their website is www.mitags.org.
Also, Douglas took a super two-day course on electrical systems taught by Chuck Husick and sponsored by Ocean Navigator (education@oceannavigator.com), which he also highly recommends. We'll do some research over the next couple of months on other courses taken by our fellow cruisers, and we'll report back on which ones were voted best. Stay tuned.

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