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Old 31-07-2010, 12:18   #1
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Beta Marine 20 Diesel - Won't Start

Hello,

Since I've had my engine (bought the boat and the engine had around 60 hours on it, now just over 200) I've had issues with the engine starting. Mainly, it turns over (and over and over) but won't start. Eventually it starts but my starter finally went kaput. I replaced that with one I purchased from Beta Marine and it almost immediately started. I was able to start it a few times after that, but now I'm back to the same issue with it turning over and over and not starting. It's a constant turning over without the 'firing' noise that it usually makes just before starting.

A few things:
  • I was told that with this engine, never heat the glow plugs for more than 10 seconds. Then I was told by a Beta Marine service person to always heat them for around 30 seconds. We'll after doing that several times, I asked a few other Beta Marine guys and they all said the glow plugs will burn out if you heat them that long.
  • I have new batteries, I replaced all of them less than 6 months ago and they're good.
  • Fuel seems fine. I've checked all the fuel lines and I regularly replace the fuel filter.
Any tips to get this fixed once and for all? After talking with one of the main Beta guys on the west coast, he said it should start right up normally. Also, I was told that during summer months, it's not as necessary to heat the glow plugs because the compression should be good enough. The engine is around 2000-2001.

thanks for any help.
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Old 31-07-2010, 12:53   #2
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You probably have a fuel supply problem. Air is getting into your lines somewhere and it takes a lot of cranking to purge it out. When the engine finally starts, does it belch clouds of smoke. That is a sign of it not being a fuel problem but a compression/injector problem.

Unscrew the priming port (probably somewhere on the injector pump) and manually prime the engine using the manual pump lever when th engine is cold. I am winging this from Yanmar experience, but your Mitsubishi should be similar. If you first see bubbles coming out then you definitely have an air leak somewhere. If you get a steady stream of fuel coming out, then it is not a fuel problem.

Try this and see what you find. If you can't find the problem, post on boatdiesel. The experts there can surely help.

David
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Old 31-07-2010, 13:53   #3
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If you can't find the problem, post on boatdiesel. The experts there can surely help.

David

what are we here? chopped liver? no mater the President of Beta Marine in the US posts in this very forum. Boat diesel must be better
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Old 31-07-2010, 15:20   #4
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He also posts on boatdiesel. But better yet, call him up. Always helpful.

David
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Old 31-07-2010, 17:13   #5
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#2 sounds right. I installed a new racor filter set up and air got into the fuel line. I had to purge each fule line at the injector. This took two people. One to loosen the fule line and one to push the start button. Eventually all lines were free of air and the motor now starts fine. Mine is a Perkins 4-108 with about 200 hours on it.
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Old 31-07-2010, 17:33   #6
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It's probably not a bleeding issue as Betas are very good at bleeding themselves. I've never, not even at installation, loosened my bleed screws. But it might be a sneaky leak.

Use the priming lever before starting. Does that help. It's a clue.

Does it spin fast on starting, or grind around like an old car? Another clue.

After it starts, runs and shuts down, does it restart pronto?

One rare problem, which the clues obtained above might point to, is the return line bubbling air into the fuel system.

Glow plugs? Maybe zero seconds if its warm, 3 seconds in springtime, 7 in winter. Never 30. It's in the manual.

My Beta 20 does not even pretend to spin. It seems to start on the first quarter turn.
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Old 31-07-2010, 18:42   #7
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I installed a Beta Marine 90 just last fall and I too have a starting problem. During the installation process, I read the manual that came with the engine very carefully. One of the specifics on the installation had to do with the return fuel line. The manual specified that the line must be routed at some point below the bottom level of the fuel tank. I ignored that specific. Since last fall, my wife and I have put over 400 hours on the engine and it runs great - except - that I have to pump the manual transfer pump every time I go to start the engine. This summer, I re-routed the return fuel line so that is does dip below the fuel tank's bottom level. The engine is still hard to start. The company from which I purchased the engine said to run the fuel return line with a loop that goes above the fuel transfer pump, presumably to eliminate the fuel leak down that we believe is causing the problem. Since Beta Marine specifies that the mechanical transfer pump that is mounted on the engine will only lift fuel 250mm, I'm going to install an electric fuel pump, which I think will solve the problem.

