Perkins 18HP Catalina 270 Engine Won't Start - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 11-13-2010
1994 Catalina 270
 
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Perkins 18HP Catalina 270 Engine Won't Start

Perkins 18HP Catalina 270 Engine Won't Start

End of the season and one more leg to move her to take her out of the water today but unfortunately the engine won't start. I warmed the glow plugs and when I crank it, it tries but it sounds like batteries are dead despite showing current on meter.

- Dual batteries each both show about 12-13 volts on meter.
- I do have gas tank filled
- I plugged into land AC current and left it for 45 minutes to see if that would help... no go
- The light does glow when I plug into land AC current.

QUESTIONS:
(1) Might my batteries still be unable to start my engine even though they show a charge and I did plug into land AC current?
(2) Is is possible that the land AC current is not reaching my batteries despite the AC light being on when plugged in?

Any ideas are appreciated!
Thanks.
Jim
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Old 11-13-2010
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Jim, If the starter turns the engine but doesn't start it's probably not getting fuel. You can turn these engines by hand, it takes very little to start them.
If it's not turning over or barely turning over and batteries are up it's probably a voltage loss. Check connections at the starter/solenoid and battery terminals.
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Old 11-13-2010
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Start at the beginning-check ALL battery connections, especially the negs.
When was the last time the engine was started prior to trying it this time?
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Old 11-13-2010
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Is the engine actually turning over? or does it grunt and try but not turn? At any point did you crank without firing for more than 30 seconds?
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Old 11-13-2010
1994 Catalina 270
 
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capttb - How would you crank by hand?

jrd22 - Last started about 3 weeks ago. We have had some cool weather in NJ ... near freezing but not for very long.

Faster - Being an engine novice, I can say that the starter is trying but goes south quickly. I did get a little sputter out of the engine but it didn't last. So, I guess the answer to your last question is "no" since I never got the engine to run for but a nanosecond.

Thanks for the replies!
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Old 11-13-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trescool View Post
Faster - Being an engine novice, I can say that the starter is trying but goes south quickly. I did get a little sputter out of the engine but it didn't last. So, I guess the answer to your last question is "no" since I never got the engine to run for but a nanosecond.

Thanks for the replies!
Tres,

I think you may have misunderstood Faster's last question -- he asked if you cranked it over for longer than 30 seconds without the engine firing.

I think I know where Faster's going with this one, but won't steal his thunder. It's important, though.
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Old 11-14-2010
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Perkins also recommends starting this engine at "full throttle"(think that's the term they use) which is unlike a Yanmar which starts at an idle. Also this engine has a glow plug I believe, takes a 20 count over at the spring loaded position of the switch before you start.
By crank by hand what I meant was that the engines turn easily, you can rotate just by using the alternator belt.
On just 1 good battery you should be able to crank at high speed for quite a long time (too long really).
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Last edited by capttb; 11-14-2010 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 11-14-2010
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If your electrical connections are solid, then another possible problem is the batteries themselves. What type are they (wet cell, gel, AGM)? How old are they? If wet cell, are the fluid levels topped off? Have you measured the specific gravity of the cells?

What happens to the volt meter reading when you engage the starter?
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Old 11-14-2010
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Batts can mesure correctly in Voltage even when bad BUT what counts is AMPS use an batt draw checker ( known as a load tester) ..there cheap on avg 20-30 bucks and just hook up to +&- an hold the switch on it for 10 sec on avg ( different for some batts) to mesure AMP draw normally if it drops to much in the required seconds the batt needs service or replaced.

Never use a normal batt charger hooked up to try to start eng BUT some batt chargers have a starting capeability selection on them which on avg will add 75 Amps for cranking an eng ( just dont hang on it).

Sounds like after using the Glow Plug you have depleted the state of charge of the batt and not enough for the starter moter to do it's job..

As Capttb says then it up to getting enough fuel...
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Last edited by HDChopper; 11-14-2010 at 10:28 AM.
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Old 11-14-2010
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While someone cranks the engine, take a meter set on 1 volt and go from the center of the post on the battery to the cable connection right next to it for positive and negative battery posts. Also go from negative side of battery to engine to see if there is a problem with the ground. Anything more that a few tenths of a volt should be cleaned. Also check any starter relay connections. Make sure you have more then ten volts across the battery while cranking. A diesel needs to be spun fast to start. The way it works is compressing air makes it hot, so hot that injecting diesel into the cylinder will cause it to burn, but you have to spin much faster than a gasoline engine. You also need glow plugs that work to get the air going into the engine cylinders hot, especially in cold weather. Put simple hand held compass against the wire going to each of the glow plugs and see if it defects when the glow plugs are turned on. Electricity going through a wire makes a magnetic field the compass can detect. Batteries on boats are prone to sulfation caused by not having them fully charged. If they sit discharged, even partially discharged for a few weeks, sulfation can happen. Google sulfation with the word battery. Sulfation will prevent a battery's charging and if a battery is dead and has sat for a while, you just have to get a new one. Swap a good car battery in there temporarily and see if it starts. Check fuel filters for water. In your situation water is probably not the cause even though it is about 80% of the time for running problems so just check it anyway. A final thought is the starter may have a short. Would have to check a Perkins 18 hp diesel manual to see what the normal current draw would be. There are hand held DC meters that you hold against a starter cable that read the current in a starter cable by detecting the magnetic field around it. Shorts will be at least five times normal.

Last edited by LakeSuperiorGeezer; 11-14-2010 at 11:47 AM.
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