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Old 13-02-2014, 10:36   #1
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Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

Hi all,
I'm looking for a little advice or your thoughts on my situation. Me and the wife are looking at a new(to us) boat. It's a 10hr drive away. The boat has sat for 10-11yrs stored indoors in the winter and summer but moved around outside for launching season. It sounds like the former owner got ill and passed and the boat was left to the yard. It has been at some point in its past re-powered with a diesel. The yard says it was properly winterized when put away, but is can't stand behind whether or not the motor will run currently. The yard isn't sure what model of engine is in the boat only that it's a universal diesel.

I'm going to take a look at it in the next month, and wondering if anyone has some good tips or things to do for starting. I'm thinking of bringing a fresh jerry can of diesel with and checking the motor to see if it turns over by hand / wrench first. Possibly pulling the injectors to dump some Marvel or similar down the cylinders ect. Then priming the fuel system. Then if it has it, using the compression dump levers to spin up motor for oil pressure check. Then seeing if it fires. Am I being too cautious for a boat I'm just considering? Or am I missing a step somewhere. I wasn't going to bother with filters just to see if it ran. Also not going to worry about the impeller as it would need replacing if I end up making an offer.

It sounds like the yard just wants the boat gone. They were not willing to go aboard and give more specs or a complete gear list, which I understand. It's a somewhat low dollar boat, and it's crammed in the back of the shed currently. Thoughts comments concerns? Sorry about the lack of engine info just working with what I have.
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Old 13-02-2014, 11:11   #2
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

Your plan sounds good, if there is a compression release. If it turns readily and you really intend to try to start it, I would just give it a go. It will likely take you a while to sort all that out... air in fuel... how to crank it, water available? If the engine looks newish/good and turns over readily, you could just assume it's OK if the boat is really cheap I suppose. Good luck!
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Old 13-02-2014, 11:25   #3
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

The major concern would be the condition of any rubber/neoprene/nitrile seals after sitting that long. Pan gasket and rocker cover gasket might have gone hard due to age.
Hopefully it sat with clean engine oil as dirty oil can result in acid conversion which can eat the bottom of the oil pan from the inside out.

Fire it up and look for oil leaks after it comes up to operating temp. Change the raw water impeller as you can be sure the original has gone brittle or taken a set.
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Old 13-02-2014, 11:32   #4
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

One further comment: Spin the engine over with the fuel cutoff closed as the engine parts will be devoid of an oil film and turning it over with the fuel supply stopped will pump oil through the galleries and bearings prior to starting.
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Old 13-02-2014, 11:46   #5
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

Thanks for the quick replies. Yea I was thinking of using the compression dumps to avoid firing it up with I cranked it up to get oil pressure. That way I'd be getting some diesel to the cylinders/ piston tops for lubrication. I'm assuming that the proper winterization done by the yard would've entailed an oil and filter change, and hopefully fogging cylinders... but who knows! I was going to just bring a bucket to fill with water as I doubt there will be running water in the storage shed at this time of year. I'm not going to worry about the impeller as I don't plan a real long test run and if I decide to put an offer in on the boat, all those rubber parts as you say, will be replaced before launch. Thanks again for the replies and here's to hoping the 4 plus year old photos and the lack of info doesn't mean its a total junker...
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Old 13-02-2014, 12:04   #6
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

You have a pretty good chance of shearing off impeller blades if you don't replace first. How about taking the cover off and squirting some Dawn inside for lube. Otherwise, don't run it long.

Also and most important, make sure that the injector rack is free. A stuck rack can lead to a runaway engine.

The rest of your plan sounds good.

David
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Old 13-02-2014, 12:14   #7
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by perchance View Post
One further comment: Spin the engine over with the fuel cutoff closed as the engine parts will be devoid of an oil film and turning it over with the fuel supply stopped will pump oil through the galleries and bearings prior to starting.
Best idea for a Universal posted yet, and pretty much the only one. You ONLY need the compression release if the batteries are way down and it won't start anyway.

I'd add: have the yard start it up, NOT YOU, so if something wrong happens you're not on the hook.

Many of the responses don't apply to Universals.

Let us know what specific engine if you can find out. I have links to a tremendous amount of Universal M25 to M35 series engine material. Many other Universals are similar that it would be applicable.

Good luck.
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Old 13-02-2014, 12:19   #8
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

Can you hire a mechanic for a survey here? This would be a case for it.
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Old 13-02-2014, 12:21   #9
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

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here's to hoping the 4 plus year old photos and the lack of info doesn't mean its a total junker...
Well, by the yard's reaction it sure appears that in their mind it's a junker. They refuse to spend another dollar on it.

