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Under contract - 2003 Neptunus 56 w/ cat 3406e - top speed/rpm issue

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by makesumwake, Jan 14, 2022.

  1. makesumwake

    makesumwake New Member

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    Thanks, good to have. im wondering if you would consider your 53 to be under propped? since the fuel usage is 32 gph@ 2325 RPM, instead of factory spec of 40 gph @ 2300 RPM
  2. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

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    I considered the props to be dialed in to a proper pitch and diameter given the RPM,s the temperatures, the pressures, and the boost. Both engines performed the same. If you added pitch to slow the props down and increase the fuel burn (wby would you?), you would load the engines, increase the temps and pressures, and stress the engines.

    If you're focused upon speed and fuel burn as your primary concerns, you're staring at the wrong information. Start with RPM and temp. Don't worry about speed. Speed is more reflective of the hull or prop conditions, not the engines. Ask yourself, why aren't the engines spinning the proper RPM, an engine rotation for which they were designed to produce and perform?
  3. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

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    The 3406E-800 should be able to spin up 2325 with light load. When you prop your boat, the aim should be more about achieving 2301 versus 2299. My engines were 1999 vintage, and at that time the spec was 2300-2325. If you over-prop, the engine will stress under load at every point of the curve, even at cruise. You'll see higher boost pressures and exhaust temps. The engine doesn't "ignore" the over-prop impacts just because it's at cruise. The same over-load follows it from the moment you put it into gear.
  4. motoryachtlover

    motoryachtlover Senior Member

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    OP don’t know of your inboard boating experience but my experience is that I will lose 50RPM in the summer when temps are warmer and the props and running gear while clean will acquire what I have heard called shark skin (part of the barnacle that is left after scraping). So when in the winter with a fresh bottom and clean running gear (no shark skin) I will turn almost 2375 and then as the season goes on I will drop back to 2325 or so. In other words, I wanted a cushion in my max rpms to allow for loosing some turns.
  5. makesumwake

    makesumwake New Member

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    thanks, good point. and im still trying to get experience! this would be my first large diesel boat. so im just asking questions for now.

    So lets say a seller has an engine problem and is consequently not getting the correct max rpm. lets say he is getting only 2150 instead of 2300. (he may or may not even know there is a problem with the engine, maybe he thinks he bought an over propped boat and needs to fix it).
    anyway, to solve this, he under props the boat, so that the rpm's are now back at 2300. This will result in the correct rpm but a lower top speed. he tells me "everything is fine, look im getting the correct rpm at WOT"

    How will i know that there are engine issues unless i look at both RPM and SPEED together?
  6. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    You're overcomplicating it and trying to build in excuses and reasons. It's simple. The boat fails to reach proper RPM. That's the only thing to know. In ideal conditions it should exceed rated RPM and it should always perform close. Do not think, talk, mention speed and fuel again until RPM is resolved.

    Even on the lake and now on the coast, every service of engines, warranty or paid, concludes with a time allocation for sea trial to verify maximum RPM is reached. Only sure way to be sure service was done properly. Essential to a rebuild or overhaul. I would have never accepted a rebuild until the engines hit maximum RPM. Don't buy the subterfuge. Don't add other elements. Boat doesn't hit RPM, unacceptable. Rebuld job not complete until it does.
  7. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    To directly answer your question, I can’t think of an engine issue that you could correct by taking pitch out of your props or underpropping. Also why a good engine survey looks at lots of parameters like boost pressures to verify the engines are making full power.

    Speed will be what it will be. Once you know that engines reach full rpm, then you can do the rest of the survey and verify all is good. At that point, you get what you get for speed based on hull form, length, power, etc. assuming the bottom is clean and in good condition. Keep in mind nearly all owner’s and especially brokers typically exaggerate speed by 1-2 knots. Or , you may get to that speed but only under perfect conditions and not real world.

    So once you get the rpm issue resolved, verify no other engine issues, and if the bottom is in good shape decide if the speed is enough for you. If the boat is too slow to satisfy your needs, then you need to find another boat.
  8. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    The fuel is just a guestimate from the CAT computer. Props are off by 3" of pitch, possibly 4". Should turn 2320-2350 with full fuel/water/etc. The overpitching is causing the loss of speed. Properly pitched 80% load will be 125-150 RPMS higher, props spinning faster will give more stern lift and more rpms= more boost and more power and higher cruise speed. The 56' Neptunus is a good boat, but price sounds high for what I've already heard about the boat.

