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Old 11-13-2017, 12:04 AM   #1
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It's all fun and games until your furnace starts smoking

Well that didn't take long. We had our first "oh $h!t" moment yesterday just as we pulled into our slip after a short lap around the lake. We have a hurricane hydronic diesel heater along with a heat exchanger from the engine.

We've run the heater about five times before in the marina with no issues.

Here is what happened:
  1. We pulled into the dock and as I was resetting the bow line I heard a loud "pop" from the heater exhaust. The furnace restarted immediately and I've read these can be related to air in the fuel lines so while it was concerning I felt like it might be no biggie.
  2. A few minutes later a lot of white smoke began billowing out of the exhaust.
  3. I immediately went aboard and shut down the heater and the exhaust smoke stopped.
  4. I opened the access hatch and noticed a little smoke rising slowly from the top of the furnace unit itself, mostly around the exhaust (outside of the actual exhaust however).
  5. I also noticed a sheen of diesel fuel on the ER floor below the furnace.
  6. After making sure everything was safe and cool I shut everything off completely so the furnace couldn't be started again.

Once it was secured and we calmed down I began troubleshooting. This is what I've found so far:
  1. Diesel fuel in the "pan" of the heater case.
  2. One of the fuel pump mounting bolts was loose (now tight).
  3. After following the cleaning and maintenance procedures I found a lot of carbon and soot in the burner chamber.
  4. After cleaning and reassembly I did a quick "smoke" test. No smoke from the exhaust, still some whiffs of smoke from around the exhaust port (not from the exhaust).
  5. Opening up the front panel of the furnace case again revealed more fuel in the pan (again).

I suspect there are two issues (not sure if they are related):

First I have a leak in the fuel system most likely from a rubber fuel host passing through a grommet or at a connection. I examined the hoses as much as possible but didn't find any cracked ends near the clamps or slices in the hoses themselves. It could also be one of the brass fittings. Better to just replace the rubber lines and make sure every fitting is tight.

Second I think something soiled the insulation around the water jacket causing the whiffs of smoke. I noticed the insulation is wet and decayed near the water inlet which is also close to the exhaust port. Possibly related to coolant leaking (the band clamp wasn't completely tight). Hopefully this is outside in rather that inside out (meaning a crack in the water jacket). The only way to inspect is to remove the unit, the case and insulation.

I've begun the process of removing the unit from the boat so I can completely clean and inspect everything, especially the fuel system and water jacket.
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Old 11-13-2017, 12:43 AM   #2
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Old 11-13-2017, 01:06 AM   #3
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Hi,


Generally, the reason for smoking white smoke is the long-term use of the appliance with low heat output. The device has a golv pin that is surrounded by a metal screen that is flushed and can cause this smog. Also a low 12V / 24V voltage can cause the problem. When the appliance is switched off, it switches the ignition on the ignition, this purpose is to clean the screen so that the next time you start the appliance the screen will be clean and the fuel will ignite. The cause may also be the burning of the chamber damaged by the damage caused by time, the whole chamber must be replaced by a new one.


You can try to clean the Glow Pin Screen so that you light it up and when the pump starts pumping off the fuel cuts, about 30 seconds. Do this three four times and then try it normally. Loan Genny on or direct power and battery charger on top to maximize the voltage.

Eber and webasto, maby hurricane same system abouts?

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https://www.butlertechnik.com/ebersp...21990113-p1242


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Old 11-13-2017, 01:12 AM   #4
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If you get stuck or need assistance call Josh McPhearson - McPhearson Marine - 206-300-8598. He is the Hurricane Guru.
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Old 11-13-2017, 01:24 AM   #5
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The guys that make it are local, ITR. Marcello is the man, 1 800 755 1272. If you ever see an Hurricane heater being shown at a boat show (I don't know if he's further afield than the PNW) that would be Marcello. Expert and can sell you parts.
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Old 11-13-2017, 02:55 AM   #6
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Fewer the systems, fewer the problems.
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Old 11-13-2017, 06:14 AM   #7
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Before you remove the heater have a Hurricane pro look over system and install. As suggested J McPherson may well be a good starting point. We have a Hurricane on our vessel, know them well. From your post there may several issues coupled with damage. Do you know who did original install and when?

Nothing beats experienced eyes on by the right guy, especially on a new to you vessel. Good luck and stay safe. Leaking diesel and poofs are serious.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:54 AM   #8
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"Fewer the systems, fewer the problems."

I find SIMPLE systems have the least problems.
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Old 11-13-2017, 08:17 AM   #9
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Fewer the systems, fewer the problems.
Right on! But why stop there? People could eliminate boating problems altogether by simply selling their boats!
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Old 11-13-2017, 09:09 AM   #10
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Greetings,
Mr. 99. EXACTLY! Plus, one wouldn't have to ever see or think about the "creepy" fish in the water...

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Old 11-13-2017, 10:19 AM   #11
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Greetings,
Mr. 99. EXACTLY! Plus, one wouldn't have to ever see or think about the "creepy" fish in the water...

Like this guy: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...-to-the-ocean/
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Old 11-13-2017, 11:03 AM   #12
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What was the trouble code that was displayed on your control box? Do you have the manuals for the unit? The trouble shooting information is not so great in the older manuals but there are several video's on you tube on how the system works. If you go to the ITR website they will list the video's there.

