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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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  #1  
Old 05-21-2012
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Diesel won't start

Got a Vetus diesel on a Newport 30. Have waited too long since running it and now can't get it to start. We have bled the lines and fuel flows at all points. Neighbor thinks maybe its not drawing air, or perhaps does anyone think it might be something wrong with the injectors? Any help is much appreciated!
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Old 05-21-2012
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Re: Diesel won't start

Diesels need three things to run. Air, fuel and compression.

Are the batteries strong enough to turn the motor at regular starting speed? Does this motor have glow plugs? If so, check to make sure they're working, or that you're giving them enough time to warm up. When you say you have fuel at points, does this mean that you cracked the lines at the injectors to see if there was fuel there as well? Does the compression sound even when you're cranking it? I had a little westerbeke in a previous boat that one of the valves would stick open on it now and then and it was really obvious that there was no compression on one cylinder.

Injectors typically don't go bad just from sitting there and the engine just doesn't quit breathing air from sitting there either (unless a squirrel built a nest in the intake). Can't be much more help without more info on the symptoms.
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Old 05-22-2012
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Re: Diesel won't start

You say you waited too long. When did it run last and how/where was it stored? If you have confirmed fuel at the injectors, I would next suspect compression or glow plugs. Does the motor have decompression levers? Any chance they were left open when the boat was stored?
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Old 05-22-2012
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Diesel won't start

Yes, cracked open the lines all the way to and including the injectors and got fuel flow.

Was 2 months since starting, and it took about 15 mins of trying off and on to finally get ignition.

The batteries seem to crank it over just fine.

We recently replaced starter button, glow plug button, (last owner had disconnected) and kill switch button (which electrically pulls the button at engine to stop fuel flow).

Only thing we haven't checked is voltage at glow plugs which we'll do this weekend.

As far as compression, to the ear, it sounds the same as it always has. I don't believe we can operate one piston at a time on this unit.

I'll let you know what we find, hoping its the glow plugs and not a compression issue.
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Old 05-22-2012
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No decompression levers that I know of. disregard my comment on operating one piston at a time :-)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erps View Post
Diesels need three things to run. Air, fuel and compression.

Are the batteries strong enough to turn the motor at regular starting speed?
I am intrigued by this too and will double check the cranking as well. I just heard someone else mention cranking speed...
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Re: Diesel won't start

2 months is not a long hiatus for a diesel engine in good condition. Are you getting fuel out the exhaust pipe after prolonged attempts to start?.. if so that could mean low compression (which you can't really 'hear', btw)


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Was 2 months since starting, and it took about 15 mins of trying off and on to finally get ignition.
Has it tried to fire at all, even a halfhearted 'thump'?

With all the changes you've made you may want to double check the wiring and the kill switch to be certain you're not trying to start with the switch/solenoid actually in the 'kill' position.

Also be sure to have your RW intake closed during these attempts or you might have bigger problems down the road... Open it again as soon as she fires but not before.
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Old 05-23-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
2 months is not a long hiatus for a diesel engine in good condition. Are you getting fuel out the exhaust pipe after prolonged attempts to start?.. if so that could mean low compression (which you can't really 'hear', btw)


Quote:
Was 2 months since starting, and it took about 15 mins of trying off and on to finally get ignition.
Has it tried to fire at all, even a halfhearted 'thump'?

With all the changes you've made you may want to double check the wiring and the kill switch to be certain you're not trying to start with the switch/solenoid actually in the 'kill' position.

Also be sure to have your RW intake closed during these attempts or you might have bigger problems down the road... Open it again as soon as she fires but not before.
Yes, have double checked kill switch, and it's working correctly.

Why close the RW when initially starting? I think I've heard this before but can't remember why.

Will check to see if fuel is coming out exhaust pipe when cranking.

Thanks!
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Re: Diesel won't start

Quote:
Originally Posted by leogallant View Post

Why close the RW when initially starting? I think I've heard this before but can't remember why.


Thanks!
Closing is not necessary if you're confident that she will start. But if that doesn't happen then as you crank for extended periods you are pumping raw water thru the system and into the exhaust/muffler.

Without the pressure of the exhaust gases to expel that water it will backfill the system and eventually enter a cylinder thru an open valve - this can lead to "hydrolock" which can do serious damage and will appear as if the motor is seized.
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Old 05-24-2012
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Re: Diesel won't start

We used to start old and cold diesel motors years ago with a shot of starting spray into the air intake. It's not my first choice, but if you're not finding the problem, it may just be enough to get a few coughs and sputters out of it until it can run on its own. There are some hazards with starting spray though. The urban myth is that too much can cause such violent ignition that it can bend connecting rods. I've never experienced this myself, but anytime anyone walked towards a duece and half truck with starting spray, some old Sgt. would remind them not to use too much.
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