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Statistical Methods for Planning Diesel Engine Overhauls in the U. S. Coast Guard

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The United States Coast Guard has recently investigated new strategies to maintain cutter propulsion diesel engines. Reliability centered maintenance with statistical methods may allow the time between costly scheduled overhauls to be increased. One indicator of engine aging is the number of failures experienced with increasing operating hours. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the failure‐time relationship of the ALCO 251 marine diesel propulsion engine operated on Reliance class cutters. This analysis used exponential, Weibull, and three‐part composite Weibull failure density functions to model engine casualty data dating back to 1978. The data does not indicate the source of the engine failure, but every failure had a significant operational impact. Results indicate an increasing failure rate as the engine ages to the 24,000 hour overhaul time. The evidence indicates a constant failure useful life region, but the increasing failure rate from the Weibull models suggests that the periodic over‐hauls do not prevent wearout failures. As a result, the Coast Guard should consider refining diesel engine overhaul policy in order to prevent increasing age‐related failures.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2004

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  • The Naval Engineers Journal is the peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE). ASNE is the leading professional engineering society for engineers, scientists and allied professionals who conceive, design, develop, test, construct, outfit, operate and maintain complex naval and maritime ships, submarines and aircraft and their associated systems and subsystems.
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