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Old 11-19-2015, 03:38 PM   #21
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quick cheater for the lift pump instead of laying on the engine (god forbid it's hot):

1. drill a small hole near the end of that lever.
2. run a string/wire/whatever through it
3. attach it to the ceiling(bulkhead?) above the engine so you can just reach across and pull the string (line?) instead of leaning way down to get to the damn lift pump lever.
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Old 11-19-2015, 06:35 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Gabe n Em View Post
quick cheater for the lift pump instead of laying on the engine (god forbid it's hot):

1. drill a small hole near the end of that lever.
2. run a string/wire/whatever through it
3. attach it to the ceiling(bulkhead?) above the engine so you can just reach across and pull the string (line?) instead of leaning way down to get to the damn lift pump lever.
That's a great idea! My spring has disappeared off the lever though, so I have to push it both ways. But I have an electric fuel pump in line, so once I figured out how to use it.... filter changes (and bleeding) are a breeze. Usually I can do a filter change and not have to bleed the engine. (excepting the secondary on the block)

About your engine. Have you considered installing an aftermarket fuel pump in line, after the primarys, with a tee to a vent line and valve. This way you can suck all the air out of the system after fuel changes, and you have a pressurized fuel system to help the lift pump. The great thing about these is you can see the bubbles escaping when you vent with the fuel pump, and know when the air is out when you get good flow. I keep a couple old water bottles on hand in the filter bucket just for this reason. And I dump the diesel back in the tanks, since it has been through two filters on the way through the pump. These pumps cost about 20 bucks, plus the cost of a couple hose clamps, a tee and a valve on the end of the hose.
Sometimes I wonder if the PO installed it because of fuel lift pump issues or just to make filter changes so easy!?
Here's an example NEJE 12V Electric Diesel Petrol Fuel Pump 2015 – $12.99
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Old 11-20-2015, 04:19 AM   #23
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All great advice.
Someone said that bleeding Perkins was a barsteward. it needn't be, there's a technical reason, and remedy, for every fault
When bleeding the fuel system, don't forget, ALWAYS open, and bleed, the top bleed screw on the injector pump. then proceed to the injectors.
BUT if you take my advice and fit a replacement modified filter head with longer banjo bolt and change it over to a 'Spin On' type fuel filter head incorporating a button pump, bleeding the engine becomes a thing of the past and a regular subject here on TF..
In the meantime, as and when you check each union/joint, take a flat file, lay it flat, then, then one by one, put each copper washer flat on the file, place your thumb on top of the washer and gently rub it up and down the file until the face of the washer is bright and shiny with no tracks or imperfections on it's face, turn it over and repeat on the other side, reassemble carefully and bleed the system.
Go for the technically easy route and leave the mental masturbation to others with nothing else to do.
Don't misunderstand me I love tinkering around engines, but only to make them more reliable and work for me so I can cruise in comfort.
Good Luck and a speedy solution.
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Old 11-20-2015, 06:52 AM   #24
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Perkins

I just remembered an old problem we had back in the 70s. It was a 4 cylinder Perkins on a generator. Sometimes would run all day, sometimes would shut down after 10 minutes. If I recall correctly it was the lift pump that had deteriorated in such a way that it would work sporadically. It tested fine when first checked and was discounted as the problem. Later in frustration it was changed and fixed the problem.
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Old 11-20-2015, 07:33 AM   #25
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Lift pump diaphragms degrade over time and will leak causing this type of problem.
The leaks can be miniscule and very difficult to see even if you take the pump apart. As you have no idea how old they are and they are cheap ..... replace them.
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Old 11-20-2015, 05:54 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe n Em View Post
quick cheater for the lift pump instead of laying on the engine (god forbid it's hot):

1. drill a small hole near the end of that lever.
2. run a string/wire/whatever through it
3. attach it to the ceiling(bulkhead?) above the engine so you can just reach across and pull the string (line?) instead of leaning way down to get to the damn lift pump lever.
My wife will love this tip - thanks! (She's my primer operator, while I do the bleeding.)
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Old 11-20-2015, 06:02 PM   #27
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A NEW CLUE!

Back at the boat today, ready to check every connection for a leak. First place to look (since it was recently serviced, which seemed to nearly coincide with the beginning of the problem) was the Racor 500. Took the lid off to check the gasket, and it was NOT full of fuel. I immediately looked at the one on the other engine, and it was full of fuel. As I recall from the previous fuel filter change, it SHOULD be full of fuel. (We've done it only once since we haven't owned the boat that long.)

If there's air in the top inch or two of the Racor, and the Racor is the first thing in the fuel system after the tank (and about 4 feet of heavy gauge flexible fuel line), does it seem like maybe the Racor unit itself is allowing air in? The gasket was perfect, but I changed it anyway, and after bleeding and running some more, checked again, and again there was air in the top inch or so of the Racor. Does this make anyone go "Aha! it has to be <fill in the blank with the answer>!"?

