Partner shut off key on overnight run now engine won't run... - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 53 Old 08-26-2014 Thread Starter
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Unhappy Partner shut off key on overnight run now engine won't run...

I have a Yanmar YSB-12. While motoring overnight, my sailing partner inadvertently turned off the ignition key. The motor continued running fine (about 6 hours). When we pulled it back to idle it died and since the key was off the alternator was off line and the batteries were dead.

Since then the engine will start but soot appears in the exhaust (no smoke, just black in the water) and the engine won't get above idle and then dies (30 seconds to a minute or so).

I have bled the system: same symptom.
I have pumped out all fuel and cleaned the tank: same symptom.
I have replaced the fuel filter and lines: same symptom.
I have pulled the intake: it is clear and with it removed, same symptom.
I have pulled the exhaust: it is clear and with it removed, same symptom (but loud).
I have pulled the injector, stripped and cleaned it, installed it outside of the engine and when cranking, I get a very good atomized puff of fuel. Reinstall: same symptom.

Any ideas? Is it just a coincidence that it failed after running with the key off? Did not having the fuel pump running cause something to fail. I am at my wits end!

Anyone know a diesel mechanic I can hire in Southern California? My boat is in Dana Point.
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post #2 of 53 Old 08-26-2014
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Re: Partner shut off key on overnight run now engine won't run...

Check your alternator. Don't see how that should keep a diesel from running,
but that is all that i can see this damaging. Does the system have an electric engine shut of switch?

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post #3 of 53 Old 08-27-2014 Thread Starter
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Re: Partner shut off key on overnight run now engine won't run...

No problems with battery or alternator. I keep the batteries on a charger and the engine cranks and fires first-time-every-time. Then it chugs for a while and dies. All the while putting out black soot on the water.

I was thinking without the electric fuel pump running, the injector pump may have been working "harder" than normal. Maybe it is damaged. But like I said, the injector puffs a nice atomized puff of fuel. Of course, I have no idea what it should look like but it seems good to me.
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post #4 of 53 Old 08-27-2014
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Re: Partner shut off key on overnight run now engine won't run...

Perhaps you have damaged the alternator and it is now providing too much physical resistance somehow, the engine will fire and idle, but as soon as you try to rev it up, the load is too much which gives you the soot (which is probably unburnt fuel rather than soot). I can't see how anything else could have been damaged by having no power to the engine. I don't know the YSB, but if the belt only drives the alternator and not anything else, try taking the belt off and seeing if the engine will run better. Obviously if the belt does drive something else, like the water pump, then don't do this!

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post #5 of 53 Old 08-27-2014
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Re: Partner shut off key on overnight run now engine won't run...

fuel lift pump?
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post #6 of 53 Old 08-27-2014
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Re: Partner shut off key on overnight run now engine won't run...

Try installing your spare electric fuel pump.
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post #7 of 53 Old 08-27-2014
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Re: Partner shut off key on overnight run now engine won't run...

If you have an electric fuel (engine) shut down, then you have a solenoid that does that for you when you push the kill switch, either by opening on starting or closing. On my Perkins the engine will run w/o the key on (not start) but will not shut down. Perhaps this solenoid has gotten weak and does not engage or disengage completely. It is connected to the fuel distribution pump, so it might be allowing this pump to only pass some fuel, but not enough to operate properly, or too much.

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Re: Partner shut off key on overnight run now engine won't run...

The electric pump seems ok. I can turn on the key and when I open the bleed valve at the injector pump fuel comes out. Perhaps the pressure is low?

I don't think the Yanmar YSB12 uses a shutoff solenoid but to be honest, I don't know for sure. I will look into that. Although it seems if that was a problem it wouldn't start at all.

The belt on the alternator doesn't slip and the alternator doesn't make any noise so that seems ok.

Is there anyway to test the injector pump? My fear is that it isn't something simple but is a cracked cylinder, cracked water jacket, or blown head gasket but I don't know if that fits the symptoms.
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post #9 of 53 Old 08-27-2014
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Re: Partner shut off key on overnight run now engine won't run...

Sorry, I don't know that particular diesel at all. Any of those things could show up as water in the oil which I assume you have checked, or bubbles in the expansion tank on a fresh water cooled engine. Bad rings could cause the soot or smoke, high crank case pressure and low power. But none of these things should be related to operating without the key being on, except that the alarms would not have functioned if it overheated, which could cause a cracked cylinder, a cracked water jacket, or a blown head gasket or even broken some rings. Sorry, let's hope not. You might want to do a compression test on the engine.
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post #10 of 53 Old 08-27-2014
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It sounds like it is starved for fuel. Maybe rig a temporary fuel supply and see how it behaves. I am concerned that the 'key off' state disabled engine alarms and you would not have known about overtemp or low oil pressure but the symptoms don't seem to match (to me).

Is there a strainer or screen on the tank fuel pickup?
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