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Old 01-08-2015, 10:13   #1
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Smoky, rough, cold starts on Beta 60

Our Beta 60 has about 1300 hours, and since March (1000 hours), has had rough, smoky (blue smoke) cold starts. In March, we had the valves adjusted, and the problem started right after that.

When warm, it fires right up and runs well. We've replaced all fuel filters and all four injectors, no improvement. We run the glow plugs for 10-15 seconds before starting, makes no difference. After about 20 seconds, the engine starts to smooth out, but will occasionally "miss", or stutter, and burp out a puff of blue smoke. After 60 seconds, all is well, and the engine runs just fine thereafter.

Last fall, we went south for the winter, accumulating about 600 hours over 8 months. We may have gotten a bad load of fuel, but running back up the ICW, we refueled many times, and still have the same cold start problem.

Does anyone have a thought? Could it be that we had a bad valve adjustment?
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Old 01-08-2015, 10:27   #2
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Re: Smoky, rough, cold starts on Beta 60

" the problem started right after that". so did you recheck the valve clearances ? Call Stanley at Beta Marine USA and make sure you are using the right clearances , also ask him his opinion on what the problem might be. I checked the valve clearances on my Beta 37.7 after a 1000 hours and found them still dead on factory spec with no adjustment necessary .
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Old 01-08-2015, 10:32   #3
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Re: Smoky, rough, cold starts on Beta 60

Talk to the guys at Beta in North Carolina. Could be the valve adjustment, but i would also try 30 seconds of glow plugs. How often have you changed the oil?
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Old 01-08-2015, 12:11   #4
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Re: Smoky, rough, cold starts on Beta 60

I change the oil about every 250 hours. I do now think the valves were adjusted wrong, next thing I will do.

Thanks!!
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Old 01-08-2015, 12:22   #5
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Re: Smoky, rough, cold starts on Beta 60

250 hours? Is that what Beta recommends? May not have anything to do with your problem but it does seem an awfully long time between oil changes.

Perkins recommends 150 on my 4-108. I do it every 100.
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Old 01-08-2015, 12:30   #6
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Re: Smoky, rough, cold starts on Beta 60

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Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
250 hours? Is that what Beta recommends? May not have anything to do with your problem but it does seem an awfully long time between oil changes.

Perkins recommends 150 on my 4-108. I do it every 100.

250 is what Kubota recommends. I do the same on my engine.


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Old 02-08-2015, 10:19   #7
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Re: Smoky, rough, cold starts on Beta 60

BLUE smoke usually indicates lubrication oil burning. So if somebody has mis-adjusted your valves, that lube oil might be entering the combustion chambers through the valve guides. If that's the case, the engine will have "the blues" while warming up. When the temperature rises sufficiently to burn the lube oil completely and the engine is running fast enuff that the lube oil ingested per stroke diminishes "the blues" will go away.

Lube oil trickling down the valve guides may, since it has different combustion characteristics from fuel oil, be the reason that you have to lean on the plugs longer than normal.

And we are talking "systems" here. If you have to lean on the plugs, expect their life to be shortened. Expect, even, that one or two will go out on you, and given that your beast is already hard starting, she may even present you with a genuine "no start" condition. You don't want that to happen in an awkward place :-)

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Old 02-08-2015, 13:57   #8
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Re: Smoky, rough, cold starts on Beta 60

Valve clearance obviously first thing to check however also look for finger trouble as in the possibility of other accidental damage amongst the valve gear. The stem seals should Iin theory prevent oil running down the stems and in to the combustion chamber. A check by an expert to check alignment of all overhead valve gear, seals, oil feeds etc so NOTHING is overlooked. If the clearances have been wrongly adjusted the same non expert fingers could have accidentally stuffed a stem seal or such like. Once valve clearance has been set right do a compression test. Also with fuel filtration a hydrophobic filter is recommended. Many are not and allow water through. A swirl chamber fine filter is IMO an absolute necessity. 10 micron then 2 micron on secondary may suffice however with bad fuel a pre pumped large 2 micron can be used to polish the fuel. This suggestion is a small look into filtration however talking with a real expert about good filtration is IMO an extremely important part of the engine set up. Looking for more than one specific issue may lead to finding unexpected 'induced' issues. Good luck. Regards, John
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Old 02-08-2015, 20:58   #9
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Re: Smoky, rough, cold starts on Beta 60

Sounds to me like one or more of your glow plugs might be shot.
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Old 02-08-2015, 21:34   #10
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Re: Smoky, rough, cold starts on Beta 60

Smoking on startup after it has been sitting is most likely worn valve stem seals, worn valve guides, or a bad glow plug.

Since you describe the smoke as bluish and not black and sooty, and worn guides often have a clattery sound on startup which you have not mentioned, I would suspect it is probably just the valve stem seals. You can also easily test the glow plugs for operation.Stem seals should be able to be repaired in place, often you need a special valve spring compressor and a source of compressed air to hold the valve closed but in general should not be that big of a job. If you have limited space that may be a different story however.

The intake valves are worse offenders than exhaust valves and often just doing the intakes cures the issue of the smoking but leaking seals on the exhausts can cause trouble down the road when the oil leaks down and starts forming carbon behind the valve head. Over time this can form a noticeable obstruction to exhaust gasses. So even though it may not be absolutely necessary to replace them to cure the smoking on startup I'd recommend it anyway.

Good Luck!

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Old 02-08-2015, 23:23   #11
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Re: Smoky, rough, cold starts on Beta 60

Diesels will also sputter, miss and blow blue if starting with bad glow plugs. They are cranky when cold!
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Old 03-08-2015, 00:19   #12
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Re: Smoky, rough, cold starts on Beta 60

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Diesels will also sputter, miss and blow blue if starting with bad glow plugs. They are cranky when cold!
I'd like to add that this is a "young" engine, not all that many hours, of good repute, and I wouldn't expect to have to change the valve stem seals at this point in its lifetime. So, I second the motion to get in touch with Beta. Then decide how you want to handle the situation.

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Old 03-08-2015, 09:24   #13
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Re: Smoky, rough, cold starts on Beta 60

I put 1300 hours on a new Beta 50, and never once used the glow plugs to start it when it was cold. OTOH, I used a 3 cylinder Kubota based engine which would not start cold unless it got at least 30 seconds of glow plug. YMMMV.
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Old 04-08-2015, 19:14   #14
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Re: Smoky, rough, cold starts on Beta 60

Thanks, all. Until the valve adjustment, I never used the glow plugs, even when cold (like last fall, on the ICW in November), it fired right up. So, I think valve adjustment is the next step.

Stanley thought to add another couple of inches to the exhaust elbow, which we also might do.

My question with that, is why now? Why not right out of the box?
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Old 23-08-2015, 15:35   #15
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Re: Smoky, rough, cold starts on Beta 60

Thanks all, and the search goes on. We replaced all four injectors, all fuel filters, and had the valves re-adjusted...no difference. If anything, problem slowly getting worse.

For the first three years, I never used the glow plugs unless cold morning, and it always fired right up.

I think I'm going to replace the glow plugs.

Also, does the injector pump need "adjustment" periodically?

Thanks again!!
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