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Old 05-02-2022, 07:19   #1
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Dead in the water

Over the past week Ive been motoring my CAL 39 down the ICW from Cape Canaveral to Miami. On Monday we arrived at Lake Worth and spent the night anchored. Next morning we docked for water and a pump out. We then proceeded to exit LW inlet. Half a mile out (once we encountered some turbulent water) the engine raced then died. Wouldnt restart so called Tow Boat for tow back to anchorage. Without going into all details here is a summary of findings and actions:
1. Fuel stirred up once I left ICW, new primary filter (Racor) clogged
2. Air filter clogged.
3. Added AJX TCS AND TMS (fuel cleaner and maintainer) to tank as highly recommended.
4.changed Primary and secondary filters.
5. Cleaned air filter
6. Filled both filters till overflowing then capped to eliminate bubbles.
7. Bled secondary filter using hand primer
8. Attempted to bleed fuel lines to injector pumps
With all the above engine turns over but will not fire at all
To make thing worse all batteries, both starter and house are dead. This boat has been sitting at a dock plugged in to shore power for years hence bad fuel. Im learning her systems and have obviously done poor job of battery management. Btw, bought all new batteries 3 months ago.
NEXT
I finally found a mechanic that will come out to boat on Monday morning. I will then need to call Tow Boat for a jump start when he is ready.
Im off the boat for a couple of days and will return with a 12v Lithium battery pack to see if I could get my solar going with everything turned off .
BOTTOM LINE
How would you go about breathing life into this boat given the above? ( Engine not firing and all batteries dead)

Your advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 05-02-2022, 07:31   #2
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Re: Dead in the water

Could you give us a broader description of "engine raced then died". Was it a gradual increase or very sudden rpm spike? When it stopped, did it just seem to stop firing or seem to want to keep going.



Sometimes these symptoms can help diagnose a problem.



Probably the worst could be water in fuel, it could ruin injectors and more.
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Old 05-02-2022, 07:43   #3
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Re: Dead in the water

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Originally Posted by glenn.225 View Post
Could you give us a broader description of "engine raced then died". Was it a gradual increase or very sudden rpm spike? When it stopped, did it just seem to stop firing or seem to want to keep going.



Sometimes these symptoms can help diagnose a problem.



Probably the worst could be water in fuel, it could ruin injectors and more.
Hello Glen,
Shortly after entering some waves the engine suddenly increased rpm and I responded by throttling back to idle. The engine did not die at that time. I then advanced throttle gradually and once again it increased rpm all on its own beyond my throttle setting. This process repeated again for a total of three rpm increases before engine shut down. I noticed that the boat did not seem to make way when it revved up which was very strange.
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Old 05-02-2022, 07:46   #4
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Re: Dead in the water

You don't need a tow. You need to borrow a Honda generator or equivalent.

The mechanic should solve your fuel problems, but he will need an outside power source to get the engine started.
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Old 05-02-2022, 07:50   #5
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Re: Dead in the water

That sounds odd for a diesel, is it a diesel? make and model?
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Old 05-02-2022, 07:53   #6
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Re: Dead in the water

Sounds like an old Detroit, with governor spring issues. LOL
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Old 05-02-2022, 07:53   #7
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Re: Dead in the water

Or, get that battery charged by whatever means you have available, don't attempt to start the engine (thereby killing the battery), and start it after the mechanic has found and solved your fuel problem.
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Old 05-02-2022, 08:03   #8
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Re: Dead in the water

Agree with charge your batteries. If you're going to cruise you need some way to charge the batteries off the grid. Solar works but can be slow.

Buy a Honda generator. It can come in handy again.
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Old 05-02-2022, 08:16   #9
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Re: Dead in the water

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Originally Posted by glenn.225 View Post
That sounds odd for a diesel, is it a diesel? make and model?
Glenn,

The engine is a 1980 Perkins 4-108 with about 1150 hours. It actually runs VERY smoothly and normally without a trace of a hiccup.
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Old 05-02-2022, 08:21   #10
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Re: Dead in the water

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Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
You don't need a tow. You need to borrow a Honda generator or equivalent.

The mechanic should solve your fuel problems, but he will need an outside power source to get the engine started.
I think the generator idea is great, however, how do I get one of those out to my boat in the middle of Lake Worth? There are no water taxis or sources with boats big enough that I know in that area so it still leaves me dead in the water.
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Old 05-02-2022, 08:31   #11
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Re: Dead in the water

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Agree with charge your batteries. If you're going to cruise you need some way to charge the batteries off the grid. Solar works but can be slow.

