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Old 25-06-2014, 07:57   #1
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Perkins 4.154 starts immediately, runs great, then knocks off once put into gear. Af

Then will crank back up, but never take full throttle. I've replaced the fuel supply line and changed the secondary filter (WIX/Napa) and was very conscientious with the o rings and replaced the Racor. I added a vacuum gauge to the Racor after the problem started and it shows zero pressure. Needle doesn't move. I went over the engine with a can of compressed air and cloths and dried everything-lift pump, injector pump, fuel pickup from tank-and see no signs of fuel.

Motor runs great until it's put into gear. Revs up and everything. In gear it will not rev as high and starts to get clunky, then will conk out. After a minute, cranks right up. I was certain it was a problem with the pickup, but the vacuum gauge on the Racor shows no pressure-none, which makes me think air suck.

Any ideas greatly appreciated!
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Old 25-06-2014, 08:25   #2
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Re: Perkins 4.154 starts immediately, runs great, then knocks off once put into gear.

My first thought is a fuel problem, either air leak or starvation.

After the engine shuts down do you find air anywhere in the system? I had a similar problem and would find the secondary filter on the engine empty of fuel.

Here's how to confirm, track down and isolate a fuel problem. Get a jerry jug of diesel and some extra fuel hose. Make sure the jug is perfectly clean as you might be pumping directly into the engine. You will use the jj of diesel to run the engine and bypass the sections of the fuel system one at a time.

First step, drop one end of your spare hose into the jerry jug (make sure the hose is clean also), disconnect the fuel going into the secondary/final filter and connect the jerry jug to the filter. Crank and see if that solves the problem. If yes then the problem is further towards the fuel tank. If no, then it might be the secondary filter or something else towards the engine.

If step one doesn't fix it you could bypass the final filter and feed directly to the injector pump to see if that solves the problem but be VERY careful not to get any water or trash into the injector pump. It could damage the pump and that is not a cheap fix.

Just keep moving your little portatank to various parts of the system until you isolate where the problem is. Will not show you exactly what the problem is but knowing where will let you focus on the details.
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Old 25-06-2014, 08:27   #3
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Re: Perkins 4.154 starts immediately, runs great, then knocks off once put into gear.

Just reread your post. If you are showing zero vacuum on the gauge on the Racor I'm suspecting an air leak in the Racor or lines to the Racor. Under normal operation I would expect some vacuum on the gauge unless your tank is higher than the Racor and feeds with positive pressure.
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Old 25-06-2014, 08:45   #4
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Re: Perkins 4.154 starts immediately, runs great, then knocks off once put into gear.

An off the wall thought. Could there be something wrapped around the prop or shaft that is killing the engine in gear?

David
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Old 25-06-2014, 08:48   #5
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Re: Perkins 4.154 starts immediately, runs great, then knocks off once put into gear.

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Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
An off the wall thought. Could there be something wrapped around the prop or shaft that is killing the engine in gear?

David
Maybe not so off the wall. I think a jammed shaft could do it although showing no vacuum on the Racor gauge does make me lean towards a problem in the fuel system.
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Old 25-06-2014, 09:46   #6
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Re: Perkins 4.154 starts immediately, runs great, then knocks off once put into gear.

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Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
An off the wall thought. Could there be something wrapped around the prop or shaft that is killing the engine in gear?

David

I dove it just to be sure, and nothing was wrapped around the shaft. How could I verify an air suck?
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Old 25-06-2014, 10:19   #7
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Re: Perkins 4.154 starts immediately, runs great, then knocks off once put into gear.

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Originally Posted by starfish62 View Post
I dove it just to be sure, and nothing was wrapped around the shaft. How could I verify an air suck?
Starfish, did you read my post, #2? You might get lucky trying guess work and hit or miss diagnostics but you also might end up spending hours. Been there, done that.

You need to isolate exactly where in the system you are getting the problem. The easiest way I know to do that is to set up the jerry jug with a new piece of hose. This will give you a 100% certain, no leak source of fuel. Hook your jerry jug fuel tank into the final filter and try the engine. 90% odds it will run fine. If not, you know the problem is further down the line, either IN the final filter or the injectors, injector pump or somewhere in that section.

REPEAT, if the gauge on the Racor shows zero vacuum (NOTE, it reads vacuum and not pressure) then I'm guessing you are sucking air in that section.
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Old 25-06-2014, 10:26   #8
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Re: Perkins 4.154 starts immediately, runs great, then knocks off once put into gear.

