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Old 04-04-2008, 18:43   #1
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Fuel problem

Ok so I've been working on the boat for 10 dys now. I had a lot of problems that I hadn't anticipated like some nasy leaks that ruined some cabinetry. !/2 step forward three steps back. But the biggie is a fuel problem. I put access prts in my starboard tank. In order to do this I transfered the fuel from the S tank to the P tank. cleaned the S tank everything looks good. Checked the battery. 13.5vdc. Good. Turned the engine by hand a couple of times everything good. Replaced the primary filter. Not needed but what the heck. So I'm going along motoring away from the yard and almost to the Marina when the engine sputters than stops. On the edge of the shipping channel in a furoious flood tide. I'm heading for the bridge piling. I don't have any sails on the mast or the forestay. Ok what to do. I dropped the anchor. I'm drifting down toward the pier but the CQR finally grabs. The boat spins around and I'm securely set.

Since I'm near or in the shipping channel I give the CG a Pan Pan. I go below to bleed the engine. Well as I'm doing this the CG asks me to do this and that and one of there questions is Is there any shipping coming your way. I look up and then I answer yes I see a ship at Channel 10 miles away at the Columbia Bar Spit. I go down and try to blled the engine -- It won't bleed. In fact I can't get any fuel to come up thru the injectors at all. A few more calls by the CG and a helocopter is flying above me. I didn't have a GPS but the CG wanted my lat and long to see if I was in the channel I presume. Just then the Marina comes by with a 30 hp skiff slowly fighting the tide we make it back to the marina.

Here is the fuel problem. After the engine died and I was safe at the dock I added an in line bulb (from an outboard) so that I could prime the engine easier. I've got it set between the primary filter and the secondary. When I pump the heck out of that I can get the engine to idle for five minutes or so. Then it dies. I changed the primary filter - again- and I still can't get it to work. I try to prime the engine with the lift pump lever and nothing happens. My theory is that I have either 1) a leak tthat is letting in air 2) a faulty or plugged lift pump (but whole engine its less than a year old) or 3) It's something I haven't thought of yet. Maybe I should replace the secondary filter. But I don't see that as the problem b/c it will idle when I pump the bulb. I guess the extra pressure from the bulb could push thru a mostly clogged secondary filter.

Can anyone help?
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Old 04-04-2008, 18:52   #2
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What kind of engine?

What filters?
What size?
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Old 04-04-2008, 19:21   #3
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Hi Chief:

I should have posted that info. Engine is a Yanmar 4JH4E. Filters are 10 micron 300 series Racors(primary) and the Yanmar factory primary.
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Old 04-04-2008, 19:34   #4
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Charlie. A few things come to mind. First I would change ALL filters, even the one you have already changed. Second, if possible try to get to the pick up tube if you can and be sure there is nothing stuck in it. Even though you had the tank clean that tube could be clogged. Next would be air in the lines or filter housing so check fittings and connections. Finally the lift pump could be bad or even the culprit letting the air in. Finally, the injector pump could be out of timing. If the simple things don't check out you might need a mechanic.
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Old 04-04-2008, 20:47   #5
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Take your pick up tube out of your tank. Take the fuel line off your fuel filter, the input side. Place the pick up tube in a container. Put compressed air into the fuel line you took off the filter. You should blow some crap into the container. Don't use too much pressure when blowing out the fuel line. I'm betting you have a fuel line restriction. Good luck.
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Old 04-04-2008, 20:57   #6
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Charlie, you may have a line obstruction but sounds like fuel is flowing. Sounds more like a defective diaphram in the lift pump. Do you see bubbles in your Racor filter when you manually operate the pump?
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Old 04-04-2008, 21:19   #7
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I have yet to see a fuel pump or timing failure on a 4JH series Yanmar. Your's would be the first if that is the case and it would have to have many thousands of hours. But anything is possible. If you blow air into your fuel system take out the pump ball or turn it the other direction as they are a one way valve.
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Old 04-04-2008, 21:50   #8
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I have had ball in Racor Filter stick and stop fuel flowing, just an idea, I also have outboard priming bulb upstream of Racor primary, allows me to prime whole system easily
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Old 04-04-2008, 23:57   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nauticatarcher View Post
I have had ball in Racor Filter stick and stop fuel flowing, just an idea, I also have outboard priming bulb upstream of Racor primary, allows me to prime whole system easily
Yup...I have heard of a check valve both in a Racor and on 'some' 4JH's, in the fuel system.
I did have some bioside by VALVETECH. attack my copper draw tube and close it up.
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:08   #10
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Thanks for the tips. Here's the plan 1) change all filters 2) transfer fuel from Port tank to Starboard tank going thru a Racor filter on the way. 3) cross fingers and hope it works 4) pull fuel line off of secondary filter and put line in a glass of diesel. Caulder says that bubbles will show up if there is an air leak somewhere.

