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Old 06-11-2021, 01:08 PM   #1
City: Olympia Washington USA
Vessel Name: Ireland
Vessel Model: 1974 30' Willard Vega
Join Date: Jun 2021
Posts: 2
Hello from Olympia, Washington. Problem with my Perkins.

Greetings. Iíve been a lurker on the forum for several years and often find helpful information. Now I have an engine issue for which I havenít found a thread that seems to match my exact symptoms.

I have a 1974 30í Willard Vega with the original Perkins 4-107 diesel. Iíve had this boat for 3 years, and before that had a couple of sailboats.

Recently my engine RPMs started to creep up without me touching the speed lever (throttle). Yesterday, I was running for about 20 minutes at 1500 rpm and it increased to about 3000 rpm within 5 seconds. It shut down immediately with the kill switch. I started it up again and it did the exact same thing. I couldnít bring the RPMs down short of stopping with the kill switch.

The engine always starts immediately and without any smoke. When cold, the engine will idle at about 800-1000 rpm for many minutes without issue.

An interesting symptom is that, at idle, when I pull the speed lever down hard the RPMs increase, and if I then push up a tad the RPMs go down again. I wouldnít expect the RPMs to increase when the lever is pulled all the way down.

The little shaft on the fuel injection pump seems to rotate fully back and forth when the speed lever is moved up and down.

The uncontrolled increase in RPMs seems like what Iíve read as Ďengine runawayí but Iíve read that that condition is very rare and often requires some other fuel source (like oil in the diesel, or diesel in the oil?), and that the kill switch wonít immediately stop the engine.

So a couple of questions:
  • Is there already a Trawler Forum discussion thread that matches my symptoms?
  • How do I diagnose the root problem?
  • Any suggestions for knowledgeable mechanic/shop in the Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia area? (Preferably one that wonít spend a few thousand of my precious boat bucks before finding the problem.)

Lastly, I have to give kudos to Boat U.S. towing which turned a potential disaster on the water into a mere inconvenience.

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Old 06-11-2021, 11:12 PM   #2
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City: Ex-Brisbane, (Australia), now Bribie Island, Qld
Vessel Name: Now boatless - sold 6/2018
Vessel Model: Had a Clipper (CHB) 34
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 9,029
Welcome to TF. And now you have been welcomed, and as you have a specific engine issue, so you get more exposure re this topic, I have moved your thread to under the Power Systems header. Hopefully folk will soon chime in with helpful ideas re your issue.

PS. That's a really nice looking vessel you have there...I expect Eric (Nomad Willy) who has a Willard Nomad 30' will come on before long.
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Old 06-11-2021, 11:30 PM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 4
If you are at swantown. Meredith of F dock can probably help you.
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Old 06-11-2021, 11:44 PM   #4
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City: Au Gres, MI
Vessel Name: Black Dog
Vessel Model: Formula 41PC
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 12,192
Welcome aboard.
Boat Nut:
If you are one there is no explanation necessary.
If you arenít one, there is no explanation possible.
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Old 06-13-2021, 11:58 AM   #5
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City: Concrete Washington State
Vessel Name: Willy
Vessel Model: Willard Nomad 30'
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 18,157
Welcome to TF pacerickson,
We repowered our W30 fairly soon after buying in that we were moving to Alaska. The P107 was actually in good condition and I got $1800 for it. It went into a sizable sailboat ... 43’ I think. Truth be known I hated the “flame thrower” type starting. Repowered w electric pre-heaters.

Sorry I can’t think of a thing that may help you. Don’t think I’ve ever had a mechanic aboard Willy since sea trials w the new engine. And never got really familiar w the Perkey.
I would, however start looking at the fuel injection pump. But there are many more qualified gear heads here that that I’m sure can offer meaningful advice.
But I can offer that the engine running at 3000rpm for even a minute shouldn’t do any harm. In fact I run my engine (rated at 3000rpm) to 3300 or so rpm as an engine/governor check. But it may indicate that the governor may not be working properly as the max rpm limited by the governor should be 32-3300rpm. That may also indicate it’s just a throttle control problem. ??

I bought a Nomad but my favorite boat is the Voyager. Per the picture you have a very very nice Voyager. I’ll be looking fwd to meeting you and seeing your boat.

North Western Washington State USA
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Old 06-13-2021, 04:43 PM   #6
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City: Out and About
Vessel Model: Sold-GB 52 Europa, Queenship 59, Tolly 45
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 403
I don't think you have a traditional runaway situation since you can stop the engine with your kill switch. Your problem may indicate some governor wear in your injection pump.
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Old 06-21-2021, 02:33 PM   #7
City: Olympia Washington USA
Vessel Name: Ireland
Vessel Model: 1974 30' Willard Vega
Join Date: Jun 2021
Posts: 2
Thank you for the replies so far. Further research from the google is pointing to problems with the fuel injector pump. One quote I got for a rebuilt injector pump is, "$795 exchange, plus $750 core."

For some reason this seems high to me since I'll also be paying for a mechanic to take out and put back in. (Has B.O.A.T. inflated to Bring Another 2K?)

Where do people get parts for the older (1974) Perkins engines?
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Old 06-21-2021, 03:03 PM   #8
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City: Between Oregon and Alaska
Vessel Name: Charlie Harper
Vessel Model: Wheeler Shipyard 83'
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2,391
If you have your pump rebuilt, then you don't have a core charge. Under $800 is probably a good price.
Ebay is a good place to look for used parts. A used injector pump usually runs $500-600 on ebay. Massey Ferguson also used the engine in tractors and parts from a tractor dealer are usually cheaper.
My 1st choice for old Perkins parts is: They often have parts nobody else does. In the UK, but I didn't find shipping expensive.

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Old 06-21-2021, 06:32 PM   #9
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City: Grand Rapids, MI
Vessel Name: Arcturus
Vessel Model: 1973 Concorde 41 DC
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 187
Try a local diesel injection shop. They specialize in injection pumps and nozzles for trucks and other equipment. A lot of engine repair shops farm the injection work out to them, they don't mess with injectors, too specialized. Don't know if they specifically work on Perkins, although they should as Massey Ferguson tractors all have Perkins engines. (Actually MF owns Perkins). They were very good and inexpensive rebuilding my Kubota pump.
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