Perkins compression tester?

Discussion in 'Main Morgan 38 Sailboat Forum' started by Keefer Douglas, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. Keefer Douglas

    Keefer Douglas Member

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    Started out the Spring with a seized injector pump. Finally got that rebuilt, reinstalled, fuel now getting to the injectors, but engine still won't start.

    Pulled out the injectors, had them tested - injectors are fine. So now the mechanic wants to test compression but can't find his tester for our 40 year old engine.

    Anybody got one or know someone who does in the mid-Chesapeake region?

    Incidentally, the engine ran great before any of this. The primary (Racor) filter was absolutely filthy when replaced. Previous owner apparently had neglected it. Haven't noticed any water in the fuel but there is a fair amount of sludge in bottom of the water separator cup, and some more evident in the cylinders when I pulled the injectors.

    Here we are with half the season gone, staring down a lost year. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!

    -Keefer
     
  2. jimcleary

    jimcleary James M. Cleary

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    Keefer

    Do you have the Perkins or the Yanmar? I only know the Yanmar. When you reinstall the injector pump, there is a connection to make inside the block that is very difficult to reach with the engine in place. That connection links up the governor control. Maybe that connection was not correctly made and it is preventing the engine from starting? This is just a guess on my part.

    Jim Cleary
     
  3. Keefer Douglas

    Keefer Douglas Member

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    Hi Jim,

    It's the Perkins. I was not present for the injector pump re-installation, but I trust the guy who did it - he has long experience with Perkins engines. I will ask him about the governor though, as much for my own education as anything else!
     
  4. jimcleary

    jimcleary James M. Cleary

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    Keefer

    Again I only know the Yanmar. When I had the injector pump seals replaced, the reinstall, which should have taken 30 minutes ended up being 3 hours because I couldn't get my fingers into the engine to make the connection and I had to do the job via a mirror to see. Very frustrating. Other then that I don't have a clue that can help you. Sorry to hear your summer is in jeopardy.

    Jim
     
  5. bwilliams

    bwilliams Marvin (Bill) Williams

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    When you crack the fuel lineconnections at the injectors and then crank the engine, do you get fuel dripping at the connection ? Also, are you getting solid fuel strean on the injector pump bleed connection when cranking the engine ?
     
  6. Keefer Douglas

    Keefer Douglas Member

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    Yes to both. Prior to the injector pump rebuild, there was fuel at the pump bleed point, but not the injectors. Now plenty of fuel getting to the injectors, and presumably through them as well since they tested OK.
     
  7. schlepper

    schlepper John m. Harrison

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    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it's your timing on the IP... if it was running fine before but quit with a faulty IP, a seized one at that, then I cannot imagine you are all of a sudden lacking compression to even start it. Unless you were burning oil wholesale when it was running before the IP fail, then I'd say it's a timing mark issue. If clean fuel is getting to the injectors, it should start. My Perkins has about 5,500 hours on it and it starts up on first crank every time... and like yours it has no glow plugs.... My current issue with my engine is I have what I think is a bad seal on the front of the injector pump or the diaphragm is perforated on the lift pump as I am getting diesel down in my oil... hence my 'runaway Perkins' post from last week. Once I get that resolved, I'll post up the final fix... I love my Perkins otherwise....
     
  8. schlepper

    schlepper John m. Harrison

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    and by the way, the IP probably seized from the dirty fuel. From what my mechanic told me when mine started to go out on me (but it was still running, just very rough and smoking like crazy), the tolerances on the pumps are very fine. If you had a flood of debris get to the pump from the fouled filters, that could have been what caused it to seize. I just had my fuel polished and the tank cleaned. I was stunned at the fine dirt and particulate that the filtration caught from my fuel tank and the fuel. I had been told to do that but just didn't get around to it. All my guy had to do was pull of the manual fuel gauge (6 phillips screws) and he was able to drop his hoses down in there and do his thing... I highly recommend having that done.... it will save you engine problems down the road.
     
  9. jimcleary

    jimcleary James M. Cleary

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    John might have the right idea. On the Yanmar injector pump the timing was set by the number of shims placed between the pump and the block. Maybe (if the Perkins is the same) the proper number of shims were not put in place. As John says, if the injectors are getting clean fuel, it should start.

    Jim
     
  10. jimcleary

    jimcleary James M. Cleary

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    Keefer

    Any luck getting it started???

