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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Engines > Diesel
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Diesel This is a forum dedicated to diesel engines and their applicable accessories.


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  #31  
Old 04-02-2014
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Re: About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice

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Originally Posted by christian.hess View Post
yeah I dont know what all the hooplah is about really....just dont abuse stuff and use common sense...


if the owner of said boat did this all the time, let him know about it and tell him that abusing this as a starting mechanism can led to damage if abused but if the damn thing runs awesome once warmed up it just means you have a cold blooded engine

I mean people used to put fires under the oil pans on motorcycles and such so it would start easier on wet sumps especially

get the glow plugs going well if it has that system or fiddle around a bit

anywhoo

good luck
I suppose I could trust myself to use ether wisely, not that I would, but I simply would not trust someone else who just thinks it is a normal part of starting a marine diesel. I think that is what it boils down to for me.
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  #32  
Old 04-02-2014
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Re: About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice

did we find out if this engine has glow plugs or warmers or not?
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  #33  
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Re: About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice

The OP is facing a potential $16k plus expense if the engine is not right.

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Re: About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice

It has a "pre-heater" system, which apparently is an electric heating element in the air intake, onto which drips diesel fuel from a special fuel supply line. I was able to start the engine w/out ether using this system, after a couple of tries.

I guess I should have limited the original question to "is this cold-start behavior normal for one of these engines in good condition". I think I've come to the conclusion that yes, any diesel will be hard to start at these temperatures w/out glow plugs or some sort of pre-heating. This engine has been started a total of 5 or 6 times since the rebuild, and only once (maybe twice) with ether, and I'm pretty confident that's not enough to cause lasting damage - especially since afterwards it ran perfectly, for a couple hours, with good power, no perceptible smoke, with water temp at a steady 185 degrees, and healthy oil pressure.

At this point I feel pretty comfortable with the level of risk, all things considered (like our offer price vs. the surveyor's assessed value, and the asking price of all other of these boats on the market.)

Thanks for the interesting discussion.
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Re: About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice

sailingfool- I'd feel perfectly comfortable (though not happy) doing a top-end rebuild on this engine in the worst case scenrio of low compression (having rebuilt 3 diesels and a couple gasoline engines.) And even if the engine is TOTALLY shot, as far as I can tell, a rebuilt longblock should be at the most $4-5k.
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  #36  
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Re: About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice

I've seen it before. I've even been guilty of it in the past. You get pretty focused on one boat (actually happened to me with an airplane) and talk oneself into one with a known issue. I bought that right too.

It's not just that I gave the entire "below value" price back, as I fixed it up, it was all the downtime and persistent concern over reliability that taught me that lesson.

I do wish you the best, but it makes zero sense not to have a pro look at the motor. Rebuilds on marine diesels, by the way, have no standards whatsoever. Anything can be reused. Your estimate for a replacement motor would be about right for a lightly used motor from a reputable shop, not rebuilt, if you can find one.

Good luck. Keep your eyes and mind open. When you find dubious issues, they are never the only ones.
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  #37  
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Re: About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice

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The OP is facing a potential $16k plus expense if the engine is not right.

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Why do you think it would be 16k ? we do rebuilds for A LOT less..

We even sell running take outs for A LOT less...

Were about to list a Yanmar 3GM30 with saildrive for only $2500.
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Re: About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice

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Originally Posted by planetminder View Post
It has a "pre-heater" system, which apparently is an electric heating element in the air intake, onto which drips diesel fuel from a special fuel supply line. I was able to start the engine w/out ether using this system, after a couple of tries.

I guess I should have limited the original question to "is this cold-start behavior normal for one of these engines in good condition". I think I've come to the conclusion that yes, any diesel will be hard to start at these temperatures w/out glow plugs or some sort of pre-heating. This engine has been started a total of 5 or 6 times since the rebuild, and only once (maybe twice) with ether, and I'm pretty confident that's not enough to cause lasting damage - especially since afterwards it ran perfectly, for a couple hours, with good power, no perceptible smoke, with water temp at a steady 185 degrees, and healthy oil pressure.

At this point I feel pretty comfortable with the level of risk, all things considered (like our offer price vs. the surveyor's assessed value, and the asking price of all other of these boats on the market.)

Thanks for the interesting discussion.
What you describe is the 4-108's "Flame start" system. Technology from the 1930's-40's. Rudimentary but functional and reliable. Holding the ignition key in the pre-heat position for 30-45 seconds does activate a "glow plug" that, once hot enough, will ignite a small trickle of fuel from a tiny valve that opens with the activation of the glow-plug. When the fuel ignites, if one is close enough to the engine, one can hear something of a "womp" sound. With that, the motor will start easily in two or three revolutions. Frankly, I'd have the compression tested and, it that's good, I'd feel comfortable with the engine and the "flame-start" pre-heater. The 4-108 is a very sturdy, reliable engine, used in yachts but moreso, in truck, tractors, generators, pumps and various and sundry farm equipment where they run thousands of hours without difficulty under less than ideal conditions. Our own engine has 3300+ hours and runs perfectly.

FWIW...
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  #39  
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Re: About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice

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Originally Posted by planetminder View Post
It has a "pre-heater" system, which apparently is an electric heating element in the air intake, onto which drips diesel fuel from a special fuel supply line...... This engine has been started a total of 5 or 6 times since the rebuild, and only once (maybe twice) with ether, and I'm pretty confident that's not enough to cause lasting damage - especially since afterwards it ran perfectly, for a couple hours, with good power, no perceptible smoke, with water temp at a steady 185 degrees, and healthy oil pressure.
...
From my personal experience, the heads-up indicator of low compression in a Westerbeke, other than a compression test, is difficulty starting in cold weather. Once started, a low compression engine can behave just as you describe above..."ran perfectly, for a couple hours, with good power, no perceptible smoke, with water temp at a steady 185 degrees, and healthy oil pressure".

As to the cost of a rebuild, you can imagine what you wish, but my personal experience in having a 33HP Westerbeke rebuilt is the yard bill was $12,000, including pulling, shipping, rebuild vendor, and re-installing. If you take the opportunity to address other upgrades that are convenient with its out, mounts, belts, hoses, accessories, etc. and etc., then the bill really gets big. A rebuild of a 40HP engine would be north of this.

If you can do the labor yourself, then the parts might run only about half the cost. And how some rebuild vendor in Florida might reduce this cost materially sure escapes me, as the rebuild vendor cost was only $6,000 of the total..

But this is only my experience and hey, it's your money.
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Re: About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice

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Originally Posted by sailingfool View Post
From my personal experience, the heads-up indicator of low compression in a Westerbeke, other than a compression test, is difficulty starting in cold weather. Once started, a low compression engine can behave just as you describe above..."ran perfectly, for a couple hours, with good power, no perceptible smoke, with water temp at a steady 185 degrees, and healthy oil pressure".

As to the cost of a rebuild, you can imagine what you wish, but my personal experience in having a 33HP Westerbeke rebuilt is the yard bill was $12,000, including pulling, shipping, rebuild vendor, and re-installing. If you take the opportunity to address other upgrades that are convenient with its out, mounts, belts, hoses, accessories, etc. and etc., then the bill really gets big. A rebuild of a 40HP engine would be north of this.

If you can do the labor yourself, then the parts might run only about half the cost. And how some rebuild vendor in Florida might reduce this cost materially sure escapes me, as the rebuild vendor cost was only $6,000 of the total..

But this is only my experience and hey, it's your money.
A lot of these companies charge people a ton of money and try to make a killing. Our business model is we would rather do quantity and make everyone happy. We can still make money and get plenty of referrals for being fair priced...
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