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Old 18-04-2013, 17:37   #1
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Stranded in St Thomas

Hey, there are worse places to be stranded but....

Wanted to pick your guy's brains as nobody here can figure out what's wrong with my engine.

We have a Pearson 365 with a Westerbeke 40. (Basically a Perkins 4-108) My engine has 3k hours on it and purred like a kitten. No smoke, easy starting, smooth running.
We picked up our hook the other day and started out of the harbor. about 5 minutes after starting, running at 1200 rpms, the engine died. Just died, no noise, no smells, no rattles, no high temp indications. Just dropped as if pole axed and would crank but not start.

Found nothing in the filters, but changed them anyways, bled and tried to start. No go.

A shot of ether into the inlet will make the engine kickover, but not start. So compression is good. (I am unable to hold the compression in the cylinders with my thumb with the injectors removed either.

Pulled the valve cover and all the workings looks to be okay and turning nicely with the starter.

Pulled all injectors and pop tested them on the bench here. They all passed with good pop pressures. (~2100psi)

Used a electric inline fuel pump to bleed system. No go.

Sent my injection pump off to Florida to get rebuilt. US postal service LOST it. Arrgh!

Enter Ray & Wanda, fellow Pearson 365 owners, who saved me by giving me the injector pump from their old engine and sent it to the pump re-builder. That pump was overhauled, sent here, installed, bled and no help at all.

Hung a known good injector from a running engine off the side of the block on a injector line from the pump and cranked the engine. No fuel sprayed from the nozzle.

Verified that there was rotation of the spline drive to the pump with the pump removed.

The injection pump repair center sent another pump out. No spray from this one either

Checked that return fuel was flowing and not restricted. By passed the return fuel to the Jerry can.

By passed the lift pump and secondary fuel filter by running a line directly to the injector pump with an electric fuel pump from Jerry can of fresh fuel.

Is there something I am missing? I used the bleed procedure from the Westerbeke service bulletin from my book.

Its been 32 days we've been stranded here. My Mechanic has steam rising from his ears and has no idea where to go from here. If I can't get some resolution by Sunday, I am going to sail engineless to Ft Lauderdale and miss cruising the Bahamas. Not to mention that we are NOT the type of sailors that can sail up to a mooring and view an engine as a stinky excuse. We will be putting ourselves in some danger but have no other ideas on what to do. So any help or ideas you could offer would be awesome.

Cheers!
Wayne
WWW.GalleyWenchTales.com
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Old 18-04-2013, 17:50   #2
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Re: Stranded in St Thomas

Let me try a high-level analysis:

An engine will not run for one of these reasons:
1) Mechanical blockage or resistance
2) Lack of fuel or improperly delivered fuel
3) Lack of ignition or improper ignition

Whichever of these you can eliminate, the remaining, however improbable, will be the truth (apologies to Sir Conan Doyle)

Actually I made up this list from the top of my head - I can't imagine that I missed anything.

My first guess will be that it is (2). That is the dodgiest part of the system and most likely to be hiding dragons. Air/Fuel ratio, atomization, delivery pressure...

Wait - what about timing? That would create the kind of failure you're talking about. Ignition at the wrong time would produce results like you're seeing.
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Old 18-04-2013, 17:52   #3
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Re: Stranded in St Thomas

This may sound silly but sometimes the obvious is overlooked. On a few occasions I have had the return spring on the shut off lever on the pump break on Perkins engines and this has led to the shut off lever not returning to the full run position. It is worth a second check.
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Old 18-04-2013, 17:55   #4
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Re: Stranded in St Thomas

badly clogged fuel line from the tank? Try running the engine from a jerry can.
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Old 18-04-2013, 17:58   #5
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Re: Stranded in St Thomas

Timing is something that we have thought about. What makes it a non starter is that with injector hanging off the side, it should spray. this takes timing out of the picture if it sprays not at all.
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Old 18-04-2013, 18:00   #6
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Re: Stranded in St Thomas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Astrid View Post
badly clogged fuel line from the tank? Try running the engine from a jerry can.
We have tried exactly that. Not only to the engine, but to the injector pump itself.

