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Cold Starting issue with narrowboat


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Hi I have a 58 foot semi trad .

it starts fine on a landline, or even on the brand new starter battery if the engine is warm.

however cold starting in the morning off the starter battery just does not happen.

Hand a new starter motor , battery and all the wiring in the engine area checked in last two years .

still the issue exists.

can anyone recommend a diagnostic marine electrician?

 

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14 minutes ago, Lambeth63 said:

Hi I have a 58 foot semi trad .

it starts fine on a landline, or even on the brand new starter battery if the engine is warm.

however cold starting in the morning off the starter battery just does not happen.

Hand a new starter motor , battery and all the wiring in the engine area checked in last two years .

still the issue exists.

can anyone recommend a diagnostic marine electrician?

 

 

Sorry, but we need details. What engine make & model? Some have glow plugs for cold starting. Start battery voltage at rest before starting and the during cranking. Voltage at starter motor terminal when cranking. Age of engine? Any work done just before this started?

 

It could be almost anything at present including a worn out engine.

 

Edited to add: I see you are asking for a boat electrician to do the diagnosis but presumably it was one of those that did the checking two years ago. Apparently to no avail. If you can use a voltmeter we can talk you through testing the circuit. In fact if you look in the electrical notes on my website http://www.tb-training.co.uk it will give you a good start in finding the problem.

 

Initial thoughts are as it starts when the charger is elevating the voltage the likely faults are volt drop on the circuit leading to low cranking speed or a worn engine that does not compress the charge enough to get the fuel burning when cold and at 12V rather than 14+.  Testing will rule one or the other out or point to another potential fault.

Edited by Tony Brooks
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Thanks for responses, my engine is a Ford transit marinised 2.5 litre

its older than my boat apparently ?.

it also emits a lot of grey smoke .

Ill

check out your notets thanks.

I’ve had my suspicions about the engine since I bought the boat nearly 3 years ago but was assured it was ok .

I am concerned tho .

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35 minutes ago, Lambeth63 said:

Thanks for responses, my engine is a Ford transit marinised 2.5 litre

its older than my boat apparently ?.

it also emits a lot of grey smoke .

Ill

check out your notets thanks.

I’ve had my suspicions about the engine since I bought the boat nearly 3 years ago but was assured it was ok .

I am concerned tho .

It may be worth having the injectors serviced or replaced, even if the engine is worn it would aid starting. 

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Grey or white  smoke when cranking before starting is indicative of unburnt diesel so the injection is delivering fuel but there is insufficient heat in the cylinders to burn it.

Usual case is low compression due to bore/piston wear or valve leakage. As a first step set the tappet clearances. A compression test afterwards will indicate if you have a serious problem.

I assume that there is no preheater in the inlet manifold, its a direct injection engine so will not have heater plugs. You could fit a preheater jet and element a la Perkins engines, but if the problem is wear it would only be a temporary solution.

 

Preheating the air going in with a small blowlamp will aid cold starting  but be careful.

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52 minutes ago, Lambeth63 said:

Thanks for responses, my engine is a Ford transit marinised 2.5 litre

its older than my boat apparently ?.

it also emits a lot of grey smoke .

Ill

check out your notets thanks.

I’ve had my suspicions about the engine since I bought the boat nearly 3 years ago but was assured it was ok .

I am concerned tho .

 

I think the last two responses says it all.

 

If you want to double-check lets have battery voltage before cranking, the battery voltage during cranking and the voltage at the main starter terminal during cranking.

 

I suspect that your engine spins over on the starter a bit faster than a similar one and if so that's indicative of engine wear.

 

If you are very lucky it will turn out to be valves leaking and not the pistons etc. but you won't know that until  or if the head comes ff for inspection and measurement.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Lambeth63 said:

Just out of curiosity, what’s the cost of a new engine , fitted.

just a ball park figure ?

 

 

Replacement Ford engines are available, but it depends if you want a complete engine, or, are prepared to buy a 'short engine' and  take all the ancilliaries of the old and fit to the new.

 

I have 2x Ford Cargo Engines (6 litre straight 6's) and have found these people are the experts.

 

You are probably looking at £5000 minimum + VAT + exchange engine and use of your ancilliaries

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30 minutes ago, Lambeth63 said:

Just out of curiosity, what’s the cost of a new engine , fitted.

just a ball park figure ?

