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Old 05-31-2018, 08:04 AM   #1
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Starting Generator After 4 Years Idle

Our 12.5 Westerbeke (c. 1987) hasn’t been started in almost four years because I allowed all the other upgrades to distract me and because we haven’t been away from shore power overnight. I did change the oil before laying it up (but will do so again before we start using it regularly). Besides that and a new impeller, what should I do or look for when firing up? There is also an issue about proper ground connections that I have to research.
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Old 05-31-2018, 12:28 PM   #2
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Gas/diesel? They sold both in 12.5kw.
Diesel - if the fuel system remained closed it will probably start w/o problems. If you have some type of engine heater, I'd run that for an hour. You could check for air in the fuel at the injector pump bleed port. I wouldn't change oil until it been run at operating temp for some time. Then you get all the accumulated water flushed out with the oil change.

I've started a lot of long sitting diesels, some mothballed and some not. 90% start w/o problems. The ones with problems usually have air in the fuel or it's a really cold engine. Pistons don't usually stick in diesels. Rings tend to loose some of their sealing ability when sitting for long periods, especially in cold winters. So pre warming the engine helps.

Gas - you'll be lucky if the rings aren't stuck to the cylinders or the carb isn't gummed up.
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Old 05-31-2018, 12:37 PM   #3
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Bar it over several turns before trying a start. Not uncommon for injection pump plungers to varnish up and stick. If hard to bar over, don't force.

If it turns over ok, give 'er a go.
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Old 05-31-2018, 08:49 PM   #4
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I would take the injectors out and flood the cylinders with seafoam spray, wait a few hours flood them again, and then spin it over with the starter to get some oil pressure going. The excess seafoam will squirt out of the injector ports so cover them with a towel.


Then fire it on up.


I would also replace the raw water hoses considering what might have taken up residence in the past years...
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Old 05-31-2018, 10:48 PM   #5
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I would take the injectors out and flood the cylinders with seafoam spray, wait a few hours flood them again, and then spin it over with the starter to get some oil pressure going. The excess seafoam will squirt out of the injector ports so cover them with a towel.


Then fire it on up.


I would also replace the raw water hoses considering what might have taken up residence in the past years...
This is, if within your mechanical ability, very smart. Personally I would use Chemtool B-12 for a shorter period (it is more harsh, but thus more effective) but otherwise the same procedure. IME the Seafoam is OK, but the Chemtool would also get at gunk on the rings the Seafoam wonít touch, and do it in less time.
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Old 05-31-2018, 11:49 PM   #6
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And if you do take the above advice, make sure the fuel is shut off!
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Old 06-01-2018, 12:15 AM   #7
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This is, if within your mechanical ability, very smart. Personally I would use Chemtool B-12 for a shorter period (it is more harsh, but thus more effective) but otherwise the same procedure. IME the Seafoam is OK, but the Chemtool would also get at gunk on the rings the Seafoam wonít touch, and do it in less time.
Yes - Seafoam is OK. Chemtool is very aggressive. I use both at different times for different reasons.
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Old 06-01-2018, 11:15 PM   #8
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Mine sat for 8 years after 10 years hard living in the Caribbean, same genny too.



When you do run it, throw the breaker so it doesnt energize anything for a couple run cycles. Let the generator end spin without a load so the bearing can "decrust" a bit before loading it.


Make real sure the coolant is flowing, mine was stopped up completely after running for a couple hours. The exhaust manifold plugged up solid from what looked like salt crystals. Probably just a desperate move of the PO, but you never know.


By the way, they love straight 40 wt rotella. The engine runs so much quieter.
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Old 06-02-2018, 07:00 AM   #9
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Thanks, all. I did replace the exhaust manifold three years ago . . . and the oil before it was stored for what I thought would be a season. The hoses look good and the impeller is new. The heat exchanger tubes are reasonably open, but could probably use boiling or barnacle buster.

Iíve never had the injectors out, but if itís straightforward, Iím can probably manage. I need to read up on Seafoam and Chemtool to see if theyíre going to be necessary.
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Old 06-02-2018, 08:33 AM   #10
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I see no need in pulling injectors and putting any magic fluid in. Just bar it over a few turns and if it rolls over smoothly, give it a start.

I've started scores of engines that have sat for years. These little gennie engines are TOUGH. Bearings still have a film of oil on them. If injection hardware needs attention, barring over will tell you by hitting a hard spot. If no hard spot in barring, you won't damage anything with the starter.

Pretty good chance it will kick right over like you shut it down yesterday. If not, then go tearing into things.
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Old 06-03-2018, 11:22 AM   #11
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I'm with Ski.

Bar it over and give it a twirl with the gen breakers off, no load.