Regardless of this issue, I'm delighted with with the Beta 90. At 1,500 RPM it pushes our boat (in calm conditions) at 6.3 knots per hour and uses 1 gallon of fuel per hour. At 1,800 RPM, we cruise at 7.3 knots per hour and burn 1.5 gallons per hour. The engine is quiet and very smooth. We've had no other issues.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 31-07-2010, 19:11   #8
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Contrary to what you might imagine, you want to use the smallest fuel line consistent with the requirements. As farmers with stock watering systems know, a large pipe will cause a slow flow of liquid which will be incapable of flushing air out of the system. When the flow stops (the cows stop drinking or you shut off the system) the air migrates to places where it creates serious and mysterious problems. Water stops flowing downhill, engines won't start.
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Old 31-07-2010, 20:09   #9
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Does it spin fast on starting, or grind around like an old car? Another clue.
It spins fast but doesn't make that firing sound like it does when it's about to start. Just spins and spins.

After it starts, runs and shuts down, does it restart pronto?
If I run it and the engine warms up, when I start it again, it starts up instantly.

My Beta 20 does not even pretend to spin. It seems to start on the first quarter turn.
The only time it ever starts on a quarter turn is like above, after I've been running it for a while and it's warm, turn it off/on.

Could the glow plugs be an issue? I'm really surprised a licensed Beta service guy told me 30 seconds.

I'll work check the fuel issues noted above in other replies tomorrow morning. Thanks for all the great replies. Very helpful.
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Old 31-07-2010, 22:03   #10
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30 seconds is not to long.

Advance the throttle 1/2 way

Sounds like cranking speed issue

If you manage to fill the exhaustline with water....the engine WILL NOT start........
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Old 31-07-2010, 22:33   #11
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30 seconds in Santa Barbara is silly. 5 seconds max. Glow plugs heat up in seconds. Unless there's some corroded connection or the glowplug circuit is not actually working. Pull one out, hold it carefully against ground somehow, switch to preheat, proper function will be very obvious.

Diesels don't have a throttle, Chief. And the way the fuel controls and governors work there will normally be a surplus of fuel at cranking speeds.
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:18   #12
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Originally Posted by 75c30 View Post
Does it spin fast on starting, or grind around like an old car? Another clue.
It spins fast but doesn't make that firing sound like it does when it's about to start. Just spins and spins.

After it starts, runs and shuts down, does it restart pronto?
If I run it and the engine warms up, when I start it again, it starts up instantly.

My Beta 20 does not even pretend to spin. It seems to start on the first quarter turn.
The only time it ever starts on a quarter turn is like above, after I've been running it for a while and it's warm, turn it off/on.

Could the glow plugs be an issue? I'm really surprised a licensed Beta service guy told me 30 seconds.

I'll work check the fuel issues noted above in other replies tomorrow morning. Thanks for all the great replies. Very helpful.
you have an air leak problem

doesn"t Beta use an electric lift pump?
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:47   #13
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Hey Chief,

When you say "advance the throttle 1/2 way"--are you talking about that lever in the cockpit, you know, the one next to the gear lever that makes the engine go faster, or are you talking about the mechanism connected to the fuel controls and governors, you know, that makes the engine go faster.
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Old 01-08-2010, 22:05   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daddle View Post
30 seconds in Santa Barbara is silly. 5 seconds max. Glow plugs heat up in seconds. Unless there's some corroded connection or the glowplug circuit is not actually working. Pull one out, hold it carefully against ground somehow, switch to preheat, proper function will be very obvious.

Diesels don't have a throttle, Chief. And the way the fuel controls and governors work there will normally be a surplus of fuel at cranking speeds.
The lever that controls the engine speed.

5 seconds is barely long enough to heat up the air
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:55   #15
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Please note that the glow plugs on all new Kubota diesels (non tier, tier 2, tier 3 and tier 4) are not to be left on for 30 seconds. They will burn out. Here is the information taken directly from the Kubota manual:

A Shown below are the standard preheating times for
various temperatures. This operation, however, is not
required, when the engine is warmed up.
Ambient temperature

Ordinary heat type Preheating time

Above 10 C (50 F) NO NEED
-------------------------------------------
10 C (50 F) Approx.

-5 C (23 F) 5 seconds
-------------------------------------------
*Below -5 C (23 F) Approx. 10 seconds
--------------------------------------------
Limit of continuous use 20 seconds



Stanley,
Beta Marine US Ltd
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