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Old 11-06-2020, 11:20 AM   #1
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good morning and I have issues

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
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Old 11-06-2020, 11:40 AM   #2
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Might be a clogged vent.
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Old 11-06-2020, 11:48 AM   #3
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Diesel engine(s)? Do you have a vacuum gauge on the primary filter -- if so, that could indicate an upstream restriction in the fuel line. You mentioned replacing the secondary filter, did you also replace the primary? Any other symptoms? Is temp OK and stable?
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Old 11-06-2020, 11:57 AM   #4
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What engines ? Single diesel ?
Did you bleed to fuel lines after filter changes and lift pump change ?
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Old 11-06-2020, 11:57 AM   #5
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Welcome aboard. Maybe an air leak in the fuel lines.
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Old 11-06-2020, 12:37 PM   #6
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While engine is running, inspect every inch of fuel and return lines. Use an LED light. Wiggle each line as you inspect. Sounds like you have a tiny air leak or constriction. Both rubber and copper lines crack and leak over time and copper can easily kink.
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Old 11-06-2020, 01:01 PM   #7
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Thank you all for comments. Details are: Single Lehman 2715E, Primary filters 30 micron, secondary filters 10 micron. American Diesel says if air got in the line I would not be able to restart without bleeding. tank vents both discharge during fueling (don't tell the CG). 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. Temp holds at 170 consistent and oil pressure holds at 55 consistent. Checked gauges at helm and flybridge, both read the same.

I ran that engine 35 hours straight from Ilwaco at the Columbia bar to Port Townsend without issue. I'm puzzled as to why one day 60 miles without issue and next day 30 miles and failure. Before and after replacing the lift pump. Obviously that was not the issue.

My thought is to replace the system starting with the pickups, ball valves, eliminate any hard pipe, reduce elbows. Keep the Racor 200 series bodies ( with manual pumps) but replace all else.
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Old 11-06-2020, 01:09 PM   #8
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One nice trick is to put a section of clear hose somewhere on the fuel inlet to engine. Then watch as engine runs, see if there are air bubbles moving with the fuel.

Some of these Fords return very little fuel to the tank, and if there is air getting in, it can build up and cause a stall.

And some of those little Racors have seals that can leak.
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Old 11-06-2020, 01:13 PM   #9
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I like that idea. We could temporarily use clear tube between the 3/8" hose end and lift pump. That isolates everything up to the lift pump, secondary filters and injection pump
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Old 11-06-2020, 01:13 PM   #10
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You didn't say that you replaced the filter in the Racor 200. If you haven't, do that first. IMO, the Racor 200 is a little small for that engine. The Racor 500, 900, or 1000 would be my choice. Exponentially more surface filter area. Once you get past the cost of the installation, there's very little difference in the price of the elements.

Ted
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Old 11-06-2020, 01:19 PM   #11
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Yes, Racor filter changed out to alternate fuel line (with new filter)after the trip up from the river. That 400 mile voyage required no filter changes and we certainly expected to do several. The see through bowl (don't tell the CG) still looks clean with little or no water, fuel looks clean. This is however, the first time in years that the alternate fuel line has been used as the previous owner never did.
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Old 11-06-2020, 01:34 PM   #12
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard. Might it be that one of your rubber fuel lines has de laminated and the innermost layer is collapsing. NOT visible from the outside!
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Old 11-06-2020, 01:41 PM   #13
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Sometimes a rust flake or trash can work it's way to the sump line. Drifts off after vacuum disappears then eventually drifts back.

Sounds like a fuel line, get original line ready or maybe a y to see if it dies again.
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Old 11-06-2020, 01:47 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Puglisi View Post
Yes, Racor filter changed out to alternate fuel line (with new filter)after the trip up from the river. That 400 mile voyage required no filter changes and we certainly expected to do several. The see through bowl (don't tell the CG) still looks clean with little or no water, fuel looks clean. This is however, the first time in years that the alternate fuel line has been used as the previous owner never did.
I like Racor filters, but the bowl only shows liquids and some heavier solids. It's easy to plug that smaller filter without having residue in the bowl.

I would consider removing the hose after the Racor, adding a short hose and an outboard motor squeeze bulb, and see how fast you can pump a quart of fuel from the tank. This would prove the system from the tank pickup through the Racor.

Ted
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Old 11-06-2020, 02:32 PM   #15
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Great comments and suggestions from you all. Thank you.
Steve
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Old 11-06-2020, 06:47 PM   #16
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When did the first engine shut down occur? On the Columbia River? In the Pacific? In the Straight of Juan de Fuca? Where did the second shut down occur? What was your tank level at the time of shut down?
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Old 11-06-2020, 08:44 PM   #17
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Good evening,
Late June, we ran the boat from Kalama down to Ilwaco then up to Port Townsend and finally off to Tacoma. 3 1/2 days with overnights in Ilwaco and Port Townsend. All without incident. No filter changes. Two 30 mile outings around Tacoma during July and August. Next big trip, mid October, Tacoma to Friday Harbor, 100 miles. First day, Port Townsend, no issues. Second day, Port Townsend to Friday Harbor is when engine started to fail. Same issue on return and that was after replacing secondary filters and installing replacement lift pump, First day, Friday Harbor to Kinsgston Harbor, about 55 miles, no issues. Second day, Kingston to Tacoma, about 10 miles short of Foss Harbor, second engine failure. Dipped the tanks at Friday Harbor and Foss Harbor. Both tanks, combined had used 80 gallons of fuel out of 300. And that was with running the Webasto often. Plenty of fuel in both tanks.
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Old 11-06-2020, 08:56 PM   #18
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I keep coming back to a fuel blockage as the engine continues to run but can't obtain desired RPM (insufficient fuel flow).

Is this the Racor 200 you have?

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If so, the element is quite a bit smaller than the 2 on your Lehman.

Ted
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Old 11-06-2020, 09:14 PM   #19
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No, my primary filters are the 200 series (215 or 230) with built-in priming pump. Spin-on replacement filters and see-through plastic bowl. That should be changed out to metal to meet current regs.
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Old 11-07-2020, 02:36 AM   #20
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Steve, have you checked the fuel line join where the copper tubing part enters the on-engine filters..?

Our last trip out, before we sold the boat, after 16 years of never missing a beat, was ruined by the engine continually stopping after a couple of hours running normally, when we throttled off to head into an anchorage. It would roar to life after lift-pump action, then slowly lose revs and stall, time after time. The whole sad affair ending in a rather expensive tow back home. Expensive because, as she was for sale, I'd let our Boat Tow sub lapse, dammit.

I knew it was a fuel flow issue, but could not find it. Only to be told by the mechanic, who picked it in so few minutes he didn't even have the heart to charge us, that one twist with a wrench at that connection, where a tiny air-leak had developed after years of vibration, was the entire cause - and solution. That join had never needed to be disturbed the entire time we owned the boat, and felt tight, so that's why I never suspected it. The mechanic however, had met the problem before...I hadn't..! Maybe now you have too..?
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