Buy a Honda generator. It can come in handy again.
Skipmac,

The boat has a solar panel that puts out about 360 AH, however Im told by the manufacturer that when I bought my new batteries I should have reconfigured the Solar charge controller settings. As my batteries dipped below 9 bolts the solar cc then went dead. The boat also has a wind generator but this was found to be inop a few weeks ago and needs to be rebuilt ( all things that I have planned when I get home to Mia.) I actually have an inverter but the weight by itself would sink my dinghy. Know anyone in Palm Beach with a generator and boat that would be willing to deliver it for a fee?

Yes, can you hear the desperation?
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Old 05-02-2022, 08:33   #12
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Re: Dead in the water

engine racing before dying is a sign of fuel starvation (air in the fuel or possibly a clogged filters or both). As the engine stumbles due to lack of fuel the governor cranks up the fuel rack to try to maintain RPM. if the pump can get another slug of fuel it'll pump it through the injectors at the higher rate causing RPM to momentarily increase until the governor backs off or fuel can't be pumped again.

Clogged filters can contribute to air leaks into the fuel line between the filter and the pump (the pump is "sucking" harder on the fuel line fittings and seals).

Sounds like your fuel pump(s) have air in them and need to be bled.

Get a jump box, pick up another charged battery, remove your battery(ies) and get it/them charged somewhere, add solar (along with patience) or as other have said, pick up a portable generator and charge batteries through your shore power charger.

Assuming you have a lift pump, crack the fuel inlet to the injection pump, or the bleeder screw on the injection pump, crank the engine (or manually pump the engine mounted lift pump if it's got that provision) until fuel and no more air comes out the line or bleeder. If you don't get any fuel there check to see if you closed but didn't open a valve somwhere when you changed filters . If you continue to get air bubbles, start tracking down where air is getting into the line. Often it's just air trapped in the head space in the filter housings that takes awhile to pump through. Once you have clear fuel flow, tighten the line/bleeder then crack the nuts on all the high pressure lines at the injectors a quarter turn and crank the engine until fuel and no air bubbles come out there. Tighten injector line and it should fire up.

Consider adding an electric fuel pump (with a manual switch) and a T with a valve (or plug) on it in the line after the filters (you can plumb this "drain" into the return line so it goes back to the tank, or just run it into a bucket so you can watch for air bubbles). This lets you clear the lines/filters of air after changing filters more easily, or run the pump to "polish" the fuel through the filter and back to tank.
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Old 05-02-2022, 08:35   #13
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Re: Dead in the water

Similar to a thought that I had that it might be a throttle position sensor? However, the fact that it died as I hit turbulence just seem to indicate stirred up bad fuel. Maybe the waves coincidentally caused two problems simultaneously.
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Old 05-02-2022, 08:58   #14
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Re: Dead in the water

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Originally Posted by Cap Morgan View Post
I think the generator idea is great, however, how do I get one of those out to my boat in the middle of Lake Worth? There are no water taxis or sources with boats big enough that I know in that area so it still leaves me dead in the water.
Honda EU2200 only weighs about 40 lbs and isn't much bigger than a bag of groceries. Don't you have a dinghy?
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Old 05-02-2022, 09:01   #15
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Re: Dead in the water

The waves caused you to stir up the crud in the tank. Definitely. And it WILL happen again.

So what you need to do to move this boat (aside from properly having the diesel polished and cleaning the tank) is to buy a ton of the primary filter elements. Like 10? 12? You’ll stir up the gunk for sure again but you’ll get good at changing the filter elements. You just change them each time they plug up. They last a fairly long time even with the worst crud in them. What micron is the primary and what micron is the secondary?

Also, be a little extra when bleeding the injector pump. Put a bucket under it and don’t stop until you have lots and lots of completely red fuel pouring out with no air WHATSOEVER. Then squirt a little more out. Pour the bucket back in the tank.

If you have to bleed at the injectors (not usually necessary, but might be), do the same. Really let it pour out. Not a single bubble.

It will then start right up.

Get a fresh starting battery and charge it all the way somehow. Your engine should start after maybe 5-10 tries if you’ve properly bled things out to the injector pump. Is the alternator working? It should charge the starting batter all the way up by the time you are at the inlet again.

I had this engine before. Speaking from experience with it.
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