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Thoughts an unexpected breakdown?


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Beta Bv1305, about 4600hrs on the clock. Last filled up full with diesel at Middlewich a week ago with the usual dose of Fuelset,  and since then worked up to Bugsworth without incident. Day off yesterday, ran the engine for an hour for hot water, all still OK.

 

Set off this morning and after about a mile the engine appeared to labour briefly and then stalled as though the prop was fouled. Restarted straight away on the key, quick burst of reverse and away. Same thing, so pulled over for a weed hatch moment. Prop clear, shaft turns freely. Must have shed whatever it was…

 

Set off again, same thing. Engine starts fine every time but as soon as “anything is asked of it” it labours and stalls. No noticeable smoke. Restarts fine. Pull over for a think…. Check plenty of fuel, air filter is clear, so change the fuel filter (last changed 150 hours ago, recommended interval 600 hours, but usually done every 200 alongside the oil filter). Start up and away we go, no issues on a 9 hour run all the way to Macc.

 

So, presumably a fuel starvation issue of some sort? The fuel out of the filter was clear and bright, no sign of water, no sign of black bug slime or other detritus. Filter appears clean, although I haven’t hacked it open yet for a good look. I don’t have the wherewithal with me to investigate the bottom of the tank, but I’ve given it a good slug of Marine 16 and am hoping for the best.

 

What does the team think? Early diesel bug outbreak? Tank crud?

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My mum had a BV1505 on her narrow boat and one day she had a mechanic working on it and he stepped on the lift pump. Tiny little crack in one of the pipes. Not the exact same symptoms but basically a little bit of air was able to get in and it caused problems.

The (mechanical) lift pump itself was a tiny little thing with integral inlet and outlet pipes rather than screwed-in unions. 

 

New lift pump ordered, I fitted it and it was fine after that. 

 

 

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

Tank air vent not blocked?  Electric pump or mechanical?  The infamous multiplug on the loom?

 

Mine stopped the other day, the fuel tap had vibrated itself closed!  After 60 + hours running in the week!

I’ll check the tank vent, thanks. Mechanical lift pump with priming lever - no problem using the primer to fill the new filter. The 1305 is a very simple engine, I suspect it would run (but not start) with the loom unplugged. Fuel cock definitely open :)

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2 minutes ago, magnetman said:

My mum had a BV1505 on her narrow boat and one day she had a mechanic working on it and he stepped on the lift pump. Tiny little crack in one of the pipes. Not the exact same symptoms but basically a little bit of air was able to get in and it caused problems.

The (mechanical) lift pump itself was a tiny little thing with integral inlet and outlet pipes rather than screwed-in unions. 

 

New lift pump ordered, I fitted it and it was fine after that. 

 

 

 

 

Thanks, same little lift pump on that engine I think. No diesel leakage apparent though (although I know that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not sucking air).

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Hmm. When I have had fuel problems with my beta it sort of labours/shudders and stops.  Some BMC engines speed up momentarily and stop, some Perkins just go slower and then stop. I would bleed the filter and see if it is actually full. It should run if it is. Let it run for 5 minutes, stop the engine, bleed it again, if there is air in it then it is sucking air from somewhere. If there is no air just make sure the 'stop' control on the pump is working. If everything is as it should be then I would pour out the contents of the filter into a bowl and see what is in it. Is there a fuel on/off tap at the tank? It will almost certainly be some sort of fuel problem but finding it can be a sod.

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3 minutes ago, Bee said:

Hmm. When I have had fuel problems with my beta it sort of labours/shudders and stops.  Some BMC engines speed up momentarily and stop, some Perkins just go slower and then stop. I would bleed the filter and see if it is actually full. It should run if it is. Let it run for 5 minutes, stop the engine, bleed it again, if there is air in it then it is sucking air from somewhere. If there is no air just make sure the 'stop' control on the pump is working. If everything is as it should be then I would pour out the contents of the filter into a bowl and see what is in it. Is there a fuel on/off tap at the tank? It will almost certainly be some sort of fuel problem but finding it can be a sod.

Thanks. It has run for about 9 hours today on the new filter without problems. There was certainly clean fuel in the old filter, as much as I would expect when changing a filter normally, but whether it was full, full I don’t know. I’ll give it a bleed in the morning and see what happens. 
 

hacking the old filter open may have wait until I am home.

