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Engine Failure Woe’s

DIESEL engine, transmission and generator repair and maintenance discussion forum.
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650Guy
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Engine Failure Woe’s

Postby 650Guy » July 20th, 2021, 9:59 am

So just went on a little trip around Lake Erie, St Clair and a little into Lake Huron. On the journey one of my partners in a 2005 444My with Volvo engines ran into some trouble:

1st issue: Lost Port engine limped in to port on one. After about an hour at the dock, port engine started. The thought was he had a bad ignition switch and it was replaced.

We departed the next day, do a quick 2 hour leg and worked great.

Next day off on a bit longer leg, but about 2-3 hours in…

2nd Issue: Lost Starboard engine … Followed by Port Engine… followed by Genny…

Was towed into port this time and after an hour or so all engines started fine.

Next Morning: We do a 3 hour leg back to home port and all engines operated normally.

I’m trying to help him narrow down the issue, I’m leaning toward a common grounding bus issue? MAYBE bad fuel? But the RACOR’s look clean and happy.

Anything else you all would recommend looking at? Because its intermittent its so hard

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Re: Engine Failure Woe’s

Postby km1125 » July 20th, 2021, 11:41 am

Have the tank vents been checked?
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Re: Engine Failure Woe’s

Postby 650Guy » July 20th, 2021, 6:07 pm

We have not checked those! That’s a good suggestion! Thank you

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Re: Engine Failure Woe’s

Postby Viper » July 22nd, 2021, 7:15 am

I agree with checking the tank vents.

Typically the generator will be hooked up directly to it's own battery with no buss bar so I suspect it's not a common ground issue though it doesn't hurt to confirm all battery connections are solid. When you say the Racors look clean, are you just looking at the bowls or were the elements pulled and inspected? When was the last time they were replaced? How is the vessel used, might there be a lot of growth in the fuel/tanks from little use or old fuel?

Did the engines lose rpm, cough and spit before quitting, or did they just suddenly shut down with no prior symptoms?
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Topic author United States of America
650Guy
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Re: Engine Failure Woe’s

Postby 650Guy » July 22nd, 2021, 7:40 am

Man… GREAT questions!!!!!


Boat is used regularly probably 70-80 hours/Season

Bowls are cleaned and inspected at the end of each
season, right now I’m just using the site glass as my gauge. Not sure when they were replaced but filters with both replaced about 10 hrs ago.

When shutting down:

Each would begin to spool down and sputter as they died.

In regards to the batteries. We did tighten all connections prior to departing on the last leg. None were what I would consider “loose” but with effort I was able to tighten a couple of the connections.

So far We have not found a “smoking gun”. Nothing stands out at me as an issue.

Any suggestions on how to test/check the tank vents?

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Re: Engine Failure Woe’s

Postby Viper » July 22nd, 2021, 10:50 pm

650Guy wrote:Source of the post..... Each would begin to spool down and sputter as they died......

Sounds like a fuel issue to me. Given that it's happening from both tanks, the vents are definitely suspect. You can try blowing air through the lines but the screen on the hull fitting might not let what ever is in there to escape. And it's also not a good idea to blow it toward the tank either with the line still hooked up there. The best thing to do is to disconnect the vent line at the tank and blow air from from the thru-hull fitting end, you may be able to do that without removing the hose from the fitting by doing it through the fitting outside the hull. The other thing you could try is going for a similar run but undo the fuel deck fill caps. If the engines don't quit, this will confirm that it's a venting problem.

Look closer at the bottom of the Racor bowls and look for water. Also ensure air filter are clean.

The anti-siphon valves are suspect as well if venting is proven not to be the problem.

Also, what position are your fuel selector valves in? Hopefully they're set so each engine is running off its own tank. That wouldn't explain the generator issue unless it's drawing from the same pickup as one of the engines but that would not be the usual/factory setup. You never know what a previous owner might have done though so it's worth exploring.

Is there an auxiliary tank/s and if so, check if the selector valves are set to it or the main tanks.

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