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Old 09-10-2016, 21:03   #1
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Up the creek without an engine

So here I am with a dead engine. It was running and then died going down river. I found out that there wasn't fuel at the fuel pump. I have a fuel bulb in line. Took the discharge side of the fuel bulb and no fuel. Had to pump for a minute or two to get fuel. Sounds like I have an air leak between the tank and racor.

BTW engine ran fine for 1-1/2 hours during the day. Wind shifted so was moving down river a bit more to a better protect spot.

BTW this is the second time this happened. First time was at a fuel dock and the engine died at the dock. I changed both fuel filters and finally got the engine running after a lot of bleeding.

So where should I look??. Of course it's O dark thirty now, so I'll look at it in the morning. The worst thing is I had just done my nails. totally messed that up too.

Edit: It lives.. Looks like I have an intermittent vacuum leak between the fuel tank and racor filter. I pulled the end of the fuel primer bulb and no fuel. Took a minute or two to get fuel to the primer bulb. So I've a vacuum leak. Primed the engine and bleed the injectors and it's running again.

Added bonus I need to replace my raw water impeller now too. Nails will be redone after all if the excitement tomorrow hunting the allusive fuel vacuum leak.
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Old 09-10-2016, 21:10   #2
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re: Up the creek without an engine

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Added bonus I need to replace my raw water impeller now too.
Educate me...is the raw water impeller a problem you just found or somehow related to the troubleshooting you did?
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Old 09-10-2016, 21:17   #3
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re: Up the creek without an engine

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Educate me...is the raw water impeller a problem you just found or somehow related to the troubleshooting you did?
I probably messed it up running the starter with the seawater valve closed. Better to fry a raw water impeller then hydro lock the engine. Could be a air lock in the water lines too but will look at that in the AM.
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Old 09-10-2016, 21:19   #4
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re: Up the creek without an engine

SC,

You might want make sure you don't have a blocked vent hose. The fuel pump can suck fuel for some time with the vent hose blocked. Then when the fuel line is opened the fuel is sucked back into the tank.

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Old 09-10-2016, 21:30   #5
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re: Up the creek without an engine

One place to check, that is often overlooked, is the pickup tube. A hole in the tube that gets uncovered as the fuel level in the tank drops.
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Old 09-10-2016, 21:33   #6
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re: Up the creek without an engine

Do I even need to say that a leak that this can be a pain to track down? Could be in the hose, usually at one end where it connects to a fitting. Have seen hoses with tiny, invisible cracks that were intermittent. Also check the fittings themselves. Long shot but could even be in the pickup line in the tank.

At least you know where in the system to start looking.
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Old 09-10-2016, 21:58   #7
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re: Up the creek without an engine

Ugh . air leaks. I hate them. I feel for you. I don't have an inboard now, but I sail a lot with my friend with an MD7A and we have done lots of rebuilding, and contortionistic hunting for those damn leaks... and vent tube was problem once too! I think a spider was living in there. But also, I'm sure you may have considered it, but any chance of a gelatinous blob or something in the fuel tank hovering around the exit? Has the tank been emptied or cleaned or anything in the recent past?
Hey maybe some oars or a yuloh is in your future!
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Old 09-10-2016, 22:12   #8
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re: Up the creek without an engine

I suspect I have a vacuum leak where the old hose connects between the tank and the copper fuel line. I've never looked at it and it's 22 years old. I have extra fuel line. I have to remove the tank to pull the dip tube out. and the tank is full, well minus a gallon. But it's only a 20 gallon tank.

I suspect it's a external vacuum leak as the first time it happened the fuel tank was full. I'm going to blow back through the dip tube tomorrow and make sure there's no stuff blocking it. I'll check the racor filter tomorrow too. It's new also, but the first time was before I changed the filter so it's probably not the racor and probably the 22 year old hose and hose clamps.

My fall back is to use the fuel bulb to fill a 5 gallon jug and use that to get the boat back to the dock. That's if I can't find the leak. Joy. Least I know it's not the lift pump.

Joy, more boat yoga tomorrow.
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Old 09-10-2016, 23:27   #9
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re: Up the creek without an engine

Check that the filter gaskets are properly seated and tightened . ( had that issue with a couple of my trucks)
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Old 10-10-2016, 01:02   #10
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re: Up the creek without an engine

Probably the fumes from whatever you used on your nails killed the engine. That stuff makes me hallucinate, goodness knows what it does to diesels.
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Old 10-10-2016, 01:31   #11
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Re: Up the creek without an engine

As a Brit youf growing up with Brit cars and brit boat engines and fings...

It was policy to always change the tubes and hoses. No matter what I bought, I changed them all. I also changed the jubilee clips and if it didnt have jubilee clips to start with it did when I finished.

As long as its tubes and hoses and cleaning of them, life is good.
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Old 10-10-2016, 01:41   #12
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Re: Up the creek without an engine

SC, dunno if it is feasible for you, but closing off the tank valve and using a dinghy pump or such to slightly pressurize the fuel line, starting at the engine end will sometimes show up a tiny leak, and will likely open up an intermittent one. Then the usual bubble check works.

Hope you find it quickly... those things can drive you 'round the twist!

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Old 10-10-2016, 07:16   #13
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Re: Up the creek without an engine

Don't forget to check the primer bulb itself. While very convenient (I have one too), they are notorious sources of vacuum leaks...
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Old 10-10-2016, 09:43   #14
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Re: Up the creek without an engine

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Originally Posted by Viking Sailor View Post
SC,

You might want make sure you don't have a blocked vent hose. The fuel pump can suck fuel for some time with the vent hose blocked. Then when the fuel line is opened the fuel is sucked back into the tank.
That happened to me...engine quit after running a while, no fuel...can't find a problem anywhere. Finally opened the fuel tank filler cap and everything was fine again. Finally tracked down the problem to spiders who built a massive nest in the fuel tank vent line. Stupid spiders. My kids thought it was funny. Tiny spiders stop a big sailboat. Well, big compared to a spider.

I removed the vent tube at the tank end (the hull end being pretty much inaccessible), put it in my mouth, and blew...really hard...and POP out goes the spider junk. Blew a bunch more times and fished about with a long pipe cleaner. Problem solved.
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Old 10-10-2016, 10:05   #15
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Re: Up the creek without an engine

make sure you don't have a loop in the fuel line running above the tank, if you do, this will cause the smallest leak to stop the engine. Had exactly the same problems you had, dropped the bulb below the bottom of the tank, and all was well. Figured this out after reading Nigel Calder's big book
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