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Old 10-05-2021, 18:56   #1
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Universal 25XP not starting...bleeding?

Hi everyone, hoping someone has some insight into my issue.

I've searched all over, found and followed a bunch of advice on bleeding, but still can't start, and I want to focus before wearing discharging my battery.

Let's set the scene:

1990 Catalina 30 is new to me. Delivered her this weekend from Cape Cod to Maine. Motored hours and hours and hours: no problem (sailed when we could...really!)

Left Sunday morning about 9:30....lots of motoring. Make it all the way to the marina we were shooting for at about 3am. A hundred meters from the dock, the motor bogs down, eventually dies. It starts back up for a few turns of the prop.
We eventually spin ourselves around so I can leap to the dock with a line and pull her in. (at some point in there I dump in 2 fresh gallons of diesel...friend thought we might be out of fuel.)

I start working the problem immediately. The previous owner kindly left aboard a box of fuel filters, oil filters, filter wrenches, and changing supplies. I changed the Racor and the secondary fuel filter.

No start. Ok, bleed. To the internet! Read many threads. Opened the knurled nut. Bubbles appear. I don't have a 14mm socket, and I can't fit a wrench in there to bleed the secondary filter. I check the Racor - there's fuel in the bowl. I carefully drop the secondary filter...it's almost full of fuel, but not full. I get a ride home to gather tools and come back to attack again.

I crack the secondary filter's nut. Bubbles, eventually what I think is a drip. Still no start. I read a GREAT tip about turning the fuel pump on and off (the master ON/OFF switch right across from the motor..genius). I cover the area in soak pads, then open each bleeder in order. Looks like full fuel flow. Cleanup would be fun.

I tried cranking again. No start.

I will note that occasionally the motor seem like it wants to start..coughs, strong smell of exhaust...

So that's where I'm at. Boat tied to a face dock of not-my-marina, motor not starting. Researching tonight to com up with a plan for tomorrow.

Most things I read indicate you don't need to bleed at the injectors....as long as you are bleeding the knurl nut.

What do you think?
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Old 10-05-2021, 20:43   #2
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Re: Universal 25XP not starting...bleeding?

ok first disclaimer. I'm not familiar with that engine but I'm pretty sure they are similar to yanmar.Sometimes injector pump gets an airlock. If you have any bleed bolt on injector pump do that first. If you are sure all filters are bled I would crack the injector line nuts at the injector. If they are equipped with a decompression lever spin it up decompressed while cracking nut & that will drain battery less. If no bubbles you are good.

Check for a youtube vid for that engine maybe.


You may get a response from someone that knows those engines but if not at least thats a pointer if no-one else chimes in. They should do.
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Old 11-05-2021, 08:27   #3
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Re: Universal 25XP not starting...bleeding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Compass790 View Post
ok first disclaimer. I'm not familiar with that engine but I'm pretty sure they are similar to yanmar.Sometimes injector pump gets an airlock. If you have any bleed bolt on injector pump do that first. If you are sure all filters are bled I would crack the injector line nuts at the injector. If they are equipped with a decompression lever spin it up decompressed while cracking nut & that will drain battery less. If no bubbles you are good.

Check for a youtube vid for that engine maybe.


You may get a response from someone that knows those engines but if not at least thats a pointer if no-one else chimes in. They should do.
that's a great tip on the compression lever - lowering the resistance will reduce power used to crank. I will take a look at cracking the injector nuts further down the fuel system.

thanks!
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Old 11-05-2021, 15:42   #4
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Re: Universal 25XP not starting...bleeding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smosh View Post
that's a great tip on the compression lever - lowering the resistance will reduce power used to crank. I will take a look at cracking the injector nuts further down the fuel system.

thanks!

Forgot to add: If cranking engine for a long time take belt off water pump">raw water pump or close water intake to stop exhaust from flooding & possibly backing up to engine.
I'm surprised you havent had any engine specific advice as there seems to be plenty of Universal engine owners on this forum.
Good luck & please tell us what happens.


ps I mean just raw water pump the computer is doing its own additions???
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Old 11-05-2021, 15:44   #5
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Re: Universal 25XP not starting...bleeding?