I would ask about one other matter and that is title to the boat. Is the yard the legal and titled owner?
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Old 13-02-2014, 12:33   #10
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

Take a freshly topped off 12v battery with you. Take some diesel engine oil with you. If the injector pump has a motor oil fill then make certain it's topped off. You don't know if there are compression releases so don't count on it. Don't dump the new and very clean fuel in with the old in the tank but tap into the fuel line and run the fuel directly from your can by siphon. The fuel filters will be full of old fuel so you can tap into the line between them and the filter on the engine. Be certain you know how to bleed the engine. A 5gal. bucket of water will not last long enough to bring the engine to temperature but you'll be able to start and run the engine long enough to know if it'll be a running engine.
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Old 13-02-2014, 12:48   #11
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

Thanks for the injector rack thought, that would mean looking at where the fuel and fuel cut off connect to the engine and making sure those parts move freely. I'm an experienced mechanic of 7 years (no diesels though) and have rebuilt 3 boats now with plenty of glass work too boot. That and the lowish cost of the boat make a survey kind of questionable. This is just the visit to see if it's something I even want. Then depending on how it looks to me and the negotiated price we shall see about the survey. I plan on having a handy piece of plywood to hold over intake for a second means of stopping the engine. Am I getting to worried about piston to cylinder top end lubrication with wanting to put some oil or the likes down the injector holes? Or will the diesel from the injectors give it enough to get by for the few strokes until the crankcase oil gets to the cylinder walls? I guess I'll see how it feels by hand and go from there...

The yard seems to cater to more of the six figure yacht sales than the 4 figure kind... I can't blame them too much for not wanting to do a ton of legwork on a 50 year old boat. Most of the brokers I know don't work to hard for those sales. The ad states as is, the yard is the titled and legal owner of the boat. I'm expecting a significant discount for the leg work and long layup ect, and have already mentioned my price is going to be significantly less than the "asking" price, to which the broker said, "we are willing to take or listen to all offers at this point...". I wanted to make sure my long drive wasn't for going to a boat that was overpriced and non negotiable. The boat being stored indoors most of the time looks in good general condition as of the pictures.

Thanks for the offer on all the universal info it's much appreciated. I'll post it as soon as I know more. It sounds like it was repowered in the 90's with I'm thinking a 3 cyl model but who knows.
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Old 13-02-2014, 12:49   #12
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

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Originally Posted by BandB View Post
Well, by the yard's reaction it sure appears that in their mind it's a junker. They refuse to spend another dollar on it.

I would ask about one other matter and that is title to the boat. Is the yard the legal and titled owner?
Yes, that is a concern. who really owns the boat? Has a court order been issued allowing the yard ownership?
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Old 13-02-2014, 13:01   #13
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

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Take a freshly topped off 12v battery with you. Take some diesel engine oil with you. If the injector pump has a motor oil fill then make certain it's topped off. You don't know if there are compression releases so don't count on it. Don't dump the new and very clean fuel in with the old in the tank but tap into the fuel line and run the fuel directly from your can by siphon. The fuel filters will be full of old fuel so you can tap into the line between them and the filter on the engine. Be certain you know how to bleed the engine. A 5gal. bucket of water will not last long enough to bring the engine to temperature but you'll be able to start and run the engine long enough to know if it'll be a running engine.

Yes a battery is on the list for not only engine but electrical system checks. Thanks for the thought on oil and the injector oil fill I'll be sure and take a look. Yea I was planning on tapping into the fuel line, as I'm sure the tanks have some serious funk in them by now. I've bled a few diesels in my time and have good line wrenchs so hopefully should be able to follow the lines and bleed screws/ line fittings and bleed in consecutive order using lift pump. Should I spray any fogging oil or the likes down intake while spinning up, or would that be pointless? Yea I know 5 gal wont be much but its all I've got to work with for now. I'll see how accessible the water pump is and try the dawn trick. Should I maybe just hook up the battery spin it up and see if it runs off the old fuel first?

I've talked with the yard about running the engine, they said it was fine just don't do it too long indoors. I'll clarify about potential damages but I think we are good. The mechanic at the yard seems to think it will run. That's the other thing if it does I loose a bargaining chip... haha.
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Old 13-02-2014, 13:03   #14
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

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Yes, that is a concern. who really owns the boat? Has a court order been issued allowing the yard ownership?
Yes yard is legal owner has title in hand, it sounds like the owners family signed over the title a year or two after his death.
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Old 13-02-2014, 13:06   #15
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Re: Starting a diesel that's been idle 10yr on prospective boat?

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Originally Posted by perchance View Post
The major concern would be the condition of any rubber/neoprene/nitrile seals after sitting that long. Pan gasket and rocker cover gasket might have gone hard due to age.
Hopefully it sat with clean engine oil as dirty oil can result in acid conversion which can eat the bottom of the oil pan from the inside out.

Fire it up and look for oil leaks after it comes up to operating temp. Change the raw water impeller as you can be sure the original has gone brittle or taken a set.

I'll be sure and use this in negotiations, although going through engines and putting in new seals while standing on my head in the bilge one handed is my specialty!
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