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Diesels Afloat

Diesels Afloat

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Published by exmulator
Marine engine repair- how to- This help me, to understood marine engines troubleshooting
Marine engine repair- how to- This help me, to understood marine engines troubleshooting

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Published by: exmulator on Jan 05, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Engine won’t turn

• Is the battery ‘on’?
• Is the panel alive? — Warning lights ‘on’.

Check the engine fuse — usually on the engine — but
there may not be one. Small Yanmars have one but
it isn’t mentioned in the handbook — it’s 30 amp and
in the harness close to the starter motor. It’s taped
over and sprayed with engine paint.

• Check the gear selector is in neutral. Even if there’s
no neutral switch, the starter won’t be able to turn the
engine over in gear unless the boat is under way.

• If the warning lights go out when you operate the
starter, the battery is flat or the connections very

• If the panel is normal when you operate the starter,
then the problem may well be in the wiring or con-
nections to the starter.




• Use the troubleshooting wiring diagram to find and
follow the circuit through to the starter motor. Ideally,
you will already have tailored this diagram to your
boat and identified all the components. There will
be various connectors in the wiring loom, some un-
reliable bullet connectors and others multiple plugs
and sockets, which tend to be more reliable. How-
ever, unplugging them and then reconnecting may
be all that’s required.

• With the ‘ignition’ ON, all the wires shown RED in the
troubleshooting wiring diagram should have 12
volts. Using a multimeter set on DC, volts should
show in excess of 12.6 volts between any terminal
and a suitable earth terminal.

• With the starter button pressed or the ignition switch
held at start, the additional wires shown RED on the
troubleshooting wiring diagram should also read in
excess of 12.6 volts on the multimeter.







• If the starter solenoid is not receiving current, you
may be able to ‘jump start’ the engine. The instru-
ments and warning lights may not then operate.

• If it is receiving current, you should be able to hear
the solenoid click — if it does, then the contacts have
failed or the engine/starter has seized.

• Older engines have a spiral groove along which
the gear moves to engage the flywheel. This may
need to be cleaned. If the starter just ‘whirs’, the
starter pinion is sticking on its spiral thread. If it’s
stuck at the flywheel end and the starter won’t
turn, you can ‘wind’ it back to the starting posi-
tion using a spanner on the front end of the starter

Jump starting

• Make sure that nothing you are wearing can get
caught up in the machinery.

• Bridge the positive (battery) terminal on the starter
solenoid and the starter switch terminal on the sole-
noid to turn the engine.

• This won’t work if the solenoid has failed.

Engine turns but won’t start

Turn off the cooling sea water cock in a sailing boat
before continuing — turn on when engine starts. Don’t
run the starter motor for more than 30 seconds without
an intervening five-minute cooling period.

Engine turns slowly

• Low battery state — parallel batteries if possible. How-
ever, don’t connect a very discharged battery to a
good one, as the low battery will pull the charged
battery down and you may not be able to start. If pos-
sible, it’s better to just connect to the ‘good’ battery.

• Check battery connections — remember the battery
connection to the engine block and the starter mo-
tor bolts. These must all be clean and tight.

• If you have decompressers, decompress the
cylinders while you turn the engine on the battery,

Reproduced by permission of Volvo



so that full turning speed is achieved, then close
them (or only one if the system allows) to achieve a

Engine turns normally

• Check ‘stop control’ is not at ‘stop’.

• If the engine is stopped electrically (no pull handle),
the stop solenoid (which requires 12 volts to ‘stop’)
may have jammed in the stop position. You should
be able to move this to the ‘run’ position by hand.

• The stop mechanism may be mounted internally, in
which case, remove the solenoid. You should then
be able to operate the stop control in the engine.

• Some marinised engines (and generating sets)
need 12 volts to run, so make sure the connections
are sound and that 12 volts show at this point.



• Check fuel ‘on’.
• Check fuel contents.
• Check ‘cold starting procedure’ is correct — read

• Check electric cold start system is functioning by
following the troubleshooting wiring diagram.

• Bleed low-pressure fuel system — make sure it’s fuel
not water.

• Bleed high-pressure fuel system by loosening the
high-pressure unions two and a half turns. Caution:
high-pressure fuel can penetrate the skin.

• If you’re out of fuel or there’s a blockage, you could
jury-rig a fuel supply.



ENGINE DAMAGE IS LIKELY. No current diesel engine
manufacturer approves the use of starting fluid. (If you
must, spray some on a rag and hold the rag by the air
intake as the engine is cranked. Get the engine over-

A much safer way is to apply heat to the intake area
and pre-heat the air as it’s sucked into the air intake.
Remove the air cleaner and apply heat with a hair-
dryer. Using exceptional care to prevent fire and burn-
ing electrical circuits, a gas blow-lamp can also be
used in an emergency, but only if you’ll hit the rocks if
you can’t start the engine!

Remember that difficult starting from cold indicates
a faulty technique, poor battery or connections or an
engine problem, which can include a bent connecting
rod caused by water in the cylinder.

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