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Old 12-09-2021, 12:14   #1
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Westerbeke W30 surge and die

Hello all, hoping someone can come up with an idea of where to find my issue.

Freshly rebuilt 1977 W30, starts and runs fine until it surges about 100 RPM then slows and dies. Starts right back up after a quick injector bleed. This indicates to me an air leak somewhere. I pressurized the fuel line from the tank end and found one small leak at the banjo bolt on the return line on top of the secondary filter. I cleaned and retightened and fixed that leak. I have checked and re-checked all the connections, filter o-rings, with soapy water and can't seem to find any leaks. I don't see any bubbles in the primary filter bowl and i can't find any leaks before the lift pump. Also can't find any leaks on the pressure side of the lift pump. So I'm leaning towards a leak on the return/bleed off side. I have read that air getting into the secondary filter can cause this. Still thinking of how to isolate the leak, any ideas.

Oil pressure and temp are perfect. New injectors, injector pump, lift pump, all new crush washers. New fuel tank, fuel, fuel pick up tube, fuel lines, and full circle hose clamps. Replaced the primary and secondary filters, (ensured the o-rings were removed and replaced.)

What am I missing, could it be the injection pump or lift pump?
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Old 12-09-2021, 16:19   #2
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Westerbeke W30 surge and die

It could be either of those things so put a length of clear plastic hose between the lift pump and the injector pump to eliminate the suction side of the system as the source of the problem. I noticed that you said the fuel return line goes into the top of the secondary filter so if you get a suction leak ( or pressure leak) anywhere, that air or at least some of it , remains in the system and gets back to the injector pump. Far better to have the return as a stand alone return to tank.
Oh, the pressure leak can come from a stuck or internally leaking nozzle. Injectors always have a slight internal leak hence the leakoff pipe along the top of em BUT if the nozzle seat leaks, that leakoff line will carry combustion gas as well as leakoff fuel, not much air but if it returns to the secondary filter, itís a problem.
Sanibelsailor did the same rebuild and published it in excellent detail on this forum.
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Old 12-09-2021, 16:46   #3
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Re: Westerbeke W30 surge and die

If you've checked all of the above, take a look at the start/stop solenoid and make sure it is held in while engine is running. A weak spring or ageing solenoid can give similar pattern of your problem. Had the same situation on a 12.5kw westerbeke genny.
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Old 12-09-2021, 16:52   #4
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Re: Westerbeke W30 surge and die

Just came across this thread as well and it may help you.
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ml#post3481155
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Old 12-09-2021, 17:08   #5
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Re: Westerbeke W30 surge and die

After about a million air in the fuel episodes, I still have not had a return side issue. AsI understand it, the fuel is returned to the engine mount filter, then to the tank, so that part of the system "should be" trouble free.



You may still have air in the injector pump. You probable already know but... Two bleed spots, a bolt on the aft portion of the round body to be done first, then the "tophat" on the throttle housing.


Good luck. I am available by phone (until 9-18-21) if you want to talk through your process.
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Old 12-09-2021, 17:09   #6
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Re: Westerbeke W30 surge and die

Quote:
Originally Posted by chiropaul View Post
If you've checked all of the above, take a look at the start/stop solenoid and make sure it is held in while engine is running. A weak spring or ageing solenoid can give similar pattern of your problem. Had the same situation on a 12.5kw westerbeke genny.

No solenoid on this engine
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Old 12-09-2021, 17:10   #7
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Re: Westerbeke W30 surge and die

I had the same problem on the same engine ~ the seal on the on-engine fuel filter housing was flakey. New gasket and the problem went away.
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Old 12-09-2021, 17:31   #8
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Re: Westerbeke W30 surge and die

So Skipperpete, that is where I think the problem is. Finding/fixing the leak would be best before changing from stock. I wonder what the reason was for routing the bleed lines back to the filter? Getting to the lift pump is a bear so I'm thinking of a remote fuel can to the secondary filter inlet, totally bypassing the suction side of the system.
Injectors are new but I guess they could be a problem? That's why I asked about the injection and lift pumps.
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Old 12-09-2021, 17:33   #9
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Re: Westerbeke W30 surge and die

chiropaul,

No solenoid, just a cable. Replaced and adjusted. Don't think it is this. Besides a quick bleed and it started right up.
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Old 12-09-2021, 17:52   #10
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Re: Westerbeke W30 surge and die

sanibel sailor,

You are correct, the engine mounted filter has the bleed pipes to a banjo bolt on the top, this then returns to the fuel tank. That is where I found a small leak, since fixed. Do you think the injection pump would still have air in it after an hour of running under load? I have to admit I didn't bleed the tophat this last time.
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Old 12-09-2021, 17:54   #11
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Re: Westerbeke W30 surge and die

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Originally Posted by fyrfytr33 View Post
So Skipperpete, that is where I think the problem is. Finding/fixing the leak would be best before changing from stock. I wonder what the reason was for routing the bleed lines back to the filter? Getting to the lift pump is a bear so I'm thinking of a remote fuel can to the secondary filter inlet, totally bypassing the suction side of the system.

Injectors are new but I guess they could be a problem? That's why I asked about the injection and lift pumps.


It was fairly common way back before self priming systems came into use. Some engines had no return to tank at all, just back to the secondary filter head because injector leakoff is very small and usually airless. You donít actually need to get to the lift pump to use a clear plastic hose, just undo the supply pipe at the injector pump entry port and put the clear tube in at that point.
I very much agree with the remote can of fuel idea, once you establish a guaranteed airless fuel supply itís easier to diagnose whether the injector pump is the problem or not.
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Old 12-09-2021, 18:24   #12
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Re: Westerbeke W30 surge and die

Injectors are pressurized and open when fuel pressure reaches a specific (very high) point. If they have a bad seal, fuel leaks out, but not air in.


Surging and dying is air in the fuel. Find the leak. On a Yanmar, I had a microscopic leak from an invisible crack in the bottom of the Racor bowl. It was fine for an hour or so, until enough air collected to starve the fuel pump. I was lucky to notice the tiny stream of bubbles, or else I would still be troubleshooting that bastard.
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Old 12-09-2021, 18:26   #13
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Re: Westerbeke W30 surge and die

mlydon,

I have changed the filter and gaskets. The engine did this prior to that change, which is why I changed it in the first place. I guess I could still have a kinked gasket
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Old 12-09-2021, 18:35   #14
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Re: Westerbeke W30 surge and die

sanibel sailor,

I know there are a million threads on air leaks. I've read tons of them and followed most of the advice. I appreciate your input.

The Racor was replaced last year. Don't see any air bubbles but there has to be a leak somewhere. When pressurized it leaked about 5 psi an hour.

I have to leave town for a couple weeks but would love to pick your brain more when I return.
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Old 12-09-2021, 20:09   #15
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Re: Westerbeke W30 surge and die

Check the fuel tank vent for any blockages.
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