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Old 24-04-2014, 19:44   #1
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Puzzler: Beta Marine 16 Fail to ignite

I have a Beta Marine 16 hp (BZ602) engine, on my Columbia 8.7, 1977 sloop.

The Story:
I acquired the boat about 2 weeks ago and took it on its maiden voyage from Solomons MD to Baltimore. In some light winds, I had the engine running to stay ahead of the clock, which ran for about 3 hours then quickly stopped. Any attempts to restart the engine showed that it turned over, but did not start.

Engine info:
-the engine was installed in 2010, so it's fairly new
-no signs of overheating
-no low oil pressure
-engine has approximately 160 hours on it
-full fuel tank
-image of racor filter is attached, no signs of water. Filter clean.

Other Information:
-Sufficient oil
-Clean air filter
-engine was initially started without glow plugs in 65 degree weather; while I have yet to check resistance over the plugs to make sure they are operating, I don't believe this to be an issue. I will check them next time I'm at my yard.
-I have loosened the screw on the secondary fuel filter, and after turning engine over, fuel sprayed out indicating signs of pressure.
-I have unhooked the stop solenoid, and the stop springs into the proper position.
-no oil appears to be in the antifreeze tank, so head gasket is likely out.

My next course of action is to clean the injectors, however with a clean fuel filter, I find it unlikely that at least one of the cylinders would not be firing.

Any ideas from some more experienced sailors?

Thanks!! (by the way this is my first post here!)
Will
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Old 24-04-2014, 20:34   #2
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Re: Puzzler: Beta Marine 16 Fail to ignite

you didn't mention bleeding the fuel system. there should be a bleeding procedure in your engine manual, but if not it usually ends with loosening the fuel lines at the individual injectors and cranking the engine. you should see fuel coming out of each of them. then tighten them while cranking and the engine should start.

but check the manual first for the proper bleeding procedure. most sailors will tell you that 99% of all engine running problems are fuel related...
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Old 24-04-2014, 21:06   #3
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Re: Puzzler: Beta Marine 16 Fail to ignite

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Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
but if not it usually ends with loosening the fuel lines at the individual injectors and cranking the engine. you should see fuel coming out of each of them. then tighten them while cranking and the engine should start.

but check the manual first for the proper bleeding procedure. most sailors will tell you that 99% of all engine running problems are fuel related...
The Betas are Kubota blocks. Kubotas have not required doing this since the M25 series started in the early 80s. While many older engines have required this, most reasonably modern diesels have bleeding knobs beofre the injector pumps and do NOT require doing anything anywhere near the injectors.

Yes, i agree, check the manual first. If it turns over and doesn't start, and you say it's not an air problem, then it's gotta be fuel.

Good luck.
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Old 25-04-2014, 04:51   #4
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Re: Puzzler: Beta Marine 16 Fail to ignite

Alright, I will try bleeding at the injectors and see whats up. The other condition I am thinking is that the cylinders are not holding pressure; I'll find a pressure tester from someone else at the yard.
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Old 25-04-2014, 06:37   #5
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The Beta 13.5 requires bleeding at two points. From memory, at the injector pump and at the filter housing. Perhaps the 16 is the same. The Beta manual explains the bleeding procedure. If the motor just stopped without any horrid noises or smoke there is unlikely to be any major mechanical failure causing the problem.

P.s. Someone mentioned not long ago that they had a similar problem that was eventually traced to something sucked from the tank jamming in the fuel line. Might pay to check for this also. I recently found the remains of a 30 year old screwdriver in the bottom of my tank, so you could be surprised at what is floating around in there.
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Old 25-04-2014, 07:35   #6
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Re: Puzzler: Beta Marine 16 Fail to ignite

Was the fuel tank replaced or cleaned when the boat was repowered? I would first suspect an algae clump blocking the fuel line or failed or clogged lift pump (the electric low pressure pump that brings fuel to the Injection pump and part of the self bleeding of these engines).

If the tank is original, you would be wise to completely clean it out. It is amazing how much algae can grow and once it has got hold, algaecide will only make things worse.

