Channel Islands Cruise Blog: Ronhilda's Engine Prep

Ronhilda is now over 29 years old with its original engine (Ford XLD 1.6 the type fitted in UK Post Office Ford Escort Vans of long ago) now logging just under 6,000 hours.   This year 15 years after I had renewed the original injector nozzles I decided to renew the injector nozzles again. This sounds a long time between renewals but if one considers a van average speed of 30 mph during its lifetime this equates to just 90,000 miles between my renewals, so really I am guilty of over maintaining the engine.


First task was to remove the glowplugs, then the injector pipework.  The injectors themselves were then removed which was the hardest part of the whole job. Andy Chatterton kindly supplied a spare length of steel pipe to put over the tommy bar to up the torque I needed to ‘crack’ the injectors off their copper sealing washers after 15years of being undisturbed. I was pleased that that these washers which can be difficult to extract all came out with a suitable wiggle of a wedge shaped file tang.


Testing the injectors on engine, 3 out of the 4 injectors had sub standard spray patterns although the engine had been showing no signs of misfiring or incomplete combustion.  Yachts engines rarely get used at anything like their rated power and engines of Ronhilda’s age will run happily with quite poor injection and the XLD is no exception.


Fortunately I know where to go for new nozzles (Ford agents having long forgotten Ford even made these engines and they were probably not even born when they were in production), so new ones were fitted and the injector lift pressure, bleed back rate and blotting paper test set up and completed all for £27 each which rang my bell nicely.


This afternoon I put the injectors back in with new copper washers making sure they were the right way round after insertion , put a couple of new glow plugs in where the old ones were burnt, bled the pipes and hey presto away the engine went. 


It now has that satisfying loud knock of good injection with the plus of better starting not that it ever refused to start even during the sub zeros days of the last Fast Cruises.


So what else has had to be done over the 29 years to the engine. 

The fuel filter is changed every year and the fuel tank drained of any condensation

The lubricating oil and filter has been changed only when needed every 6/7 years

Cam belt has been changed once

Engine water pump required replacement once

Sea Water pump impeller is checked every year but tends to last for 6/7years before any signs of cracking at the blade roots can be seen and it is not renewed until then.

And that is about that, so not a bad advert for a simple easy to maintain engine.


Some much younger yachts in my Marina have gone through 2 engine changes in the time I have known them even after massive over maintenance on the engines with annual oil changes, numerous injector changes etc , I guess its good business for the people calling themselves Marine Service agents.


Brian Humber

CCI Blog, 28.06.2016 | More from CCI Blog’s blog