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Old 28-02-2024, 19:10   #1
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westerbeke fuel problem?

I just finished a rattle can rebuild of my new to me W27. I stripped it down as far as I could go without getting into the head (or fuel injection pump). When the engine was removed from the boat 10 years ago, the previous owner had the engine surveyed (including oil analysis) and it was in good working order except for freshwater cooling circuit that was leaking. I replaced the entire cooling system, rebuilt the water pump">raw water pump, new wiring harness, new low pressure fuel pump, new glow plugs, had the injectors rebuilt, installed new rear main seal and had the manifold rebuilt (I couldn't get the iron exhaust pipe off).

Anyway, I finally got it all painted and back together and while it's very pretty, it unfortunately won't start. It cranks fine and I've tested the glow plugs, but it won't catch. I think that I may have to pull the fuel injection pump and have that rebuilt, but I want to make sure I've covered all my bases before I go that route.

I confirmed that the low pressure fuel pump is working; I used a clear fuel hose in a gallon jug with the fuel return going back in and when I turn the ignition on, the pump is clearly moving fuel to up to the injection pump and going back through the return line. When I preheat and then crank the engine though, the engine turns over nicely, but doesn't catch. I cracked the vent on the injection pump and saw fuel coming out, but when I crack the fuel pipe at the injector, i'm not seeing any fuel.

Is there something else I can do to confirm that it is indeed the fuel injection pump?
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Old 28-02-2024, 19:59   #2
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Re: westerbeke fuel problem?

I don't know that model but it could be one of a couple of relays in the control box, make sure all breakers are on. Some of the sensors may be playing up too, eg temp, oil pressure, etc. but they would normally allow engine to start then shut down, so the wiring/terminals etc in that control box may need some attention.
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Old 28-02-2024, 20:03   #3
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Re: westerbeke fuel problem?

I don't know that model but it could be one of a couple of relays in the control box, make sure all breakers are on. Some of the sensors may be playing up too, eg temp, oil pressure, etc. but they would normally allow engine to start then shut down, so the wiring/terminals etc in that control box may need some attention. The Westerbeke marine generators facebook page is pretty helpful.
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Old 29-02-2024, 04:46   #4
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Re: westerbeke fuel problem?

I guess I should have specified, it's a propulsion model, not a generator. Circa 1986. It's a simple beast, with the electrics consisting of 4 sensors (water temp switch and sender, and oil pressure switch and sender), a solenoid to send power to glow plugs, an electric low pressure fuel pump, starter, and alternator. Every bit of the electrical is brand new including the wiring harness and admiral control panel. Other than the electric low pressure fuel pump that I know is working the high pressure fuel side is mechanically goverened, so I'd be surprised if it were an electrical issue, but I've been surprised before.

I'm really just looking for a test that will prove (or disprove) my suspicion that it is the fuel injection pump. A few secondary questions if it is the injection pump would be:
1. Are there any solvents/detergents/etc out there that could free it up without pulling it?
2. Has anyone pulled the injection pump for these types of engines? The w-13, w-21, w-27, and w-33 are all very similar. I've read the service manual about 30 times now, but there appears to be a fiddly spring on one of the connecting rods in a tight space that could be a problem for my ham hands and would like to talk to someone who has done it.

thanks all
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Old 29-02-2024, 05:25   #5
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Re: westerbeke fuel problem?

have a W30,about same year.

2 things, is the shut-down level down?

When my boat was new to me, tried to start the engine with the decompression level up and took me a while to figure it.

The glow plugs:

just replaced a defective relay, testing takes two people, one to push preheat

and you
down by the engine will hear the click sound of the relay closing,
also with a multimeter test the relay contact on the block connecting to the glowplugs strip, then confirm the strip is intact and conducts power to each individual plug.
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Old 29-02-2024, 08:07   #6
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Re: westerbeke fuel problem?

Are you getting fuel flow in the high pressure lines at the injectors? Loosen the fuel line nuts at the injectors, put the throttle lever at full throttle and crank the engine over. You should see fuel squirting out of the lines.

