Westerbeke diesel will not start - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 35 Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

I like @NCboatrx 's point about the shutoff cable because it would fit the sequence. After all, the last thing you did while the engine was running well was pull the shutoff. Even if the handle is in the correct position, I'd check that cable and actuator. Slightly related: last time I was out, I had someone else shut off the engine when we started sailing. A few hours later, I went to start the engine...plenty of cranking, no firing. Luckily, I looked over and saw that my crewmember hadn't pushed the shutoff back in. That's all it took in my case, but maybe yours stuck elsewhere.
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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

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Originally Posted by Skipper Jer View Post
If this was my problem I'd have a compression check done and while the mechanic was on board have him check the injector timing. Diesel need fuel, air, and time. You say it was running fine before the 3 hour sail (Que Gilligan's Island theme song now) so that tends to discount any exhaust blockage. Keep us posted as to the progress and solution. Good luck.
Thank you for your post. No I did not do a compression test. Since the engine started up on the first attempt after siting for weeks but would not start after being off for a few hours and was still warm the compression should have been better for the restart. Just to finish checking all the boxes I will do a compression test before I get into some serious disassembly. Unfortunately I知 coming to the conclusion it is the timing. The only way I know to check the timing is to remove the engine front cover assembly to get access to the chain and timing marks on the sprockets.
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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

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Originally Posted by arf145 View Post
I like @NCboatrx 's point about the shutoff cable because it would fit the sequence. After all, the last thing you did while the engine was running well was pull the shutoff. Even if the handle is in the correct position, I'd check that cable and actuator. Slightly related: last time I was out, I had someone else shut off the engine when we started sailing. A few hours later, I went to start the engine...plenty of cranking, no firing. Luckily, I looked over and saw that my crewmember hadn't pushed the shutoff back in. That's all it took in my case, but maybe yours stuck elsewhere.
Thank you for your post. Good thought, one of the first things we checked were the cables and they were good; operating stop to stop on the injector pump.
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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

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Are you 100% certain that the shut off cable is returning to the run position at the injection pump?
Thanks for the post. We checked the cables both shut off and throttle before and after the rebuild and they work stop to stop.
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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

I would not start tearing it down, without having a pro look at it for an hour. The jumped chain sounds very, very unlikely.
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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

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I would not start tearing it down, without having a pro look at it for an hour. The jumped chain sounds very, very unlikely.
Thanks for the reply. My thoughts exactly, a jumped chain is unlikely. Good suggestion about having a pro look at it. I知 new to this area so I not established a network of associates to use yet, but I知 looking for an experienced small diesel mechanic.
I致e done some additional things. I considered that the mechanical lift pump could be intermittent so I replaced it with a spare one. When that did not help I added an electric pump so the mechanical lift pump got plus 10 psi. fuel instead of having to suck the fuel and possibly some air. No leaks were detected and bleeding was certainly easier than with a manual lift pump alone. Unfortunately it had no effect on starting. I知 hesitant to use starting fluid in that engine, WD 40 didn稚 do much but a short shot of brake cleaner got some quick revs but the engine would not catch.
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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

Did a google search for diesel compression checker, comes up with some units less than $50.00. I suspect they screw into the injector port. Might pay to get one.

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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

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Originally Posted by raksail View Post
I have the additional issue of cross referencing to locate parts that fit a W50 if it is the timing. I知 hoping to find one over looked item or way to test the timing short of removing the front cover housing from the engine to get to the timing mechanism.
I feel your pain. You are certainly following the steps.

I found this:
Chain Elongation and Engine Timing

Apparently, the chain can wear and not really but effectively stretch.

One would think that would be a gradual process though.

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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

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I’m hoping to find one over looked item
I'm sure you check it already but I searched your posts and did not see any mention of just taking out the air filter completely.

Also, I think it would be safe enough, please check though, to disconnect the engine from the muffler to make sure there is no backpressure.

Also, the injector elbow has been known to be tricky. I heard one story where the guy boiled his out, the engine would not start so he replaced it and it started. It was something about the inside was hard to see and it wasn't really clear inside even though he thought it was.

If the timing is off I would think the compression check would tell you that.

The last thing you want to hear about that dam shutoff lever. But humor me and disconnect it and the throttle cable.
It may look like it has full throw but who knows. I'm thinking that your test with the injector out of the engine spraying fuel probably tested that but maybe the spray pattern was a little weak and not visible, I'm just thinking out loud here.

The throttle also. The engine may need, at least after all this fooling around to have the throttle wide open to start.

I must be insane because I have seen things on the fifth try that I just didn't see before.

What I'm afraid of in this kind of situation is that I might find the original problem and fix it unknowingly but introduce another problem so I still can't get it to work.


If it ends up being something dumb please let us know anyway as we have all been there. We learn from others mistakes.

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Last edited by davidpm; 4 Weeks Ago at 11:55 PM.
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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

Its threads like these that keeps me coming back to Sailnet. My money is on timing.
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british leyland parts , diesel will not start , westerbeke w50

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