Thanks for replying!!
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Old 18-04-2013, 18:01   #7
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Re: Stranded in St Thomas

Sounds like the pump is not being driven. If you are sure you have fuel to the pump crack the line to the injector while cranking the engine, you should get a spurt of fuel. If not there could be a drive issue with the pump if you are sure it is properly bleed. Its been a long time since i tore down a 4-108 so I do not remember the drive setup (when I was young I blamed the drugs for my bad memory now I can blame the age!)
But really this is basic the pump is just that a high pressure pump it there is no air and it is turning it should push fuel. It sounds like you have a pretty good understanding of things I would try to verify pump rotation form what you say. And it really does suck to be stuck where you are lol. I always say cruising is boat repair in exotic locations!
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Old 18-04-2013, 18:02   #8
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Re: Stranded in St Thomas

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCboatrx View Post
This may sound silly but sometimes the obvious is overlooked. On a few occasions I have had the return spring on the shut off lever on the pump break on Perkins engines and this has led to the shut off lever not returning to the full run position. It is worth a second check.
This is why we are asking the forum. Its gotta be something stupid.... but what? We did check the position of the shut off.

Thanks for replying!!

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Old 18-04-2013, 18:03   #9
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Re: Stranded in St Thomas

What does it have for a fuel shut-off? Solenoid? Mechanical?

If you crack the injector lines while cranking, will you get any fuel at all?
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Old 18-04-2013, 18:09   #10
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Re: Stranded in St Thomas

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailvayu View Post
Sounds like the pump is not being driven. If you are sure you have fuel to the pump crack the line to the injector while cranking the engine, you should get a spurt of fuel. If not there could be a drive issue with the pump if you are sure it is properly bleed. Its been a long time since i tore down a 4-108 so I do not remember the drive setup (when I was young I blamed the drugs for my bad memory now I can blame the age!)
But really this is basic the pump is just that a high pressure pump it there is no air and it is turning it should push fuel. It sounds like you have a pretty good understanding of things I would try to verify pump rotation form what you say. And it really does suck to be stuck where you are lol. I always say cruising is boat repair in exotic locations!
I verified that the shaft is rotating visually with the pump removed. I also verified that the injection pump draws fuel from its intake when cranked by watching it draw with the line removed.

It wouldn't be so bad being stuck in a exotic location.... but the Charlotte Amalie cruise ship dock area just aint that exotic!

Thanx for helping!
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Old 18-04-2013, 18:10   #11
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Re: Stranded in St Thomas

Bench the pump and drive the shaft mechanically? Check the pump pressure.

Check that the valves on the heads are free... did you do that? Also that the exhaust is free. Maybe backpressure is stopping the pump from delivering fuel. I had a similar problem on a car once. The inner liner on an exhaust pipe had collapsed, blocking the exhaust. The engine was fine, but would barely run and only at low RPM.
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Old 18-04-2013, 18:11   #12
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Re: Stranded in St Thomas

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Originally Posted by dannobee View Post
What does it have for a fuel shut-off? Solenoid? Mechanical?

If you crack the injector lines while cranking, will you get any fuel at all?
The fuel shut off is mechanical. I can verify that it is on its "run" stop.

I get a good spurt at the injector when bleeding.... but is it 20000psi? I wish I had a way to check output psi!
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Old 18-04-2013, 18:19   #13
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Re: Stranded in St Thomas

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtM View Post
Bench the pump and drive the shaft mechanically? Check the pump pressure.

Check that the valves on the heads are free... did you do that? Also that the exhaust is free. Maybe backpressure is stopping the pump from delivering fuel. I had a similar problem on a car once. The inner liner on an exhaust pipe had collapsed, blocking the exhaust. The engine was fine, but would barely run and only at low RPM.
Thanks Art!
We did check the valves with the valve cover off to check that everything was moving as should.
The exhaust is running free and water is being delivered to the exhaust and streaming from the exhaust through hull. This boat does not "water stack". Thank god, after all this cranking, it does not fill the cylinders.

Let me reiterate that no fuel is being injected to the cylinders.
I think that Art may be right in that we need to pull the injector pump, mount it in a vise with injectors hanging off the lines and try to run it with a drill motor or something.
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Old 18-04-2013, 18:20   #14
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Re: Stranded in St Thomas

First, it sounds like your troubleshooting has been excellent.

I suspect you had an ip failure, and the rebuilt ip is also bad.

If I had a time machine I might suggest you had mounted the ip before having it rebuilt, but if you can verify it is turning, you have something like enough compression... Your injectors have been checked (I assume not rebuilt since the original problem).

Either you are overlooking some aspect of the bleeding process, or you have a bad ip....

Of course a compression test might be run, but it was not the original problem... A motor does not stop dead with compression loss on all cyl....

I am sure you have blead it several times, so sourcing a known good ip is what I would want to try next... Terrible as it might be.

Good luck, maybe "Never Monday" will be able to help.
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Old 18-04-2013, 18:20   #15
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Re: Stranded in St Thomas

Dude, calm down. If the engine is turning you are good to go. Trace the fuel system back to where you don't have any fuel anymore. The chance of a fuel injection pump drive failing are slim.
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