    Jim
     
  11. rickdowe2

    rickdowe2 Richard Dowe

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    Keeper, I have to agree with John. It ran fine before should run fine now. I rebuilt my Perkins and had the pump and injectors rebuilt. It started up and had other issues but while it was out on my garage floor I went over the whole timing system by the book including removing valve cover and rocker so I could find top dead center on the piston than I believe rolling it back so many degrees. At that point on the I.p. window it will be aligned with a mark, which it was. If the unit was set correctly on the bench it should be good but the engine has to be set correctly before installing.
    Mine has a manual fuel shutoff. Did the springs get reattached? Sounds so because you have fuel? But?...
    Rick
     
  12. Keefer Douglas

    Keefer Douglas Member

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    John, turns out you were on exactly the right track. It is 100% a dirty fuel issue. Spent another whole day with mechanic #3 getting everything back together, bleeding, cranking, etc. Still no start. He and I are both convinced the Perkins is fine. It ran great before so compression is fine. The injectors are working. The IP is rebuilt so it is fine - it was installed correctly so timing shouldn't be an issue.

    So we decided to work backwards and check the fuel tank. Pulled out the supply line stand pipe and you would not believe how black and crusted with algae it is (OK, you probably would believe it!). I have a fuel polisher coming on Monday to flush the fuel and check the tank to the extent possible. Is it likely to be possible to clean the tank from the access port? Or are there baffles in there that will prevent this?

    The mechanic is advising to just abandon the tank and install a new one somewhere in the engine room, but I am loathe to do this if the current one can be cleaned - even if it is just cleaned enough that the Racor can keep up.
     
  13. mpearson

    mpearson Mark Pearson Staff Member

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    Keefer (or is it Douglas?) not sure which is your 1st name ;):

    I just did an extensive tank cleaning thru the access port. There was lots and lots of crud, debris, grit, and petrified dog poop in there. I don’t think that “fuel polishing” alone will really get it clean. I used rags attached to the end of a copper tube. The good news is you can get it quite clean with some work.

    I posted how I did it here:
    https://www.morgan38.org/morgan38/i...aning-fuel-polishing-recent-experience.15602/

    Good luck and let us know how it goes ...
    -Mark
     
  14. Keefer Douglas

    Keefer Douglas Member

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    Hi Mark,

    Keefer is my first name (no worries, I understand the confusion!). Thanks for the link, really good to know that cleaning via the access port is possible! I think I will likely just have the fuel cleaning company pump out and haul away the dirty fuel. It is almost the same price as polishing, but at least then I have a nice empty tank to work with. Then I can follow your lead on the cleaning process.
     
  15. jimcleary

    jimcleary James M. Cleary

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    The fiberglass tank on the Morgans is a rather good construct. Don't let anyone talk you into abandoning it. A good cleaning is probably what it needs and it will be good as new (well almost). Have your fuel filters been showing up dirty?

    Jim
     
  16. Keefer Douglas

    Keefer Douglas Member

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    Yes, the primary Racor filter was filthy when changed way back at the start of this saga in April, and in retrospect I was not nearly careful enough about preventing gunk getting past it while changing the filter element. It should have been a sign of what was to come, but I just chalked it up to the previous owner neglecting to change it for too long. LIve and learn!

    I got an endoscope off of Amazon, looking forward to uncovering my own "petrified dog poop" or whatever other mysteries lie within. Pretty amazing how cheap/high quality things like that have gotten.
     
  17. Keefer Douglas

    Keefer Douglas Member

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    Got the tank empty, and it is indeed pretty nasty. Salvageable with some cleaning work and subsequent diligence on biocide and filter changes I think, but that will be a winter project. Going to set up a temporary auxiliary tank to try to save what's left of this year's sailing season.

    First pic is the tank after the fuel cleaner pumped out the diesel. Second is some of the solid masses that had been clinging to the bottom of the tank. Consistency like a hard plastic - best guess is that is it is polymerized diesel mixed with dirt, algae, etc.

    20190729_diesel tank pic.jpg 20190729_diesel tank stuff.jpg
     
  18. schlepper

    schlepper John m. Harrison

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    Algae and microbes will grow in your tank. I had not put biocide in it since I bought the boat 7 years ago. Now that I've polished, I will be putting it in regularly now to cut down the growth. I had dirty fuel getting thru my 10 micron primary and the Wix spin on at the secondary.... now that should be over and done with. Clean fuel is crucial, if you've ever taken apart a Perkins 4-108 injector, the pintles tolerances in the injector tips are extremely tight. It wouldn't take much dirt to cause issues with the injector pintles not opening and spray pattern integrity being maintained...
     
