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Old 07-01-2013
stowe18 stowe18 is offline
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Westerbeke/Universal Diesel Problems

I can’t get the marine diesel engine (3 cylinder Westerbeke/Universal 25 HP) on my sailboat to keep running. When cold, it starts ok and runs for about 1 – 2 minutes, then sputters and shuts off. It runs a little longer at low RPM than high RPM. After this short run and sputtering off, the engine won’t start again, it just sputters with the assistance of the starter. After the engine has sat a while, 20 minutes or so, the same thing happens again. The starter cranks the engine over just fine. I’ve thoroughly checked the fuel system and it seems to work ok. I have done the following:

Replaced the Raycor prefilter coming out of the fuel tank (the fuel looked clean but I replaced it anyway)
Replaced the fuel lift pump (the “old” one was only about 3 years old, looked like new and seemed to pump just fine)
When the glow plug button is pressed, one can hear the fuel lift pump working, just like on the original.
Replaced the fuel filter between the fuel lift pump and the injector pump
Bled the air (the system is supposed to be self bleeding, but I hot wired the lifter pump and manually bled anyway at the fuel filter between the lift pump and injector pump)
Pulled off lines between injector pump and injectors and observed fuel coming out of injector pump, no air bubbles.
Opened up the injectors and cleaned the jets – they were a little sooty, but not overly so.
I hot wired the lifter pump and heard fuel flowing through the overflow lines at the top of the injectors and dropping back into the fuel tank, as normal.
I have a vacuum gage between the Raycor filter and the fuel lift pump, and the gage shows 0 psi, no problem there.

What is the problem? The engine was very reliable till the onset of this problem from one outing to the next. I can’t think of ANYTHING we did between outings that should cause this. Is there a thermostat or something else somewhere that is shutting down the system? If so, what is it and where is it on this engine? The engine runs for such a short time that it is still cold to the touch. HELP!!!
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