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Old 08-17-2022, 02:18 PM   #1
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Westerbeke Generator, not turning over

Couldn't start the generator a few days ago so here's what I know;

A socket on the crank would not turn it at all.

I loosened the alternator belt and tried again. Nothing.

I took out the starter motor and tried again. Solid in either rotational direction.

These are indicating the engine is ceased, but why? It ran fine the last time. Does is require serious cranking power that a socket and wrench cannot provide?
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Old 08-17-2022, 02:51 PM   #2
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How long ago was it last run? The symptoms are consistent with the motor being hydro locked, and if it sat long enough, rusted in place. It could also be the generator end thatís rusted up. Will it move at all in either direction?
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Old 08-17-2022, 02:59 PM   #3
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The easiest next step would be to remove the glow plugs and see if you can then bar over the engine by hand. That will release any hydro lock, if thatís all it is.

If it still wonít bar over, look for any signs of rust on the glow plug tips. Also around the generator end. Could it have gotten drenched recently?

If there are no signs of rust to guide you, I would probably see whatís involved is decoupling the engine and generator end so you can verify which is seized. It may be nothing more than a handful of bolts connecting a drive plate to the flywheel, and not required completely cracking apart the engine and generator end. But I donít know that machine in detail, so donít know whatís involved. Iíd just hate to tear down the engine only to find the generator end is whatís seized, and vice versa.
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Old 08-17-2022, 05:41 PM   #4
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I am in agreement with Twistedtree. Sounds Hydrolocked. If it won’t bar over after taking the glow plugs out, insert a dowel into the glow plug hole, if it’s wet when you pull it out then you know it was hydrolocked and now it is rusted in place. If the dowel shows no sign of water then decouple the generator.

It only takes once cylinder to hydrolock an engine.
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Old 08-17-2022, 06:42 PM   #5
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With one cylinder of water, usually the engine will turn in the opposite direction unless it's locked exactly at BDC. Most likely rings are rusted to the cylinder in one or more cylinders. It can take a lot of force to break loose an engine, especially if it's more than one cylinder. Afterwards the engine will burn some oil, leave a sheen, and maybe smoke. One 4 cylinder I broke free took a 6' bar on the socket. Another I took the head off and with a piece of 4x4 on top of the piston, hit with a sledge. If it's a bigger sleeved engine you can take the piston out with the sleeve.
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Old 08-17-2022, 06:55 PM   #6
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How long ago was it last run? The symptoms are consistent with the motor being hydro locked, and if it sat long enough, rusted in place. It could also be the generator end that’s rusted up. Will it move at all in either direction?
It was run about a week ago and has been run regularly over the last six months.

will not move in either direction.
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Old 08-17-2022, 07:17 PM   #7
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It was run about a week ago and has been run regularly over the last six months.

will not move in either direction.

Were you exposed to any particularly bad weather? If it was run that recently, I'm thinking a hydro lock is less likely.


Perhaps the starter pinion & gear are engaged and jammed? If it's easier to pull the starter vs pulling the glow plugs, you might start there.


I like the idea of dipping a dowel through the glow plug hole to see if it picks up anything on its end. If it does, give it a little taste to see if it's salty.
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Old 08-17-2022, 07:30 PM   #8
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Greetings,
Mr. tt. OP states he removed starter-No joy in Mudville.
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Old 08-17-2022, 08:02 PM   #9
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X3, Pull the glow plugs. Its not hard. Like removing spark plugs. If it doesnt move then, well, rock the crank back and forth just a little trying to break it loose. Sounds like water in the cylinders but it should move a little. Is there an increase in the crankcase oil level on the dipstick?

BTW what model, year, and # of hours? Do you send out oil samples? If so, how was the last report?
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Old 08-17-2022, 08:30 PM   #10
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Greetings,
Mr. tt. OP states he removed starter-No joy in Mudville.

Thanks. Missed that.
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Old 08-17-2022, 08:30 PM   #11
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Yeah break compression by pulling the glow plugs see if you can bar it over. If you have a scope camera look in the cylinder there are a few handheld ones pretty cheap now a days.
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Old 08-17-2022, 10:30 PM   #12
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Your engine may have a compression relief lever which usually will leave the exhaust valves slightly cracked open. One use of the compression relief lever is to start an engine with low battery power or engines that can be manually cranked. If it's hydro locked you could try that to see if you can bar it over. The lever is usually around the valve cover or head.
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Old 08-18-2022, 07:54 AM   #13
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Were you exposed to any particularly bad weather? If it was run that recently, I'm thinking a hydro lock is less likely.