  19. Keefer Douglas

    Keefer Douglas Member

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    Update: the Perkins is still sucking air into the fuel system somehow even connected directly to a can of clean diesel. Air and fuel comes out the bleed screw on injector pump no matter how much we pump, and even after cranking to the point where I started fearing for the starter motor. Mechanic #3 is stumped, wants to start pulling stuff apart and start over. Lift pump, secondary filter, pipes, injector pump (again), injectors (again)... Nope. I am done, and have some boat bucks burning a hole in the old bank account, so I think we are going to pull the plug and swap in a Beta 43. I read with interest the Beta vs. Yanmar thread, and I must say I am sold on relative simplicity.

    My instinct is that this Perkins is a good candidate for a rebuild, but even rebuilt it will remain a noisy, leaky, 40 year old beast.

    As for the fuel tank, I found a minimally invasive way to get the access panel off, so I remain hopeful that some elbow grease will get it back to an acceptable state. Of course it means a couple of holes in the cabin sole to plug up, but then it remains accessible in future.
     
  20. jnoble

    jnoble John Noble

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    Keefer,

    I had similar problems. Six months after having my injector pump rebuilt, my Perkins started dying while motoring across the Gulf Stream on one of my annual Bahama trips. I would charge the Racor element and continued. The third time, I could not start the engine. I was 48 miles from Ft. Pierce Inlet and 14 miles from the Bahama bank. I change to my big genoa, and sailed home with very light wind. It took 24 hrs. to get back to the inlet. Made it home, docking under sailing. A mechanic I know told me to bleed the pump, crack all 4 high pressure pipes at the injectors, and crank the engine. Sequential quirts of fuel should come out of the lines. Mine had bubbles so I knew I had an air leak, and it had to be on the suction side of the pump in the low pressure piping. Sure enough, the line exiting the CAV filter was loose.

    Water, dirt, or air in your fuel will shut down a diesel. My prior problems had alway been dirt plugging the Racor. I check my tank with an outboard hose, and never find water. So an air leak had to be the problem especially seeing the bubbles. I think you have an air leak on the suction side of the injector pump. But if you cannot clear the air when bleeding the pump, it may be at the lift pump or upstream of it. Did you change the olives?

    I then had my tank polished, and the fuel was dirty. I was down to 20 or 25 gallons so I had the guy pump it through his polishing equipment into a drum. We then polished it again back into the tank. This is technically much more efficient than recirculating the fuel through the polisher. I did not mess with cleaning the insides of the tank, and have never noticed the deposits on the walls flaking off. I check the fuel by pumping some out with my outboard hose into a clear jar. It has been 6 years and no dirt or water in my sample from aft end of the tank. I got a vacuum gauge for my Racor, and it has not registered any vacuum which would indicate the filter element is plugging. And I still have not changed the Racor element something I used to do annually.

    I would be happy to talk about this if you would like to send me your phone number.
     
  21. Keefer Douglas

    Keefer Douglas Member

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    Hi John,

    Always happy to talk, you can reach me at 201 264 0744. I share your suspicion that the air leak is likely on the low pressure side, upstream of the injector pump. Olives were replaced along with the injector pump, so I don't think that's it. I have traced the fuel lines back to the CAV filter and checked all connections. No evidence of a breach that I can see, so maybe problem is at the lift pump?
     
  22. schlepper

    schlepper John m. Harrison

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    Keefer,
    I just went thru something similar where my engine would sound like it was accelerating, as if about to runaway, when in reality, it was air in the fuel lines and it would start after bleeding but then would jump around with the RPMs, then when I would shut it down, and try to restart, it would not start (air in fuel). It turns out that the black rubber 'olives' that are in the lift pump and in the secondary filter 'in' fuel line, were not sealing properly. I would recommend before you go to the trouble and expense of repower (unless the engine is shot otherwise than just the fuel air issue), take a look at those items if you have not already. I also have a spin on filter conversion that has a nut and bolt holding it on to the original filter housing. Turns out, it too was somewhat lose, at least not as tight as it should've been; after getting those two items replaces/secured, the air in fuel problem was eliminated.
     
