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Old 06-15-2013, 01:49 AM   #1
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Engine stopped

After a couple hours cruising around Elliott Bay, the port engine died as I entered the marina. I was able to dock with one engine and the bow thruster, thankfully. About 30 minutes later it started with no problem. Dirty fuel, clogged filter, air in the line??? The racors have 100 hours but the diesel is a couple years old.
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Old 06-15-2013, 05:11 AM   #2
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with a large tank and old fuel the most likely reason is that the motion stirred up the crud from the bottom of the tank
after similar experiences, consider the following (have been through all of it)
- change both racors immediately! and have lots of spares before going to sea again (best if you install a vacuum gauge an monitor it at least every hour)
- there are cheap tests for bacteria to help you distinguish bacterial contamination ( fuel bugs) from chemical degradation of old fuel. in the first case, you need antibiotic treatment
- may be necessary to clean tanks if large amounts of dirt have accumulated
- might be a good idea to install a fuel polishing system ( in principle a sort of big racor with a recirculating pump)
- a day tank behind the fuel polishing filter


so most likely you are welcome in the bad fuel club ... although I hope for you that it was just some air bubbles from a leaking fuel line ...
hope my short comments are of some help
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Old 06-15-2013, 07:15 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by drb1025 View Post
After a couple hours cruising around Elliott Bay, the port engine died as I entered the marina. I was able to dock with one engine and the bow thruster, thankfully. About 30 minutes later it started with no problem. Dirty fuel, clogged filter, air in the line??? The racors have 100 hours but the diesel is a couple years old.
Before you get talked into a wild goose chase, you need to supply quite bit more information.

Did you perform any maintenance or change anything before going for the cruise?

Did the engine quit suddenly without any warning sign like slow loss of power or slowly diminishing rpm? Did it "stumble" for a while before quitting?

Did the engine sound normal before it quit?

Was it hot?

Is there oil in it? Enough? Normal color and smell?

Was there any smoke or unusual smell?

Any unusual noises?

Were the gauge readings normal until the engine quit?

Were they normal after you restarted it?

Are both engines fed from the same fuel source?

What happened after it quit? Did you attempt to restart immediately? Did it crank normally? Did it "want" to start but did not?

Would it idle normally but quit again when you put it in gear?

While the incident is still fresh in your mind, make some notes of everything you can recall about before during and after.

Don't just do something ... stand there and think about it for a while.
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Old 06-15-2013, 07:42 AM   #4
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Good input
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:11 AM   #5
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Engines - model - year - - JD? At what RPM did/does problem occur? Out of fuel? On a DeFever, be sure your fuel manifold valving is turned to return to same tanks as drawing from. A stupid question, did someone hit the engine stop? As stated, don't start tearing things apart.
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:36 AM   #6
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Don't just do something ... stand there and think about it for a while.
The best analytical approach that can be given.

Some diagnostic equipment (vacuum gauge/fuel press gauge), the collective wisdom on this forum and others will prevent you from chasing the wrong goose.

A typical response from a mechanic: Uh, lets replace the injector pump and let's see what happens.

Incidentally, what does the racor element on the failed engine look like and how does it compare with the engine that didn't fail?
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Old 06-15-2013, 09:32 AM   #7
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You mentioned 100 hours on your Racors. We have "clean" fuel but usually our 2 micron Racor 900 filters need to be switched over to the standby filter after 60 hours or so. Do you have a Racor vacuum gauge to indicate clogging? The length of time your filter will run is dependent on fuel quality, engine size, fuel return flow, filter volume size and filter retention size (2 micron vs 5 micron). I would assume the problem is simply that you need to change out the filter. Start there and keep an eye on the vacuum gauge. If you do not have one, fit one. It is very easy and inexpensive.
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Old 06-15-2013, 10:59 AM   #8
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Thanks for the great feedback! Here is additional information.

The engine is a 2010 JD 4045TFM75. Oil and coolant normal. The engine abruptly died while engaged at idle speed in the marina fairway. It was not overheated and there were no warning signs. After a couple of minutes, it restarted, which lasted momentarily, then after put in gear, it stopped again. Fuel manifold set correctly, engines are fed from separate tanks. It sounds like an overdue fuel filter change, which I will take care of today.
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Old 06-15-2013, 11:14 AM   #9
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if an engine suddenly dies after put in gear, just add a fouled propeller to the long lists of possible diagnoses
and change the filters anyway after 100 h
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Old 06-15-2013, 11:55 AM   #10
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if an engine suddenly dies after put in gear, just add a fouled propeller to the long lists of possible diagnoses
and change the filters anyway after 100 h
Good thought. My diver told me the barnacle bloom is horrible this year. He said Kingston is especially bad. He cleaned my boat in Port Orchard a few days ago and said there was almost an inch of barnacles on the metal surfaces - prop, shaft, thru hulls and thruster. He did the last cleaning in April, so only a couple of months to create this growth. The cleaning added almost a knot to my speed over water.

Don't know about Elliot Bay but you might ask around your neighbors to see if your area has a similar problem.

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Old 06-15-2013, 08:13 PM   #11
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If you get a chance try cutting open one of the old filter cans, you will be able to see if it is badly blocked and get an idea of what sort of crud might be in the tanks. Maybe the "problem" is simply the filter doing it's job.
Good luck
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:12 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by drb1025 View Post
After a couple hours cruising around Elliott Bay, the port engine died as I entered the marina. I was able to dock with one engine and the bow thruster, thankfully. About 30 minutes later it started with no problem. Dirty fuel, clogged filter, air in the line??? The racors have 100 hours but the diesel is a couple years old.
I know of two new Selenes that suffered engine shutdowns due to construction debris in the tank right at fuel pick up. Since your twins draw from separate tanks, this may be a possibility to consider. When did you last change out the on engine filters?
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:33 AM   #13
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It sounds like an overdue fuel filter change, which I will take care of today.
Let us know if this fixes the issue. We can all learn from your experience.
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Old 06-16-2013, 01:32 PM   #14
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Fortunately new filters seem to have solved the problem for now. I'll get the fuel tested to see if polishing is in order and/or treatment is required. Thanks for the suggestions and feedback!
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Old 06-16-2013, 01:56 PM   #15
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Pump some into a clear jar and let it settle.
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Old 06-17-2013, 03:57 AM   #16
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only the others boaters have bad fuel ...

if your tanks have a drain at the lowest point (which they should), a first step after the filter change should be to drain the water and crud that might have accumulated there (wait until the boat has rested a few hours in a protected place like a marina without to much movement)

just for illustration: In the attached pic you see what I got from the port tank a few month ago, starboard was only a little better;
I had been getting lazy during the winter and hadn't run the fuel polishing for about 4 month - and yes, I didn't drain the tanks until my Separs (primary filters) started clogging once the sea was getting less friendly during a short trip to a nearby iland. Adding to my lazyness is the fact that getting to the drain plug is not easy and involves connecting a draintube by squeezing myself behind the genset ...

and I should have known better of course, but after beeing trouble free for a while (probably due to regular fuel polishing and prophylactic antibiotics), I showed normal human behaviour and 'forgot' about it. Trouble from bad fuel is only for the others, you know. I hope that now, I'll keep my routine with two 2x year draining of the deepest point of the tank and weekly fuel polishing (just pumping everything through a huge filter for a few hours).

I am curious what you find at the bottom of your tanks - if that is clean it might not be the main problem.
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