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Old 01-01-2009, 04:40   #1
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Restarting PERKINS 4108 engine after being idle for 4 years!

Hello to everyone, I'm new to the forum & the boating world in general!

I need some advice on how to approach testing/running a Perkins 4108 diesel engine that has not run for what I am estimating is around 4 years!

I bought my 38 foot ketch from a lady who had lost her husband a few years ago & I am kind of optomistically hoping the engine was running fine or had a complete overhaul around 4 years ago as her husband was an engineer, so I would have thought he would have sorted the mechanics out before he became too ill to finish the rest of the boat.

I was given the workshop manual for the engine with the boat so have a good technical reference but need a more general (laymans!) guide as to what procedure I should follow before attempting to start up after such along period of time.

It would be really useul to me if anybody out there who could pass their knowledge on to me please, regarding what I might be able to do myself, or what me & mechanic friend of mine could do or what is best left to the marine engine specialist!

Id like to get to know the engine inside out this year. I think it would be valuable to be able to fix it myself where possible.

The prop & shaft, I know were, & still seem be in good condition.
The boat has been out the water all this time but leaks in the deck mean rain has entered the engine compartment.

I'm not expecting this to be a walk in the park but a few pointers would make it easier!

Im also expecting that I'll have to spend money but only where necessary at the moment.

Thanks for any response!

Good Luck to You & Yours for 2009!


Kevin
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Old 01-01-2009, 05:31   #2
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You'll want to check a lot of things first. It is possible after you check it all that it will start. If it's in the water double check:

1. Stuffing box and make sure it isn't leaking. You may want to repack it soon in any case just so you know.

2. Fuel lines should be bled and if possible check the tank for water. Pull an inspection port on the tank if you can and take some samples looking for signs the fuel is bad or loaded with algae. Sitting out on the hard tends to cause the air in the tank to condense out the moisture and as it builds up it leaves a zone on the surface of the fuel where growth can occur. The water settles to the bottom along with the dead stuff that grows. It's one of those problems that you might have to clean up first or it will plug up the fuel filters. If you can see small bits in the fuel settled on the bottom it means it's been a problem. If you don't have much fuel in the tank then just pump it out and dispose of it properly. Cleaning a small amount of fuel is more expensive than it's worth. Draining it all out means you can inspect the tank (the better idea). This is a very common problem where we are since boat slips can get expensive and a boat for sale is robbing valuable space. Hauling it out where weather gets cold means the condensation is more a problem. If you have the problem adding treatment to the fuel is a waste of time. The dead stuff is what makes the problem.

3. You might want to just change the fuel filters first any way after you check the fuel tank. Same goes for oil filters and oil as well. Check transmission fluid level. At some point I would change that out too.

4. Check hoses, clamps, and belts and you may want to change out the impeller on the water pump just because it may be dried out and bound to fail. Getting it to run might be followed by not keeping it running. Make sure the raw water strainer is clear. Open the through hull when you try to start it. You want to keep the cooling system healthy.

5. Battery power is required to turn over the starter motor. A battery sitting around may not be able to crank over the motor.

When you try to start it don't overheat the starter motor. It may take a few attempts but heat builds up in the motor if you crank it too much. Make sure you take the transmission out of gear and add a just a bit of throttle then preheat and go for it. If it sounds a bit rough it should smooth out in a matter of a few seconds as it warms up. Check for water flow out the exhaust and note the color of any smoke.

If you have fuel and spark with compression it might just start. With cooling water it might run for quite a bit. Of course there could be a million things wrong but it probably ran when they hauled it out. Sitting around is perhaps the worse problem. Checking everything is just a good idea and begins you learning all the basics. There may be many thing more to check out. Perhaps some others here might want to add more items. After it runs there may be other issues too. The above is just the normal stuff you should learn to do on your own since checking all this is really a requirement you do often.
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:02   #3
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Great advice above. I would consider pulling the injectors and spraying a bunch of wd 40 into each cylinder prior to starting. Let it sit a day or so. With the injectors out, try to turn the engine over by hand slowly so that the pistons are in a differnt position when you stop. Then repeat the above spraying. Then I would change the oil after that. If the rings are partially siezed to the cylinder walls, this may keep from breaking a ring and provide some initial lube when it starts.
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:07   #4
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PS: it should be easy to pull the impeller pump cover and check that the rubber impeller is not stuck to the pump casing also. just try to move each impeller blade to make sure. A little wd40 wouldnt hurt here to keep from breaking a blade. Better yet, just replace the impeller, it will be inefficient, allowing water bypass, due to being stuck in the existing shape.
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Old 01-01-2009, 13:29   #5
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All the above advice is good but I'd first replace anything that would need replacing after four years in any case. If the engine starts, you're ahead of the game and know how to do it in the future. If it doesn't start you've removed most of the obvious problems.

