Standard Pressure and Temperature Checks
There are standard pressures and temperature checks to be carried out by the watch keeping engineer, as he gains experience these will become second nature; the various thermometers and pressure gauges being scanned as he walks around the engine room checking the components. This means when a rouge value turns up it is spotted right away either on the component or the engine control station instrument board. This is situated just above the engine control station, either in the engine room or in the modern control room. The board contains the pressure and temperature gauges for the main systems such as; exhaust temperatures, jacket cooling and lub-oil pressure. We used an arrow to mark the optimum temperatures and pressures on these gauges, and endeavor to maintain them; again any rouge value will show up instantly.
The board is located above the controls, being easily consulted from here. The other main gauges and components that are easily reached are the engine room telegraph, rev-counter, air start reservoirs pressure gauges and of course the controls themselves. Depending on the engine manufacturer, these consist of two levers; left hand one usually air start, right hand lever; fuel control and are used when maneuvering.
A sketch of an engine room control station and board is shown below, please click on image to enlarge;
Heavy Fuel Oil System (HFO)
The temperature of the HFO system must be kept at the recommended value to control its viscosity. This is important as it must not turn "waxy" when being pumped through various heaters, the fuel pump and into the injectors.
The temperature of the lube-oil must be carefully controlled through use of the lube-oil coolers seawater inlet valve. Remember that as the temperature of the lube-oil rises the pressure drops. Conversely, a low lube –oil temperature will increase the oil pressure. A sudden unexplained rise in temperature could signify a bearing in the main engine running hot.
Jacket cooling System
The pressure and temperature of the jacket water cooling also need close monitoring and maintained at optimum values as the cooling water also supplies the turbo-blower air coolers. The pressure in this case is controlled by the circ pump, so any change could be a faulty pump, however, down to the pump or a loss of pressure through a faulty cylinder liner rubber sealing ring, or even a cracked liner.
Temperature is another matter; this must be kept at the recommended value. Any rise could signify a scavenge fire a rise in sea temperature or cooler problem.
The generators temperature and pressures are checked as per the main engine ones.
This leave the thrust block, prop shaft bearings, and stern gland. Here again the sense of touch should be used as a guide to overheating, but there will be temperature gauges on the thrust and prop bearings along with oil - level sight gauges.
In my next article I will continue along the same vein; talking more about these subjects and catch hold of another single aspect in more detail. So just keep a look out for my further articles and please ask any questions through the comments at the end of the article. Enjoy your time at sea – it is the best years of your life.