Yup, closed seacock early!
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Old 11-05-2021, 19:41   #6
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Re: Universal 25XP not starting...bleeding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smosh View Post
Yup, closed seacock early!

ahh you were on to it.
This vid mite help:


If you have electric fuel pump, & it sounds like you do, you can just turn your key on instead of pumping the lever on the mechanical lift pump.
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Old 11-05-2021, 22:25   #7
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Re: Universal 25XP not starting...bleeding?

Smosh,

I don't know about your engine, but on my Universal 5444, the injector pump has a bleed screw/knob that makes bleeding almost automatic.

attached is a picture of my injector pump with the bleed knob circled in red.
If you have this, just turn it open (countclockwise I think) and it'll bleed the lines.

You have to have an electric fuel pump for this to work. At the transmission end of the engine, there might be clear hose that connects the last injector return tube with the hose that returns fuel to the tank. When the bleed knob is open, you will see air bubbles flowing through this tube.

I attached a pic of a 2 cyl Universal that has the same bleed screw

While you are poking around your engine, you might want to take a look at your alternator bracket.

https://pbase.com/mainecruising/univ...bracket&page=1
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Old 11-05-2021, 23:25   #8
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Re: Universal 25XP not starting...bleeding?

Here's what you need to do :

Before starting the bleed procedure, you need to make sure the fuel tank is full. Why? Because it's a gravity feed to the fuel filters, so you can't bleed them effectively without a full tank. That's on my boat anyway, YMMV.

Then you bleed the two filters in order.

Fuel running from both filter bleeds without bubbles? Good.

Finally you bleed at the fuel injection pump, with the electric pump running.

If the system is reasonably air free, when you close the bleed screw at the injection pump, you should hear the electric pump slow right down to maybe one click every second or two.

I always then run the engine for 20 minutes, and it will then cut out. Apparently there's always a bit of air left in the system. Bleed again at the injection pump and it's good for the year or until next time the filters are changed.

Finally, it's very hard to start these engines without good glow plugs. Are they working? The wiring is notoriously terrible. Do a search on how to upgrade it, also at pbase.
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Old 12-05-2021, 02:53   #9
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Re: Universal 25XP not starting...bleeding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by scherzoja View Post
Smosh,

I don't know about your engine, but on my Universal 5444, the injector pump has a bleed screw/knob that makes bleeding almost automatic.

attached is a picture of my injector pump with the bleed knob circled in red.
If you have this, just turn it open (countclockwise I think) and it'll bleed the lines.

You have to have an electric fuel pump for this to work. At the transmission end of the engine, there might be clear hose that connects the last injector return tube with the hose that returns fuel to the tank. When the bleed knob is open, you will see air bubbles flowing through this tube.

I attached a pic of a 2 cyl Universal that has the same bleed screw

While you are poking around your engine, you might want to take a look at your alternator bracket.

https://pbase.com/mainecruising/univ...bracket&page=1
yup, the knob is the 'knurled nut' I refer to. -Should- be almost automatic! But, not this time, I guess.

I have to look at the bracket...the boat's a 1990, but it was apparently repowered in the early Aughts, so I'm hoping it's the upgraded bracket...
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Old 12-05-2021, 02:57   #10
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Re: Universal 25XP not starting...bleeding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
Here's what you need to do :

Before starting the bleed procedure, you need to make sure the fuel tank is full. Why? Because it's a gravity feed to the fuel filters, so you can't bleed them effectively without a full tank. That's on my boat anyway, YMMV.

Then you bleed the two filters in order.

Fuel running from both filter bleeds without bubbles? Good.

Finally you bleed at the fuel injection pump, with the electric pump running.

If the system is reasonably air free, when you close the bleed screw at the injection pump, you should hear the electric pump slow right down to maybe one click every second or two.

