Sunday, July 17, 2016

Westerbeke Generator Compression

Our Westerbeke generator woes have gone from bad to worse. Thank goodness for our good buddy Larry, drag racer, cruiser, and all around MacGyver. We bounced a bunch of ideas around this morning and he helped us confirm the Captain's suspicions that low compression might be the problem.

Everyone knows diesel engines need three things to run: fuel, air, and compression. We've verified that we have fuel, even if the timing might be a bit off. We have the intake totally unobstructed, so we know we have air. We have a strong battery and a willing starter, but crank as we may, the engine won't start.

So we squirted a little oil in each cylinder to help create a better seal, and a little ether in the intake and turned it over. Darn if the engine didn't almost start! It sounded so good we did it several times, but, Alas, it never started. Afterwards we hand cranked it a few times and it was harder to crank over manually.

We had a two cylinder 1960s vintage Albin engine in one of our previous boats. It had a crank to start it in case the battery was dead. The Captain remembers how he couldn't turn it over without releasing the compression release. And now we realize this Westerbeke turns over way too easy. It's got to be a compression issue.

So we started taking parts off in preparation for taking the block to the machine shop. The quarter berths are loaded with parts, and the floor was strewn with tools for a couple of hours. Hopefully they will find only minor age related issues and we can get this project done sometime soon. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

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