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Old 01-07-2013, 18:19   #1
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Westerbeke/Universal Diesel Engine Problems...

I can’t get the marine diesel engine (3 cylinder Westerbeke/Universal 25 HP) on my sailboat to keep running. When cold, it starts ok and runs for about 1 – 2 minutes, then sputters and shuts off. It runs a little longer at low RPM than high RPM. After this short run and sputtering off, the engine won’t start again, it just sputters with the assistance of the starter. After the engine has sat a while, 20 minutes or so, the same thing happens again. The starter cranks the engine over just fine. I’ve thoroughly checked the fuel system and it seems to work ok. I have done the following:

Replaced the Raycor prefilter coming out of the fuel tank (the fuel looked clean but I replaced it anyway)
Replaced the fuel lift pump (the “old” one was only about 3 years old, looked like new and seemed to pump just fine)
When the glow plug button is pressed, one can hear the fuel lift pump working, just like on the original.
Replaced the fuel filter between the fuel lift pump and the injector pump
Bled the air (the system is supposed to be self bleeding, but I hot wired the lifter pump and manually bled anyway at the fuel filter between the lift pump and injector pump)
Pulled off lines between injector pump and injectors and observed fuel coming out of injector pump, no air bubbles.
Opened up the injectors and cleaned the jets – they were a little sooty, but not overly so.
I hot wired the lifter pump and heard fuel flowing through the overflow lines at the top of the injectors and dropping back into the fuel tank, as normal.
I have a vacuum gage between the Raycor filter and the fuel lift pump, and the gage shows 0 psi, no problem there.

What is the problem? The engine was very reliable till the onset of this problem from one outing to the next. I can’t think of ANYTHING we did between outings that should cause this. Is there a thermostat or something else somewhere that is shutting down the system? If so, what is it and where is it on this engine? The engine runs for such a short time that it is still cold to the touch. HELP!!!
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Old 01-07-2013, 18:50   #2
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Re: Westerbeke/Universal Diesel Engine Problems...

Have you removed the pickup screen at the fuel tank end of fuel line?

The M25 is NOT self bleeding, only the M25XP. Once you turn the knob to open, you have to end up closing it again. Are you sure you bled the secondary filter properly by removing the nut on the top of the housing until fuel came out.

Here are some links for you:

CRITICAL UPGRADES - DO THESE OR ELSE!!!

Bleeding 101 Bleeding M25 Series Engines 101- A Summary of Links for You

C34 Tech wiki engines: Diesel Engine - C34

Good luck.
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Old 01-07-2013, 19:00   #3
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Re: Westerbeke/Universal Diesel Engine Problems...

Where in the fuel system is the pickup screen located. Is it inside the tank?
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Old 01-07-2013, 19:42   #4
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Re: Westerbeke/Universal Diesel Engine Problems...

Yup. That's where it is.
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:27   #5
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You may want to check your exhaust back pressure. As a teenager, I had similar behavior in a car that turned out to be a blocked exhaust system.

The fuel pump on my Westerbeke moves way more fuel than the generator burns, meaning more fuel is returned to the tank than it burns. I would expect if you have good flow back to the tank then the screen would not be permenantly plugged, but you could have debris in the tank that is sucked up against it while running that starves the engine. Your vacuum gauge should help diagnosis if this is happening.

Later,
NJ
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:14   #6
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Re: Westerbeke/Universal Diesel Engine Problems...

Your help so far is spot on.... It can only be fuel starvation...
Either blockage through restriction...
Or introduction of air...

I could believe the exhaust restriction... But I give that less than a 10% possibility...


Put your Sherlock Holmes hat on!
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Old 08-07-2013, 13:26   #7
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Re: Westerbeke/Universal Diesel Engine Problems...

Fuel supply valve open?
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Old 29-07-2013, 13:50   #8
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Hello all..


