Westerbeke diesel will not start - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 35 Old 3 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Westerbeke diesel will not start

I cannot get my engine to start. I have a sailboat with a Westerbeke W50. Although the W50 has not been in production for many years, the power plant is a British Leyland 1.8 liter diesel that was used in taxi cabs, narrow boats, and tractors like the case DH4 trencher.

We recently went out for a sail. The engine started and ran flawlessly for about an hour after which time we did a normal engine shut down and sailed without the engine for about four hours. When it was time to restart the engine to power us back to our dock, the engine cranked like normal except it never fired. It acted like it wasnít getting fuel.

In summary, the fuel is good, the vacuum gauge for the fuel filter is reading below 1 psi. and the lift pump checked good at +9 psi. I had the injector pump and injectors checked. The pump and injectors failed to meet spec. (Out of spec, but short of a catastrophic failure; the engine should have run.). I had the injector pump rebuilt and put in a new set of injectors, but this did not get my engine running. I also bench tested the glow plugs and monitored their voltage during the start cycle. The engine cranks like normal, but does not fire off. Iíve bled the system several times and checked that the valves are operating. I checked an injector connected to the fuel line, but not in the cylinder and confirmed it sprayed fuel in bursts like it should. I put a short squirt of brake cleaner in the air intake and got an encouraging short run of a couple of seconds, but the engine would not catch. The engine has 1000 hours since a major rebuild and had ďlike newĒ performance!

Iím humbled and baffled?? Is it possible for the timing chain to have jumped a tooth? Would the engine still crank the same, fire or pop or something? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also, has anyone found a source or cross reference to British Leyland parts since Westerbeke has limited support?
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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

GREETINGS EARTHLINGS : what make of fuel injector do you have as some of them have to lubricated once in a while some when they run out of diesel just try bleeding all the points on the injector pump before going down the expensive route look on the interweb for more information about it AS ALWAYS GO SAFE
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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

Based on the story that you tell it seems that something changed drastically during the 4 hour sail. I am not familliar with the W50 (must be a big boat) but my FIRST suspicion would be to look for a compression release lever - make sure that it has not moved to the wrong position. Don't shoot brake cleaner (or starting fluid) in the intake! WD-40.


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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

No Clue, WAG engine kill cable?
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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

Once you figure it out let us know.

Here is the list: Some you have checked already but I've included for completeness.

Fuel Filter
Air Filter
Some engines have an air inlet emergency flap
Exhaust system and seacock.
Does it crank slowly, battery issues
Fuel level

That's the simple stuff

Bad stuff
Timing
worn fuel injector pump
damaged injectors

WD 40 not starting fluid
Shut off seacock when trying to start as you can pump water into the cylinder and ruin the engine.
If it catches you have plenty of time to open it.

I looked this up for you in the Calder book.

You will be really pissed if the battery is just a little low. Are you SURE it is cranking fast enough?

You may want to express ship yourself the Calder Book, Their is a whole chapter on exactly your problem.

And let us know for sure.

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It is a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive.
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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

Are you 100% certain that the shut off cable is returning to the run position at the injection pump?
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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

Thank you for your post. The injectors Westerbeke uses for the W50 are CAV BDN0SPC6651, I had the old ones tested and replaced them. This engine has five fuel bleed points the last being at the injector input nuts. I even connected an injector to the line so that I could witnessed the nozzle spraying.
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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

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.

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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

Thank you for your post. I agree; I am coming to the conclusion something changed drastically. The engine did not give a clue that anything was amiss! This engine does not have a compression release lever. You are right about WD-40, I only used a very sparing amount of brake cleaner without preheating. That is why I was looking for feedback on the possibility the timing chain could have jumped a tooth?
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Re: Westerbeke diesel will not start

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
Once you figure it out let us know.

Here is the list: Some you have checked already but I've included for completeness.

Fuel Filter
Air Filter
Some engines have an air inlet emergency flap
Exhaust system and seacock.
Does it crank slowly, battery issues
Fuel level

That's the simple stuff

Bad stuff
Timing
worn fuel injector pump
damaged injectors

WD 40 not starting fluid
Shut off seacock when trying to start as you can pump water into the cylinder and ruin the engine.
If it catches you have plenty of time to open it.

I looked this up for you in the Calder book.

You will be really pissed if the battery is just a little low. Are you SURE it is cranking fast enough?

You may want to express ship yourself the Calder Book, Their is a whole chapter on exactly your problem.

And let us know for sure.
Thank you for your posts. Insanity is when you do the same over and over expecting to get a different result. I took a couple of days to review what I did, study the posts and review some diesel troubleshooting books (Paul Dempsey, Andrew Simpson and Nigel Calder). I Have three battery banks and been putting two in parallel to insure I have a rapid cranking speed, something I would not normally do for safety reasons. Iíve done all the easy stuff repeatedly. Unfortunately Iím into the bad stuff, a rebuild of the injector pump and installation a new set of injectors did not help. As you can guess from my original post Iím heavily invested in this repair. Unfortunately Iím coming to the conclusion it is the timing. I was looking for feedback on the possibility the timing chain could have jumped a tooth? None of the three trouble shooting books really address this in detail. Iíve never heard of it happening on a marine diesel. I have heard it happened on cars but their parts are not nearly as robust. I have the additional issue of cross referencing to locate parts that fit a W50 if it is the timing. Iím 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.
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british leyland parts , diesel will not start , westerbeke w50

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