Checking the compression would be way down on the list for a newer Beta. If not catastrophic (which is almost always preceded by smoke, sounds, smells and loud noises that don't belong), odds are it is not getting fuel.
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Old 25-04-2014, 08:04   #7
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Re: Puzzler: Beta Marine 16 Fail to ignite

If it started fine without glow plugs and ran for three hours without smoking blue smoke badly, I doubt its cylinder compression, gotta be lack of fuel.
A way to check is to loosen the "B" nut to an injector and bleed it when the engine is turning over on the starter, you should get intermittent squirts of fuel, if not then you do have a fuel delivery problem.
Some one else here had a clogged return line that would allow the engine to start and run for 5 sec., doubt that's you problem but it is easy to rule out.
I always start trouble shooting with cheap / easy stuff first.
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Old 25-04-2014, 08:06   #8
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Re: Puzzler: Beta Marine 16 Fail to ignite

I'm the one that kept getting the slugs of tofu / algae in the dip tube, but that was easy to diagnose as a fuel delivery issue, you couldn't even bled it with the wobble pump, no fuel flow.
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Old 25-04-2014, 08:14   #9
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Re: Puzzler: Beta Marine 16 Fail to ignite

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Originally Posted by Reefmagnet View Post
P.s. Someone mentioned not long ago that they had a similar problem that was eventually traced to something sucked from the tank jamming in the fuel line. Might pay to check for this also. I recently found the remains of a 30 year old screwdriver in the bottom of my tank, so you could be surprised at what is floating around in there.
HAHAHAHAaaa awesome
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Old 25-04-2014, 08:29   #10
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Re: Puzzler: Beta Marine 16 Fail to ignite

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I'm the one that kept getting the slugs of tofu / algae in the dip tube, but that was easy to diagnose as a fuel delivery issue, you couldn't even bled it with the wobble pump, no fuel flow.
I had the same issue many years ago, but it would come and go. When we finally cut an inspection hole in the tank, we pulled out over a gallon of algae slime (The Blob). Stuff never showed up in the fishbowl on the Racor, but it made my life miserable until we finally cleaned the tank.

I swear those little things had a brain and knew just the right time to clog up the system and shutdown the engine.
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Old 25-04-2014, 08:47   #11
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Re: Puzzler: Beta Marine 16 Fail to ignite

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I had the same issue many years ago, but it would come and go. When we finally cut an inspection hole in the tank, we pulled out over a gallon of algae slime (The Blob). Stuff never showed up in the fishbowl on the Racor, but it made my life miserable until we finally cleaned the tank.

I swear those little things had a brain and knew just the right time to clog up the system and shutdown the engine.
I hope I got it all, I ran about three tanks full through it and haven't had any in awhile.
My nightmare I would think while going to sleep at night at the beginning of th etrip was that there was a 2" layer of it on the bottom of the tank and little pieces were breaking off, but when we got it real seas, the whole thing would break up leaving me stranded.
My tank had been "polished" by the PO, and I hope these were just the remains left over from that filtering procedure
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Old 25-04-2014, 15:38   #12
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Re: Puzzler: Beta Marine 16 Fail to ignite

It's a fuel or water in the fuel issue. If engine has a secondary fuel filter mounted to the engine remove it and dump contents into glass container. Water will be easy to spot. Do the same with he racor. Remove inlet fuel hose to racor and blow back into tank. No blow no flow. I used a scuba tank to blow the clog out , mouth power did not work but confirmed clog. Bled system per manual. It's a easy to fix fuel problem, no need to tear things apart. IMO
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Old 28-04-2014, 08:06   #13
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Re: Puzzler: Beta Marine 16 Fail to ignite

Thank you all!!

It was likely water in the fuel, I changed the racor, bleed the lines at the injectors, cranked it for 2 min, then put them back on the injectors, runs like a charm. Per the suggestions, I am buying a new secondary and will rebleed of course to do so.

You guys rule.
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Old 28-04-2014, 09:35   #14
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Re: Puzzler: Beta Marine 16 Fail to ignite

You did dump the contents of the secondary filter? Was there water in the contents? Did you find water in the racor?
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Old 28-04-2014, 10:11   #15
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Re: Puzzler: Beta Marine 16 Fail to ignite

If you do not clean out the fuel tank, as a minimum I would put some biocide in the tank. I have used STA-BIL 22283 Diesel Biocide with good results. Use the sterilization dose on the first tank.

I would also use a biocide after a tank clean out to kill all of the slime growth on the walls of the tank etc. and use a maintenance dose thereafter.
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