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Old 06-02-2010, 09:22   #1
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Diesel School 101- Episode 1

So How long is to long to let fuel age unused or between engine fire up's?

The debate will wage on and opinions will fly around like....well you know..everyone has one right.

Well what started off a pretty typical scenario around here for me with 17 pieces of equipment sitting around in vastly differing usage requirements..Gives me an opportunity to prove some of this as sort of a Myth buster.

Conditions very and circumstances very, and I realize that...but this video is for some of you doubters, naysayers or for some of you newbies that know nothing of your engine or of diesel fuel and are looking for some straight talk and some proof in the pudding so to speak and not theory.

This video was an after thought.... I need this machine on a job Monday morning so yesterday I went out to fire it up..Just for grins I wanted to see how hot the batteries were after sitting for two years before I did anything so I hoped in and they gave me about 20 to 30 revolutions at a low speed before giving up the ghost... I new not fast enough to fire her but enough to get some oil moving around and lubricating things up...I should have mentioned this in the video as that is an important step before starting any engine, gas or diesel that has been sitting a long time to get some oil circulating first before attempting to start them..even rotating your engine by hand a few times will do the trick..but its easier to just hold out the fuel shut off and spin the engine with the starter a couple dozen times....I will be changing the oil filter for sure today possibly the oil ..maybe not...another one of my pet peeves usurped on the american public.

It was moments after I hooked up the Battery charger that I scratched my head and thought.... " Hey!..I should document this for all my sail boat buddies"

So sit back and relax...I hope you enjoy it.

and stay tuned for more to come when this Summer I will document a 5 year old mothball repeat of this test on another piece of equipment...Im confidant .......are you? should be fun!...Till next time then...

Fair winds!!


"Go simple, go large!".

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Old 07-02-2010, 19:39   #2
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Warning- don't just spin your motor more than about 15 sec. without starting. Yes it may be good to get oil moving but there is a down side (big one) to overdoing this. #1. starter motors can be overheated and burn out- the biggger the motor the more likely #2. You can dump salt water into motor and hydrolock motor this can ruin motor or cause very expensive repair.-water comes from exhaust elbow(dry stack not in danger) and flows back to motor if overcranked(when motor runs the water in elbow is pushed out by pressure of exhaust gas not nec. so if not running-read motor manuals or get on net and check for threads on subject. Some mechanics and knowing owners will use intermitant spining(mult. 15 sec) to prim fuel sx with seacock closed)- some owners do excessive spin with open seacock and get away with it(each exhaust sx sl different) but you don't want to be the one who wins the booby prize.

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Old 07-02-2010, 20:05   #3
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Entertaining and educational. No rain though.
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Old 07-02-2010, 21:06   #4
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Nice! As a former "field" guy now (sometimes regrettably) turned office weenie, I learned early to value real world experience rather than just theory! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-02-2010, 21:07   #5
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Another PBS classic!

Thanks SR..
Go outside and PLAY!
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Old 07-02-2010, 22:33   #6
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Read the bible- oporators manuals- where is your warranty when you do damage by ignorance or knowing disregard of manufacturers instructions and warnings? Im telling the site readers it's is probably in their manual and they should use caution and check it out and are you saying you know better? How much does a starter or a motor cost these days? I think its worth going to the book or or talking to the authorized motor dealer before just over cranking beyound proscribed limits. And if some people out there have been doing it for years and are getting away with it-that does not make it right-nor does it gaurantee that you won't be the unlucky one to run into trouble. If you have to crank an unused motor to start or get oil in or prim your fuel line(much better way is to use a closed loop OB bulb pump) multiple short bursts 15 sec. with rest time and if nec. close seacock with multi cranks. A diesel motor that has clean good quality oil and is used every couple of days or weeks will die of many other things before the lack of pre-oiling gets it- If pre oiling were all that important motors would all come with it(they have everthing else on them)- A motor that has been sitting for a real long time(several months or more) would benifit from more attention than some pre cranking before startup. The picture in original post looks like land based unit if so hydrolock not issue but starter is- and the couple dozen turnovers with stop button depressed is the no no on either way. As too how long fuel will last that will depend a lot on whats in your tank besides clean fuel and the amt of fuel and the temperature changes and all those other things a scientist would have to know and control or measure.
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Old 08-02-2010, 23:34   #7
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Thanks was fun to do

Eyschulman; I Ruffeled some feathers sounds like..COOL!..