Replace Fuel filter, Oil Filter, Oil, Impeller, Coolant, Battery, Belts, Fuel

It would be best to simply dispose of the fuel - properly. Today's diesel blend is very different from four years ago due to environmental issues. Mixing the two just creates a mystery (I'm assuming you have less than 100 gallons on board)

Remove and clean all electrical connections with a brass wire brush between the battery and starter

Turn the engine by hand to make sure it isn't frozen.

Now is the time to gather female bystanders who can be mightily impressed if it starts and console you if it doesn't. Make sure they know about the macho mechanic things you've already done.

If you didn't pull the injectors (which would be best but is a little risky if you haven't done it before), then crank the engine for 5 seconds with the stop held out. Wait 30 seconds then crank for another 5 seconds in the same way. This will coat the cylinders with oil before it can start.

If by some miracle it does start, try to look like you expected it. Nod to the adoring female bystanders. Then make sure the oil pressure gauge shows pressure. If not, stop the engine. Next, look for coolant water out the stern. If you don't see it within 20 seconds stop the engine and figure out why.

Carl
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Old 01-01-2009, 13:37   #6
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If you haven't worked around engines like this before, you'll need to learn how to bleed the fuel system. The manual will show you. You'll need to do this after replacing the fuel filter. The tiniest bit of air will keep the system from starting.

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Old 02-01-2009, 14:19   #7
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Aloha Kevin,
You've been given a lot of good advice.
Paul mentioned not overheating the starting motor by using it too long at one shot. If you are in the water when you try to start the engine then make certain that you don't flood the exhaust system before it starts. Prolonged cranking without starting will fill your exhaust and if doesn't start, the seawater can back down into the exhuast side of the cylinder head. If you do a lot of cranking then drain the exhaust system before starting to crank again.
Did someone mention making certain that the fuel is clean?
I have every confidence that it will start and when it does you'll have a grin on your face from ear to ear.
Kind regards,
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Old 05-01-2009, 16:02   #8
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Hi all,
I posted this question in an other thread but got no answer yet, so I'll post it again here, since engines are being discussed.
I'm interested in a Lord Nelson 41 1981 with a BMW 3 cyl. 50 HP model D50-2-F-45-150 diesel engine, with approximately four and a half to five thousand hours.
The owner who obviously wants to sell me his boat tells me that although the engine is original, it has been cared for and serviced regularely, and could possibly accumulate well beyond ten thousand hours without a partial/complete rebuild/refit.
I am subjective and would like to believe him. Is this realistic, or pie in the sky...
Also, the boat (which needs some attention in a few areas) seems to be in good shape generally, has the original black iron fuel tanks. Won't they need to be replaced in the not so distant future?
Thank you in advance for your advice.
J.P.
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Old 05-01-2009, 16:18   #9
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Not too sure about the BMW. I dont think there were many around. Some of those german diesels used for a few years (Mercedes, VW, BMW) are a little hard to find the Marinizing parts for: heat exchanger, manifolds etc. Also one of them at least (was it the BMW?) is annoyingly rough running at lower rpms. My personal experience with BMW cars is they aint no Mercedes longevity wise.... but nice to drive! I could see a Mercedes 240 D going damn near forever if it hasnt sat too much. The fact that the BMW has high hours could be a plus as sitting seems to be worse on an engine than using. On the other hand parts and the unknown of how it will last is iffy. I would definitely discount some value for a boat with that engine as opposed to a Perkins etc.
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Old 05-01-2009, 16:18   #10
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Are the tanks really black iron or welded steel?
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Old 05-01-2009, 16:25   #11
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Thanks Cheechako,
The survey stipulates "black iron".
J.P.
Also, the engine has been running this past summer, and the owner is quite an avid sailor and has used the boat regularely.
But you are right that is if and when, and that's probably going to be sooner than later, that engine will need some major servicing, and if I can't find the parts, then I don't have an engine to speak of.
J.P.
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Old 05-01-2009, 19:52   #12
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johnpair, you should post in a new thread. What you have done is called hi-jacking a thread. You are much more likely if you post in a new thread in the proper forum.
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Old 05-01-2009, 21:13   #13
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DeepFrz,
I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "I am much more likely if I post in an other thread".
Not sure I understand about hi-jacking a thread either.
J.P.
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Old 05-01-2009, 21:21   #14
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Just a casual observer here but changing the subject of a thread from restarting a 4-108 to discussion of a BMW engine is termed "hi jacking".
If you started another thread with entitled "Longevity of a BMW Marine diesel?" you might get more pertinent interest and answers.
Kind regards,
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Old 05-01-2009, 21:33   #15
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There are Federal Anti Thread Hijacking Marshals.

Back to the point......be patient...don't be surprised if the injectors need to get serviced.......if you plan to remove them, spray the down liberally with PB Blaster, Kroil, or Marvin's Magical Mystery Mixture (kidding on the last one)....remember...

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