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Old 05-29-2010, 12:05 PM   #1
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I have a 1978 38hp westerbeke that has always run like a dream... I recently did an oil change, and suddenly she started running warm... the trick is she runs warmer based on revs and compression goes up as well... at 1500 she runs dead at 60psi and 180.. and 1800 she runs at 190 and 65psi... at 2000 she runs at 70psi and the temp starts to climb... if I drop her back down the psi and temp almost instantly go back down accordingly... I checked the oil level and it was just a hair over max fill so I pumped out about a half quart, putting her just under max fill and took her out this morning... same exact symptoms... she's fine at 1500 but above that everything starts to climb... not a compression problem as I see it or a cooloing problem...

What do you guys think? should I pull some more oil and see what happens... I don't want to keep testing her running her warm and damage something..

speaking of which the oil is still good and clean, no signs of water intrusion, foamy ness or any whiteness...

all suggestions appreciated... I'm considering just calling a pro and getting her whole top end rebuilt... she is more than 30 years old... maybe it's her oil coolers or something I can't diagnose...

thanks in advance.
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:40 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by atavist' date='29 May 2010 - 07:05 PM View Post

I have a 1978 38hp westerbeke that has always run like a dream... I recently did an oil change, and suddenly she started running warm... the trick is she runs warmer based on revs and compression goes up as well... at 1500 she runs dead at 60psi and 180.. and 1800 she runs at 190 and 65psi... at 2000 she runs at 70psi and the temp starts to climb... if I drop her back down the psi and temp almost instantly go back down accordingly... I checked the oil level and it was just a hair over max fill so I pumped out about a half quart, putting her just under max fill and took her out this morning... same exact symptoms... she's fine at 1500 but above that everything starts to climb... not a compression problem as I see it or a cooling problem...

What do you guys think? should I pull some more oil and see what happens... I don't want to keep testing her running her warm and damage something..

speaking of which the oil is still good and clean, no signs of water intrusion, foamy ness or any whiteness...

all suggestions appreciated... I'm considering just calling a pro and getting her whole top end rebuilt... she is more than 30 years old... maybe it's her oil coolers or something I can't diagnose...

thanks in advance.
Hi J,

FIRST. fill the engine to normal full on the dipstick.

My understanding of the NEW running stats :-

#1 At 1500 RPM. Oil pressure 60 psi. Temperature 180 degrees F.

#2 At 1800 RPM, Oil Pressure 65 psi. Temperature 190 degrees F.

#3 At 2000 RPM, Oil Pressure 70 psi. Temperature 190 + degrees F.

Temperature climbs to what above 190 F????

From the above the PSI is excellent - in fact after 1500 RPM the oil pressure does not normally rise. What oil pressure is shown when the engine is idled in neutral??

A diesel engine runs at its most efficient when it is hot - Boiling point of fresh water is 212 degrees F. at sea level.

How is this engine cooled ? Raw water into heat exchange cooling fresh water in the block?? OR just raw water in and out ???

When was the last time you checked the raw water pump impeller???
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Old 05-29-2010, 12:46 PM   #3
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at idle the engine runs NOW at 60 and 180... before this last oil change she was running at 55psi, and 180 no matter how many revs I put on... I've only ever had her up to about 2500 but even then she always stayed the same 55psi and 180... I've never seen her climb over 180, so 190 makes me nervous something is wrong.

when she starts climbing over 190 I back off the revs... she's old.. I don't want to risk cracking something and getting a hydrolock...

she is raw water cooled via a heat exchanger.

I'll check the impeller as soon as she cools off from running her this morning but I don't feel like that should be it because she does cool off when the revs go back down... definitely worth a look.
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Old 05-29-2010, 01:08 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by atavist' date='29 May 2010 - 07:46 PM View Post

she is raw water cooled via a heat exchanger.
J.

Confirm the block has it own closed circuit Fresh water circulation with its own pump and Thermostat?? That water being cooled by raw water via the Heat exchanger.

So the only difference between previous engine performance and the new is after the OIL CHANGE - was the oil -- a different grade or type ?