  23. Keefer Douglas

    Keefer Douglas Member

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    Update 2: After some more soul (and bank account) searching, we decided to re-power with a Beta. With the Perkins out, and after scraping a few decades worth of oil and belt dust out of the engine room, we used the opportunity to install some snazzy new sound insulation. Not sure how effective this will be at its primary purpose, but darn if doesn't feel worth it on aesthetics alone! Will follow up with some more pics once the shiny new red beast is in place.
    Engine room insulation_1.jpg
     
  24. mpearson

    mpearson Mark Pearson Staff Member

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    Hey, Keefer - while you have the engine out, check your steering system Idler. Mine was totally corroded and kind of exploded a couple of months ago. I dearly wish I had replaced it when we had the engine out. It would have been a piece of cake to replace at that time. And in the spectrum of boat costs, it didn’t really cost that much ;-). And it’s a pretty darned important piece of gear.

    https://www.morgan38.org/morgan38/i...l-idler-chain-cable-safety.15631/#post-131623

    Congrats on the shiny new Beta! Looking forward to seeing some pictures!
     
  25. Keefer Douglas

    Keefer Douglas Member

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    Hi Mark,

    I took a good close look at the idler when I was crawling around in there the other day, remembering that thread of yours. There is a little rust here and there but it is still pretty solid. For now we will make note and keep a watch on it!


     
  26. dave_a

    dave_a Dave Ahlers

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    Keefer, my 2cents. Make sure you take care of your fuel cleanliness issue. Modern diesels are LESS tolerant of bad fuel than the old Perkins.
    What are you doing with your old diesel?
    If you decide to give the Perk another try, you're in Md. and so is Transatlantic Diesel. The are the 4-108 gurus. They might even buy your old motor. Somebody will for sure.
     
  27. terry_thatcher

    terry_thatcher Terence Thatcher

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    John Harrison says he replaced the miserable CAV secondary filter on his Perkins, which I have always wanted to do, but I didn't think there was a way to do so. John, where did you get the replacement spin-on and does it still attach to the engine or is it mounted on a bulkhead? Thanks
     
  28. struell

    struell Stephen Ruell

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    Hi Keefer
    I think you will be very satisfied with the new Beta. The vibration that we had with the Yanmar is completely gone, which is the most important improvement. I wanted to ask what brand and material you used for the soundproofing in your photo, as it looks very nice. Our Beta 38 noise level is still a little loud since there is virtually no sound proofing material lining the engine compartment, and we would like to do something to make it quieter.
    You might also consider moving the cooling water intake into the engine room. Ours was under the floor of the cockpit locker and was a small diameter plus had a right angle elbow under the locker floor that clogged on us. The new through hull is larger diameter and the location is in the engine compartment aft of the engine which allows room and accessibility to the hose if it should clog again, but since there is no longer any elbow it should be more trouble free.
    Steve
     
  29. terry_thatcher

    terry_thatcher Terence Thatcher

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    on sound proofing, I have used something that has "mass loaded vinyl"sandwiched between two layers of foam. Soundown makes it, I believe. Practical Sailor did tests years ago. The Perkins is still loud, but the barrier helps quite a bit. Were I in the need of a repower, the Beta 43 looks just right, altho heavier than I would have anticipated.
     
  30. Keefer Douglas

    Keefer Douglas Member

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    On soundproofing: We used the Soundown stuff, purchased from Defender: https://www.defender.com/product.jsp?path=-1|311|2349105&id=3018333
    Four sheets was just enough for our engine room configuration, though it required a bit of jig-saw puzzling of smaller pieces to get that to cover everything. It has that "mass loaded vinyl" core, and so was surprisingly heavy and solid feeling for what is otherwise just some foam with a layer of mylar on top. Very easy to work with. Foam plus fasteners, spray adhesive and tape came out to a little less than $400. Required about 2 days of work though could probably be done in 1 if you are not also dealing with a lot of electrical wiring (which we were).

    As for the old Perkins: still have not come up with a plan for it. Most likely I will list it first as-is. It really should undergo a re-build before anyone sticks it back in a boat, and these things are rather common these days in the Annapolis area. Our Beta guy alone had two other re-powers going (since finished) at least one of which was replacing a 4-108. Which leads me to believe that I might get a little cash out of it selling to Transatlantic or someone like that, but perhaps more realistic will be parting it out. The injector pump is already rebuilt, the Hurth transmission is in good shape, and I just cleaned out the heat exchanger/exhaust manifold myself...
     
  31. terry_thatcher

    terry_thatcher Terence Thatcher

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    Keefer: Who rebuilt the injector pump and which model pump is it? If you decide to part the engine out I might be interested in purchasing the pump a a spare. It is one of the few significant items for which I don't carry a spare. My Perkins is so reliable, I can't justify replacing it.
     
  32. Keefer Douglas

    Keefer Douglas Member

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    The injector pump was rebuilt by J.G. Parks http://www.jgparks.com/

    I have been away on work travel, haven't yet made much progress on plans for the Perkins. But the Beta is now in and ready, going to sea trial soon...
     

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