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Old 16-11-2019, 08:17   #1
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Unhappy Help: Diesel Starts and Stalls

Trying to head south on the ICW, but suffering with engine issue:

Westerbeke 55 Four-C has been reliable for hundreds of hours. Recently replaced the heat exchanger (don't see how it could be related to problem). About 30 hours engine time later it stalled. Would not restart immediately, but did start after about half hour. Ran a couple hours and stalled again. Would usually restart after waiting a bit, but gradually got worse. Now engine starts and stalls after a second or two.

Checked fuel lines (doesn't seem to have any air leaks, changed all three fuel filters (no water), seems to be getting adequate fuel from tank, new lift pump (self-bleeding) and checked that it works. Bled at injectors and got fuel at all four. Checked oil pressure switch. Checked and cleaned engine ground from batteries.

Any suggestions?
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Old 16-11-2019, 08:34   #2
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Re: Help: Diesel Starts and Stalls

Back pressure?? Not sure how your engine mixing elbow is configured however if it’s clogged may cause an issue. When replacing heat exchanger maybe debris got stuck.......also check fuel tank vent to make sure no critters got in and made a nest..... start simple and work from there is always my motto!

Good luck
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Old 17-11-2019, 11:18   #3
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Re: Help: Diesel Starts and Stalls

Try running out of a separate tank or Jerry can. You might have a blockage somewhere in/on the fuel tank pickup tube.

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Old 17-11-2019, 12:41   #4
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Re: Help: Diesel Starts and Stalls

Has your engine pulled a vacuum in your fuel tank? Check by opening the tank filler cap. If that clears things up then your fuel tank vent hose is plugged.
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Old 17-11-2019, 17:39   #5
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Re: Help: Diesel Starts and Stalls

When the engine stops, you need to check bleeding to rule out a fuel problem. When you start your engine, sensors are offline while cranking. So not likely a sensor.
If your engines share a fuel source (same pick up tube, primary filter) and the main engine runs, check fuel lines from when they split. I have seen debris plug a line at an elbow or pickup tube under suction. When the engine stopped, and the fuel bled back, the debris dispersed until the next time.
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Old 17-11-2019, 21:34   #6
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Re: Help: Diesel Starts and Stalls

I once heard about an engine with a similar problem and it turned out to be a bubble that had formed inside of the exhaust hose. It might be worth a check if you canít find anything else.

Good luck, fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 18-11-2019, 00:34   #7
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Re: Help: Diesel Starts and Stalls

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougR View Post
Try running out of a separate tank or Jerry can. You might have a blockage somewhere in/on the fuel tank pickup tube.

DougR

This.


Early in your troubleshooting of an engine that dies but will later start, this is a very good thing to try. It is not unheard of for a rust flake or something to get sucked up to the bottom of the fuel pickup, where the vacuum in the line keeps it sealed tight. Then when the engine dies, eventually the chip is released and falls... right there under the fuel pickup tube again.


First thing though, is to make sure your vent is not blocked. DeepFrz beat me to it but run with your fuel fill open. Just set the cap loosely so it can pull air but major debris can't fall in. If it runs trouble free when the fuel tank can vent at the fill, then see if you can find the plug in your tank vent. Usually it will be a spider nest or mud dauber nest or similar, right at the opening, unless it got pushed down or sucked in. You may have to remove the line and clear it with compressed air or something. Or replace. Sometimes vent hoses get kinked or vent tubes get crimped. I am thinking this is the likely problem, a blocked vent. Anyway, it is cheap (free) and quick and easy to check. Always try the free or cheap stuff first before blindly buying parts. Always check the easy stuff first, before a big major thing. Even if it is not the most likely problem. However in this case I believe it is the most likely problem.



How are your temp and oil pressure running? If your temp remains normal all the way up to shutdown, then you probably don't have problems with exhaust system or heat exchanger or any of that. Likewise, you have obviously not forgot to open the raw water intake either.



