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The machine stops (followed by white smoke!)


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Hi I wonder if anyone can help despite the vague description that will follow...

I cruised for about an hour a few days ago without any trouble at all. This evening I switched the engine on, it started fine but after few seconds it stopped, and then white smoke come up from the area encircled on the photo.

Not nice. I don't want to try starting it again as I don't really like white smoke coming out from where no smoke of any colour should be coming out of.

There's nothing charred, no marks and no leaks that I could see. 

Any ideas?

Video not of while it was smoking, just to better show the area in question: 

 

Thanks

 

20200710_211505.jpg

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1 hour ago, NB Lola said:

Diesel bug

 

should add, I have a canaline 42 and that was what happened to mine

Interesting and quite possible.

Is there a way of getting biocide to the affected area? I don't suppose there would be a point in adding it to the tank at this stage.

How did you fix it?

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9 hours ago, NB Lola said:

Fuel polishing and biocide.  Was a real bugger to resolve.

Thanks but do you know where the smoke was likely to be be coming from? Presumably it needs to be replaced or unblocked.

As I don't have much fuel in I'm wondering is draining the tank and then adding new fuel with biocide would be a quicker and healthier solution.

 

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6 minutes ago, pedroinlondon said:

Thanks but do you know where the smoke was likely to be be coming from? Presumably it needs to be replaced or unblocked.

As I don't have much fuel in I'm wondering is draining the tank and then adding new fuel with biocide would be a quicker and healthier solution.

 

 

How many inches on a dipstick is "not much"? The fuel take off pipe should be well over an inch above the bottom of the tank and could be 4 inches so if its less than about 6 inches you can't be sure that you have not run out of fuel.

 

I can't help with the smoke because I can't see anything in that area that is likely to smoke. There seems to be an alternative oil filler there but that should not allow white smoke out, I would expect it to be sealed but if its vented a badly worn engine might produce fumes from it but I can't see that your engine is old enough for that to be realistic.

 

Can you confirm the engine was not overheating?

 

Is there a battery cable sized cable in that area connected to the engine block or engine bed?? If so is the terminal properly fitted to the cable and is the terminal clean and tight on its fixing?

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I suspect overheating if the white smoke is coming from within the engine hole. Fuel bug usually just stops the engine and water in the fuel results in the engine stopping and a small amount of white smoke coming from the exhaust.

 

How do I know this? Many years ago when we had our second shareboat the yard we were based at didn't realise they had to drain condensation from the bottom of their above ground bulk diesel tank periodically.

 

The net result was they filled my shareboat with around 50 litres of water along with the diesel when they filled it up.

 

A few days later the engine died and wouldn't restart, because the engine was trying to run on water!

 

White smoke was wisping out of the exhaust.

 

Draining the water, adding more diesel, changing the fuel filter and bleeding the fuel system got us going again.

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32 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

How many inches on a dipstick is "not much"? The fuel take off pipe should be well over an inch above the bottom of the tank and could be 4 inches so if its less than about 6 inches you can't be sure that you have not run out of fuel.

 

I can't help with the smoke because I can't see anything in that area that is likely to smoke. There seems to be an alternative oil filler there but that should not allow white smoke out, I would expect it to be sealed but if its vented a badly worn engine might produce fumes from it but I can't see that your engine is old enough for that to be realistic.

 

Can you confirm the engine was not overheating?

 

Is there a battery cable sized cable in that area connected to the engine block or engine bed?? If so is the terminal properly fitted to the cable and is the terminal clean and tight on its fixing?

How many inches on a dipstick is "not much"? The fuel take off pipe should be well over an inch above the bottom of the tank and could be 4 inches so if its less than about 6 inches you can't be sure that you have not run out of fuel.

Hi Tony,
I've let it run quite low but not that low, unless now there's more water than fuel... I would say about 12 inches or something like that. Not enough that would be worth recycling or saving, that's what I mean.t

 

I can't help with the smoke because I can't see anything in that area that is likely to smoke. There seems to be an alternative oil filler there but that should not allow white smoke out, I would expect it to be sealed but if its vented a badly worn engine might produce fumes from it but I can't see that your engine is old enough for that to be realistic.

 

Ok.

 

Can you confirm the engine was not overheating?

 

It was not. I didn't have time to overheat, as it only run for a few seconds.

 

Is there a battery cable sized cable in that area connected to the engine block or engine bed?? If so is the terminal properly fitted to the cable and is the terminal clean and tight on its fixing?

