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Old 08-04-2011, 08:54   #1
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Westerbeke 52: Slow to Fire

Our Westerbeke 52 has not given us any problems during our first year of ownership ... until now.


Starter battery is fully charged but engine slow to turn over.

Once started, engine sputters and stalls. After the 2nd/3rd attempt, it will run normally.

This happened once or twice before, but now is happening every time we fire up the diesel.

Any thoughts????
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:22   #2
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Re: Westerbeke 52 - slow to fire

do you have glow plugs? are they receiving voltage? do they draw the correct amount of current?
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:37   #3
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Re: Westerbeke 52 - slow to fire

Sounds like fuel pressure leak down.
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Old 08-04-2011, 14:16   #4
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Re: Westerbeke 52 - slow to fire

If after some tries the engine starts fine and goes well it may be a drop of pressure in fuel lines. Check if they are 100% airtight.

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Old 08-04-2011, 15:05   #5
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Re: Westerbeke 52 - slow to fire

Some engines need to spin pretty fast to start quickly. If the starter seems to be turning over more slowly than before there could be a battery connection issue or maybe your battery is in need of replacement because it might show 12.4 volts but not kicking out the proper amount of amps to spin the starter fast enough.
Are any of your wires to the starter hot when you turn the engine over?
Yes, the fuel lines can bleed back if they are not absolutely tight enough to prevent air intake.
Now you have a few things to check.
Good luck.
kind regards,
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Old 08-04-2011, 18:59   #6
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Re: Westerbeke 52 - slow to fire

Must have good cranking speed......If engine is slow turning over you will not get the required heat build up to light off the fuel/

If you have glow plugs...they may be shot.

You need to keep the glow plug button depressed as you crank the engine
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Old 08-04-2011, 19:36   #7
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Re: Westerbeke 52 - slow to fire

Confirmed - cranking speed top prerequisite. Some time ago we thought we had an engine issue. Then we found we had a battery issue. Once a new battery in place the engine fired at first turn of the key.

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Old 08-04-2011, 20:18   #8
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Re: Westerbeke 52 - slow to fire

I wonder if you have MY old Westerbeke 52...I heard it went to South Carolina.

If so, it needed a rebuild. The good news is that it only had 1,300 hours on it. The bad news is that it is 24 years old and I could only account for three years of proper maintenance.

The glow plugs need checking, but the likelihood of crappy throughput due to corrosion of welding cable or some other impediment (pun intended) is more likely. It's a simple if pricy fix due to the price of tinned copper, but you can save by crimping on your own lugs, applying dielectric grease and shrinking your own heat shrink. DO NOT get a shop to do this unless you have proof they are using the right stuff.

I read a cautionary tale earlier today: Benners Adrift: Green Stuff - a Cautionary Tale

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Old 08-04-2011, 20:22   #9
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Re: Westerbeke 52 - slow to fire

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Alchemy View Post
I wonder if you have MY old Westerbeke 52...I heard it went to South Carolina.

If so, it needed a rebuild. The good news is that it only had 1,300 hours on it. The bad news is that it is 24 years old and I could only account for three years of proper maintenance. Inside knowledge: If you do rebuild, do not buy from Westerbeke...you might as well get a new engine. The block is a Mazda R2 diesel, as found in Eighties and Nineties Mazda B2200 light pickups and Ford Ranger light pickups...for which there are thousand buck rebuild kits instead of $13K Westerbeke kits. They are still sold in Australia, where the Mazda B2200 are a popular utility vehicle in a snow- and salt-free environment. They get rebuilt ever 300,000 miles and keep going until the sun crumbles them. Then they get turned into gensets!

The glow plugs need checking, definitely, as do their contacts, but the likelihood of crappy amperage throughput due to corrosion of welding cable or some other impediment (pun intended) is more likely.

It's a simple if pricy fix due to the price of tinned copper, but you can save by crimping on your own lugs, applying dielectric grease and shrinking your own heat shrink. DO NOT get a shop to do this unless you have proof they are using the right stuff.

I read a cautionary tale earlier today: Benners Adrift: Green Stuff - a Cautionary Tale

Very applicable here.

Oops, that was meant to be an edit, not a self-quote!
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:38   #10
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Re: Westerbeke 52 - slow to fire

Thank you for the suggestions. I replaced the belts, one had torn, before I began experiencing the slow starting. I checked the tension and it is within the specs (10-12mm deflection with finger pressure) but then also noted air in the Racor inspection bowl this morning above the level of the intake, about 1" of air showing. This filled with the electric lift pump but dropped back down after sitting for +30 min. So I suspect the major cause is an air leak, perhaps the fuel vacuum gauge I have in-line with the fuel line leaving the Racor. I also noted a rusted glow plug and connection on cylinder #2 from the front of the engine. The other glow plugs are clean and appear intact. I am reluctant to damage to rusted plug without a replacement and with the potential to have an open cylinder if it breaks off before I can return to the U.S.
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:45   #11
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Re: Westerbeke 52: Slow to Fire

Just for giggles, pop the injectors, and squirt a shot of 30 weight oil in the cylinders... turn it over a few revs, re-install the injectors and try to fire. I had an issue with a few Westies and glazed cylinder walls... non enough compression to light off when cold. If she starts with the extra oil, look at compression issues:

I pulled the head, honed the cylinders to cross-hatch them a bit, and re-ringed... problem was solved!... I had this on 3 different engines all requiring the same fix!
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:37   #12
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Re: Westerbeke 52: Slow to Fire

After reading up on the Racor, I am suspecting the check valve may be stuck, resulting in fuel bleed back. Now back to the engine....
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