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Old 11-15-2020, 07:32 AM   #41
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Engine stoppage

We have had similar problem with our Lemans stopping (at the worst times). The metal braided line was collapsing (the rubber line inside the braiding protection). A common occurrence with a number of motors. As the rubber was covered, you could not see the problem. A short “rest” and it would start, and run again.
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Old 11-15-2020, 07:56 AM   #42
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Crud in the tank, obstructing the fuel pickup would also be my guess.After the engine shuts down the crud drops and you are running again.

I would install an outboard bulb fuel pump in the feed line.

This will help find air leaks , priming,and help any trouble shooting process for as long as the boat is afloat.
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Old 11-16-2020, 06:50 PM   #43
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Fuel issues

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Originally Posted by Steve Puglisi View Post
Good morning all,
I'm Steve Puglisi and my bride, Kathy, and I are new to trawler life. We recently purchased a 1976 CHB 34 and have now piloted her down the Columbia River, up to Tacoma and just last month, our first ventures up to the San Juan Islands.

All good except. Twice now, engine failure. We suspect trouble in the fuel line somewhere. On both occasions we travelled 50 or 60 sea miles one day and on the following day, after 30 or so miles, the engine started to fail. It would always restart and I did learn that keeping the RPM's way down prevented further failure.

I replaced the fuel lift pump after the first breakdown and also replaced the secondary filters. Fuel was clean, filters were clean. Primary see-through bowl was clean.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Steve
I’m wondering if you have sludge in the bottom of your fuel tanks that may be getting stirred up while at sea. A complete fuel tank cleaning may solve your issues.
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Old 11-16-2020, 09:59 PM   #44
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Good evening all and thank you for your very good advice. In reading through your comments it strikes me that you all have had similar, if not identical, issues with fuel systems. If I had to bet, I would put my money on tank issues. Dipping the tanks, as I have neither sight tubes nor gauges, I feel the "sticky" condition at the bottom of the tank. I was docent on a Norm Blanchard Noise Measuring Boat, WW 2 vintage. Bronze fuel tanks. 3 inches of jello in the bottom of the tanks.

What I did different prior to the failure was switch to the alternate primary filter with its assortment of fittings and hose connections. Might the problem be there? Maybe. $300 worth of parts and a day of labor and the system gets rebuilt. Even if the primary issue is with the tanks, replacing 45 year old parts is not a bad idea. Ditching 300 gallons of fuel, most of which is less than 4 months old. Now that is an expense that I would like to avoid.
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Old 11-17-2020, 02:17 AM   #45
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Hi Steve, agreed on the fuel dump, that's a costly remedy but, if you get the fuel guys down to the dock for a clean and polish, you'll save the fuel and be rest assured the tanks are free from debris which, I suspect is the culprit as well. I would follow recommendations to replace all your existing lines, cheap insurance and you are starting fresh. Con gusto
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Old 11-17-2020, 04:00 AM   #46
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Yes, exactly, my tanks supply fuel from the bottom. Oddly, I have spoken with another DeFever 44 owner (1984 vs my 1983) and his supply is via dip-tube. My supply is about 1.5 inches from the bottom so any crud or water is pushed through to the filters. I also have a drain valve at the very bottom of the tanks. I occasionally open these valves to see if anything comes out. A couple of flecks and no water is all I have ever seen. Yes, one wonders why all boats are not arranged so. Those dip tubes are just problems, sometimes big problems, just waiting to happen.
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Catalina, if by that you mean the draw-off point is at the bottom of the tanks, rather than via tube pick-ups from the top, then my tanks were set up that way also, and I think it is vastly better than having the orthodox pick-ups, as crud is continually drawn off and filtered out, so can't build up. I gather Nordhavn sets up the tank draw like this also. It means the fuel is being constantly polished. Why is this not more commonly done, I wonder..?
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Old 11-19-2020, 06:47 AM   #47
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" I also have a drain valve at the very bottom of the tanks. I occasionally open these valves to see if anything comes out. A couple of flecks and no water is all I have ever seen."

Being at the tank bottom the drain valve could easily be filled with gunk.

