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Old 08-09-2011, 07:50 PM   #1
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The incredible never-die genset

Recently bought the boat - one sticking point was the genset which would not start (1987 Westerbeke 4.4KW, 2 cylinder with close to 1000 hours). As a condition of sale, they got it running. Cruised to a nearby port yesterday, picked up a mooring (after a 60 MPH squall came through and my anchor dragged) and went to start the genset the next morning for coffee (all electric galley). It started right up with the voltmeter showing 80-90 V. I figured it needed to warm up a little, so went out on deck to clean up a bit after the storm. A few minutes later it started knocking, running rough and volts went to zero. I hit the "stop" switch and nothing happened. I went down to the engine room and hit the emergency stop switch on the genset and nothing happened. The engine was obviously running (roughly) on only one cylinder. I turned off the fuel supply on the manifold and nothing happened. I shut down all electrical systems on the boat (genset has an auxiliary fuel pump) and nothing happened - it continued to run. I took out the in-line fuse to the pump (was it direct from the battery?) and nothing happened. I disconnected the fuel line at the secondary filter and it continued to run. I disconnected and duct-taped the air intake hose and it continued to run. All this took about 45 minutes (very difficult access to genset), and it was running along on one cylinder. I finally traced the fuel lines to the injectors and loosened the line going into the injector manifold and it finally stopped. Unfortunately I couldn't get to the individual injectors and loosen each one separately because then I could have identified the bad cylinder. Now it's up to the mechanic.
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Old 08-09-2011, 08:01 PM   #2
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RE: The incredible never-die genset

You blew it!* You had the first perpetual motion machine in history and you killed it!

You don't work for Exxon do you?*

*
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:52 AM   #3
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RE: The incredible never-die genset

Could it have thought it was a 30,000 hour Detroit , and the rings were so shot it was operating on its lube oil ?
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:54 AM   #4
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RE: The incredible never-die genset

Sounds like it might be a bad (sticking) *fuel solenoid to me. Notorious for that genset. *If so that is a very easy fix.
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Old 08-10-2011, 06:02 AM   #5
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RE: The incredible never-die genset

FF -

My thoughts exactly. There is such poor access to the unit that there has been little or no maintenance on the genset. Probably hasn't had the oil changed more than a few times during it's life. I'll have to do some serious thinking on how much to invest in this thing to get it reliable.

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Old 08-10-2011, 09:56 AM   #6
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RE: The incredible never-die genset

Might want to check the oil to see if the level is to high and/or*oil is*thin and clean looking.* Might have diesel in it.*
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Old 08-10-2011, 06:40 PM   #7
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RE: The incredible never-die genset

Mechanic's opinion is a stuck valve. If it were blow-by from bad rings the exhaust would have been black. Although I didn't critically evaluate the exhaust during all this, my wife, who is pretty tuned into these things, said there was no black (or white) exhaust. Mechanic is too busy to handle this right now, and we're planning on moving the boat down to the Chesapeake from Rhode Island, so I guess we'll cruise the old fashioned way without a genset. A good cooler with plenty of ice and my Magma grill should be enough. I'll pull the head when we get down there and get it looked at for a top end rebuild.

Mechanic did tell me about the solenoid which must have also been stuck making the emergency cut-off non-operational.

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Old 08-10-2011, 07:08 PM   #8
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RE: The incredible never-die genset

Mechanic did tell me about the solenoid which must have also been stuck making the emergency cut-off non-operational.

Get a spare. This will eventually be an issue
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:09 PM   #9
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RE: The incredible never-die genset

Quote:
dvd wrote:
Recently bought the boat - one sticking point was the genset which would not start (1987 Westerbeke 4.4KW, 2 cylinder with close to 1000 hours). As a condition of sale, they got it running. Cruised to a nearby port yesterday, picked up a mooring (after a 60 MPH squall came through and my anchor dragged) and went to start the genset the next morning for coffee (all electric galley). It started right up with the voltmeter showing 80-90 V. I figured it needed to warm up a little, so went out on deck to clean up a bit after the storm. A few minutes later it started knocking, running rough and volts went to zero. I hit the "stop" switch and nothing happened. I went down to the engine room and hit the emergency stop switch on the genset and nothing happened. The engine was obviously running (roughly) on only one cylinder. I turned off the fuel supply on the manifold and nothing happened. I shut down all electrical systems on the boat (genset has an auxiliary fuel pump) and nothing happened - it continued to run. I took out the in-line fuse to the pump (was it direct from the battery?) and nothing happened. I disconnected the fuel line at the secondary filter and it continued to run. I disconnected and duct-taped the air intake hose and it continued to run. All this took about 45 minutes (very difficult access to genset), and it was running along on one cylinder. I finally traced the fuel lines to the injectors and loosened the line going into the injector manifold and it finally stopped. Unfortunately I couldn't get to the individual injectors and loosen each one separately because then I could have identified the bad cylinder. Now it's up to the mechanic.
*I have a Westerbeke 4.5 and the sucker won't quit.* Loud as Heck but makes the A/C work better than my dirt house.* I think running it is good for it.* Change the oil every season.
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