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post #11 of 50 Old 05-21-2013
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Re: Runaway diesel

Yes, my manual said the same thing. So the only option is to cut off the air-intake (mine's on the front and easy to get at). Use a rag or a board. Never use your hand.

Not that I have any actual experience with a run-away diesel. I think I'd be too frightened to get anywhere near it.
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post #12 of 50 Old 05-21-2013
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Re: Runaway diesel

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Yes, my manual said the same thing. So the only option is to cut off the air-intake (mine's on the front and easy to get at). Use a rag or a board. Never use your hand.

Not that I have any actual experience with a run-away diesel. I think I'd be too frightened to get anywhere near it.
I'm hoping that I never have to deal with it, but its good to have contingency plans!
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post #13 of 50 Old 05-21-2013
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Re: Runaway diesel

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That engine in the vid was freaking scary!
Also scary was the free-flowing shirt of the guy right next to the spinning flywheels and belts. I just could SEE him getting sucked into the machine...
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post #14 of 50 Old 05-21-2013
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Re: Runaway diesel

I remember hearing about this..

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post #15 of 50 Old 05-21-2013
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Re: Runaway diesel

It needs to be said that if your rag (or parts of it) get sucked into the air intake, it could be a PITA to fix, depending on your air intake configuration (silencer, filter, possibly turbo pump). Sometimes using leather gloves or your hat is a better way to choke off air supply.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
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post #16 of 50 Old 05-21-2013
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Re: Runaway diesel

Badly worn valve guides coupled with very hot engine oil that has been diluted with fuel (sticking injectors) (and as a result the oil level is very high and beginning to froth) is a recipe for runaway. The oil will continue to lubricate...after all diesel is "fuel oil" and a good lubricant...but when the level gets high the crank will begin to act like a food mixer and whip the oil/fuel mixture into a froth. If the crankcase can't ventilate properly pressure can build up in the crankcase and accelerate oil accessing the cylinders through worn internal passages.

Check your oil level regularly. Smell the dipstick to see if you can smell diesel fuel in the oil. Rub the oil on the stick between your fingers when you check it (both cold and hot) so you get familiar with the viscosity of good oil and will recognize if it has been diluted.

Check your exhaust for BLUE smoke. From the interwebz (Neptune Products - no affiliation):

"Blue smoke is caused by engine lubricating oil burning. The oil can enter the combustion chamber from several sources including ..

Worn valve guides, or seals
Cylinder &/or piston ring wear
Cylinder glaze
Piston ring sticking
Incorrect grade of oil .. too thin and getting past rings, or valves guides
Fuel dilution of the oil, making it too thin.
Blue smoke is often evident at cold start, which can reflect reduced oil control due to carbon fouling deposits around the piston rings and/or cylinder glaze (which is actually carbon deposited in the machined cylinder crosshatching. These tiny grooves actually hold a film of oil, which in turn completes the seal between the combustion chamber and the oil wetted crankcase).

Blue smoke should not be evident at any stage.

An engine may actually burn oil without the evidence of blue smoke, because good compression burns oil quite cleanly, however, it is not acceptable for any new engine, or engine in good internal condition to burn large amounts of lubricating oil .. with or without blue smoke."

It is a MUCH better idea to block the air intake of an engine to stop runaway than to use decompression levers. Many of us have no remoter operator on the levers and would have to reach over and "hug" that running-away engine to operate them. Perhaps I should install a cable on my decompression levers? H-m-m-m-m...
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post #17 of 50 Old 05-21-2013
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Re: Runaway diesel

In our commercial salmon troller, virtually identical to the picture, we had a 3-71 series Detroit (screaming Jimmy) 2 stroke diesel. IIRC it had a "flapper plate", operated by a cable that closed off the intake tract to stop the engine. I don't remember any fuel shut off valve? If I had another diesel I would try to fabricate something similar to be able to stop the engine without being "up close and personal" with it.


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post #18 of 50 Old 05-21-2013
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Re: Runaway diesel

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In our commercial salmon troller, virtually identical to the picture, we had a 3-71 series Detroit (screaming Jimmy) 2 stroke diesel. IIRC it had a "flapper plate", operated by a cable that closed off the intake tract to stop the engine. I don't remember any fuel shut off valve? If I had another diesel I would try to fabricate something similar to be able to stop the engine without being "up close and personal" with it.

Detroit Diesel Series 71 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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This reminded me of an incident my Dad and watched many years ago. We kept our boat at the San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf which was mainly other commercial boats and some charter fishing boats, aka "party boats" or the "puker" fleet". There were no floats, just a series of pilings to tie up to.

One of the party boat skippers was a real cowboy, always coming in way too fast and at the last second dump it into reverse and give it full throttle. Very impressive, good show, old boy. One day he couldn't get it into reverse, slammed the bulkhead and then proceeded to ricochet the boat all over the basin then hitting a boat two spots from us with an awful crunching noise, very bad.

Apparently he had no way to shut down the engine from the helm and his throttle and shift cables didn't work.

Paul T
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post #19 of 50 Old 05-21-2013
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Re: Runaway diesel

I have written this up before.. but it bears retelling. When I was a tot, my father was chief engineer aboard the USS Holland, a Navy Sub Tender stationed in Rota Spain.

A new guy on the crew was assigned to start up a generator, a "rock crusher". This type of diesel engine has two cranks and crankcases, one up and one down with the pistons coming together in the centre to produce compression and combustion (hence, 'rock crusher"

The new guy was busy talking to one of his new crewmates while filling the upper crankcase with oil and overfilled it. Upon starting, the engine immediatly ran away. After cutting fuel (which did nothing, obviously) they tried to cut air. In an engine that big, you cannot use a rag, it has a flap built into the intake. When they went to use it, they discovered that the flap was missing.

All they could do was evacuate the engine room, alert the bridge and damage control, and wait for it to blow.

Moral of the story, make sure all your safety gear is present and works -before- you have a problem.

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post #20 of 50 Old 05-21-2013
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Re: Runaway diesel

Likely candidates for runaway are the Pathfinders (V Dub Rabbit) Detroit Jimmies and some English Fords. Dilution of lube with fuel oil from injectors or the return lines into sump can be the the culprit. Dumping the PCV line into the air cleaner can have surprising effect when stuff goes bad too. Pulling the air shut down on a Jimmy will probably suck the gaskets out of the compressor but better than a drive plate through the hull . Fairbanks Morse made the 'rock crusher'
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