The trouble code was probably a 7 which is a flame out. One thing the manuals don't tell you is that if the voltage is low ( below 10.5 volts) it will cause a flame out. Also,one of the weak spots is the compressor. I have had to replace ours on a previous boat once and the one on our current boat has been replaced twice in the past 2 years.

I found that after I understood exactly how the unit functions and when exactly each component should come into play, I was able to figure out what was wrong.
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Old 11-13-2017, 11:12 AM   #13
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Russell,
There were no codes on the control unit in either case. About two weeks ago I did see a low voltage code and the unit shut itself off. This was related to the battery charger being set too low for our usage patterns (the boat previously sat fairly unused) and us on the boat for an entire [cold] day running the heat. I changed the charging setting and the low voltage issue went away the next morning and has not returned.

Thanks for the pointers, we do have the original manual and I've watched every video. YouTube is pretty much on constantly in my house - which drives me kids nuts: "Dad is watching boat videos again!"

FF - The functional concept of this heater is actually quite simple - which I like

Also, thanks all for the contacts. The unit is all but removed at this point and I plan to check the basics...but I'm happy to take it to an expert if I don't find anything obvious (hose, crack, etc).
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Old 11-13-2017, 11:40 AM   #14
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You might find that the exhaust pipe just needs to be sealed better for the smoke part, I used muffler cement on mine to get a good seal. I also added a muffler to the exhaust (they sell them, excellent quality stainless) but the exhaust pipe gets very hot and needs to be well insulated.

If its out already, take it apart and clean everything, check the combustion chamber has no cracks. Good fuel supply (you are NOT sharing with the engine or genset?) and bleed the fuel line carefully. Marcello will guide you too. Its not difficult if you stay out of the control box!
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Old 11-13-2017, 11:52 AM   #15
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Quote:
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You might find that the exhaust pipe just needs to be sealed better for the smoke part, I used muffler cement on mine to get a good seal. I also added a muffler to the exhaust (they sell them, excellent quality stainless) but the exhaust pipe gets very hot and needs to be well insulated.

If its out already, take it apart and clean everything, check the combustion chamber has no cracks. Good fuel supply (you are NOT sharing with the engine or genset?) and bleed the fuel line carefully. Marcello will guide you too. Its not difficult if you stay out of the control box!
Thanks, yes separate fuel feed and return. I'll be calling as soon as I know what I'm dealing with.
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Old 11-13-2017, 01:37 PM   #16
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"FF - The functional concept of this heater is actually quite simple - which I like"

If it is a Hurricane , its first choice for a larger boat as at least it was created for boats , not as a bus or truck heater.

For folks that can live with about 20,000BTU the Dickinson , gravity feed , no electric is still best choice for liveaboards .

A range and at the other end of the boat an Antartic is still cheaper than most complex systems.

Winter cruising is a gas!

Its almost always empty in great harbors that are wall to wall in the summer.

With a 12V electric sheet for 15 min to pre heat the bed , it cant get better.
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Old 11-13-2017, 11:22 PM   #17
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I got over to the boat tonight and was able to remove the outer casing and examined the fuel system, boiler, etc.

Here is what I found:

1. The brass fitting on the pressure side of the fuel pump was not tight.
2. The lowest part of the the boiler insulation was soaked with diesel fuel.
3. The boiler appears to be fine, no cracked outlets, etc. The wetness around the exhaust was coolant not fuel.

My plan is as follows:

1. Re-seal all of the brass fittings in and out of the fuel pump and tighten.
2. Replace the rubber fuel hoses.
3. Replace the boiler insulation.
4. Clean everything (done)

I remembered the fuel pump had a loose mounting bolt. I suspect the hard line connector loosened up through vibration weeping fuel into the case. At some point that flashed and caused the white smoke in the exhaust.

I'm feeling very fortunate this wasn't worse.
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:57 PM   #18
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A short update: I've replaced all of the rubber hoses, re-sealed all of the brass fittings, cleaned the combustion chamber, removed and replaced the gasket sealing the boiler to the combustion chamber (original was black and soaked in diesel), completed every single maintenance item noted in the manual and replaced the original (diesel soaked) insulation with new ceramic (2400 degree) insulation.

Sadly, the results aren't as expected. I can now just replicate the original issue - the burner lights and runs for a few minutes then cuts out, but fuel continues into combustion chamber causing a lot a white smoke until manual shutdown. No error codes (I would have expected a 'flame out' error).

I've called and left a message on a generic voicemail for ITR (concerning because they don't have an actual greeting or receptionist) and it appears that McPherson is no longer in business (bad number, stopped by and their address is an apartment).

Got connected with S3 Marine Services and am working to schedule their Hurricane expert as soon as possible. I suspect the ignition sensor but we'll see.

The good new is that I now have a really good knowledge-base started around these heaters.
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Old 11-20-2017, 08:17 PM   #19
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Man you dove right in . Nothing beats hands on. I hate you couldn't get the problem solved but I bet you're very close. Keep us posted .
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Old 11-20-2017, 09:39 PM   #20
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Does the furnace run in the bypass mode?
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