Frequently when an engine sits for a length of time the fuel in the injection pump plungers will gel and cause the plunger to get sticky. The cam in the pump can push the plunger up, but the spring isnít strong enough to push it back down, so all of the plungers get stuck at the top of their travel and no fuel will pump into the lines.

In all probability this a job for a fuel shop to clean things out.
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Old 29-02-2024, 09:44   #7
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Re: westerbeke fuel problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DougR View Post
Are you getting fuel flow in the high pressure lines at the injectors? Loosen the fuel line nuts at the injectors, put the throttle lever at full throttle and crank the engine over. You should see fuel squirting out of the lines.

Frequently when an engine sits for a length of time the fuel in the injection pump plungers will gel and cause the plunger to get sticky. The cam in the pump can push the plunger up, but the spring isnít strong enough to push it back down, so all of the plungers get stuck at the top of their travel and no fuel will pump into the lines.

In all probability this a job for a fuel shop to clean things out.
This is my suspicion. I did one test with a nut cracked at one of the injectors and got no fuel, but I didn't have the throttle on full, so I'll try that again and then see what I have.

I'm pretty leary of taking the injector pump out myself because there's a small spring that needs to be detached from the pump and it's in a confined location. The service manual even has CAUTION warning about it. That terrifies me because if the spring is dropped into the case then it become a huge job. It would be great to hear from someone who may have done this.
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Old 29-02-2024, 11:10   #8
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Re: westerbeke fuel problem?

Sounds to me like a possible bleed problem. Diesel doesnít ďgelĒ like gasoline. Have started engines that were sitting for 15 years. It is not electrical unless your fuel cutoff is stuck. Look at that portion then push fuel to the high pressure pump, close seacock and crank. Take lines to injectors loose before cranking. Crank until you get fuel coming out of injector lines. Might be able to cheat and get it to fire by spraying a light oil down air intake while cranking. Do not use ether or starting fluid. You have a fuel supply problem not a sensor problem. Tapping lightly with a piece of wood or hitting high pressure pump with a scaler or pneumatic chisel on the casing with a block of wood between chisel and pump might jar something loose as well. Best of luck
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Old 29-02-2024, 11:14   #9
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Re: westerbeke fuel problem?

my westerbeke is advertised as self bleeding and i can attest to that. there is a product called diesel purge that you put in the racor. you could try that.
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Old 29-02-2024, 11:42   #10
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Re: westerbeke fuel problem?

"I cracked the vent on the injection pump and saw fuel coming out, but when I crack the fuel pipe at the injector, i'm not seeing any fuel.

Is there something else I can do to confirm that it is indeed the fuel injection pump"


You pretty much just did.


Loosen (not fully disconnect) all 4 lines at the injectors, tuck some absorbent mats around them and repeat the bleed process. If you have fuel into the pump and nothing out the other end after a couple of seconds you have the answer.
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Old 29-02-2024, 14:41   #11
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Re: westerbeke fuel problem?

[QUOTE=Madehn;3875885]Sounds to me like a possible bleed problem. Diesel doesn’t “gel” like gasoline. Have started engines that were sitting for 15 years.


Perhaps “gel” is the wrong word to use, but diesel certainly can gum up in injection pumps as described, and cause the exact symptoms the OP has described.

I have personally experienced it in these exact Westerbeke engines, as well as Volvo, Northern Lights, Perkins, and others with small plunger type injector pumps.
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Old 29-02-2024, 14:47   #12
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Re: westerbeke fuel problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mbowser View Post
This is my suspicion. I did one test with a nut cracked at one of the injectors and got no fuel, but I didn't have the throttle on full, so I'll try that again and then see what I have.

