Yanmar 2GM20F Died - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-23-2010 Thread Starter
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Yanmar 2GM20F Died

Hello All,

Today while on my way back in I hit a shoal, I'm on the Chesapeake Bay so it was soft, using my traditional method of forward and reverse I worked myself off of it. Just as I was coming off of it I noticed a loss of power (while in gear) and then the engine died. I attempted to start the engine again and was greeted with just the sound of the starter, but no catch for the engine to ignite. I was able to sail off the the shoal and back into my slip (small contact with the pier to stop). Once back in the slip I checked the fuel line by opening the bleed screw on the secondary filter. The filter was full and I also manually operated the fuel pump (using the lever on the pump) and was able to draw fuel up from the tank. Also, my primary filter is a Racor. I also checked the raw water strainer basket, which has some junk in it, but nothing that looked like an obstruction. So then, I asked the person I was with to go ahead and crank the engine again. He turned the key and the entire housing feel apart (have no idea if this is related to my engine not starting). So, I removed the panel and engaged the key (without the key). Then, after pressing the start button (about 2 times) the engine caught and started up.

I ran the engine in gear for about 15 mins at the doc, without any issues. Any idea if the key is connected to the starting issue (which sounded like no compression in the cylinders).

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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post #2 of 5 Old 07-23-2010
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Any idea if the key is connected to the starting issue
My guess is the key didn't cause your stalling/no-start problem. If you turned the key and were able to crank the starter after the engine stalled, the start circuit was closed and not likely preventing the engine from starting.

Nothing you described clearly indicates to me why it wouldn't start. You said your filters were full, but didn't say how clean they looked. I would guess the stall & no-start is more related to fuel/air than the key.

I had to replace the start key switch on my Yanmar 2GMF this week too. After about 10 years in the sun, the switch body had become brittle, and the key switch broke off when I brushed my foot against it while sailing. When my key switch broke, presumably like yours, the switch remained intact, and operable with a screw driver. It was the part that supports the key that broke off and that didn't affect the circuit at all. (I was sailing off Newport, RI and was able to pick up a replacement from Oldport Marine on Sunday afternoon for about $55). [Kudos for Oldport!]

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post #3 of 5 Old 07-23-2010 Thread Starter
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I didn't think the key assembly would have anything to do with the issue, as the engine turned over fine when I engaged the switch by hand. The separation tank on my Racor filter could use to be drained it has some sediment, but doesn't appear to be any water in it. Last year I had the Racor along with new fuel lines installed, I've been burning off old fuel this year (as I didn't make it out much last season).

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post #4 of 5 Old 07-29-2010
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I have a 2gm20f. I agree that the key/switch is not the problem. All the key is is a switch. In the grand scheme it is not even necessary and can be bypassed as you did.

I also agree that it sounds like either fuel or air. with the 2gm, you need to periodically clean the intake filter. They call it a silencer. if you're looking at the end of the reduction gear end of the engine the silencer is on the left side of the engine. You can easily pull it and wash it in warm, soapy water.

As for filters, you mention a Racor. I assume then you have a two-filter system. I keep an inspection mirror in my tool kit. Used with a flashlight, this allows me to easily monitor the sediment level in the Racor fuel/water separator.

I had a very similar problem soon after I purchased my current boat about three years ago. Engine ran fine at the dock and in-gear at low rpm but as soon as I kicked it up, it would die. the problem was the filter. The prior owner was using a 2-micron filter as a primary. The engine maual and Calder recommend a 10 micron. I have been using 10 micron filters ever since and have had no problems. I replace at the beginning of every season. i also give the bowl a good cleaning.

Filters are cheap and very easy to replace. To do so properly, obtain an old turkey baster to suck the old fuel out of the bowl. Wipe out any sediment, fill the bowl with (clean) diesel fuel, replace the filter and, voila, you're done. By filling the bowl with clean diesel fuel, i find that I don't need to use the manual pump on the side of the engine. I just run it for about 15 minutes to ensure there is no air in the fuel line. If the engine dies, use the manual pump but i have never needed to.

if you do replace your filters, make sure the area is doctor's office clean. you don't want so much as a speck or piece of lint in your fuel.

if this does not help, call for backup.

Good Luck
Doug Powers
S/V Totoro
C&C 30 MkII
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post #5 of 5 Old 07-29-2010
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was your boat heeled over while the engine was running,if so it may have sucked air at the fuel tank pickup[i learned that the hard way]
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