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Just pour it out into a white bowl, your favourite cereal bowl is favourite then you can re use the filter if its OK, I nearly fill the filter with clean fuel before I fit it, it saves a lot of faffing about with the lift pump thingy.

  • Greenie 2
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I had these symptoms last year when the filter became blocked shortly after filling a fairly empty tank.

The engine (kubota 1205) would run on tickover and for a short time at 1200 rpm then die.

This filter was at about 80hrs. The new filter also blocked quickly so had the tank cleaned, this revealed about 10 litres of water and rubbish in the bottom of the tank despite having always used treatment additives.

No trouble since.

 

 

Edited by adrianh
  • Greenie 1
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10 minutes ago, adrianh said:

I had these symptoms last year when the filter became blocked shortly after filling a fairly empty tank.

The engine (kubota 1205) would run on tickover and for a short time at 1200 rpm then die.

This filter was at about 80hrs. The new filter also blocked quickly so had the tank cleaned, this revealed about 10 litres of water and rubbish in the bottom of the tank despite having always used treatment additives.

No trouble since.

 

 

Have you checked to see if there is a hole in the bottom of the fuel tank if it's subject to bilge water. Any leak will involve a 2 way process where fuel leaks out, but a certain amount of bilge water gets back into the tank. 

   If the tanks integrity is OK, then check the seals around the filler caps or top plate fittings to see if they are letting in water. Using Biocides is not good news, as it can cause a premature failure of the high pressure fuel pump. 

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7 hours ago, adrianh said:

I had these symptoms last year when the filter became blocked shortly after filling a fairly empty tank.

The engine (kubota 1205) would run on tickover and for a short time at 1200 rpm then die.

This filter was at about 80hrs. The new filter also blocked quickly so had the tank cleaned, this revealed about 10 litres of water and rubbish in the bottom of the tank despite having always used treatment additives.

No trouble since.

 

 

Sounds quite similar. Not had the tank “done” for a few years. Thanks.

7 hours ago, TNLI said:

Have you checked to see if there is a hole in the bottom of the fuel tank if it's subject to bilge water. Any leak will involve a 2 way process where fuel leaks out, but a certain amount of bilge water gets back into the tank. 

   If the tanks integrity is OK, then check the seals around the filler caps or top plate fittings to see if they are letting in water. Using Biocides is not good news, as it can cause a premature failure of the high pressure fuel pump. 

Tank is well above bilge level, any leakage of water in would be canal water, but there’s no indication of diesel leakage out and the tank would be almost empty of fuel before it reached outside water level.

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If the tank was not drained of water at least once a year, this is likely to happen. You would probably have to suck or syphon the crud from the bottom of the tank via the filler. Be aware that on an old boat, the rudder tube can leak into the tank. If you are unlucky enough to have a flush male plug in female deck fitting type filler, change any rubber seal regularly and smear with silicon grease. It was recently pointed out in a thread that the actual filler  fitting flange may not have a waterproof gasket under it (this is a narrowboat specific type of problem in the main).

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4 hours ago, Tony Brooks said:

If the tank was not drained of water at least once a year, this is likely to happen. You would probably have to suck or syphon the crud from the bottom of the tank via the filler. Be aware that on an old boat, the rudder tube can leak into the tank. If you are unlucky enough to have a flush male plug in female deck fitting type filler, change any rubber seal regularly and smear with silicon grease. It was recently pointed out in a thread that the actual filler  fitting flange may not have a waterproof gasket under it (this is a narrowboat specific type of problem in the main).

I will investigate with the Pela pump when I get back, thanks.

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You may need to change the cycle cable outer for a length of bent copper pipe. In fact, as long as you can stand the taste of diesel, it may be better to use a length of 3/8" or larger copper pipe and some clear plastic hose as it's less likely to block with crud. I syphoned off into 4 pint plastic milk cartons because they fit beside the engine bed and you can see what you have once it has settled for a few days.

  • Greenie 2
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All of these problems and oil etc will be history once everyone has an electric boat in 2027. 

 

It's bizarre that humans have relied on such dirty and complicated non rotary machines for so long when all you need is an electric motor decent batteries and go slower. 

 

Diesel is king. 

Edited by magnetman
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Well I can offer empathy after a day spent popping down the engine bay at regular intervals to bleed my own BV1305 until I got to a fuel point to make the problem go away for a bit (tank was at least a third full... of something)

 

First time it happened to me and the engine easily restarted as you described, filling the tank (which had been two thirds empty for much longer than I wanted to leave it that empty) appeared to solve the problem. But only for four days and 10 or so hours cruising.

