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Old 04-11-2011, 10:42 PM   #1
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Runaway diesel?

Any one ever have a diesel engine run away on them? Did you find a way to shut it down, or did it run its course?
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:51 PM   #2
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RE: Runaway diesel?

We once had a small horizontal engine in one of our sailboats that ran away a couple times. The only way to stop it was to block the air intake, the problem turned out to be the fuel supply. The installation of an electric fuel pump cured it, seems when it wasn't getting enough fuel.
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:52 PM   #3
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RE: Runaway diesel?

Quote:
7tiger7 wrote:
Any one ever have a diesel engine run away on them? Did you find a way to shut it down, or did it run its course?
*No, but... I do know that the next thing you need to do is cut off the air supply. Rip off the air cleaner and shove a rag in it. That is, assuming the engine shutoff didn't work.

*
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Old 04-11-2011, 11:44 PM   #4
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RE: Runaway diesel?

Don't put a rag to it if it's turbo'd, better a plywood (or any rigid flat material) cap that will choke off the air without drawing it in.
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Old 04-12-2011, 12:46 AM   #5
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RE: Runaway diesel?

Positive air shut-offs are available for most diesel engines for a couple of hundred bucks. It would save your engine (and boat) if you had a propane leak while underway if it was to get into your engine compartment. They're also a good anti-theft device. I wouldn't recommend a rag.
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Old 04-12-2011, 05:10 AM   #6
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RE: Runaway diesel?

Nothing light! I worked at a dealership in the 80's and saw a runaway truck engine suck in a phonebook!
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Old 04-12-2011, 05:39 AM   #7
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RE: Runaway diesel?

My 1980 VW rabbit diesel would runaway often but only with the pedal down on the expressway. And trust me the added power was a good thing!

*
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Old 04-12-2011, 05:44 AM   #8
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RE: Runaway diesel?

I had a runaway starter once. I was sailing offshore on a very quiet day just trying to keep the sails filled. Suddenly the starter powered up and kept grinding. I fiddled around trying to figure out what was going on and finally stopped it by turning off the main selector switch. It turned out that I had a slight coolant leak that slowly built up a streak of corrosion products that bridged across the terminals for the starter solenoid.
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:14 AM   #9
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RE: Runaway diesel?

The fuel injection pump is the greatest cause of run away engine's. Check that out before the engine "daylights", or throws a piston through the block. I saw a Cat 3306 daylight at 4200rpm. Messy and extremely destructive.
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:41 AM   #10
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RE: Runaway diesel?

The older Detroits had an emergency flapper that cut off the air. Remember the little remotely mounted pull gizmos? They had to be manually re cocked in the engine room.
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:47 AM   #11
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RE: Runaway diesel?

I have oftern worried about a runaway engine. On mine, there is a solenoid that shuts off the fuel supply. That's not what would be called a "fail safe" system.

In theory, the fuel supply can be shut off manually but I haven't been able to identify the rod or lever I would need to push and it's on the side of the engine away from the hatch opening so I would have to climb around a rotating belt and pulleys. Not really a safe option.

My plan is to remove the air cleaner and block the opening but I don't really have a plan of what to block it with. I suppose a piece of plywood with a handle should be made and kept nearby.
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Old 04-12-2011, 10:16 AM   #12
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RE: Runaway diesel?

rwidman, I know your plan is sincere. Now add the chaos of your engine turning 5000+RPMs screaming in the engine room. Do you think you are going to have the fortitude and concentration to remove the air cleaner and block it with something.....not to mention the hazard of the engine coming apart.

Also, fuel is not always the fuel source in a runaway situation. If the engine can somehow gets it's mouth on some crank case oil, that will do the trick also....or like someone else said, propane. Diesel engines LOVE propane. Propane is to diesel engines what nitrous oxide is to gasoline engines.
My wife's company's main clientele is sportfishermen. Detroit Diesel had just repowered(or rebuilt) one of their clients boats(12V) and her boss was one of the unfortunate ones to be on board for the sea trial. One of the engines ran away due to an improperly installed injection pump. There are not many things that are gonna stop a V12 engine from it's hunger for air while turning xxxxRPMs. The engine came apart. Luckily, no one was hurt and the structure of the boat was not harmed. The Detroit people held up there end of the bargain by taking care of all of the damage and clean up. He said the engine room was black and dripping with oil. To say he was frazzled when he got back to the office is an understatement.

I bought a boat from a guy that had a small Hunter Sailboat with a one cylinder Yanmar in it. There was a low clearance bridge between his house and the bay(Bay St. Louis, Ms.). He said he was able to "Tip" his boat(ie heal it over) and get a few more inches/feet of clearance. One time the tide was a little higher so he got his whole crew on the rail and was clearing the bridge. Well the crankcase oil somehow made it into the combustion chamber due to the tilting of the engine and it ran away. In his case, a rag would work and it did.

PS...there are "tipping services" along the Okiechobee Waterway for those pesky 5xft bridges...
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:17 AM   #13
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RE: Runaway diesel?

The 671 almost was a run a way.* The seal between the fuel pump and the oil pan/sump failed so diesel was being pump straight into the oil pan.* If the diesel/oil mixture got high enough the engine would have run away.* Lucky, I check the oil every time I start it and noticed the oil level as about 1 to 2 inch higher than it should be?* The cause was the new low and ultra low sulfur diesel does damage older seals.* When we pump out the oil there was 7 gallons instead the not normal 5 gallons.*
*
The only good news is the diesel oil mixture clearned all the gunk out of the 671.* So if you have an older engines make sure you check the oil level for low and*HIGH levels.*
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:57 AM   #14
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RE: Runaway diesel?

As I understand it the problem on the 2-strokes is that some particular combination of events can lead the engine to run off its own oil sump.* I've never paid enough attention to the problem to understand it fully but the concept is that the engine draws air through the crankcase and picks up enough oil in the process to sustain combustion.* That's why Detroit incorporated the shutdown flapper but it doesn't exist on all 2-strokes.* My 8-92TA in my bus for example doesn't have one and I don't understand why not - perhaps because it is turboed.* I've never paid close enough attention to see whether that is the difference but I know from hard experience that a Detroit with the flapper tripped will either not start at all or will run like **** once it does start.
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Old 04-12-2011, 02:40 PM   #15
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RE: Runaway diesel?

What about a wood plug, cut / shaped to fit into air intake for a tight fit? I have a turbo, and would think the turbo impeller would just shred the rag once it got sucked in.
Oh and I heard that if the engine sucks in halon, it will not shut it down, but will only combust the halon, and produce toxic exhaust...
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:02 PM   #16
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RE: Runaway diesel?

Haven't had a runaway, but a friend had a Yanmar 3GM in his yacht and, after partying too hard one night, (loud stereo = dead batteries) had to hand-crank it in the morning. It kicked back and fired up running backwards!

Blowing the exhaust through the air filter quickly filled the boat with fumes -* we all thought it was funny as a fight!
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:03 PM   #17
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RE: Runaway diesel?

Engines will combust halon, and the reason most of the new boats have an automatic shut down if the halon goes off.* Our insurance required we install an automatic shut down on the gen set as boaters tend to leave the running while away from the boat. **
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:07 PM   #18
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RE: Runaway diesel?

Funny as a fight. Now that is a new one on me.

Can I use that.

*

SD

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Old 04-12-2011, 03:59 PM   #19
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RE: Runaway diesel?

You're welcome - maybe it's antipodean.....
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Old 04-12-2011, 04:20 PM   #20
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RE: Runaway diesel?

Are you refering to the land mass *or the artists?

SD*
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