If you rule out fuel feed problems, then check for breathing. Air intake and exhaust restrictions. Particularly a partially clogged exhaust elbow.

My 4-154 would die under power when I bought it and was using 13year old fuel. Now, on clean fuel it's OK.

Post when you find the solution.
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Old 25-06-2014, 12:18   #9
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Re: Perkins 4.154 starts immediately, runs great, then knocks off once put into gear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Starfish, did you read my post, #2? You might get lucky trying guess work and hit or miss diagnostics but you also might end up spending hours. Been there, done that.

You need to isolate exactly where in the system you are getting the problem. The easiest way I know to do that is to set up the jerry jug with a new piece of hose. This will give you a 100% certain, no leak source of fuel. Hook your jerry jug fuel tank into the final filter and try the engine. 90% odds it will run fine. If not, you know the problem is further down the line, either IN the final filter or the injectors, injector pump or somewhere in that section.

REPEAT, if the gauge on the Racor shows zero vacuum (NOTE, it reads vacuum and not pressure) then I'm guessing you are sucking air in that section.

Thanks, Skipmac, I'll try that next. There's a long weekend coming up, and I should be able to spend some time on her-maybe before!
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Old 25-06-2014, 12:21   #10
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Re: Perkins 4.154 starts immediately, runs great, then knocks off once put into gear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DennisDW View Post
If you rule out fuel feed problems, then check for breathing. Air intake and exhaust restrictions. Particularly a partially clogged exhaust elbow.



My 4-154 would die under power when I bought it and was using 13year old fuel. Now, on clean fuel it's OK.



Post when you find the solution.

Dennis

Thanks, Dennis: I pulled out all of the fuel last haul and dumped it in a buddy's old truck, so I've got all fresh now, so that shouldn't be an issue-I should have mentioned that before. The exhaust elbow was completely replaced in July-old one was a sieve.

BTW, it doesn't make any smoke, and temp & oil pressure are both good.
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Old 25-06-2014, 13:28   #11
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Re: Perkins 4.154 starts immediately, runs great, then knocks off once put into gear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by starfish62 View Post
Thanks, Skipmac, I'll try that next. There's a long weekend coming up, and I should be able to spend some time on her-maybe before!
FYI I had the exact same symptoms a few years back with my Westerbeke W58 (which is just a rebranded Perkins 4.154). Engine would crank, idle, but if I put it in gear would die in a couple of minutes.

I fought with it for several weekends trying this or that; new filters, new gaskets and O-rings, tightened everything and could not find the cause. I did finally notice that the secondary filter was running dry, would refill it and run again for a few minutes and run dry again. Since that's where I got the air I was sure it was in the secondary but nothing I did fixed it.

It wasn't until I set up the jerry jug and stepped through the different sections that I finally found I was leaking air in the Racor. If I fed the secondary filter from the jug the engine ran fine. If I fed the Racor from the jut (removing problems in the tank or lines as a variable) it would die again. So, had to be in the Racor.

It was an old model, some of the parts and gaskets had changed even though it looked just like a new Racor superficially. I ended up trashing it and bought a dual Racor system.
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Old 25-06-2014, 13:48   #12
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Re: Perkins 4.154 starts immediately, runs great, then knocks off once put into gear.

Engine runs fine until put in gear--Revs up and does not die. Checked prop not entangled with rope. With the transmission in neutral--have you tried to turn the prop? Have you checked to see if the shaft in the hull is entangled in rope or a sail?
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Old 25-06-2014, 14:02   #13
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Re: Perkins 4.154 starts immediately, runs great, then knocks off once put into gear.

A piece of clear hose inline just before the lift pump will show any air bubbles.
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Old 26-06-2014, 03:00   #14
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Re: Perkins 4.154 starts immediately, runs great, then knocks off once put into gear.

I had a simmilar problem and it turned out the lever for shuting the engine off (on hp fuel pump)wasnt returning to start position all the way,it would stop about 3mm short.It was cutting the fuel supply to engine and it would rev up to maybe one third of power and sometimes shut off when put into gear.My advice check the spring that returns it after shut off and try to move it more by hand

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Old 26-06-2014, 05:12   #15
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Re: Perkins 4.154 starts immediately, runs great, then knocks off once put into gear.

Check the transmission, I am betting it will not turn.
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