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Old 29-09-2013, 19:25   #1
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Can bad fuel cause this?

We have a Gemini 105mc with a Westerbeke 30B diesel on it that we just bought. It is a 2003 and the engine only has 325 hours or so (didn't get used much). It sat on the hard for a year or so before we bought her. The engine was acting weird on the survey:

1. Idle rough
2. Some greyish smoke and leaving a little fuel sheen on the water.
3. But it ran well at higher rpms - 2500-3000 (max is about 3500 I think) even though it had the smoke.
4. It stalled a couple times at low rpms - idle shifting from forward to reverse.

We had a mechanic look at it and they thought they had solved this issue by doing the following:

1. Replaced a cracked metal return line off of the injectors (didn't solve it).
2. Replaced secondary fuel filter (I don't know if the replaced the primary - assumed that the would but as you see below, I found water in the bowl after running for 4 hours so now sure if they did).
3. Put in three new injectors to see if she ran good (one was bad, one was "wet", and the other fine so they are going to send off to be refurbished).

They thought it should be fine and just needed to be run for 4-5 hours to burn off the old fuel in the cylinders that the clogged injectors were letting in (that should get rid of smoke and sheen)? I did that and it started behaving worse.

1. Now, it will not get past about 2200 rpm and when it gets there, you get thicker black smoke and the exhaust spits out black stuff in the water. This is with the new injectors.
2. Still smokes (more white) at lower rpms and still doesn't idle the best.
3. Stalled on my twice today at low rpms struggling at idle trying to shift from forward to reverse - awesome for my 2nd time ever docking a catamaran!
4. I checked the primary filter and it had some algae in it and about half of the bowl was water, so I think the fuel must be bad.
5. This has two tanks and I realized someone had set up the tanks to pull fuel from one and return to the other (so the return tank was totally full). I fixed this by doing it right and pushing and pulling from same tank but only after back at the dock (not sure if this had anything to do with it).

So, the fuel definitely needs to be addressed (either with polishing or just removing it and putting clean fuel in it I assume). Can bad fuel cause these symptoms to happen? Does this sound like a more major problem? The mechanics are having a hard time with this so I would like to throw some ideas their way. I am also freaked out because I just closed on this boat a couple days ago and am afraid that the engine has a major problem here!

Oh, prop is clean and temperature is good - no overheating.

Thanks!
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Old 29-09-2013, 19:45   #2
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Re: Can bad fuel cause this?

Since you have found water in your filter twice, it seems pretty obvious that you have a fuel problem. Have your fuel polished, blow out your lines if you can and change the filters again. Keep watching the bowl for more sludge and water, and if the water and sludge have not ruined your injection pump, you will probably be fine. Also think about getting a new mechanic. A cracked return line will make a mess, but should not make any difference in running. ____Good luck._____Grant.
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Old 29-09-2013, 19:53   #3
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Re: Can bad fuel cause this?

Put the fuel intake hose into a jug of known-clean fuel and see if you get the same results.

That will tell you right there if the problem is north of south of the pick up hose.
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Old 29-09-2013, 20:12   #4
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Re: Can bad fuel cause this?

Thanks, guys. I will try to run some clean fuel directly through from a jerry can after putting in new filters and see what happens. I hope to heck the injection pump is OK. From what I understand, those things get expensive on these Westerbekes. Fingers crossed!
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Old 30-09-2013, 06:25   #5
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Re: Can bad fuel cause this?

Let me first be clear: CruisersForum is the best general cruising forum out there, in my humble opinion; however, if you haven't yet subscribed to the Gemini Gems Owners' Yahoo Group, I suggest you do. It will not only give you insight on this issue, but on everything about your Gemini. I search and usually find 5 different proven ways to solve any of the common problems, plus a lot of ideas on "tricking out" a Gemini for cruising, etc.... This resource is one of the great reasons to own a Gem, and I keep all the archives downloaded and on my laptop just in case I need to reference when connectivity is challenged. Good luck with your issues (hope it's not the injector pump or worse), and happy cruising!
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Old 30-09-2013, 11:49   #6
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Re: Can bad fuel cause this?

Thanks, MikeA. I checked it out and joined the Yahoo group. That would be great to have all that info. remotely on my laptop. How did you download all that info. into your computer (or should I go there and ask...)? Thanks!
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Old 30-09-2013, 12:45   #7
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Re: Can bad fuel cause this?

