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MAN Engine Hours Issue

Discussion in 'Technical Discussion' started by CaboFly, Nov 9, 2019.

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  1. CaboFly

    CaboFly Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2018
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Seattle
    During initial purchase 3 years ago I had read about the issues a few had with MAN engines and the engine display reading hours that made no sense. Since then I have never had an issue and assumed the lithium batteries in my engine black box had been replaced. Perhaps they had been but a recent health issue has cost me a very expensive lesson. I have searched past topics on this and what CapJ is saying is spot on. I have now spoken to my MAN dealer and have better understanding of actual issue. Sometimes it is hard to really learn about something until the matter is real. Hypothetical learning is tough in some instances I guess.

    Here is what happened to me and what I learned. Perhaps it can help others in the future. The Black Box on Common Rail MAN engines have multiple boards inside and one of them has a lithium battery that while the engines are shut off it stores information regarding engines alarm history and hours for the remote display. If power to the black box is turned off for a period of time the battery can run dead and that will cause you to have an erroneous reading on your remote engine display at the helm from that point forward. If you don't fix the issue then when you have an alarm there will be no record stored of it happening for dealer to see from laptop. The actual hours of the engine will be accurate in the black box and a dealer can easily see this by hooking up their laptop and running diagnostic. My dealer said that MAN has not communicated what is causing the system over time to draw down the battery when everything is turned off. Voltage to the black box keeps battery charged. At present time the only MAN authorized fix is to send the one board with the battery to Germany and they fix is for $9700. Are you F*ng kidding me. There is also a unauthorized repair that can be done aftermarket for $4500. What a joke. My dealer is talking to MAN about a resolution that would be authorized and only cost $800. time will tell.

    Here is how I got myself into this situation. I returned from a 575nm fishing trip that was absolutely epic and the boat performed perfectly. I had a few small engine room maintenance items I wanted to proactively do so figured why not jump on it now and not wait until winter. Just little things to keep MAN's dialed. During this small project I turned the T handles in the ER to off so no power was going to engines while I was in the middle of stuff. I thought that was the smart thing to do. Unexpectedly a few days later I go and have a heart attack. 100 % blocked artery at 40 yrs old. Super active and was playing full court hoops just hours prior. 5 stents later I was recovering. This was completely a hereditary thing. I go by the boat but per Cardiologists orders I am taking it easy. After a few weeks I take the time to finish my maintenance in the ER and button things up. I feel better and boat is back dialed so all good. I leave the boat feeling I am getting back on top of things and later that night my wife goes into labor and by lunch the following day delivers our baby boy. So 2 more weeks go by and while I stop by the boat several times I am not able to really get out and use it. Just check stuff and literally do a walk thru. After a total of 5 weeks I tell the wife I gotta go down to the boat and run all the systems. I never go this long without spending a day on the boat and running systems. I get down to boat and turn on breaker to engine ignition in the salon and remember that I had not turned the main engine T handles back on in ER. After doing so I go fire them both up and immediately see that Port motor engine hours now registers 314039 hours. WTF. I quickly remember my readings 3 years ago on this very site and my gut sinks as I realize having the power off for more than a few days has caused this. I warm them up and make sure all is well, which it is, other than this stupid lithium battery design from MAN. If MAN has a design that requires constant voltage to the system they should inform owners of that or at least acknowledge it. I am diligent about keeping the boat and engines dialed and am completely OCD when it comes to the Cabo. This issues chaps me more and more as the days go by. My dealer said this was a continued topic among dealers at FLIBS and I am not the only owner currently dealing with his issue. We will see what resolution they come up with but I am not forking over 10k for a F*ing battery the size of a penny.

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  2. Oscarvan

    Oscarvan Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Bethlehem PA
    So a small battery bank and a solar panel would prevent this?
  3. CaboFly

    CaboFly Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2018
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    Location:
    Seattle
    Not necessary to do that. Just keep power to the black box for each engine and start the engine and run it every x months. Depends how strong that lithium battery is inside blackbox. Stbd engine is fine. Just don't turn off battery power to blackbox for longer than a week is probably safe rule of thumb. I did 3 weeks when boat was on the ship from FL to Washington state with no issues but maybe battery was stronger at that time. Not sure if starting engine every so often is even a factor. Nobody really knows as MAN won't acknowledge the issue or not sure if they know what in the blackbox is draining their lithium battery.
  4. gsholz

    gsholz New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2018
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    PDX
    If the only issue is a dead lithium cell, I'd find a capable electronics repair guy and have a new cell soldered in. It is a very simple repair.

    I'm surprised MAN keeps this information in RAM (random access memory) which needs power to retain information. Most ECMs I'm aware of keep this info in EEPROMs (electrically erasable programmable memory). These retain information without power applied but you can only write one location so many times.
  5. CaboFly

    CaboFly Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2018
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    Location:
    Seattle
    I personally am not giving an electronics repair guy my MAN board unless he has done 15 of them prior with noted success and or my MAN dealer is involved. Too expensive a system to let an electronics guy give it a go unless he know exactly what he is doing and how the system operates. I know the hours are still one the main board and this is a silly issue MAN should address. I also know I will run the boat as is until I have a solution I feel is reasonable. Engine runs fine and I am out of warranty at 11 years so if there is no alarm memory that is not a huge issue as I will take a pic with phone as evidence to show dealer should that occur. I hope it doesn't come to this and I can have the board repaired by MAN if a reasonable resolution is found.
  6. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    I think were forgetting a few things here.
    Glad your health is back up. Learned my self, Can't live without da pump and plumbing.
    Congratulations on your baby boy. I'm sure all are well and healthy there also.
    :):):)
  7. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    7,377
    Location:
    Satsuma, FL
    Now the bad news.
    I have had customers with a few MAN electronic board issues.
    V8-900 CRMs and MAN did not give up any breaks on these boards.
    The hour log is only one issue.
    One customer lost the control internal programing when the fire inspection guy tested the shut down function for the Halon system. Another known issue. So don't unplug the Halon bottle on your MAN engines to test auto shutdown. 1 out of 5 will loose it's programing.
    :(:(:(

    I did have one customer say his insurance company was going to cover it. I never got a follow up on that statement.

    Shop for salvage or re-power used parts.
    Good luck,
    Ralph
  8. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Sure you didnt' forget one engine running for 5 weeks? hehehehe Just kidding.

    There is a place in Pompano Beach,FL that fixes the boards (MAX Marine I think is there name.) That being said, you still have to have the MAN dealer come out and verify the hours on the other internal board and then program the hours on the new board. It's a battery issue and not just the fact the boxes didn't have power for 5 weeks......the other one will screw up within 6 months...…… On the boat it happened to me on, it was 2 weeks apart.

    This is going back about 5 years, but on the 1100 CR boat I had them done on. I had the dealer here come out, and between diagnoses, pulling both boards, having them fixed, re-installing and hooking up the laptop and programming it was $4500 total.
  9. CSkipR

    CSkipR Member

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    Wow sorry to hear about your heart attack and on top of that the Man issue but congrats on the new baby boy. That scares the heck out of me since my engines are 14 yrs old. Heard of the issue but never knew the cause.

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