It is well fitted (well I will double check this evening when I'm back there). Could the battery bank or the cable interfere in any way with the running of the engine or are you asking in case you suspect something got entangled somewhere? I don't think there's anything lose but I'll double check carefully.

3 minutes ago, cuthound said:

I suspect overheating if the white smoke is coming from within the engine hole. Fuel bug usually just stops the engine and water in the fuel results in the engine stopping and a small amount of white smoke coming from the exhaust.

Ok, but can engines overheat within about 5 seconds of starting? Would not that take at least half a minute even if the air filter completely blocked?

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10 minutes ago, pedroinlondon said:

Ok, but can engines overheat within about 5 seconds of starting? Would not that take at least half a minute even if the air filter completely blocked?

 

No, the quickest I have known an engine to overheat from cold is a few minutes and then only when the thermostat has failed. A blocked air filter cannot cause the engine to overheat. 

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8 minutes ago, pedroinlondon said:

It is well fitted (well I will double check this evening when I'm back there). Could the battery bank or the cable interfere in any way with the running of the engine or are you asking in case you suspect something got entangled somewhere? I don't think there's anything lose but I'll double check carefully.

 

Ok, but can engines overheat within about 5 seconds of starting? Would not that take at least half a minute even if the air filter completely blocked?

1. As I can't see anything in that area that would smoke I have to think a bit outside the box. Somewhere there is likely to be an engine block to hull bond and that just might be in that general area. If it is and if there is a poor connection then when starting or if you have a high output alternator the poor connection might smoke.

 

2. No, that sounds much more like an electrical problem unless its exhaust fumes escaping from the engine but that would be on the other side. Is there any chance that an alternator belt may be slipping and smoking. This can happen with well discharged batteries at first start up but it is usually accompanied by a squeal.

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9 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

1. As I can't see anything in that area that would smoke I have to think a bit outside the box. Somewhere there is likely to be an engine block to hull bond and that just might be in that general area. If it is and if there is a poor connection then when starting or if you have a high output alternator the poor connection might smoke.

 

2. No, that sounds much more like an electrical problem unless its exhaust fumes escaping from the engine but that would be on the other side. Is there any chance that an alternator belt may be slipping and smoking. This can happen with well discharged batteries at first start up but it is usually accompanied by a squeal.

To be honest I suspected an electrical failure of some sort from the beginning as the cut off was so "clean" but that was just a hunch, as I'm such a newbie... 
No squeal at all but the alternator belt could be too tights or worn. Would a problematic alt belt send a signal for the electrics to shut down?
So if it's the belt and not the alternator, could the smoke be white? The alternators are on the other side but the belt naturally runs all the way along.

 

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1 minute ago, pedroinlondon said:

To be honest I suspected an electrical failure of some sort from the beginning as the cut off was so "clean" but that was just a hunch, as I'm such a newbie... 
No squeal at all but the alternator belt could be too tights or worn. Would a problematic alt belt send a signal for the electrics to shut down?
So if it's the belt and not the alternator, could the smoke be white? The alternators are on the other side but the belt naturally runs all the way along.

 

A belt problem would not send any signal but may make smoke that I would expect to be rather blackish. It the water pump had sized (smallish pulley in the middle of the red circle) then the belt may smoke in that area and as the rubber softened by heat it could stop an engine that is just idling but this is a very long shot, the engine is probably too new for that to be likely. Operating the stop while spinning the starter while you look a that pulley would show if the pump has seized.

 

You can get steam (white smoke) soon after the first start if the engine is damp but that would be exhaust related and that is in the wrong place. Experience shows  ordinary boaters often mistake steam for smoke.

 

I would see if it start while keeping an eye on the area that smoked. I don't see how we can get any further without being on the boat or a lot more information. The area you indicate is far too wide to be sure what may have smoked. I can't see the engine stop control in the video and I am not familiar with Koti engines so

how do you stop it? Just turn the key off like a car or push a button or turn the key to a special stop position. If its the former it has an energise to run stop system so if the electrical supply to the stop solenoid was interrupted it would stop very cleanly but that would not explain the smoke. Building on this if the smoke was from a  short circuit (tends to be light greyish) then it may well have blown a fuse and on an energise to run diesel that would stop it. This is conjecture based on the little info given, there is no visual evidence for it. I have no idea where Canaline put the engine fuse but its probably an inline holder tucked close to the main wiring harness.

 

I am going to my garden now but will check back in a couple of hours.