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Old 06-03-2018, 12:31 PM   #12
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How do you "bar it over?" I assume it is some sort of breaker bar on the flywheel. How do you attach it?
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Old 06-03-2018, 01:12 PM   #13
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Socket wrench on crankshaft pulley bolt. "Barring" as a term comes from big engines where you did use a prybar to roll it prior to start. Little engines put a wrench on crank bolt.
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Old 06-03-2018, 01:36 PM   #14
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Thanks Ski.
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Old 06-19-2018, 04:42 PM   #15
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So, today was the day. After barring it over, per Ski, I installed the starter cables, checked the oil and impeller, topped off the coolant and replaced the fuel filter. It started immediately . . . and then stalled after 10 seconds. Did that several more times, finally refusing to start at all until it rested a few minutes. Then the cycle repeated. The gauge showed good oil pressure and water was flowing from the exhaust. Fuel is new, clean and prefiltered. I suspect a sensor (it’s a 4-cyl Westerbeke 12.5-614 circa 1987).

A guy who works on diesels suggested jumping the wires on the oil pressure, exhaust and any other sensors to isolate the problem. Does that sound like a reasonable approach?
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Old 06-19-2018, 07:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
Gas/diesel? They sold both in 12.5kw.
Diesel - if the fuel system remained closed it will probably start w/o problems. If you have some type of engine heater, I'd run that for an hour. You could check for air in the fuel at the injector pump bleed port. I wouldn't change oil until it been run at operating temp for some time. Then you get all the accumulated water flushed out with the oil change.

I've started a lot of long sitting diesels, some mothballed and some not. 90% start w/o problems. The ones with problems usually have air in the fuel or it's a really cold engine. Pistons don't usually stick in diesels. Rings tend to loose some of their sealing ability when sitting for long periods, especially in cold winters. So pre warming the engine helps.

Gas - you'll be lucky if the rings aren't stuck to the cylinders or the carb isn't gummed up.
That sounds like air in the fuel lines or filters(especially after you just replaced the fuel filter), pump it up and bleed it out at the injector pump.
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Old 06-19-2018, 10:51 PM   #17
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Thanks. This model Westerbekes is supposed to have a self-bleeding fuel system, but I may have not held the pre-heat switch on long enough to fully bleed it. Also, failing to hold the pre-heat switch for a few seconds after starting can cause it to shut down from low oil pressure. Still pondering.
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Old 06-19-2018, 11:37 PM   #18
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Thanks. This model Westerbekes is supposed to have a self-bleeding fuel system, but I may have not held the pre-heat switch on long enough to fully bleed it. Also, failing to hold the pre-heat switch for a few seconds after starting can cause it to shut down from low oil pressure. Still pondering.
My WB won't run until the oil pressure is consistently high enough to turn off the "low oil pressure" sensor. It is controlled by the pre-heat switch, so the routine is to pre-heat for 10 to 15 secs, lift the start switch and hold it up until the oil pressure has built enough to pass the set point on the low pressure switch, then release both the pre-heat and the start. That takes about another 7 to 10 seconds.
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Old 06-20-2018, 06:33 AM   #19
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Unless your fuel lines are ultra long...after a few starts it should be self bled.

I would jumper the 3 shutdown sensors to immediately eliminate that possibility and check the connections at the fuel solenoid too. Both times I had similar symptoms, it was a loose wire and just going to jumper the srnsors I had the genset back running in minutes.

Plus its a simple troubleshooting procedure that takes just a few minutes and costs nothing.

Side bar..... I believe the start procedure is preheat for as long as you think necessary, usually a few seconds to 10 or 15 unless freezing..... start button......release start button as soon as engine starts still holding preheat/overide button....... release overide/preheat button as oil pressure stabilizes but usually once past 25 or so you should good. Pretty much the same for many older gensets.

Offhand I dont see holding the starter button past start as a problem....it just isnt necessary. Hopefully Ski can sum things up better.
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Old 06-20-2018, 07:02 PM   #20
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I tried again today. Held the preheat a few seconds after it started and it ran for 5-10 seconds and quit. Became increasingly harder to start after that.

I jumpered the exhaust gas and water temp sensors (clipped the two wires together) and no change. When I attempted to jumper what I believed to be the oil pressure sender, I got sparks. This is on the outboard side of the engine, tight up against a wall and Iím not really sure what Iím looking at. The Westerbeke parts manual identifies it as the generator safety shutdown sensor, but thereís a lot of other stuff hidden back there.

Tomorrow Iíll try to find the fuel solenoid. If thereís only one wire to a sensor, how do you jump it? Clip it to ground or just detach it?

Thanks.
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