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Engine Hours Modified or reset

Discussion in 'Engines' started by Geobsum, Dec 27, 2015.

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  1. Geobsum

    Geobsum New Member

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    How do you know what the true engine hours are on diesel boats such as Cats or MTUs?
    Can the engine computers be hacked and modified or reset like most computers? Can they be disconnected to stop increasing hours and later hooked back up when a boat is for sale?
  2. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    On modern electronic diesels, no they cannot be reset in the master computer generally.
  3. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    It's a few bux. I witnessed the replacing of some MAN mother boards. Setting up the new boards you could enter what hours you wanted to report. Not editable from there.
    I wonder if replacement ECUs on other brands work the same way.

    Really would not help much in the big picture. A proper engine survey including all the test and inspections, Plus service records would tell the real story.
  4. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    The MAN boards you're talking about are the hour meter and alarm sensor boards and can be programmed by the laptop from a MAN tech, but there is another laptop used to access the Engine ECU and those cannot be changed and what the dealer accesses to record or burn the ones in the alarm board.

    Did your owner wake up one day and the hour meters read 99,999 hours and the 2 boards were around $4500 (both) to replace? That's what happened on the 1100 common rail boat I manage.
  5. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    It might have been worth another hours run to really get them to zero hours.

    There will be a way to fudge the hours on any engine, the cost and complexity of doing so should hopefully put it beyond the reach of those with crooked intentions.
  6. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    V-8-900 CRMs
    I recall one board with all 9s, the other locked up and not counting.
    Both were replaced on two different occasions.
    Then, in the handling, some piggy back board failed a short time later.
    From what I'm told by the owner, that was $4500 each.

    Amazed me that everybody knew of the hour problem. No support from MAN except another board to sell you.
  7. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Unless your engines are way off the grid, there are so many service people involved with the install, warranty, normal service (LOF), that it would be hard to fudge on hours. Any shopper should keep walking if a seller has no service records or receipts.
  8. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    There are a few folks out there capable of fiddling with electronics and repairing supposedly unrepairable boards who can overcome most things.

    You won't generally find these guys advertising their skills in the yellow pages and they are not always cheap.

    Not all service folks have an interlinked data base, all a dealer can tell you is the last time something was done to or sold for an engine in their system by them.
  9. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Would you make a large purchase from a stranger without service records or ships log?
    That DD53 in a truck is one thing. A set of Series 60/70 in a yacht is another (or c-18, or QSM, or??)
  10. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    No I wouldn't and I am not suggesting that others should. I am merely identifying the fact that electronic data can be adjusted and should not be relied upon solely. The adjustment of maintenance paperwork can also be used to get the engine output to match the paperwork.

    This is a lot more likely on the size of the vessels most who post here are familiar with where there is far more likelihood of an Owner or trusted employee doing this type of thing.

    On larger vessels it is a lot harder because they will for the most part be a lot more professional seafarers with a lot to lose if caught cooking the books involved in the operation and maintenance and will be subject to ongoing class surveys and these days with the implementation of MARPOL Annex VI which stimulated amongst other things the arrival of EIAPP Certificates with a requirement to perform certain maintenance tasks using only genuine parts in order to maintain the compliance with that Certificate.
  11. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    The ones I used were through the MAN dealer here Marine Diesel Specialists, and cheaper than the factory MAN boards. I paid $4500 for both boards and installation. It's a known problem and the problem reverts to the boards recording the hours in the RAM and if without power for too long (like you shut the engine battery switches off for a few weeks) they would lose their memory and revert to 99,999 like mine did and rcrapps. The new boards now store the hours in an eprom (from what the dealer told me). I think it also relates to the other post on DDEC where the lithium battery in the ECM only lasts 5 years and then the ECM has to be sent in and fixed.......similar situation. Mine happened about 2 years ago and the boat is a 2007.

    MAN never admits to faulty design, they just sell you an "updated part" just like all those high pressure fuel rails on the old 1050's, 800's and 1350's that used to crack and fill your engine room with 100's of gallons of high pressure diesel.
  12. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    Don't feel singled out for special treatment. I am yet to encounter an engine manufacturer or their dealers who will admit to anything being less then perfect even when parts are laying on the floor next to the engine that should have been in it.
  13. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    Ahhhh, Now were getting somewhere. EPROM / Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory. Seems like a smart person with a laptop and a manufacturers service default program password would be able to do devious things. Nand and or Rand logic gates, resettable.
  14. K1W1

    K1W1 Senior Member

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    It is the EEPROMS that are the easy to fiddle with ones if you have the ability to access them. The EPROMS are a one time only write to then its only a read deal from what I recall.
  15. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    Both can be fiddled with as PLC's run with EPROMS and will loose flash memory by being re programmed or spiked etc. Your removable storage stick on your computer is a EPROM that uses Flash memory hence the name flash drive. VFD's use EPROMS & flash memory for their programming parameters and can be reprogrammed etc. the list goes on. I know someone's going to come back with the "Only by UV light" myth but a EEPROM -electrically erasable - and a EPROM - erasable as the basic same thing depending on how the logic gates are configured & set -flip flop . But that's a discussion for another thread unless we need to start one?
  16. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    These are the alarm monitoring and hour meter display boards. They have nothing to do with the main engine computer or it's record of engine hours. The hours are stored in the main engine computer as well in a different way that are not easily changed and only accessed with a MAN dealership computer and use different software to even access than the display alarm monitoring boards/computer do.

    I believe that reprogramming the main engine computer, while nothing is impossible, would be a major feat and even most MAN dealerships aren't capable of.
  17. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    If you have the talent and the money, anything can be fiddled with or altered but within reasonable parameters I wouldn't expect to see this done often. Too much talent required, too expensive, and most of all too easy to catch. For a boat of value you're going to request logs and history and if you don't get them be very suspicious. Also, too many other factors to give away clues of usage. Once you realize there's deception you run quickly away and the seller then realizes he didn't raise the value of his boat but lowered it.
  18. captholli

    captholli Senior Member

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    Huhhh? They are data loggers aren't they? and you say that they're autonomous from the main ECM's? Doubtful. They use non volatile memory yes? You brought up EPROM but don't seem to remember the rest of your post. I said if a person had the manufacturers Default password than that person with a laptop could do some devious things proprietary software or not. Lets not get to off track here but all computers are hackable given the right person on the keyboard, just ask the large corporations or our own government that employ hundreds if not thousands in their computer / electronic anti fraud depts. As K1W1 commented, it would be easier to do on a smaller vessel without as much of a documented paper trail between engineers logs and management portals, repairs parts etc like found on large yachts.
    Bottom line is that's its very "do-able" but the probability of being successful in the long run is slim to none as all marine diesels in service will have a previous electronic finger print for hours , parts & service with some dealer.
  19. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Of course it's do-able, anything electronic is do-able. But the MAN engine computer is totally different from these alarm monitoring boards/hour meter/computers. 2 different access ports are used to access each one of them, 2 different laptops with different software. Yes they are autonomous from the main engine computers. These computers are solely for the purpose of monitoring engine alarms, logging them, and displaying hours and the gauge displays.
  20. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Exactly.