 

 

14 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Replacement Ford engines are available, but it depends if you want a complete engine, or, are prepared to buy a 'short engine' and  take all the ancilliaries of the old and fit to the new.

 

I have 2x Ford Cargo Engines (6 litre straight 6's) and have found these people are the experts.

 

You are probably looking at £5000 minimum + VAT + exchange engine and use of your ancilliaries

 

But if its not a straight swap and the engine beds & pipework need changing it could be a lot more. Possibly up to 10 grand.

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16 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:


 

 

 

But if its not a straight swap and the engine beds & pipework need changing it could be a lot more. Possibly up to 10 grand.

 

They do straight swaps which is why they want your engine first to ensure everything is 'drop-in' (Engine mounts piping etc).

 

 

They will put all of your ancilliaries (refurbish or repair if necessary) onto the new engine and run it up and dyno test before sending back to you.

 

You could always buy a scrapper Transit from a scrap yord and do the work yourself, but could end up even worse off than you are now. I'd rather pay and have a warranty.

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Is it a Lucas or Bosch injector pump it should start first turn of the key  check the compression  valve clearence  valve timing as it had a cam belt change check that these are bullet proof engines Sounds like a injector pump problem

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Could do with a bit more info really. My Beta engine starts fine with just a few seconds preheater but I steered a boat recently with a Mitsubishi that needed a good 45 seconds. I have a feeling that if that engines preheaters were not working the thing would never have started. Edit. Ah, its a transit, didn't see that, Sorry, don't know much about them. Good luck

Edited by Bee
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1 minute ago, Bee said:

Could do with a bit more info really. My Beta engine starts fine with just a few seconds preheater but I steered a boat recently with a Mitsubishi that needed a good 45 seconds. I have a feeling that if that engines preheaters were not working the thing would never have started.

No preheaters I expect! Its a direct injection engine.

 

If the belt has been changed and it must have by now, check it fitted correctly, timing matched up.

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You say it starts OK when you on 'land line' I'm guessing you mean shore power and the batteries are being charged...?

 

This sounds just like an issue a friend had, there was a faulty diode pack on an alternator and the battery was slowly draining over night when not plugged in and charging..!

 

Might not be a diode pack but I suspect you have a battery drain.  Moor up, disconnect the starter battery. In the morning reconnect it, I suspect it will start OK...

Edited by Quattrodave
typo
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26 minutes ago, Quattrodave said:

You say it starts OK when you on 'land line' I'm guessing you mean shore power and the batteries are being charged...?

 

This sounds just like an issue a friend had, there was a faulty diode pack on an alternator and the battery was slowly draining over night when not plugged in and charging..!

 

Might not be a diode pack but I suspect you have a battery drain.  Moor up, disconnect the starter battery. In the morning reconnect it, I suspect it will start OK...

 

That is why I have been asking for voltage readings. If your suspicions turn out to be correct the rested battery voltage will be low. Also if you are right the alternator will tend to be warm to the touch.

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Why would he need a new engine if it starts fine when battery voltage is ok (i.e. being charged with a battery charger from a landline)?

 

I mean he may need a new engine but I'd try a new start battery first!

 

I assume it would start of you take a jump from the domestic bank?

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Rather than go replacing a battery that was allegedly replaced in the last two years I would take those voltage readings I asked for. At least they will give us a clue as to what might be wrong and as long as he has a meter it will take 15mintes maximum and cost nothing.

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24 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

Rather than go replacing a battery that was allegedly replaced in the last two years I would take those voltage readings I asked for. At least they will give us a clue as to what might be wrong and as long as he has a meter it will take 15mintes maximum and cost nothing.

 

As Tony said. Start with the simple stuff!

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As long as a set of jump leads are available and the domestic batteries are ok, jump starting the engine from the domestic bank as I suggested, will also just take a few minutes and cost nothing.

Edited by blackrose
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2 minutes ago, blackrose said:

As long as a set of jump leads are available and the domestic batteries are ok, jump starting the engine from the domestic bank as I suggested, will also just take a few minutes and cost nothing.

 

Fully agree as long as they are diesel jump leads with hefty crock clips rather than the toy that look as if the have been made form wired HT lead one so often finds. Unlike jumping from vehicle to vehicle were yo ca run the donor vehicle for a while one can not risk much volt drop through the leads and clips.

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