I assume you have encountered this shutdown problem both at sea and in your slip?
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Old 18-11-2019, 02:12   #8
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Re: Help: Diesel Starts and Stalls

This is where an electric fuel pump comes in handy for trouble shooting.
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Old 19-11-2019, 09:43   #9
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Re: Help: Diesel Starts and Stalls

Thanks for all the great suggestions.
Yes, I have been replacing parts. Taking a day off today to work on non-engine projects waiting for a replacement fuel solenoid which should arrive tomorrow.
Yes, the first stall was underway. Wait time and run time varied, but deteriorated over several days underway. Now engine starts immediately, runs fine for a second or two at idle or mid throttle and then stalls every time.
I pulled the fuel pickup tube and checked the connections for air leaks. It is not blocked and the bottom of the tube has a screen which is clean, and there are a series of small holes (all clean) drilled in the side of the tube as high as an inch above the screen, so I don't think there could be any blockage at the bottom of the tube. The tank is full of fuel.
Tomorrow I will (1) install the new fuel solenoid and check engine; (2) recheck vent and vent hoses and check engine; (3) install electric fuel pump between tank and Racor and check engine.
Are you saying that because the engine stalls right away and never heats up that it is unlikely there is blockage at the mixing elbow or heat exchanger?
You mentioned the possibility of a bubble in the exhaust: where would it be, how to get rid of it, and is that likely since the engine stalls right away?
Will let you all know results.
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Old 19-11-2019, 11:33   #10
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Re: Help: Diesel Starts and Stalls

Have you checked the solenoid? You should be able to remove the solenoid and then open the shutoff valve with a small pin punch. You can also take it to most any electrical shop and have them test it. I would do that before spending money on unneeded parts. Also one of the sensors (oil pressure switch?) that controls the solenoid could be bad, could be a loose wire or a short. I think those things run a couple hundred bucks otherwise I would say sure, just swap in a brand new one and see if it works. In fact I just did a quick search and Diesel Parts Direct lists the solenoid at $592. I am sure you can beat that price, but still you could buy a lot of beer with the money.
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Old 19-11-2019, 11:50   #11
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Re: Help: Diesel Starts and Stalls

Once, after working on the muffler, I stupidly forgot to open the gate valve on the exhaust thru the transom. The engine would start, but stall in about 5 seconds. My wife said "there's bubbles coming up in the water from under the boat"
Lucky I didn't flood the engine and bend a rod.
The "bubble in the exhaust" may be referring to the lining of a blocked exhaust hose.
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Old 19-11-2019, 13:53   #12
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Re: Help: Diesel Starts and Stalls

I have a westerbeke 55c, had similar problem and it was an air leak at either the connectors between the tank and racor or in the racor itself. One way to check is to fill the racor full of fuel, run till it dies and open the racor and see if it is still full. Assuming it is a racor FG that you can open from the top. It's certainly frustrating but the fuel pump pulls a vacuum through the filter and any leaks and it will kill the engine. Dale
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Old 19-11-2019, 16:48   #13
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Re: Help: Diesel Starts and Stalls

I used acetone to remove the red Westerbeke paint and the white primer paint covering the original part label, and ordered the fuel solenoid for $40 instead of the $535 same part from Westerbeke. Should get it tomorrow and will see if that's the problem.
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Old 19-11-2019, 17:36   #14
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Re: Help: Diesel Starts and Stalls

Quote:
Originally Posted by winschwab View Post
I used acetone to remove the red Westerbeke paint and the white primer paint covering the original part label, and ordered the fuel solenoid for $40 instead of the $535 same part from Westerbeke. Should get it tomorrow and will see if that's the problem.

Sweet. Good luck!
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Old 20-11-2019, 04:26   #15
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Re: Help: Diesel Starts and Stalls

I've always worried about the fuel solenoid. I don't know if it fails off or on. Another Westerbeke gotcha is the sea water pump. It is a Johnson pump that can be purchased for$250 or from Westerbeke for$450. The belt must be very loose or it will ruin it. I found after market parts for the alternator, fuel pump, water pump and fuel solenoid. The engine is an issuzu diesel but parts for them are hard to find. Dale
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