(If not, I'll be investigating every other suggestion made above, and for way less than $100, I'll be replacing the lift pump, just for good measure.)
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Old 11-20-2015, 06:14 PM   #28
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Two questions
  1. What is the level of the fuel in the tank in relation to the Racor?
  2. Are both engines drawing from the same or different tanks?
The fuel lift pump change out will certainly fill in a few blanks.
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Old 11-20-2015, 06:25 PM   #29
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Greetings,
Mr. BS. Aha! It has to be....EXACTLY the same scenario as I conveyed in post #19. Engine stalls, Racor low on fuel. Replace that 4' of heavy gauge flexible fuel line.
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Old 11-21-2015, 06:44 AM   #30
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. . . the Racor 500 . .gasket was perfect, but I changed it anyway.
Ah Ha! So problem appears after filter change eh?

There is an O-ring seal around the shaft of the T-handle. Did you change that too?
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Old 11-21-2015, 11:02 AM   #31
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And lube the new o rings/seals with either diesel or Vaseline so they seal well.
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Old 11-21-2015, 11:28 AM   #32
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Brian

Two questions
  1. What is the level of the fuel in the tank in relation to the Racor?
  2. Are both engines drawing from the same or different tanks?
The fuel lift pump change out will certainly fill in a few blanks.
If the tank were completely full, the level would be to an inch or two below the tops of the Racors. But the fuel level now is considerably lower, maybe even below the bottom of the Racors.

The boat has only one fuel tank. Each engine has a separate "tap" into the top of the tank, with its own tube, shut-off valve, line to the Racor, etc. IOW, completely separate fuel systems, drawing from a common tank.
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Old 11-21-2015, 11:29 AM   #33
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And lube the new o rings/seals with either diesel or Vaseline so they seal well.
Yep, learned that from my dad, the first time we changed the oil in my car when I was 16. Never install a dry gasket or o-ring.
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Old 11-21-2015, 11:33 AM   #34
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Ah Ha! So problem appears after filter change eh?

There is an O-ring seal around the shaft of the T-handle. Did you change that too?
Yep. And today, I'm going to swap the lids between the two Racors as a test of something in the lid leaking. But it's such a simple thing (the lid, gasket and o-ring), and everything looks clean and in great shape, I doubt that's it. Thanks, though.
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Old 11-21-2015, 11:35 AM   #35
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Greetings,
Mr. BS. Aha! It has to be....EXACTLY the same scenario as I conveyed in post #19. Engine stalls, Racor low on fuel. Replace that 4' of heavy gauge flexible fuel line.
Alright, RTF - that makes the most sense, so that'll be today's Job One.
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Old 11-21-2015, 11:54 AM   #36
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Greetings,
Mr. BS. Well, sir, if it ISN'T the problem I give you permission to be the first this week to call me a craven, flap mouthed wagtail.
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Old 11-21-2015, 02:02 PM   #37
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Do you have a vacuum gauge on top of your Racor? IF so is it rising at all or staying on 0? These are a great tools for trouble shooting issues like you are having.

On many vessels the Racor is well below the fuel level providing the desired flooded suction at that point. With your Racor bowl partially emptying it indicates either fuel is draining back to the tank due to a air leak at the Racor or line up to injection pump. Or as RT suggests a Racor feed line issue.

Keep at it Brian you will get there
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Old 11-21-2015, 06:19 PM   #38
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RT, as it's Saturday, and my local hydraulic supply shop is closed, this will have to wait until... well, after Thanksgiving at this point. (Heading out of town Monday morning for a week.)

Sunchaser, there is a vacuum gauge on top of the Racor, and it's inconsistent. During this ordeal, I've seen it go up to as much as about 3 inches while the engine is running, but yesterday while it was running, it was resting on 0. If all is working as it should, there should be a small amount of vacuum, right? Too much is bad (dirty filter, probably), but too little is bad, too? (Air is pulling on the base of the gauge, rather than liquid?)

New lift pump and Racor rebuild kit both ordered. Soon, I will have replaced or rebuilt the entire system from the top of the fuel tank to the lift pump. After that, it's a solid metal pipe to the on-engine filter, and only solid metal pips from that point on.

BTW, today when taking pix of the lift pump to make sure I buy the right one, I noticed the one on the trouble engine is pretty old, while the one on the other engine looks to have been replaced quite recently. Doesn't prove anything, I know, but does seem to add a little suspicion to the lift pump.

Glad I've got some time before the next planned voyage. Thanks, all, for the input!
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Old 11-22-2015, 06:54 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe n Em View Post
quick cheater for the lift pump instead of laying on the engine (god forbid it's hot):

1. drill a small hole near the end of that lever.
2. run a string/wire/whatever through it
3. attach it to the ceiling(bulkhead?) above the engine so you can just reach across and pull the string (line?) instead of leaning way down to get to the damn lift pump lever.


That is a great idea. I like the way you think.
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Old 11-22-2015, 08:21 AM   #40
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One sneaky quick test is to get engine running, then turn off fuel supply valve on top of tank. Watch racor vac gauge, should go up rapidly since supply is off. Then open valve and gauge should drop to zero.

Watch bowl when valve is opened and see if there is a big burp of air coming through cyclone, if so you may have a vacuum leak.

If vac gauge does NOT show high vac with valve closed, then lift pump is probably weak.

Always keep a spare lift pump on the boat!! They poop often and randomly.
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