 

Second time the regular restarts required bleeding at the fuel injectors so I could limp to buy replacement filters. The filters, which were only 50hrs old turned out to be full of sludge, but changing them (and making sure I had spares!) seemed to solve the problem

 

A couple of weeks and 50 engine hours later and the stalls back again. Filters looked cleanish, and refilling the tank seemed to settle whatever horrors lurk within it for now,

 

Sounds like we both need to clean our tanks out, one way or another,

 

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On 19/09/2021 at 07:48, Tony Brooks said:

If the tank was not drained of water at least once a year, this is likely to happen. You would probably have to suck or syphon the crud from the bottom of the tank via the filler. Be aware that on an old boat, the rudder tube can leak into the tank. If you are unlucky enough to have a flush male plug in female deck fitting type filler, change any rubber seal regularly and smear with silicon grease. It was recently pointed out in a thread that the actual filler  fitting flange may not have a waterproof gasket under it (this is a narrowboat specific type of problem in the main).

 

An Interesting observation. I never drained water from the tanks on Helvetia in 20 years, and never had any problems. Perhaps having the tanks below water level, either side if the swims reduced the chance of winter condensation.

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49 minutes ago, David Schweizer said:

 

An Interesting observation. I never drained water from the tanks on Helvetia in 20 years, and never had any problems. Perhaps having the tanks below water level, either side if the swims reduced the chance of winter condensation.

I don't think many folk did years ago. I never heard of it. Even in the garage we worked on many diesel vehicles, never had to drain water from the tanks. In very cold winters sometimes a vehicle would conk out with waxed up filters. A couple of times I've checked Lady Olga' tank for water with a hand suction pump, no water. My cousin spent 4 years touring the system in an old Rugby boats Colcraft, and no trouble at all. My old Harborough Marine the same.  Had lot's of folk with those so called marine flush filler caps leaking water in through the seal though.

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I think I’ve only ever had the tank cleaned once in 20 years, had a yard do it years ago, and I suspect that wasn’t done very well.

 

 The replacement filter got us to below Middlewich and then things started to feel a bit lumpy again so I changed it again. Will see what they look like inside when I get home, and sort out means of seeing what’s at the bottom of the tank.

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1 hour ago, David Schweizer said:

 

An Interesting observation. I never drained water from the tanks on Helvetia in 20 years, and never had any problems. Perhaps having the tanks below water level, either side if the swims reduced the chance of winter condensation.

Nah, the rust holes in the bottom due to them being half full of water let it drain out into the canal. Surging tanks, every boat should have them.

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On 19/09/2021 at 07:48, Tony Brooks said:

If the tank was not drained of water at least once a year, this is likely to happen. You would probably have to suck or syphon the crud from the bottom of the tank via the filler. Be aware that on an old boat, the rudder tube can leak into the tank. If you are unlucky enough to have a flush male plug in female deck fitting type filler, change any rubber seal regularly and smear with silicon grease. It was recently pointed out in a thread that the actual filler  fitting flange may not have a waterproof gasket under it (this is a narrowboat specific type of problem in the main).

This what happens when filler not sealed to deck.

IMG_20210907_160651836.jpg

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1 hour ago, pearley said:

This what happens when filler not sealed to deck.

 

 

And this is what you find when the engine stops, & you drain the filters, all because the tank inspection hatch is not sealed, so you have to pumpout 200 litres of water fron the fuel tank.

 

 

20210911-150308.jpg

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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I have the same BV1305 engine with 7k+ hours on it.

The only problem has been the Lift Pump which I believe is a well known point of failure on this engine.

My engine is lower than my fuel tank and will run with the lift pump by-passed but that was with a full tank.

Got shot of the Lift Pump and all its problems by fitting a cheap electric fuel pump instead and have never had any issues since.

  • Greenie 3
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Filter porn as promised… Top is the original filter, a Beta branded one, after approx 150hrs. Bottom is the one I subsequently swapped after about 40hrs (a Baldwin). Some of the dust will be from the Dremel cutting disks. I’ve never opened up a diesel filter before: Is the amount of crud on the top filter really enough to stop an engine, or should I be looking elsewhere as well? Note that this is the only filter on the engine, there has never been any pre-filter.

 

Sorting out the bits to try to clean up the bottom of the tank.

4207CD3D-B0D2-41FB-B44B-9A2BD016BA99.jpeg

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