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When you have two symptoms appear concurrently I find that if you chase down the easiest then the reason for the other will usually become apparent during the fault finding process. There's a caveat goes with that, in that the smoke may have been appearing soon after start up for months and you only saw it this time because you looked when the engine stopped!

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2 hours ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

I am going to my garden now but will check back in a couple of hours.

Thanks Tony. I can see you're intrigued by this :)

I will be back to the boat in a few hours and will see if it's possible to place a camera or even two in the area. Hopefully that will make things a bit more clear.
As for the smoke being steam, I really don't think so. It was heavier, whiter and rising quite differently from steam.

1 hour ago, Sir Nibble said:

When you have two symptoms appear concurrently I find that if you chase down the easiest then the reason for the other will usually become apparent during the fault finding process. There's a caveat goes with that, in that the smoke may have been appearing soon after start up for months and you only saw it this time because you looked when the engine stopped!

That could very well be the case. I only happened to notice the smoke at the boards were up. I am in the process of replacing the phenolic boards and was going to measure them while the engine was running.

More often than note the boards would be down.

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Could it possibly be a fault with the stop solenoid. Maybe failed, burnt out causing smoke and engine to stop. Not sure which way the solenoid works on this engine, energised to run or energised to stop. 

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2 hours ago, pedroinlondon said:

To be honest I suspected an electrical failure of some sort from the beginning as the cut off was so "clean" but that was just a hunch, as I'm such a newbie... 
No squeal at all but the alternator belt could be too tights or worn. Would a problematic alt belt send a signal for the electrics to shut down?
So if it's the belt and not the alternator, could the smoke be white? The alternators are on the other side but the belt naturally runs all the way along.

 

 

I had an alternator seize on a car once. The car filled up with acrid black smoke, which disappeared a few seconds later when the belt wore  through and dropped off.

 

White smoke is either unburnt fuel or steam. I would have said steam, possibly from a dripping water pump or hose given the location shown in  your photo and video, but if the engine had just started it wouldnt have been hot enough to turn water into steam and in any case a water leak wont stop an engine until thevenginevgets hot enough to sieze.

 

I agree with Tony, it is probably an electrical failure of some sort.

 

How does your engine stop? Does it have a solenoid which is energised to run, which you press a button to stop the engine which in turn stops the fuel supply to the engine , or does it have a knob thst you pull which is connected to a decompression lever by a cable (bit like a bikes brake cable)?

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How the stop system is going to be important. If it is energise to run then that is the most likely cause but I would have expected the engine fuse to blow before there was much smoke.

 

If its energise to stop I can't see how it would fit the symptoms.

 

Could even be a short in the multi-plug but we can't see the multi-plug in the images so it could be a fair way away from the area smoke was supposed to have come from.

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The problem is you never know what the engine mariniser fits. For safety reasons it should be energise to stop, but some of them stick with the industrial standard which is energise to run.

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43 minutes ago, cuthound said:

How does your engine stop? Does it have a solenoid which is energised to run, which you press a button to stop the engine which in turn stops the fuel supply to the engine , or does it have a knob thst you pull which is connected to a decompression lever by a cable (bit like a bikes brake cable)?

I know of no relatively modern engine that is stopped by opening the de-compressors. To do so from speed could end up with a bent valve etc. The cable you refer to to sets the injection pump(s) to the no fuel position so the engine just stops.  I think the OPs engine is new enough to use an electric stop but they just do the same as the cable.

 

Only posted to ensure misinformation is not passed on.

 

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What did the white "smoke" smell like? If it was unburnt diesel or engine fumes, it would smell much different to steam. Steam could come from condensation or general wetness somewhere, but I can't see anything getting hot enough to make steam in a few seconds. I guess if the crankcase were overpressurising you might get vapours being blown out of the oil filler if it's not firmly tightened down.

Edited by Onewheeler
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12 minutes ago, Onewheeler said:

What did the white "smoke" smell like? If it was unburnt diesel or engine fumes, it would smell much different to steam. Steam could come from condensation or general wetness somewhere, but I can't see anything getting hot enough to make steam in a few seconds. I guess if the crankcase were overpressurising you might get vapours being blown out of the oil filler if it's not firmly tightened down.

or did it smell like burned plastic? Burning insulations starts by ejecting a load of whitish grey smoke before the insulation catches fire and the smoke turns to black. (for completeness).

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18 hours ago, NB Lola said:

Diesel bug

 

should add, I have a canaline 42 and that was what happened to mine

Interesting and quite possible.

Is there a way of getting biocide to the affected area? I don't suppose there would be a point in adding it to the tank at this stage.

How did you fix it?

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