Westerbeke 38B4 hard to start - SailNet Community

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


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Old 06-21-2010
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Westerbeke 38B4 hard to start

My 38B4 takes 3-4 pushes of the starter before it will start. The procedure I do is hold the glow plug for 30 seconds, while holding glow plug push starter button and it turns over no problem but does not start. Usually on the third or fourth time it starts, even when it is warm.

I have replaced the glow plugs, which 2 were bad.

This motor you turn on the key and when you press the glow plug button the fuel pump starts. It is a no bleed system. The book also states to push the throttle to wide open.

I have owned the boat for 3 years now and things have not changed since I bought it.

Any ideas, I think it is a fuel problem but I don't know where to start.
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Old 06-21-2010
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No first hand knowledge of the 38B4. My previous Universal/Kubota had glow plugs. Thirty seconds of preheating usually was plenty for a quick start in warm weather. I would release the glow plug switch before cranking however (to reduce current draw). My current Yanmar has no glowplugs. Manual says apply full throttle to start. Seems to work.
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Old 06-21-2010
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Test your glow plug solenoid, these motors tend to eat them. I just replaced the fourth one on my engine in 3k hours use.
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Old 06-22-2010
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I also dont know the motor.
There are glow plugs with elements that burn an element red hot and what I call heaters which are an encased element.
With encased element type I give them 8 seconds ,turn them off and crank the engine.
Mine are drawing 60 Amps on a 3 cylinder VM motor and the starter draws 80 Amps so its one or the other and I think this is common with diesels

Now I had the case that the engine did not start. I kept cranking and cranking and perhaps if the battery held out it might start. Throttle was tried at many start positions.
Once hot it started first time every time .

Solution- After pulling the engine and fuel distributor to pieces and checking everything it was as simple as replacing the needles and nozzles on the injectors. The fuel was dribbling in instead of spraying in.
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On this motor you have to hold the glow plug while pushing the starter button. If you just push the starter button nothing happens because it gets the power off the glow plug botton. Crazy set up but my Universal 25XP was the same way. I'll check out the selenoid.
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Old 06-22-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saildog1 View Post
On this motor you have to hold the glow plug while pushing the starter button. If you just push the starter button nothing happens because it gets the power off the glow plug botton. Crazy set up but my Universal 25XP was the same way. I'll check out the selenoid.

That is the correct operation for the start circuit but the solenoid may still not be engaging even with the glow plug button still operating correctly. It is also possible that you have another issue but the solenoid is 20 seconds to check out and rule out..
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