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Review: Adlard Coles Book of Diesel Engines, 5th edition

Learn about maintaining your diesel engine for many happy years

Boat shed at Venture Sailing Club, Pointe-Claire, August 2014
Boat shed at Venture Sailing Club, Pointe-Claire, August 2014


Adlard Coles Book of Diesel Engines, 5th edition

The missing introduction to your owner’s manual

Adlard Coles Book of Diesel Engines, 5th edition

Written by Mel Bartlett, 96 pages, published 2018.

$7.45 from Nautical Mind

Regular price: $27.61

Shipping: around $15

It should be a crime for a newborn baby to leave a hospital with a pair of ignoramuses. When my wife and I became new parents, we weren’t, and still aren’t, professional podiatric care givers. Hell, I still can’t spell pedaitric.

Seeing our incompetence, the hospital gave us a book on taking care of a baby. We called it the Blue Book.

It wasn’t a big book, maybe 150 pages. But it covered the human baby and its many systems. It explained the day to day tasks for maintaining one. We used it to diagnose most problems and fix them. When we couldn’t figure something out, it let us know that a pro should take over.

The Blue Book knew that we couldn’t practically become experts, but it gave us a working knowledge that, well, worked. I’m proud to say that my kids are not that damaged thanks to the Blue Book.

Adlard Coles Book of Diesel Engines is the Blue Book for diesel engines. I’m not, and never will, be a professional diesel mechanic. But least I can spell diesel.

ACBDE is a tight 96 pages. Almost every page has diagrams and photos. You can read it in a couple of hours. It starts with the theory of compression ignition engines. It ends with the practical, troubleshooting and tools.

The middle chapters cover the systems that are on your engine or directly attached to it: fuel, cooling, transmission, oil, air, electrical, transmission, and propellor. The meat of each middle chapter is conceptual, with components and their purpose, then ends with practical advice.

Think of these chapters as a supplement to your engine’s owner’s manual.

The owner’s manual marches into a room, announces that the oil must be changed, then marches out, ignoring your pleas for more, any, explanation.

The oil chapter in ACBDE sits beside you, looks you straight in the eyes, tells you why your engine has oil, what types of oil it uses, reminds you to protect your hands, shows you the tool to choose for removing the oil filter, and encourages you with tips and photos.

ACBDE gives you working knowledge. Use it to spend many happy years with your inboard diesel engine.

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At your service

Humbly yours,

Supreme Purser