Looks like the format changed a little, but I found it. Click the "more" tab, then choose "files" and scroll down a little to "Gemini Message Archive" -- Start at the highest number (the zip will unzip as a plain text file), then the others until you get back to your year. It might take you an hour or so to do it all, and it won't include the amazing videos, but nice peace of mind if you're in a mangrove creek hours from civilization. Happy cruising!
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Old 02-10-2013, 19:39   #8
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Cleaning up the fuel helped the low rpm and black smoke issue but now we are back to the lighter smoke and light fuel sheen on water. The mechanic said that would be normal for several hours because of the problem injectors which would have allowed some fuel to glaze in the cylinders. We need to run the engine for 4 or 5 to burn that off and that should get rid of the smoke. Does that happen that old excess fuel needs to be burned off like that?
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Old 02-10-2013, 20:06   #9
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Re: Can bad fuel cause this?

Old excess fuel will be out of the system in minutes, out of the engine in seconds. However you may have some carbon preventing the rings from seating properly that MAY be burned out by working the engine fairly hard for several hours.

Good luck.
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Old 14-10-2013, 02:22   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheslr View Post

They thought it should be fine and just needed to be run for 4-5 hours to burn off the old fuel in the cylinders that the clogged injectors were letting in (that should get rid of smoke and sheen)? I did that and it started behaving worse.

1. Now, it will not get past about 2200 rpm and when it gets there, you get thicker black smoke and the exhaust spits out black stuff in the water. This is with the new injectors.
2. Still smokes (more white) at lower rpms and still doesn't idle the best.
3. Stalled on my twice today at low rpms struggling at idle trying to shift from forward to reverse - awesome for my 2nd time ever docking a catamaran!
4. I checked the primary filter and it had some algae in it and about half of the bowl was water, so I think the fuel must be bad.
5. This has two tanks and I realized someone had set up the tanks to pull fuel from one and return to the other (so the return tank was totally full). I fixed this by doing it right and pushing and pulling from same tank but only after back at the dock (not sure if this had anything to do with it).

So, the fuel definitely needs to be addressed (either with polishing or just removing it and putting clean fuel in it I assume). Can bad fuel cause these symptoms to happen? Does this sound like a more major problem? The mechanics are having a hard time with this so I would like to throw some ideas their way. I am also freaked out because I just closed on this boat a couple days ago and am afraid that the engine has a major problem here!

Oh, prop is clean and temperature is good - no overheating.

Thanks!

Same issues for me. I've had the tank polished and changed the filters more than once after running 75gal of fuel. Replaced the fuel lines and pumps (for another issue). The universal m25xp manual says:
1.improper fuel. (Not likely)
2. Fuel burn incomplete due to back pressure in exhaust. Checked the intake and rebuilt the exhaust riser with no blockages.
3. Lack of air
4. Overload or propeller (not sure what that means but the prop was cleaned)
5. Improper timing or poor compression.

My next step is to have it compression tested, but not sure what that is going to show or how low compression can be corrected. I'm just not getting the power the engine is rated for and it's spitting smoke and oil into the water. Not looking for a huge boat bill so I am getting all the info before talking to a "mechanic"

Tips?
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Old 14-10-2013, 04:19   #11
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Re: Can bad fuel cause this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Put the fuel intake hose into a jug of known-clean fuel and see if you get the same results.

That will tell you right there if the problem is north of south of the pick up hose.
try this before any further mechcanics
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Old 14-10-2013, 07:04   #12
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Re: Can bad fuel cause this?

quick question to all of you with this same issue, does this fuel pump need to be timed when you put it in?
i think older P-Pump style pumps do. so if you have had your pump out, or the old owner did, did you time it?
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Old 14-10-2013, 07:26   #13
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Re: Can bad fuel cause this?

Westerbeke/Universal uses an electric lift pump in the fuel line between the tank and the engine. I think they were referring to this and not the injection pump, which would require proper timing.

Mark
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Old 15-10-2013, 09:33   #14
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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
Westerbeke/Universal uses an electric lift pump in the fuel line between the tank and the engine. I think they were referring to this and not the injection pump, which would require proper timing.

Mark
Ding, correct! Some have also said to clean the prop and the bottom, but I do that every month.

What if the return line from the engine is clogged? Could that cause this issue. That is the only fuel line that I didn't replace. Honestly I didn't check it at all. That is my next step but any more ideas would be appreciated.
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