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Old 18-07-2023, 09:27   #1
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Westerbeke 65VC starting problem

I am having trouble getting my engine started. Symptoms:
1. Does not start after holding the pre-heat button for 10s. I need to press and hold the start button for several seconds, several times (3-4). Initially, it would start on 2nd attempt, now only on 4th.
2. I tested the glow plugs. One was defective. Replaced it. Engine started immediately. However, next day the problem started again.
3. Tested plugs again. The new one seems defective: shows no ohms! (the other show +-0.6 ohm). Replaced again. Also added additional wires connecting the plugs in parallel as the old strips seemed .. old.
4. Worked fine a couple of times and now back to the old issue.

I noticed that the plug I replaced leaked afew drops of oil. I probably did not tighten it enough.

Any ideas what else to do to redress the issue? (I am far away from any qualified mechanics). Is the small leak a problem I need to address immediately (tighten the plug) or can I wait till I switch the engine off at the next marina (where perhaps I may find some other help if the engine does not start at all).
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Old 18-07-2023, 17:38   #2
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Westerbeke 65VC starting problem

I guess the first thing to ask is has the Westerbeke always needed a glowplug start or is this a more recent change of behavior? Are you in a really cold climate?
If she’s just one of those engines that always needs a preheat regardless of ambient temp, consider the possibility that that the replacement glow plug was either the wrong voltage or that the hole that the probe goes into is blocked or has an old bit of glowplug tip embedded there that has somehow damaged the new glowplug. Does each plug have an earth terminal as well as a +ve, if not, try earthing the hexagon with a direct earth wire....it’s possible that carbon is stopping the plug from earthing to the cylinder head.
I gotta say, I never trust glowplugs to come out cleanly and have given up on using them as an easy way to do leakage and compression tests. The pain of removing a broken off plug bulb makes removing the injectors a far more palatable option.
Any leak from a glowplug is cause for concern and a leaker needs to be tightened pronto BUT if your engine won’t start without a preheat even at operating temperature you might need to look further than the glowplugs, you might only be fixing a symptom, not the cause.
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Old 19-07-2023, 05:18   #3
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Re: Westerbeke 65VC starting problem

Some of the more common causes of premature glow plug failure:

- Excess carbon buildup can cause shorting or overheating of the plug, leading to tip burn out. Always use the correct carbon reamer when changing glow plugs.

- Voltage: Insufficient, or excessive, voltage supplied to the glow plugs can impact their performance. Low voltage can result in inadequate heating, while high voltage can cause the plugs to overheat, and fail.

- Contaminants: Dirt, oil, or other contaminants can accumulate on the glow plug’s electrical connections, leading to poor electrical contact.

- Glow cycle too long, due to unnecessarily long pre-glow times.

- Incorrect spray pattern of the fuel injectors. This is hard to diagnose, but it can be a problem. If your fuel injectors are squirting a large stream of raw fuel, this can stress the tips of the glow plugs [because of a too rapid cool down].

Much more, from BorgWarner
Troubleshooting Glow Plugs https://www.borgwarner.com/aftermark...ing-glow-plugs

Glow plug design is a balancing act.
If resistance was low, the plug gets very hot quickly, but wil burn out.
If resistance is high, the glow plug will heat up slowly, and not get very hot, but last virtually forever.
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Old 14-08-2023, 19:44   #4
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Re: Westerbeke 65VC starting problem

I have now replaced all the glow-plugs, made sure that the electrical power to the plugs is OK and that the mechanical fuel pump is working and yet I still need several (4-6) 10-20s pre-heat attempts, cranking before the engine starts. Once it starts, it works fine. Once started and hot, it starts fine. Where else do I look for why it is not starting when cold?

(I needed to replace a glow-plug twice - a new one was OK at first but next time I tested it, it was dead. I will now re-test all the other - new - plugs. Is there any way my system could be burning the plugs once installed? If there is, that would explain why changing the plugs seems to work at first but then the situation reverts back. I just cannot imagine how I could break the electricals of a plug, the mechanical part looks fine, unaffected).
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Old 27-08-2023, 02:38   #5
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Re: Westerbeke 65VC starting problem

I had another mechanic look at my problem and he recons its my injection pump that's not giving enough pressure. What I don't understand though is that if that was the case, the engine would either never start or die after starting. My engine, once started seems to work fine.

Westerbeke no longer supplies replacement pumps for this engine so even if the pump is the issue, I am not quite sure how to proceed. Surely, replacing the engine because one part is malfunctioning seems like a rather drastic step!
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Old 27-08-2023, 03:08   #6
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Re: Westerbeke 65VC starting problem

You’re not looking for a new injector pump, you’re considering getting the existing pump rebuilt. (assuming that’s the problem).
The usual drill with a difficult engine is to adjust the valve clearances, do a health check on the cylinders, either a leakage or compression test will do but you can also check the amount of blow by if you start the engine and remove the oil filler cap, a lot of smoke coming out of there suggests worn piston rings.
Did you ask the mechanic how he knew the”pump pressure was low”, did he carry out some sort of test?
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Old 27-08-2023, 07:58   #7
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Re: Westerbeke 65VC starting problem

Thanks skipperete. Rebuild sounds better than engine replace.

"Did you ask the mechanic how he knew the”pump pressure was low”, did he carry out some sort of test?" - he just loosened one of the fuel lines from the pump and said 'the flow is too weak'.

I will do check the oil filter check you suggest. However, as I said once started the engine works great. Would that still be the case if either pistons or fuel pump were bad?

One other observed symptom is that this issue got progressively bad over the course of last 5 months. The engine used to start immediately. Then it there was a few secs delay before starting the crank and the engine starting. Now I have to do 5-6 10 secs cranks with short pauses between (to not burn my starter) to get it going.
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Old 27-08-2023, 14:25   #8
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Re: Westerbeke 65VC starting problem

There are a whole bunch of tests to conduct before you can justify removing and rebuilding the pump and injectors, a suction leak or drainback in the fuel supply can cause these symptoms as could a blocked exhaust or a restricted air intake. Post a picture of the injector pump, I’ve no idea what pump you have on that engine.
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Old 27-08-2023, 14:52   #9
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Re: Westerbeke 65VC starting problem

[ATTACH]Click image for larger version

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Click image for larger version

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ID:	280179[/ATTACH]Thanks again skipperpete. Attached is a picture of the pump (bottom of picture). Not sure its adequate for identifying it so I added its schematics from the Westerbeke manual.

Wouldn't all the symptoms you list negatively affect operation of the engine once started? As I said, the engine seems to be humming fine once started. Once hot, the engine starts quite quickly as well.
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Old 22-09-2023, 16:59   #10
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Re: Westerbeke 65VC starting problem

Just to close this thread off: the problem is fixed. Turns out that my solenoid was fault and would sometimes not shut off and switch on spontaneously after the engine has started. It must have been infrequent initially because at first just one glow plug burned out. After I replaced it, things got better for a short while and then additional glow plus burned out. eventually all of them were dead. Its only when I realized that (my mechanical skills are very poor) that I started suspecting power supply, changed the solenoid, all glow plugs and the engine starts like a charm, again and again! One lesson I learned is to not assume that a faulty component (glow plug here) is the root cause but consider what else may be wrong to cause that component to fail. Thanks for advice on this thread.
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Old 22-09-2023, 22:38   #11
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Re: Westerbeke 65VC starting problem

Thanks for the update Suiramor, great to hear that you got er fixed and running happily…. Well done!
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