I'm pretty leary of taking the injector pump out myself because there's a small spring that needs to be detached from the pump and it's in a confined location. The service manual even has CAUTION warning about it. That terrifies me because if the spring is dropped into the case then it become a huge job. It would be great to hear from someone who may have done this.
Here are a few suggestions regarding your injector pump. Yes, youíre probably right about the plungers being stuck, thankfully in the no fuel position, this is a common problem with engines that have been left laid up or stored and incredibly common on engines running biodiesel, a month of layup is enough to glue up the plungers if your engine has that stuff in her veins. Youíre right abut extracting the pump, the governor link to the rack can be tricky but if you lift the pump up a little so you can see the connection to the rack pin, itís possible to thread a length of fishing line (or a loop of thin stainless steel wire) through the link retaining pin or spring eye so you canít lose it into the cambox. About a foot is usually the length you need to tie off the link or spring because the next bit is tricky. The rack pin often needs to line up with a slot in the housing to lift the pump out but if itís stuck, that ainít gonna work and it might take a bit of jostling and wiggling to get it to clear. After you get the pump out, do NOT try and pull it apart or force the rack to move, get a saucepan and put the pump in it then submerge it in engine oil and heat the pot till you get to 100įCÖ..no more than that, and do it slowly so that the whole pump warms up evenly. With a bit of luck the wax will release the stuck plunger/s and the cam follower will either snap back to where the other 2 are or gently ease out to the static position. Now you should be able to slide the rack pin back and forth. Ideally if you tilt the ( now cool) pump the rack should slide side to side by gravity alone but itís hard to achieve this level of movement. If however, warming the pump makes no difference and the rack stays stuck, itís probably got locked up by plunger to barrel corrosion and needs a trip to the pump tech.
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Old 01-03-2024, 05:10   #13
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Re: westerbeke fuel problem?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipperpete View Post
Here are a few suggestions regarding your injector pump. Yes, youíre probably right about the plungers being stuck, thankfully in the no fuel position, this is a common problem with engines that have been left laid up or stored
Oh, I never thought about that, that would have been a nasty surprise had it started.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipperpete View Post
Youíre right abut extracting the pump, the governor link to the rack can be tricky but if you lift the pump up a little so you can see the connection to the rack pin, itís possible to thread a length of fishing line (or a loop of thin stainless steel wire) through the link retaining pin or spring eye so you canít lose it into the cambox. About a foot is usually the length you need to tie off the link or spring because the next bit is tricky. The rack pin often needs to line up with a slot in the housing to lift the pump out but if itís stuck, that ainít gonna work and it might take a bit of jostling and wiggling to get it to clear.
This is exactly what I was looking for, thank you. I never considered tying the spring off so it stays captive, but it makes sense. If I succesfully get it out myself, I think I am going to take it straight to an injection shop and have them fully rebuild it (there is one close by) because:
1. The previous owner hadn't started the engine in 10 years and even with only 900+ hours, that's a long time to sit and it will give me piece of mind that it was done right and I'll have a reliable motor.
2. My wife would likely not appreciate making a injection pump cassarole with a motor oil demiglaze in the kitchen.

Here is a picture of the particular pump I am dealing with:
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Old 01-03-2024, 14:59   #14
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Re: westerbeke fuel problem?

I spent some time this afternoon stripping off everything in the way of the fuel injection pump and somehow managed to actually loosen up all the bolts on the pump and the side plate/shut off lever so I can get at the spring and tie rod that connects to the pump rack. Now that I can actually see what I have to do, it's not quite so intimidating. I can tie some fishing line (thanks SkipperPete) to the spring and tie rod so that I don't drop them into the case and then pull the pump without much trouble.
What I found was interesting though. The rack was in the fully closed position; meaning that it was pushed into the body of the pump. That's good for removal, but my big concern now is that the throttle arm moves freely but I don't see any movement on the tie rod. This leads me to believe that the set screw that connects the throttle shaft to the governor level may have loosened up. This would likely mean that I'll have to pull the timing cover to reconnect that which would not be fun... I think I'll have a better view of what's going on tomorrow when I pull the pump, but at this point I'm just happy that I will be able to get the pump rebuilt without having to have someone remove it and charge me way too much money.
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Old 01-03-2024, 17:17   #15
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Re: westerbeke fuel problem?

Save any shims that were between the injector pump and the block, they’re there for the injection timing, don’t add or subtract from that shim pack. If you want to see the rack movement you have to use the stop lever, the speed control only changes the tension on a spring.
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