First post very good......I could not go into great detail with regard to all the nuances marine or otherwise...that was not the point of the video in the first place...You-Tube only gives you 10 min. by the way..

Second post....not so good.

Its just your opinions as well and I disagree with almost every one of them..especially the bunk about starter motors...which most windlasses basically are for that matter.

Where did you get the idea anyone was proposing cranking longer then 15 seconds in the first place?...Or worrying about pre-oiling any motor sitting for short unused durations of weeks or months?...Watch the video again please......This engine had not been started in two years....not even close to your remarks. FWIW most long blocks these days will require the installer to spin the oil pump up to operating pressure right before an attempt to start them...or you will void their warranty as well.

And regarding your remark .."Knowing mechanics and owners"...
Delco Remy specks out their starters for max 30 second runs with a 2 min. wait time...30 seconds is a LONG time to lay on a starter.....but still twice your stated value indicating anything more risked thermal melt down.

Please post a video of you burning one up recently in normal usage ..Id like to see that one......

I have done it twice as a mater of fact...both times due to bad key switches keeping them engaged once engine starts and not knowing it till you start to smell them....yes indeed they get so hot they burn the stickers right off them.. not usually rebuild-able after that one... a realwith 700.00 starters.

As for my methods ask yourself why one who relies on his equipment to keep a paycheck comming in...why would I pass on anything that has cost me tens of thousand of dollars in repairs over the past 23 years of self employment by doing it?....Answer...I wouldn't...
"Go simple, go large!".

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Old 09-02-2010, 19:55   #8
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I always liked my Perkins 4-236. Now I know why!
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Old 09-02-2010, 21:05   #9
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Long ago when I worked around large Cat engines (by large I mean D399’s, a V-16 over a one megawatt Kato generator), Cat told us that 90% of the engine wear happens while the engine is running but before the pressurized oil gets to the wear surfaces. We installed pre-lube pumps and the starters would not engage until there was 4 lbs of pressure at the top of the block. The pre-lube pumps and engine warmers gave us up to 25,000 hours on some of these engines.

I go along with that idea. A bearing without an oil film wears out pretty fast.

Starters: 30 sec should be no problem for any good starter. A nice trick on a diesel is to spin, rest, spin until it starts. The dry cranking will heat the rings and cylinder walls a little and give a heat boost, a little like a glow plug. This can make a difference in cold weather.

I am not sure why anyone would turn the water on unless you are darned sure it is going to start. If at all questionable, start it first then turn on the raw water!
Turbos and cold starts are another thing. Mostly don’t let them rev until the oil pressure gets there and it is about the last thing to get pressure because of the long oil tube. I have never ruined one so my method must be ok.

I have heard all kinds of stories about bugs in diesel but I have never seen it. I have used diesel that was sealed in barrels for over ten years and it ran great. Of course that was red fuel and it was never subjected to contamination.

Just my two cents on a quiet night.
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Old 09-02-2010, 22:21   #10
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I'm with Stillraining

Stillraining has some very good advice for "after lay-up" starting. As he said, crank the engine for a "dozen" or so "revs" (not minutes) to get oil pressure up before alowing it to fire. He was not suggesting you turn the key to start and clamp it in place while you go have a beer. This small duration is not harmfull to anything in anyway. On the subject of fuel contamination however my only comment would be.... most of my observation related to bugs in the fuel have been with folks cruising in warmer climates so it may be a regional problem. I really can't recall anyone in my latitude haveing any problems with hitchhikers in the fuel. Our fuel only sits idle during the cold time periods, as soon as it gets warm enough to remove the parka we are using it again.

My .02
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Old 15-09-2013, 06:32   #11
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Re: Diesel School 101- Episode 1

12volt priming pump, air bleed to work with Racor dual turbine water seperator filters
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Old 15-09-2013, 07:36   #12
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Re: Diesel School 101- Episode 1

have yet to experience problems due to long layovers between fuel ups--my ercsn has gone years between starts and starts right up. this boat didnt have an engine to start up for 4 yrs--i used that fuel to get me to ensenada, new to me engine started right up and ran fine for 90 miles on 4 yr old fuel

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