Engine Trouble Diagnosis

Posted: May 1, 2013  |  Tag: Engines

By: John Temple

I read John Temple’s Q&A about a diesel engine that won’t start. I have found that my engine has fuel but will not start. What else could it be?
I’ve been through this before, on our twin Cummins 330 6Bs. The starboard engine would not start. We found that the turbo was rusted out, so I suggest that you take the air cleaner off and inspect for rust and saltwater ingestion. It’s not good if you have a rusted-out turbo like I did. Of course, beyond the turbo, it’s what else it could be that is the bigger problem.

Test to see if you have compression. Manually turn the engine over. If you can spin the shaft by hand, that is evidence of a lack of compression. In a diesel engine, compression is required to cause the fuel to ignite. If you get this far and have no compression, the next step is to remove the head and inspect it. You could also see if the valves are causing the loss of compression. If there is damage to the rings and pistons, you’re looking at a rebuild. No matter the damage that needs to be fixed, you still need to figure out what caused the internal damage. If it is from saltwater ingestion, how did it happen? You certainly don’t want to rebuild the engine and leave the problem alone so it will recur.

One last thought. If you have insurance, get the carrier involved. In my case, the engine maintenance company suggested I contact my insurance.

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