    Taking pitch out is not uncommon.....I had to take 2" pitch out of two newish boats within the first 6-8 months....... 2019 and 2021 yachts.
  9. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

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    All this talk of RPMs at load…

    Did anyone take the No Load RPMs ?
    Or is that no longer part of the engine start up tests anymore ?
    It use to be.
    I would want to know what the no load RPMs should be from Cat for that motor ( call them your self) and see what the boat does at the dock . It may turn the rated RPMs with no load.
    Then go from there to make your decisions….
  10. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Ole mechanical governors are solid on many engines. E Cats have a catch all over rev but all else is computer controlled.
    I'm a big fan of the 34s. That 3406E is my favorite. Just not a lot of them talked about much. That solid of a block and crankshaft.
    AND, it likes RPM.
    This puppy has some problem somewhere.
    I would be very interested in the rebuild sea trials. It had to make RPM then to be warrantied by a proper Cat shop.
  11. makesumwake

    makesumwake New Member

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    Thanks Capt J.

    i can try to check on the prop pitch.

    also would i notice any difference from going from a worn but clean bottom and props, to a fresh bottom job and fresh prop speed?

    (im asking since owner is telling me i just need fresh bottom job)
  12. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

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    A fresh bottom job, yes, if it's incredibly fouled. I don't see 3-4" of pitch. I see more like an inch or so and less cup...but there's an issue there that needs to be resolved before you buy. The purchase closing needs to be subject to full rated RPM being achieved in sea trial at the seller expense.
  13. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    I had to go re-read your original post; Fresh bottom cleaning??
    Now the owner is telling you it needs a bottom job?

    How clean and polished is that bottom and gear???
  14. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

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    The no-load RPM test on an electronic engine isn't going to tell you much, other than it can turn rated RPM at no load. While that's useful, it isn't much of a test as it's only while under load that everything from boost to injection timing all comes into play. The ECU needs to be reacting to the engine loads to determine how to make the horses run. Being so close to rated RPM, I strongly doubt there is any use in no-load testing here. With a mechanical engine I'd agree. But the 3406E-800 has perhaps 40 sensors, an ECU, and chip processors on each injector. That ECU is actively doing math and making adjustments to the systems. I posted photos of the CAT displays, not for RPM, but for all of the auxiliary numbers, especially boost and fuel pressure. This low RPM rating could be prop. It could also be ECU and/or turbo and fuel. There's not enough information in this thread to sort it out.

    Did the CAT tech that rebuilt perform a sea trial? And if so, did he see rated RPM? If that happened, there is less likely issues with the prop, more likely some other fuel or boost problem.
    cleanslate likes this.
  15. MBevins

    MBevins Senior Member

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    And more importantly, why wouldn't he clean the bottom BEFORE someone is sea trialing.
    I'm afraid your seller is adverse to maintaining this vessel.

    If it truly is a fouled bottom, which most of us doubt.
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    A little, but not what you're looking for (without seeing it).......maybe 20 rpms...... Now if there is 2 decades of bottom paint stacked up on the bottom, I have always gotten 2 extra knots on yachts they soda blasted back to gelcoat, new barrier coat and new paint.,...... your issue is almost certainly in the props being overpitched, provided the engines aren't lacking power and the boat isn't super heavy.
  17. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

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    It's pretty simple. Seller, go call your diver, spend the $300-400 to have it well cleaned, and then re-trial to prove the RPM. Who the hell would try to sell a boat with a bottom so fouled that it wouldn't perform under contract?
  18. rtrafford

    rtrafford Senior Member

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    Agreed. I've lost 2 to 3 knots to bad fouling, but I've never lost 150-200 RPM due to a barnacle.
  19. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Makesumwake already states the bottom was clean

    now unless the bottom is clean but the running gear isn’t, then that is not the issue. There could be a little bit left over growth but t

    Worn bottom paint isn’t going to make a difference. Prop speed is not going to make a difference over clean props either.

    if the seller is telling you a fresh bottom job is going to get you back 150 rpm... he is full of you know what.

    until a sea sea trial shows the boat turns RPM and deliver acceptable speed, do not spend a dime on survey.
  20. motoryachtlover

    motoryachtlover Senior Member

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    I might have gotten a knot out of the soda blasting job and recoat. I realize we are talking about degrees of fouling but my boat would really fall on its ass if the props had barnacles on it. It was not heavily fouled but certainly had barnacles on the props. My point is that in my experience what I would call moderate fouling had a huge effect on my boats performance.