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Many of you may already be familiar with the term Crowd Sourcing. If not, Wikipedia describes it as “a specific sourcing model in which individuals or organizations use contributions from Internet users to obtain needed services or ideas.” That’s kind of wordy, isn’t it? I prefer the definition in the image above. In the past we’ve used this model for logo design, through websites such as Crowdspring, and have been happy with the results. What follows is a pretty cool cruiser-friendly application of basically the same principle.

We have some friends who are, at this moment, struggling with an engine issue. Their boat suddenly started overheating, and because of that, they are stuck in a spot with less-than-ideal services. The weather has also not been cooperating for them to easily sail to a spot that does have better services. So, given the cards that they have been dealt, they have been trying to find the source of their problems on their own. But here’s the thing, they are not on their own!

When you’re alone, but not really

Unlike in days past, where cruisers in a similar situation would have been stuck trying to muddle through issues like this all by themselves, or with the help of the crew from the 1 or 2 boats anchored nearby, our friends have access to the internet. Not only can they consult The Oracle whenever they have a question, they can also reach out to their network of friends for troubleshooting advice, and ideas. In addition to that, their friends have friends, some of whom happen to be very knowledgable when it comes to diesel engines!


You’ve heard the expression “Many hands make light work?”
Many minds working together can do great things too!

Take us for example: We don’t know much about cooling systems, certainly no more than our friends do. We do have a good friend* who’s a mechanic though, and using Facebook’s instant messenger, we can relay questions and answers back to our buddies so that they know, at least, where to focus their energies.

*Thanks, Joe!

The downside to Crowdsourcing is that you have to “separate the wheat from the chaff.” In our logo projects, we found that the vast majority of the submissions were unsuitable. In the overheating engine case I just described, our friends have had to contend with countless people saying “it’s the impeller.” For the record, no, it does not appear as if it is!

At the time of writing this post, the solution has not been found. I am confident that it will though, and soon. Our friends are very resourceful, they are not afraid to get their hands dirty, and they have access to information that cruisers in days gone by could only dream of. Our fingers are crossed for them!


  1. Hi Mike,
    I know a bit about it sine we have had our fair share of overheating problems. Without knowing the type of engine, they all basically works the same. In the cooling system you have in certain spots throttles (uncertain if that is the right word in English). These throttles are made of plastic or metal. Their purpose is to distribute the right amount of water to different parts of the engine.
    The throttles can be clogged by dirt, or in our case one of the throttles had dislocated just a little and that partially blocked one of the pipes. That was enough to cause overheating in under 10 min.
    Your friends should check where they have any throttles and check them.
    Could of course also be a completely different thing that causes the overheating.

    • Hi Hakan. I remember you saying that you have had similar problems. We have too, as a matter of fact. Our friends have pretty much gone through and checked, or replaced, every part of the cooling system. What you are describing sounds different though. I believe you found a mechanic to help you. Where were you when this happened?

  2. Wheat from the chaff is THE #1 issue when dealing with internet experts. There are many, many good and knowledgeable people out there. There are some…not so knowledgeable people…that like the attention of looking like an expert. For the newbies and learners (and we’re all learners about something, no matter how long we’ve been out or how far we’ve sailed) this can range from disappointing and frustrating, to flat-out dangerous. Good way to get in fights with strangers on the internet, trying to clear up misinformation being presented by a self proclaimed expert who is wrong.

    The help network out here is fantastic though, it is possible to sort a lot of things out when you start from little knowledge. I just solved an idling problem with our outboard the other day with answers I found out on the net. And as a bonus I learned how to remove the EPA mandated welch plug from the needle valve on the carburetor…

    P.S. Without knowing details about the engine, I’d have a look at both the thermostat, which is easy to test, and the heat exchanger to make sure it’s not blocked with something. Both things I’ve had to wrestle with on my engines.

  3. We were in Bequia when it happened but no help there. Sailed to St Lucia where a mechanic claimed that he solved the problem with changing gaskets in the cirkulationpump. Did not solve the it.
    The guy that finally found the problem was Frank Agren in Case Pilot, Martinique. He used an infrared heat detector to locate the source.

  4. As Hakan said, there are restrictor rings set in the cooling systems of some engines that can easily become clogged, orqybe become dislodged and then migrate downstream to where they can clog or block coolant flow at a tee.

    For example, on the Volvo-Penta 2003T model I know there is such a restrictor in the turbo coolant return pipe that tends to migrate to the tee where the turbo coolant goes back into the heat exchanger, restricting the entire coolant flow to the entire engine enough to cause overheating problems.

    Finding expert crowdsourcing info on a specific model forum is probably the only way to find a weird problem like this without tearing apart the entire engine cooling system and inspecting it all VERY carefully. Even so, it would be easy to miss something that.

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