I wound up replacing the oil sender and the oil pressure switch- and that did nothing. Had a mechanic come (i was out of ideas) and he was just about to rip apart the engine after about 2 hours of scrounging around.. I had one more idea before he did that. Look at the vacuum gauge. That was the problem. It was leaking air into the fuel supply. So I took it off and stuck a screwdriver into the hose and engine started. Works fine! I guess a lot of maintenance work was done in the process..

Thanks for all the suggestions!!
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:45   #9
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Re: Westerbeke/Universal Diesel Engine Problems...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMdRSailor View Post
Your help so far is spot on.... It can only be fuel starvation...
Either blockage through restriction...
Or introduction of air...

I could believe the exhaust restriction... But I give that less than a 10% possibility...


Put your Sherlock Holmes hat on!
Good job detective!

Thanks for posting the resolution!
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Old 23-09-2015, 02:54   #10
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Re: Westerbeke/Universal Diesel Engine Problems...

Just went through the same exercise with the same symptoms on a Catalina 34 with Universal 25xp. The problem turned out to be the fuel supply valve on top of the pickup tube. Even though the fuel looked clean, there was enough gunk in the pickup tube to block the valve and kill the engine after a few minutes. The gunk would settle after 20 minutes and let the engine start again. We blew out the valve and removed the screen in the pickup tube. The problem is solved for now, but its time to polish the tank.
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Old 06-05-2016, 17:45   #11
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Re: Westerbeke/Universal Diesel Engine Problems...

I know this is an old thread but I have an experience that applies.

My Universal M25 XPB (Self bleeding)decided to stop running and it took me a week to finally get it right. The first suspect was bad fuel filters, changed them, no help. Then I called the engineers at Westerbeak, they said it was a bad Fuel lift pump, a $250 item from Westerbeak. (My engine was installed in July of 2015 so I still have warranty.) Installed the new filter, NO Help. From there it was check the wires, check the hoses, check the fuel, connect the pump direct to 12vdc to eliminate wiring problems. Set up a separate tank and feed fresh fuel direct to the lift pump to eliminate anything to do with my boat. Nothing worked. This was all under the direction of Westerbeak trained people. Finally I said screw it I'm getting an after-market pump. I called Summit Racing Products and got a K&N 15 gph/1psi pump. It fit perfect, no need to drill new mounting holes, everything just fit. Turned the key, hit the starter and VA-Roooooom, away she went. Didn't skip a beat for two hours when I shut it down. Both fuel lift pumps from Westerbeak were bad. If you feel your lift pump is bad, don't go to Westerbeak, the $58.00 pump from K&N will do a better job. (Yes, it is rated for diesel.)
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Old 08-05-2016, 07:35   #12
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Re: Westerbeke/Universal Diesel Engine Problems...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don1500 View Post
I know this is an old thread but I have an experience that applies.

My Universal M25 XPB (Self bleeding)decided to stop running and it took me a week to finally get it right. The first suspect was bad fuel filters, changed them, no help. Then I called the engineers at Westerbeak, they said it was a bad Fuel lift pump, a $250 item from Westerbeak. (My engine was installed in July of 2015 so I still have warranty.) Installed the new filter, NO Help. From there it was check the wires, check the hoses, check the fuel, connect the pump direct to 12vdc to eliminate wiring problems. Set up a separate tank and feed fresh fuel direct to the lift pump to eliminate anything to do with my boat. Nothing worked. This was all under the direction of Westerbeak trained people. Finally I said screw it I'm getting an after-market pump. I called Summit Racing Products and got a K&N 15 gph/1psi pump. It fit perfect, no need to drill new mounting holes, everything just fit. Turned the key, hit the starter and VA-Roooooom, away she went. Didn't skip a beat for two hours when I shut it down. Both fuel lift pumps from Westerbeak were bad. If you feel your lift pump is bad, don't go to Westerbeak, the $58.00 pump from K&N will do a better job. (Yes, it is rated for diesel.)
Great post Don !
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