More comments and/or tests to verify the lift pump is working would be appreciated.
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:24   #11
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Charlie...I would suspect the lift pump as well. To check...
1. Remove input fuel line
2. Put finger over input port on pump.
3. pump the manual lever
4. If you feel suction on your finger then the fuel pump is likely working and the reason you are not getting fuel is that there is an air leak somewhere in between the tank and the pump.
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:33   #12
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thanks camaraderie.

exactly what I needed a simple test. I'll try that after breakfast.
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:59   #13
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get the air out

Hi Charlie

I have a couple of larger Yanmars and had to prime the whole system.
Once the lines are full of air, like a tank being empty, it is hard to get the fuel to flow up and over into the racor, even when everything is working like new.
First off shouldnt you be using 30 micron filters in the racor?
This is what worked for me- make sure all filters are new and as full of fuel as possible.
CLOSE the valve at the top of the fuel tank. Pump the lift pump to generate a vacuum, pump a lot!
OPEN the valve and you should see or hear air enter the racor. You may need to do this a few times.
Whenever you open a filter housing, be sure to close valves on both sides or the fuel in the line may run back into the tank, filling the line with air.

All of this is a lot easyer with a full tank. When the fuel level in the tank is higher than the racor AND there is no air in the line, fuel should siphon from the tank when you open the drain.

good luck
Carl
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Old 05-04-2008, 16:34   #14
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I got her running. Not sure how but she has idled well for twenty minutes and started first time five times in a row. That is how I left her in September.

I changed the filters again. I installed the new O rings on the Racors. I tightened every hose clamp. I took apart the diaphram of the fuel lift pump and then it started working. Then I moved the outboard bulb to right in front of the secondary filterI pumped it a few times and it ran for a few seconds then died. I did this again with the same result. Then I swore like a sailor opened and closed the valves on the racor started it again and it sputtered a little then caught again and finally kept running. Thanks for all the help. After I had fixed it a retired mechanic came by who liked to talk boats and gave me some advice. His theory is that the diaphram on the lift pump had dried out and wasn't working until it got soaked with diesel again. I don't know if I buy it but I have no better theory.
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Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 05-04-2008, 19:32   #15
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IS IT STILL RUNNING? I'M HAVING THE SAME PROBLEMS SINCE I THOUGHT IT WAS TIME TO CHANGE THE PRIMARY AND SECONDARY FILTERS. IT WILL START EVERY MORNING,BUT NOT LIKE IT USE TO. IT RUNS FOR 25 MINUTES UNTIL SUDDENLY THE RPM'S DROP AND IT DIES. AFTER THE INITIAL START UP IT WILL ONLY IDLE, TRYING TO DIE FOR LESS THAN A MINUTE EACH TIME. I'VE BLED THE AIR FROM THE SECONDARY FILTER SEVERAL TIMES, BUT SOMETIMES IT JUST BLEEDS FUEL AND NO AIR, BUT IT STILL WON'T RUN. IT EVEN RAN UNDER LOAD FOR ABOUT FIVE MINUTES THIS MORNING DURING THAT 25 MINUTE PERIOD. ANY THOUGHTS?
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