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Old 06-10-2014, 16:29   #1
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Question for diesel gurus

Hi,
This afternoon we were beating up Long Island Sound towards Oyster Bay. We were heeled over quite a bit (to the rail), and had our Westerbeke 4107 running at 1500 rpm to give us some additional power through some steep chop. All of a sudden the engine made a loud clattering sound (rhythmic clanging), accompanied by some smoke from the exhaust. I shut it down immediately and did not have a chance look at the gauges, although they were normal just minutes before.
Could this have been a result of the oil pump sucking air due to the heel? Would that be accompanied by the smoke/smell of something burning?

I checked all fluids, and they were normal. I started the engine on the mooring just now and it sounded pretty normal, transmission shifted normally, and raw water out of exhaust seemed normal. Thoughts?

Thanks.
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Old 06-10-2014, 16:42   #2
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Re: Question for diesel gurus

I think your lubricating oil intake was fine.

In general, when you lose oil pressure for whatever reason the motor will start clattering like a very old and huge sewing machine.

If I had to take a wild stab at yours, it sounds to me like a diesel engine that sucks up a drop of water into the system so with nothing else to go on that is what I'd guess. If it sounds normal to you now, odds are that you can think no more of it.

However, if you can peek into your tank with a flashlight to visually check for debris or water at some opportune moment it might be beneficial to do. Probably the easiest way is to unscrew the fuel gauge sending unit and peer in to the hole. Also inspect your water separator if you have one.

Good luck!
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Old 06-10-2014, 17:04   #3
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Re: Question for diesel gurus

Thanks for your idea. My primary fuel filter looks fine - no water, so I am not sure how water would have made it into the engine.
If it was a temporary loss of oil pressure, would there also have been some smoke?
I appreciate your thoughts.
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Old 06-10-2014, 17:16   #4
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Re: Question for diesel gurus

I have had that issue when the engine has sucked a bit of air in the fuel, clutters and jumps all over the place, turns out I was almost out of fuel and on a heel, which brought the suction line out of fuel...
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Old 06-10-2014, 17:21   #5
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Re: Question for diesel gurus

Usually not. I say "usually" since there are exceptions to every rule but in general no.

Again, "usually" when you lose oil pressure there is a lot of clattering. First from the valve train and then from the connecting rod bearings but it takes a little while to do, notice how most engines do not rattle when tey first start up and that is with no oil pressure and the oil itself has already been seeping out for however long the engine has been off.
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Old 06-10-2014, 17:22   #6
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Re: Question for diesel gurus

Also, was the smoke out of the exhaust just thick black smoke or some other color or composition?
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Old 06-10-2014, 17:26   #7
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Re: Question for diesel gurus

Did you have a following sea that perhaps sent some seawater up the exhaust, into the engine? Not unheard of, and not good. Even with a loop, it is possible.
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Old 06-10-2014, 17:34   #8
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Re: Question for diesel gurus

I like your original idea.. lack of oil pressure. Seems if it's a fuel issue the engine speeds up before it stops... most often.
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Old 06-10-2014, 17:35   #9
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Re: Question for diesel gurus

No following sea.

The smoke was blue(ish) I think. But it was not much and I shut it down very quickly. There briefly remained a burnt smell (in the cockpit) but not down in the engine room.

I will add that I have noticed some steam when running the engine the past couple days, but it has been cold outside...so I figured it was atmospheric. Engine temps have been normal.
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Old 06-10-2014, 17:39   #10
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Re: Question for diesel gurus

So was the burnt smell coming from the exhaust? Can you describe it- sweet, acrid, smelled like raw diesel, etc?
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Old 06-10-2014, 17:40   #11
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Re: Question for diesel gurus

In my YSM8 Yanmar workshop manual it says the motor will work up to 30o heel. Check your Westerbeke book if you have one. I would suspect an oil issue if the smoke was blue/white. Guess you would be pushing the limits burying the rail but a lot depends on sump design
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Old 06-10-2014, 17:42   #12
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Re: Question for diesel gurus

Smell seemed like burnt rubber...I guess. Hard to say, it was quick and I was multi-tasking...
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Old 06-10-2014, 18:05   #13
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Re: Question for diesel gurus

I concur with compass. Oil sumps are supposed to be on the bottom of your engine not on their sides. Probably kicking oil up into the cylinders a bit during extreme heeling causing the smoke from the exhuast and the oil pick up was getting a bit of air and not lubricating the engine properly causing the clacking sounds. Once you righted the boat all is well and levels seem normal and she runs like she always did.
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Old 06-10-2014, 18:11   #14
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Re: Question for diesel gurus

My wild stab would be loss of oil pressure due to heel. Engines can be run on a heel but they do have limits. I cant remember where to find it but there are specs per engine for maximum sustained heel and maximum momentary heel while running. My suggestion would be not to motor sail when heeling significantly.
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Old 06-10-2014, 18:44   #15
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Re: Question for diesel gurus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Momosailor View Post
Smell seemed like burnt rubber...I guess. Hard to say, it was quick and I was multi-tasking...
You might want to check your raw water impeller.
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