Marine Investigations

Marine Investigations

Road to A Marine Investigator

by David Pascoe

Purchase at IngramSpark with $10.00 off:

Buy Now
HOME > Marine Investigations >


Chapter 9

Machinery Failure Analysis


The insurance industry has great need for competent machinery damage investigators and the field is wide open for anyone who would like to specialize in this area. More marine insurance claims are filed for machinery damage than any other type of loss.

While machinery failure analysis is vast subject on which there is very little published literature for pleasure craft engines, this chapter can only begin to provide an overview of the basic issues that the pleasure craft marine surveyor encounters.

Anyone wishing to enter this field will find it necessary to establish his own program for self-education that can be attained in many ways, but none of which have been consolidated into a general program.

This chapter is designed to help get would-be failure analysts started by providing an overview along with essential fundamentals, but is by no means a complete text on the subject.

The main item of interest is, of course, propulsion engines. A significant number of clients requiring these services are boat owners with warranty disputes who need the assistance of an expert.

Machinery damage is among the most difficult types of claims to investigate and requires the greatest degree of technical knowledge and skill. That is perhaps why there are so few investigators who are expert in the field or specialize in this area.

There are also very few firms that specialize in machinery failure analysis; of those that exist tend to deal primarily in heavy machinery and systems and industrial issues.

The investigation of machinery damage is a technical specialty that may not be amenable to a generalist surveyor/investigator, for it requires significant mechanical experience. A fundamental knowledge of gas and diesel engines is required.

Yet the marine investigator is often assigned machinery cases and usually finds himself forced to rely on the opinions of repairers as to causation. Repairing an engine and analyzing failures are not the same thing so the repairer usually isn't the best person to rely on.

It is also worth noting that many repairers have become familiar with insurance and know that they have a much better chance of getting paid if the loss is covered; hence, they have a bit of a conflict of interest.

Copyright© 2004 David H. Pascoe
(Additional spaces are added for easy screen reading.)

Table of Contents: Chapter Chapter 9

9. Machinery Failure Analysis 287

Insurance Coverage Issues 289
Warranty Claims 292
Latent Defects 293

Investigation 294

First Things First 294
The Operating Environment 294
Investigation Procedure 295
Layout and Mark the Parts 295

Engine Failure Analysis Fundamentals 296

Failure to Determine Cause 300

Overheating 300

Overheating and Thermal Expansion 300
Improper Cooling System Maintenance 302

Causes of Failures 304

Coolant Related Failures 304
Exhaust System Faults 306
Low Fuel Lubricity 309
Lack of Use 310
Engine Overload on High Performance Diesels 310
Propeller Overload 312
Failure to Change Oil Filters 313
Manufacturing/Design Errors 313
Engine Damage Due to Sudden Stoppage 315
Useful Data on Electronic Diesels 316
On Chickens and Eggs 316

Components and System Failures 317

Cylinder Bore Distortion 317
Piston Scuffing 317
Engine Top End Overheating 317
Piston Crown Overheating 318
Quarter Point Scuffing 319
Piston Ring Groove Collapse 319
Center Point Scuffing 319
Other Piston Damage 319
Broken Piston Rings 319
Excessive Ring and Cylinder Wear 320
Worn, Leaking Injectors 321
Engine Carbonization & Detonation 321

Carbonization 322
Detonation 323
Detonation Damage 324

Outboard Engines Failures 325
Valve Failure 326
Excessive Wear Rates 327
The Cylinder Head Dome 328
Blown Head Gaskets 328
Piston Ring Blow-by 328
Diesel Soot 329
Viscosity Thinning Damage 330
Viscosity Increases 330
Bearing Damage 330
Transmission Failures 332

Laboratory Analysis 332

Oil Analysis Fundamentals 332
Oil Analysis 335
Examine the Oil Pan 335
Intercoolers and Flame Arrestors 336
Other Analytical Techniques 336
Knowing Who To Ask 336

Copyright© 2004 David H. Pascoe


Expand Business!
Marine surveyors:
Expand your marine business!
Conducting marine investigations can help free you from the limitations of a seasonal business and expand your business opportunities and income.
Who Hires?
Who hires marine investigators?
In addition to insurance companies, specialist investigators merge their specialized pleasure craft knowledge with investigative abilities for a broad range of clientele.
These can range from boat owners with serious warranty claim disputes and faulty repair issues to being hired by lawyers as investigators as either fact witnesses or expert witnesses.
Marine investigators often work for boat owners who are having trouble with insurance claim issues, assisting the boat owner obtain a proper claims settlement.

Marine Investigations Marine Investigations
Soft Cover
544 pages
Publisher: D. H. Pascoe & Co., Inc.
Published: 2004
Language: English
ISBN-13: 9780965649650
Price: $44.50
In Stock



David Pascoe - Biography

David Pascoe is a second generation marine surveyor in his family who began his surveying career at age 16 as an apprentice in 1965 as the era of wooden boats was drawing to a close.

Certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors in 1972, he has conducted over 5,000 pre purchase surveys in addition to having conducted hundreds of boating accident investigations, including fires, sinkings, hull failures and machinery failure analysis.

Over forty years of knowledge and experience are brought to bear in following books. David Pascoe is the author of:

In addition to readers in the United States, boaters and boat industry professionals worldwide from over 70 countries have purchased David Pascoe's books, since introduction of his first book in 2001.

In 2012, David Pascoe has retired from marine surveying business at age 65.

On November 23rd, 2018, David Pascoe has passed away at age 71.

Biography - Long version

HOME > Marine Investigations - Main >