Sunday, March 3, 2024

Rattle Can Rebuild Part X

I decided that I wouldn't subject people to any more engine rebuild updates until it was finished, but even though I was technically finished last week, it turns out I wasn't.  I won't go through all the gory details of the final pieces of the rebuild, but I will say that I thought it was going better than I expected.  I picked away at it almost every day since the last time I posted, focusing on each system individually.  By far the biggest challenge was figuring out the new wiring harness, sensors and a new low pressure fuel pump that was not a westerbeke product, but with a little advice from Hansen Marine Engineering, I got it all done.

With everything back together and after lots of electrical testing, it was time to fire it up.  I wired up the battery to the starter solenoid, plugged in the new Admiral panel and oil/water alarm harness and got a bucket of water to run through the raw water pump.  I turned the key and hit the preheat button for 10 seconds to fire up the glow plugs and then pressed the start button.  The engine cranked and cranked, but wouldn't catch.  I stopped and re-checked everything and repeated the process.  Still nothing. The engine cranked fine, but wouldn't catch.  

First I tested that the glow plugs were working; they were. Then I moved onto the only other possibility: the fuel system.  I knew that fuel was making it through the low pressure pump and into the secondary filter and to the injection pump.  However, when I cracked the fuel line at one of the injectors, I found no fuel...  It appeared that the injection pump wasn't working properly, but I spent a day or two scouring online forums to definitively prove that the injection pump was the problem.  I found my answer quickly on the Cruisers Forum where one of the users (SkipperPete) gave me the answer I needed. Yes it was more than likely the injection pump.

During the rebuild, I studiously avoided the injection pump because I naively hoped that it would run after 10 years sitting without running and with old fuel in it.  An additional problem with the injection pump is that it is difficult to get at and in order to remove it, you have to disconnect a very fiddly spring and tie rod that attaches the govenor to the rack on the pump.  I honestly thought it was 'above my paygrade' and seriously considered putting the engine on a trailer and taking it to a diesel repair shop.

I'm glad I didn't and the help I got from the Cruisers Forum gave me the courage to tackle the project. I did have to disassemble the entire fuel system surrounding the injection pump to get at it, but at this point I was sure that I could reassemble it again without too much trouble (but I took lots of photos). However, in the end, pulling the injection pump wasn't actually that bad and I probably saved at least $500 just in the disassembly process.  Now I have the pump out of the engine and will take it to a injection pump shop to have it rebuilt. Yes, this will be expensive, but this is something that is not for amatuers and requires specialized high pressure testing equipment and expertise that I just don't have.  

So tomorrow morning, I'll be dropping it off at Diesels Fuel Injection shop to have them rebuild the pump.  I used them to rebuild the injectors (which also require specialized equipment).  Hopefully, my next post will include a video of the engine running.  Below are a few shots of the injection pump:

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