I always then run the engine for 20 minutes, and it will then cut out. Apparently there's always a bit of air left in the system. Bleed again at the injection pump and it's good for the year or until next time the filters are changed.

Finally, it's very hard to start these engines without good glow plugs. Are they working? The wiring is notoriously terrible. Do a search on how to upgrade it, also at pbase.
thanks for the tip about the glow plugs...motor was starting fine before this, so I wonder if a glow plug failure can be sudden like that? I'd think they'd just take longer and longer to warm up..

Fuel pump clicking: it was fast clicking before the bleeding and now it's down to the slow click.

I'm going to try the injector nuts this morning.
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Old 12-05-2021, 04:18   #11
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Re: Universal 25XP not starting...bleeding?

Ok!

Fuel flow at the Knurled Nut....circled in gold. NO fuel at the cracked/disconnected nut on the pipe, circled in red.

Is there another pump in that housing? It’s already pretty high pressure coming out of the knurled nut.
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Old 12-05-2021, 04:34   #12
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Re: Universal 25XP not starting...bleeding?

Close the fuel bleeds, loosen the nuts on two of the injectors on top of the engine.

Roll the engine for a few turns at full throttle. Tighten the nuts on the injectors and start the engine at full throttle. Once it fires pull back the throttle.
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Old 12-05-2021, 05:10   #13
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Re: Universal 25XP not starting...bleeding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smosh View Post
Ok!

Fuel flow at the Knurled Nut....circled in gold. NO fuel at the cracked/disconnected nut on the pipe, circled in red.

Is there another pump in that housing? Itís already pretty high pressure coming out of the knurled nut.
whoops, including photo...I think...
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Old 12-05-2021, 10:00   #14
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Re: Universal 25XP not starting...bleeding?

OK. This is going in a different direction but a friend of mine had this problem on his Cat 30 and it turned out there is some kind of booster pump connected to the start switch that was not engaging. I don't know much more than that but the exact same symptoms. Cranked but no start. If you want I can reach out to him to find more. He was a aircraft mechanic so not an amateur.
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Old 12-05-2021, 10:32   #15
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Re: Universal 25XP not starting...bleeding?

I have a Cat 30 with a Universal M25. Same as yours, except your XP engine has slightly larger cylinders/pistons to generate the extra HP.

The boat has an electric fuel pump (like yours) which pulls fuel from the fuel tank through the RACOR main fuel filter and then sends it onward, under pressure to the engine through the engine-mounted (2 micron) filter and on to the injector pump.

To bleed, you need to do as you have done: turn ignition ON, the elec fuel pump will run then crack open the bleed fitting on the engine filter until no air bubbles come out. Close the fitting and repeat the process on the fuel injector pump (the one with the three injector tubes coming out of it.)

Next you need to (most importantly) bleed the air out of the lines between the injector pump and each injector. This is done with the engine cranking.

As stated, first close the raw water intake to prevent back flooding the engine.

Then place the fuel cutoff lever in the "Run" (i.e. NOT cutoff) position so fuel will flow through the injector pump.

While cranking the engine, loosen the fuel injector line retaining nut on each injector one at a time, until fuel come out then tighten. Be careful, as the engine may start....

On glow plugs, my M25 engine WILL NOT start without first running the glow plugs for 10-15 seconds. This appears to be a characteristic of the M25 motors: NO glow plugs, NO start.

Your starting issue may be related to this.

The glow plugs take a lot of power and if you have a voltmeter you should see the battery voltage drop considerably when activating the glow plugs. If not, you may have a wiring issue.

The original Cat 30's had electrical connectors in the wiring harness between the engine and engine control panel that would corrode. I installed a brand new harness / rebuilt control panel with as my engine would not start after it rained (electrical harness shorting issues).

Some owners installed a relay for the glow plugs so that the high current flows through the relay instead of the engine panel harness/ start/glow plug switch.

Cheers
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