Next time you open the valve poke a wire up thru the valve , with a catch bucket in place, just in case.
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Old 11-19-2020, 07:19 AM   #48
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FF, now that is a good idea. I will do that soon and report back but since when I open the valve fuel flows freely, I doubt I will discover anything new.
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" I also have a drain valve at the very bottom of the tanks. I occasionally open these valves to see if anything comes out. A couple of flecks and no water is all I have ever seen."

Being at the tank bottom the drain valve could easily be filled with gunk.

Next time you open the valve poke a wire up thru the valve , with a catch bucket in place, just in case.
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Old 12-10-2020, 05:28 PM   #49
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IMO the problem is that you need to find the actual cause before you will feel confidant.
Steve - I also recently purchased a 1976 CHB34, so I feel very much for your situation.

I also had a somewhat similar experience helping a friend who has just purchased a trawler. In his case we were able to definitely establish the cause and I can assure you that this fact was a tremendous relief - so I totally concur with Bayview's comment above.

By the way, my friend's problem was not the same as yours - he had a failed fuel lift pump - but the symptons were uncannily similar - random stoppages followed by ability to motor slowly. In his case we surmised that the injection pump was able to suck the fuel from the fuel tank and through the filters at low flow rates without the boost of the lift pump. A parallel factor was that the boat went bow up when running under more power which affected the level difference between the fuel level in the tank and the engine.

In my new (to me) boat I also already had the unpleasant experience of engine failure under way - traced to the lift pump again. I got home on the 12 volt micro priming pump installed by the PO between tank and primary filters. I had been planning to remove this pump, but am now a total believer. Strongly recommended.

As regards the theory of a leak around the secondary filters allowing air into the feed to the injector pump, the fuel pressure at this point would have to be below atmospheric, which greatly surprises me if this is true. With a properly functiong lift pump I would expect fuel to leak OUT of any fitting downstream of the lift pump. Please, someone correct me if I am wrong.

Steve - I presume we both have the same 2 x steel tanks setup in our CHB34's and I am in the process of planning to replace mine - I did ask if anyone could give details of how they did it, but without luck. I would be happy to discuss thoughts with you (and/or any other CHB34 owners, of course).

Good luck!
Nick
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Old 12-10-2020, 07:35 PM   #50
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fuel issues

Good afternoon Nick,
I'm just about ready to begin dismantling and rebuilding my fuel system. I have rationalized that even if everything were working correctly, the age of the parts (fittings, copper tubing, ancient ball valves, obsolete pumps and who knows the condition of the withdrawal tubes) warrants replacement.

I am hopeful that I'll find the problem. Maybe some decomposed tube inner liner that has found its way into a fitting somewhere. I am starting to believe that the problem is downhill from the tank "T" fittings because if it were a pick-up tube issue, only one tank would be affected and fuel supplied from the other tank should suffice. I can't imagine a tank blockage occurring simultaneously in both tanks.

I'm going to also inspect the tanks best as I can to see if I've got a lot of debris in the bottom. Having already replaced the fuel lift pump after the first failure and before the second failure has me convinced that it was not a lift pump issue. Replacing that old pump is good maintenance in any case, and inexpensive.

I'll let you know what we find once we get this project under way. Early January is our start date.
Steve
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Old 12-10-2020, 07:37 PM   #51
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If you can get a LED pen lite in the tanks and look inside the tanks. You could have DEAD algae floating around the fuel tanks. I pulled the inspection plates off of ours. It was amassing what we found. Algae, dirt, and water all mixed together. Biocide will kill the algae, BUT it does not remove it from the tanks.
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Old 12-10-2020, 08:58 PM   #52
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Inspection plates? My tank sides are covered with sound deadening panels. I've never even considered that CHB's have inspection plates on their tanks. If anyone could confirm, I would certainly appreciate it.
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Old 12-11-2020, 09:53 AM   #53
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Steve,
There are no inspection plates on my CHB34. Would like to have them for new tanks, but adds quite a bit to the cost.
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Old 12-11-2020, 12:09 PM   #54
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Rats. I had a moment of hope there. I was not about to tear out the sound board on the off chance there were plates. Maybe, we the right inspection technology, we could see them from the inside, if they exist. I know the fuel polish guys will cut them into the tanks for big bucks and without them, getting the gunk out is all but impossible. I was docent on a Norm Blanchard WW 2 noise measuring boat. Bronze 500 gallon tanks, 2 of them. 3" of Jell-o was sitting in those tanks.
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Old 12-11-2020, 12:42 PM   #55
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A cheap flexible borescope with a led light on it through the fuel filler will give pretty good indication of contamination. Sounds like you are way past the troubleshooting stage though.

