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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 04-23-2008
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engine still not running

So my engine still isn't running. The other week my engine shut down on me. It started to spit white smoke, sputtered and few times and that was it. The fuel filter was full of water. Changed the filter and disconnected the fuel tank, cleaned it out and reconnected it. Refueled w/ new prefiltered fuel and still nothing.

Any and all suggestions welcome. This is my first diesel so I'm still learning, but I'm about to give up and hire a mechanic if I cann't get it going by this weekend.
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Old 04-23-2008
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Did you bleed the air out of the fuel system? If not, no wonder. You have to bleed the air out by loosening a connections in turn, starting from the filter and pumping with the lift pump until no bubbles are in the fuel, then on to the next one. On my old Volvo, that was about five point including the injector heads, on the current Yanmar, its one point on top of the fine filter. You just have to get the air out.
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Old 04-23-2008
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You'll save yourself a LOT of heartache and expense if you hire a diesel mechanic for 1-2 hours to show you how to bleed your engine properly and to check for critical functioning parts.

Alternative: buy Calder's diesel engine book and spend this weekend and next reading it carefully and checking things against your engine.

Probably best to do both: hire the mechanic for one hour, buy Calder's book, read it thoroughly, and you'll be well on your way in diesel engine care and feeding :-)

Bill
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Old 04-23-2008
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I'll second Bill's advice. Calder's book proved to be a valuable purchase after buying my first diesel-engine boat. The engine was always professionally serviced with the prior owner, so no issues.

However, as an education and insurance measure, I hired a mechanic prior to the first winter lay-up to walk me through the steps and check out all mechanical systems. Preventative maintenance is far cheaper than a major repair bill . . . especially if the engine breaks down during a remote sailing vacation.
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Old 04-23-2008
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white smoke as opposed to steam in a diesel may indicate raw fuel oil being vaporized in the exhaust manifold. If your fuel filter was full of water you may have pushed some water through your injector pump and injectors. Water doesn't go though injector tips very well and it can blow the ends off which results in poorly atomized fuel spray.

I would pull out the injectors and examine the tips to see if they've been damaged.
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Old 04-24-2008
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Angry

I would agree with getting a diesel mechanic to run through the bleeding process. I went on a diesel coursr and had read Calder's book. While both where helpful, they were not engine specific.

Also, if going to be bleeding the engine and cranking the engine, make sure you shut raw water intake seacock. At least on my yanmar, this could cause water to get into the engine. a cranking engine doesnt provide enough pressure to blow raw water out of the exhaust.
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Old 04-24-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mauidan15 View Post
It started to spit white smoke, sputtered and few times and that was it. The fuel filter was full of water. Changed the filter and disconnected the fuel tank, cleaned it out and reconnected it. Refueled w/ new prefiltered fuel and still nothing.
I agree with erps. I think that you ran water through your injector pump, and you now have a pump and injector lines, and injectors full of water and air. Usually, people only have to bleed air from the system. In this case, I think that you need to get water and air out.

I would advise bleeding the system until you are sure that only fuel is getting to the injector pump. Given the circumstance, I would go so far as to remove the fuel inlet for the pump, and bleed the whole system to that point. If you have bleed ports on your injector pump, I would then bleed the pump. Then, I would remove each injector and carefully clean, and inspect it.

Replace the injector, and back off the high pressure nut on each injector, and crank the engine (with the raw water seacock closed) in order to bleed the line until you get pure fuel. Fuel should spurt out as the engine cranks. Be careful not to crank the engine for more than 60 seconds at one time. Let the starter motor cool off for at least 5 minuites if you crank it for a full minuite.

Tighten the nut, and crank the engine some more. The engine should start within a minuite.
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Old 04-24-2008
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First time through hire a mechanic. Bring a video camera and ask questions, lots of questions. It will cost you a couple hundred bucks, but save you a lot of panic attacks and anxiety. Definitely buy Calder's book - there is another one out there called "Troubleshooting Marine Diesel Engines" by Peter Horton that is very good - it has charts that based on symptoms tells you exactly where to look and what the probable cause. Charts are nice because sometimes when the wind is up you really don't want to be reading a chapter to find out you forgot to pull the oily rag out of the air intake

If you have a place that gives diesel engine courses in your area it's worth it to take one (including your local community college) but it's far better to have a mechanic show you the specific workings of your engine as mounted and running in your boat.

Armchair mechanics (all of us) can only offer vague advice and it is far to easy to say "yank an injector and look for damage" when we should know full well you have no idea what a damaged injector looks like and maybe don't even know an injector from a glowplug. The only way to trouble shoot an engine effectively is to squat down in front of it and get your hands dirty. If you are going low budget ask around on the piers for folks that know diesels and give free advise or will work for beer. You often do get what you pay for though so beware the guy who starts pulling your motor apart after 10 minutes of looking at it.

One thing I like about my Westebeake 30B is that it uses an electric fuel pump and is self bleeding - I never have to bleed lines after a filter change. I just mash a button for 1 minute and fire her up. Most older diesels have mechanical, cam driven fuel pumps.
Talk to your mechanic about adding and electric pump on, makes life easier and can help with polishing fuel. NAPA has diesel rated fuel pumps suitable for your engine for as little as 25 bucks. A little creative 12v hijacking and fuel hose re-routes, a couple of bronze two dollar valves, add on a Racor type filter and you have a built in fuel polishing system and backup fuel supply for under a hundred bucks. Priceless when you have to change filters and get underway immediately.
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Thanks guys I'm ready to take your advise and hire someone to do the work and hopefully learn from them.
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Old 04-24-2008
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I agree with Chuckles that if you are not comfortable working on your engine, hire a professional! and Calder's book is EASILY woth the $60.

Also, if you do decide to monkey with wrenches, be careful not to overtighten any "banjo" bolts. They are very delicate. When in doubt of the spec, 12 foot/pounds is enuf! (Don't ask me how I know)
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