A Reluctant Engine

Ted Klastorin of Seattle, Washington, asks:"I have a Universal XP25 diesel engine with approximately 2,200 hours on it. The engine runs well, but is difficult to start after it sits idle for a few days. To get it started, I have to bleed air out of the fuel system for several minutes. Once started, however, it runs smoothly.I have checked and replaced both fuel
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
ReluctantEnginePhoto1

Ted Klastorin of Seattle, Washington, asks:

"I have a Universal XP25 diesel engine with approximately 2,200 hours on it. The engine runs well, but is difficult to start after it sits idle for a few days. To get it started, I have to bleed air out of the fuel system for several minutes. Once started, however, it runs smoothly.

I have checked and replaced both fuel filters; the sediment bowl on the Racor filter is clean. I replaced the fuel line from the tank to the engine two years ago, and there is no diesel odor or any other indication of a leak. It seems air is somehow getting into the system, but I am mystified as to how this might be happening."

Nigel Calder replies:

Are you sure the problem is air in the fuel system? The engine may be suffering from poor compression. When it sits for several days, the oil lubricating the cylinder walls drains down into the crankcase, reducing the seal around the piston rings, resulting in blow-by on start up. When cranking the engine to remove air from the fuel system, you also get the oil moving, are warming the cylinder walls, and are probably injecting some diesel into the cylinders, which then dribbles down and helps to reseal the rings.

But let's assume there is an air leak. Could there be pinholes in your fuel lines from chafe or corrosion? If your primary fuel filter has a transparent sediment bowl, loosen the bleed nipple on the secondary filter and operate your fuel lift pump. If you see bubbles in the primary filter bowl, your leak is between the primary filter and the tank, or else in the seal for the primary filter (the most likely place). If there are no bubbles, the leak is probably upstream of the filter.

Another place you might find an air leak is in the return lines from the injectors. These often tee into the secondary fuel filter and from there return to the tank. I have seen air get into fuel systems on older engines through these lines when the engine is shut down (I had this problem once myself). If this is suspected, you can try plugging the connection at the secondary filter and running the return line directly back to the tank.

Related

01b-Over-Loch-Scavig

Cruising Across the North Sea

Conventional wisdom says sleeping in the V-berth while offshore is a bad idea. It can be like a diabolical amusement ride that tosses a sailor to and fro, inducing stomach-churning weightlessness. And yet, here I am, nestled in the tilted corner created by my berth and the ...read more

GG17-SAONA47-DX0796

Boat Review: Fountaine Pajot Saona 47

Here’s a riddle: What is less than 50ft long, has two hulls, three big cabins and four decks? Answer: The Fountaine Pajot Saona 47. In fact, it may even be five levels if you count the large engine rooms. This boat is a “space craft” in every sense of the word.DESIGN & ...read more

RichardBennettMIDNIGHT-RAMBLER3249x202

Storm Sails: Do you Need Them?

Many sailors embarking on ocean passages will take along the obligatory storm jib and trysail, with the vague idea that they may come in handy. Few sailors, however, have a real understanding of how and when to set them.It doesn’t help matters when we hear from seasoned sailors ...read more

IntheWater(1)

Boaters University Unveils Rescue Course

Boaters University has just announced its latest online course, Safety & Rescue at Sea, taught by Mario Vittone, whose name you might recognize from the pages of our sister publication, Soundings Magazine and his Lifelines blog.Mario Vittone is a retired U.S. Coast Guard rescue ...read more

IMG_20170920_132819

How to: Installing New Electronics

I had been sailing my Tayana 42, Eclipse, for a few years without any installed electronics on board. I’d gone pretty far up and down the New England and Mid-Atlantic coasts with paper charts, the Navionics app on my Android phone, a hand-bearing compass and the ship’s compass. ...read more

02-Douglas-Adkins---Coriolis---Orcas-Island-KevinLightPhoto

A Phoenix-like Concordia

Cutting a fine wake on the cobalt-blue waters of West Sound on Orcas Island, Coriolis sparkles like a diamond. Her lovely silhouette is offset by emerald forests that frame the ocean, within spitting distance of the border with Canada. Seen up close, this Concordia yawl is a ...read more

IMG_1051

The Latest Boat Trends from Dusseldorf

The world’s biggest boat and watersports show, held in Düsseldorf on the banks of Germany’s Rhine River each January, is the place to scope out emerging trends in the boat design and building.What would be the new trends for 2018 and beyond? Hint—sophisticated electronics figure ...read more