Get handhelds at Home Depot for $100. Get usb ones on Amazon. Amazon one I bought is fairly useless.

It will probably just confirm your suspicions.

Good luck!
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Old 12-11-2020, 01:07 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Puglisi View Post
I do have a vacuum gauge, always shows 0. I should have looked during one failure as I was in the engine room when she quit, but I didn't think to do so.
I this is so, I would think the vacuum gauge is defective or there is no restriction on the fuel line up to the gauge.

You could check the gauge by closing the tank fuel valve while running the engine.

If the vacuum gauge is OK then the restriction, if there is one, would be after the gauge ...
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Old 12-11-2020, 03:15 PM   #57
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Electric fuel pumps beat hell out of any mechanical pump, all day, every day. A Walbro pump is rated for 18,000 hours.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick F View Post
Steve - I also recently purchased a 1976 CHB34, so I feel very much for your situation.

I also had a somewhat similar experience helping a friend who has just purchased a trawler. In his case we were able to definitely establish the cause and I can assure you that this fact was a tremendous relief - so I totally concur with Bayview's comment above.

By the way, my friend's problem was not the same as yours - he had a failed fuel lift pump - but the symptons were uncannily similar - random stoppages followed by ability to motor slowly. In his case we surmised that the injection pump was able to suck the fuel from the fuel tank and through the filters at low flow rates without the boost of the lift pump. A parallel factor was that the boat went bow up when running under more power which affected the level difference between the fuel level in the tank and the engine.

In my new (to me) boat I also already had the unpleasant experience of engine failure under way - traced to the lift pump again. I got home on the 12 volt micro priming pump installed by the PO between tank and primary filters. I had been planning to remove this pump, but am now a total believer. Strongly recommended.

As regards the theory of a leak around the secondary filters allowing air into the feed to the injector pump, the fuel pressure at this point would have to be below atmospheric, which greatly surprises me if this is true. With a properly functiong lift pump I would expect fuel to leak OUT of any fitting downstream of the lift pump. Please, someone correct me if I am wrong.

Steve - I presume we both have the same 2 x steel tanks setup in our CHB34's and I am in the process of planning to replace mine - I did ask if anyone could give details of how they did it, but without luck. I would be happy to discuss thoughts with you (and/or any other CHB34 owners, of course).

Good luck!
Nick
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Old 12-12-2020, 07:02 AM   #58
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Inspection plates can be added to fuel tanks , one emptied.

Not hard , not very expensive .,multiple sources , here is one.

www.seabuilt.com
Seabuilt - Access Plate Systems


The SeaBuilt Access Plate System is a one of a kind product that allows access to your diesel fuel, water and holding tanks - so you can perform the important task of cleaning - giving you peace of mind. Clean tanks mean better and safer boating.
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Old 12-13-2020, 09:54 AM   #59
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Regarding the boroscope suggestion:
I think this is a good idea but I would not go with the handheld (Home Depot) style - the display is way too small.
I have 2 different USB boroscopes from Amazon which I use with a laptop. One gives excellent images and the other is quite disappointing. The good one is not as thin, or long, or flexible but would easily go into the fuel tanks via the filler(or any 1/2" hole). The poor quality boroscope is longer and will go through a 5/16" hole - i managed to locate a ladies ring in the U-trap under a bidet at home with it but the quality is worse than what you get swimming underwater without a mask and depth of filed was very limited (you had to be very close to be in focus, whereas the other unit could "see into the distance" as well).
Good luck,
Nick
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Old 12-13-2020, 02:40 PM   #60
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fuel issues

Good morning,
Next month, January, we'll remove and replumb fuel supply and return, starting with the extraction tubes in the tanks. We'll reuse the primary Racor filter bodies. Everything else goes.

I'm going to have the tanks inspected and if necessary, I'll do the "polishing" including installation of inspection plates.

I'll update this post as we begin the work.
Steve
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