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-   -   About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice (http://www.sailnet.com/forums/diesel/131001-about-buy-nagging-engine-issue-seeking-advice.html)

planetminder 03-31-2014 11:40 AM

About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice
 
So we're about to pull the trigger on an awesome 38' ketch with a freshly rebuilt (1.5hrs) Westerbeke 40 (really just a perkins 4-108), but there was a issue with engine that came up during the sea trial that's been nagging me. The day before the sea trial, the owner had come to the boat to show us some things, including starting the engine. It was about 45 degrees out, after being around freezing the previous night. The engine started immediately, with hardly any cranking, then ran perfectly, with no smoke. We ran it for about 20 mins, so it got up to temp. But the next day, we couldn't get it started for the sea trial (the owner wasn't there) after quite a bit of cranking. We called the owner, and he said to just give it a little spray of ether. I was pretty shocked at that, and so was the surveyor - seems to me a fresh rebuild shouldn't need ether. But we gave it a bit, and of course it started right up, and ran perfectly thru the sea trial, no smoke, no overheating.
The next day, it wasn't starting again, but I discovered the pre-heater (duh), and used it for about 30 secs, and was able to get it started after 10-15 secs of cranking. (also - and I don't know if it's related - that morning I fixed a small drip fuel leak at a fuel pressure sensor. ) I ran it for about 10 mins, then shut it down for about 2 hrs, and then tried it again, and it took some pre-heat and about 5 secs of cranking.
So my question, is this normal for a freshly rebuilt Perkins in cold weather? Should I be concerned enough to hold up the sale and get a compression test ? The boat isn't nearby, so I can't do any troubleshooting.
Thanks!
David

erps 03-31-2014 11:52 AM

Re: About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice
 
We had a brand new Volkswagon with a diesel in it in 1980. Even with a brand new motor, the motor wouldn't start unless you ran the glow plugs for the set time. So you can't necessarily determine that an engine is worn out because of slow cold starts, especially if you don't know how long to use the glow plugs and where to set the throttle.

If it were me, I would want to see the paperwork for the engine work to determine whether it was a spray paint rebuild or whether they actually replaced piston rings and bearings. You might even be able to call the mechanic who did the work for ask him some specific questions on what he found.

Also, you can have the compression check done as part of the survey after the initial offer and if it doesn't meet your expectations you can cancel the sale or renegotiate the price.

MikeOReilly 03-31-2014 12:18 PM

Re: About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice
 
Our Westerbeke 40/Perkin 4108 has ~1000 hrs since its last rebuild. It does not like cold starts. Sometimes it can take 10 to 15 seconds of cranking (on rare occasions two or three cranking attempts). This is especially true if it's been siting in cold water for a long time, or when first starting in the Spring, and especially if I've forgotten to use the pre-heater.

Otherwise our engine works perfectly well. Starts fine when used regularly, even when sitting in our cold Lake Superior water. I'm no where near a diesel expert. I would be cautious, and have the engine checked by a mechanic if you have any doubts. But in my experience, our engine struggles with cold starts. Always has started though, and ours performs flawlessly (so far).

planetminder 03-31-2014 12:20 PM

Re: About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice
 
thanks...funny you mention VW diesels, as it's with them that most of my diesel experience lies. And you're right - every 80's VW diesel I've had *required* the glow plugs when cold, even with new rings.
The rebuild was done by the owner, under the supervision of an aviation mechanic. It was a complete rebuild down to the bottom, and I have pretty good confidence in his ability.
David

planetminder 03-31-2014 12:29 PM

Re: About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice
 
Mike, thanks, that's encouraging. It occurs to me, though, that a spare starter would be a good thing to carry, esp. in colder climates. All that grinding away can't be good for it.
David

Wonderinlost 03-31-2014 12:41 PM

Re: About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice
 
Is it cranking slow? With a fresh rebuild and more compression could be a culprit. Check strter draw if its getting weak. Test the battery at a shop for avaible apms plus imepentcy (if thats right spelling) if battery is weak. Next id think if its a fuel issue causing a longer crank time. Seeping check valve in the fuel system or a small leak somewhere. With lack of smoke while running I would not suspect injectors as of yet. If issues on a warm block to I may lean more on the fuel system.

wondering around with no destionation

MikeOReilly 03-31-2014 12:54 PM

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

Originally Posted by planetminder (Post 1686050)
Mike, thanks, that's encouraging. It occurs to me, though, that a spare starter would be a good thing to carry, esp. in colder climates. All that grinding away can't be good for it.
David

Probably a good idea to carry a spare in any case. Our engine is a replacement, and they squeezed the whole thing in such that I can't get to my starter with any ease. Leaves me worried. But so far our starter has withstood all the abuse we've thrown it at it (including getting stuck in the engaged mode for a few of minutes).

I wouldn't hesitate to have the engine surveyed by a diesel mechanic if you can. But my experience is that our engine doesn't like the cold. Otherwise has been fine (so far).

jameswilson29 03-31-2014 01:24 PM

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

Originally Posted by planetminder (Post 1685793)
Should I be concerned enough to hold up the sale and get a compression test ? The boat isn't nearby, so I can't do any troubleshooting.
Thanks!
David

Yes, if you have any doubts, have a marine diesel mechanic take a look at it.

CalebD 03-31-2014 01:33 PM

Re: About to buy, nagging engine issue - seeking advice
 
Nigel Caulder recommends using Wd40 instead of Ether on diesel engines as a starting fluid. Much less likely to fustercluck.

Wonderinlost 03-31-2014 01:34 PM

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

Originally Posted by MikeOReilly (Post 1686169)
(including getting stuck in the engaged mode for a few of minutes).

That's never to good. Rare but happends. Had one hang up cause a fire one time....


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