So far, on the info provided there does not appear to be anything seriously wrong, temp changes are the main indicator. The oil pressure if correct is GOOD.;
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Old 05-29-2010, 01:43 PM   #5
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the engine does have it's own closed fresh water cooling resevoir. that was the first thing I checked and the fluid (50% antifreeze) is clean and green and up to the fill line... no apparent problem there.the only difference was indeed right after the oil change... I used a non-detergent 30 weight which was what the previous owner said he used...

the temp change is indeed the only thing making me worry... as you say not a serious issue yet but could be an indicator of an emerging problem... the engine is pretty cool now, think I'll clmb in and pull the impeller, see what I can see...
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Old 05-29-2010, 02:58 PM   #6
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checked the impeller... looks good... soft and clean, left it in but replaced the paper gasket... but now the darn thing is dripping when I run the engine... thinking I overtightend it... so now I've got to pull the plate again and replace the gasket again (i've got about a half dozen spares onboard) and make sure I don't overtighten it this time.

so it's not the impeller, didn't think it was but good to rule it out...

any other ideas anyone?
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Old 05-29-2010, 09:30 PM   #7
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Did you confirm oil the same as the old oil?

You might have restriction in your raw water side of the cooling--kelp in the intake, etc. Have you checked that you've got good flow?

On the fresh water side, you can have a sticking thermostat. If its ever run too hot, best to replace the thermostat since most of them don't work properly (by design) after overheating. Doesn't sound like this is your problem since it is RPM related, but still...
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Old 05-29-2010, 11:36 PM   #8
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After checking and re-checking I'm now in Eau-Galley boat works dock.. I talked to the mechanic and being nice guys the invited us to stay free through the holiday weekend... the mechanic will come take a look on tuesday....

hopefully we'll sort the problem out in short order and it will be nothing major... they are all sort of stumped at the symptoms and will runs some pressure checks on all the differnt lines (raw water, heat exchanger, heads, etc) and hopefully find the fault... I'll keep you all posted.

from one vet to all you vets out there Happy Memorial Day weekend.
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Old 05-30-2010, 06:53 AM   #9
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Check the belt that drives the fresh water pump - for condition and slip - might have some oil on it from the oil change. Also check the tension - max 1/2" depress.

The Fresh water pump probably has a steel impeller that cannot be changed - the faults in this type of pump are confined to shot seals or bearings.

By the way, I see your engine is given as a 1978 Westerbeke 38 HP. Problem is that Westerbeke used many different engines to marinize - Yours could be a Perkins or a Mitsubishi. Do you have a service manual for it ? or a make & model number ?
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Old 06-01-2010, 03:59 PM   #10
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My engine is a #40, perkins.

The mechanic got out this morning, looks like it's the heat exhanger... pulled it and it's pretty rotty, tried to flush and clean it but in the end they recommended just getting a new one. Getting a Cooper nickel one, should be here in a couple of days and hopefully that will be the end of this problem.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:22 AM   #11
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Hi J,

Confirmed :- Not enough water - shot heat exchanger. A good thing about Cupro-nickel is that it get stronger as the days go by and also barnacles and mollusca are killed by the copper content.

Good thing you noted the increase in water temp when you did!

If there is a place in the Thermostat housing to connect an alarm transducer, it would be asset worth having.
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Old 06-03-2010, 05:13 AM   #12
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... so now I've got to pull the plate again and replace the gasket again (i've got about a half dozen spares onboard) and make sure I don't overtighten it this time.
Re gaskets - a little tip I got from a marine engineer years ago.

If you want to cut your own gasket using a slightly thicker mterial which will then be less subject to uneven tightnong or even over tightning of bolts you could try cutting them from old Admiralty charts. The paper quality of BA charts is designed to withstand water and they are quite thick. I am not sure if this would work using US charts which are of thinner, lighter paper.

Aye // Stephen
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Old 06-03-2010, 06:41 AM   #13
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regarding cutting your own gaskets--that is pretty easy to do, I do so all the time for boat and car actually but I keep a range of gasket materials at hand. Using the old charts is a good plan for some things--make sure and go to the local Autozone and pick up a little bottle of Indian Head gasket sealer stuff. It's a tiny brown bottle and has a blackish shellac type material which can be used to coat the gasket before install. Works great with paper/fiber type gaskets. Here's the pdf of the spec on it pdf Indian Head
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