Perhaps the starter pinion & gear are engaged and jammed? If it's easier to pull the starter vs pulling the glow plugs, you might start there.


I like the idea of dipping a dowel through the glow plug hole to see if it picks up anything on its end. If it does, give it a little taste to see if it's salty.
I did pull the starter. No difference.

There are no decompression levers.

I'll pull the glow plugs today and get back to everyone.
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Old 08-18-2022, 10:21 AM   #14
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UPDATE! So, I pulled the glow plugs and sure enough water started to flow out of the forward one (away from the generator). It kept flowing out of the hole. It tasted fresh(ish) but I'm well up the Hudson and it is brackish and sometimes almost fresh.

Next I took off the hose that goes from the heat exchanger to the exhaust. This stopped the flow from the cylinder. I capped that hose and shut off the raw water intake for safety.

I blew out the remaining water in the cylinder with compressed air then squirted some WD-40 in for starters.

So, I still cannot turn over the engine by hand and will fill the cylinder with Marvel Mystery Oil which will free up the cylinder in time. But I'm still afraid I may be looking at a rebuild. What does the forum think about all this?
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Old 08-18-2022, 10:26 AM   #15
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You pulled all the glow plugs? You caught this so soon that I think you have a chance at it running fine once all the water is removed. What does the oil look like?
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Old 08-18-2022, 10:44 AM   #16
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Due to bad weather running waves at my side-mounted generator exhaust I got saltwater hydrolocking of my single cylinder 3.5 KW generator. The boat would have been in its lift except a hurricane had destroyed the lift and boathouse - so it was perforce moored in a wet slip exposed to the winds and waves. It had been a week since I had run the genny. Pulled the glow plug and spun the water out with the starter. Flushed cylinder with WD 40 and started it up after spinning the engine some more before replacing the glow plug. Warmed it up and changed the oil and changed the oil again after another warm up. Runs like a champ four years later. The oil lab hates the numbers they reported after 20 hours of running, but at a little over a quart total capacity, I'll keep changing the oil frequently until it dies. I may have been luckier than you because the starter spun it up as soon as the glow plug was out of it.
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Old 08-18-2022, 11:25 AM   #17
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Next I took off the hose that goes from the heat exchanger to the exhaust. This stopped the flow from the cylinder. I capped that hose and shut off the raw water intake for safety.
What do you think, does this mean you were siphoning water back to the genset? In any event, assessing how the water got into the genset and making changes seems an important issue.
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Old 08-18-2022, 11:40 AM   #18
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Ok, so now you have two projects.

The brackish water may save you. Pull the other glow plugs to see if any other cylinders have water in them. I think you are taking the right steps to get it freed up. Fingers crossed you can get it going again before too much damage sets in.

Now you also need to solve the water intrusion problem. Is there a siphon break between the raw water pump outlet and where the water feeds into the heat exchanger and other engine parts? It sounds like there is no siphon break, or the one you have is plugged up and not venting.

Google and download Northerlightsí ďDonít Drown MeĒ document and read carefully. Then check against your installation. Yours wonít be the first, or last installation that drowns itself when conditions are just so.
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Old 08-18-2022, 12:39 PM   #19
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The other three cylinders were dry. I'm seeing the diagnosis as to why this happened and what to do to prevent it in the future as a separate task. For now, I'm just focused on the main issue.

The Marvel Mystery oil is in and doing its thing. I freed up a Ford 289 in the past using the same method. Although it freed it up to turn over the cylinder wall was toast so I rebuilt it. But that engine had sat for many years with a valve open so I'm hoping this will not be a rebuild since the timeframe is short.
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Old 08-18-2022, 12:57 PM   #20
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The other three cylinders were dry. I'm seeing the diagnosis as to why this happened and what to do to prevent it in the future as a separate task. For now, I'm just focused on the main issue.

The Marvel Mystery oil is in and doing its thing. I freed up a Ford 289 in the past using the same method. Although it freed it up to turn over the cylinder wall was toast so I rebuilt it. But that engine had sat for many years with a valve open so I'm hoping this will not be a rebuild since the timeframe is short.


Good progress. Just know that if the anti siphon valve is stuck, the engine will fill right up again.
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