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After much unrelated mucking about we launched and departed Wilminton Marine Center January 9, catching the Dawn Ebb down the Cape Fear River having filled the fuel tank (45 gal) the day before. 

A brisk rollicking ride, about 5 kts boat speed, and seeing up to 10.5 SOG as we approached Southport and took the ICW cut towards Little River, making it in a bit less than 3 hrs. As we approached Holden Beach, the venerable Westerbeke (1991 W-46) suddenly shut off. 

We were unable to restart, drifting in narrow shallow water with a light head wind got the anchor down, and per a respected recommendation got a tow into the Holden Beach Yard that used to be "Hewitts" and is now a "Zimmerman". 

We (self and a 60 veteran of recreational marine industry who helped build Lioness) looked at the fuel system and found:

  • Fuel in Racor bowl was clean when viewed through glass
  • The gasket on the Racor had a cut in it, which Might explain the lack of fuel due to a vacuum leak
  • Replaced the gasket and filter, and were unable to get fuel to the injector Bleed port, but did see bubbles
  • Confirmed that the old manual shut off valve was not a factor, though the spring had fallen off. 

When the yard was able to get to look at Lioness, on Thursday following, they found the Shore power had become unplugged, (probably from pitching in boat wake) and the batteries dead.

Since that time: No joy in getting engine to start, they have done the following sequentially

  • Replaced Starting battery: while putting NOCO genius charger on house
  • confirmed shut off solenoid operating correctly 
  • Added 14 gal of fuel as tech thought it was empty (this is odd as that would suggest burning > 2 GPH while at a cruising RPM...) 
  • sent the injector pump to be rebuilt, while observing that the timing was way off 
  • re-installed injector pump 
  • diagnosed electric fuel pump as not putting out pressure
  • determined that the Replacement Racor was not getting fuel from tank
  • replaced electric fuel pump, and now diagnosed that fuel tank has sediment and water (though none previously seen in Racor bowl) 
  • Attempted to start engine on external fuel tank to remove question of internal fuel
  • Called Westerbeke to confirm 23 degree before TDC on cyl 1 as correct

Anyone have suggestions on something that may have been missed? 

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Jeez- a shot of starting fluid just to see if she 'fires' on that?

I mean, I've gone down these type of rabbit holes before and you end up 'fault tracing' some thing that you are convinced is the problem (no fuel in this case) and it turns out that the damn thing wasn't going to run no matter what. Just a thought.

Those motors were SO good at self bleeding, this is a weird one... verified output of new electric pump?

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Let's assume it cranks right?

Really strange if timing of injection pump was off - it wouldn't have run happily on delivery if that was the case. How did you/they verify pump timing? What made them suspect that it was off (not sure how this brand of pump is timed; shims under the pump body?)

So if I'm reading it right fuel is not flowing from tank, thru Racor, thru electric pump to injector pump right?

It sort of sounds they are troubleshooting in a strange way that may be costly to you.

Why did they replace the starting battery? Having the boat unplugged for a while would not kill it.

Is the tank lower than the Racor and thus the electric pump has to suck the fuel up from tank and then through Racor?

Plugged inlet inside tank?

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59 minutes ago, Zonker said:

It sort of sounds they are troubleshooting in a strange way that may be costly to you.

 

Well that is a whole 'nother problem...

Quote

Let's assume it cranks right?

Really strange if timing of injection pump was off - it wouldn't have run happily on delivery if that was the case. How did you/they verify pump timing? What made them suspect that it was off (not sure how this brand of pump is timed; shims under the pump body?)

So if I'm reading it right fuel is not flowing from tank, thru Racor, thru electric pump to injector pump right?

....

Why did they replace the starting battery? Having the boat unplugged for a while would not kill it.

Is the tank lower than the Racor and thus the electric pump has to suck the fuel up from tank and then through Racor?

Plugged inlet inside tank?

 

 

It cranks just fine with a good battery, Glow plugs replaced 10 yrs back and 10 secs use has always been sufficient to get a start

and fuel was flowing to run 5 hrs, and then flowing with new electric pump, may not have been flowing in between. 

Plugged inlet would have not allowed fuel to run with new electric? 

Regarding verifying and adjusting timing... took off valve cover and "adjusted" 

Monel tank sits below engine, Racor about same height as engine, fuel pump at top of engine. As of today, they have verified that the injector pump delivered fuel to the injectors, but "not as much as expected" so they are sending back to rebuilder. 

I've had an injector pump rebuild 15 yrs back, and it helped engine run well at the time. 

The timing didn't make sense to me in as much as engine ran smoothly at various throttle settings, and stopped suddenly, and it's not like a belt that slips. 

I've also had to have tank cleaned/ contents polished 2x in 20 years due to stagnant fuel, and am not surprised that there might be bio buildup, though we used bio cide etc/ 

 

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Engine mounted fuel filter checked?

There is a filter inside those fuel pumps that not many people expect. Wonder if it was clogged? (Have they thrown out the old one yet - if not keep and open up to check the filter)

The injection pump is driven by a keyed or splined shaft depending on the version. How can it get out of time? The front of the engine uses a gear driven valve train. Same story; no timing chain or belt to slip or jump.

Honestly suspecting the injector pump before everything else is eliminated is very suspect.

 

 

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Looking at images of this engine it shows a rotary Lucas/CAV/Delphi DPA injection pump with mechanical governor. Can you please confirm that. If it is, Injection timing is checked on these through the side plate on the pump lining the straight edge of the circlip in the pump with a number/letter on the pumping rotor. Master splined or keyed into a drive gear as Zonker said, unusual to get out of timing unless timing gear failure. Can’t be adjusted under the valve cover. Is this engine a Perkins or similar marinised by Westerbeke ?

Back to basics

As the injection pump has been overhauled is the shut off on the pump or external to the pump working correctly. These pumps can have a sticking metering valve internally that will stay in the stop position.

Fuel bled through to the injection pump with one bleeder on the pump body 5/16” bolt and the same size on the governor cover. Crack the injection pipes at the injectors, crank and fuel should squirt from these, only a small amount but without air. Tighten injection pipe nuts and this should be set

Remove the rocker cover and either crank engine by hand or give it a quick crank on the key, make sure the valves are going up and down etc

Check for air intake restriction

Check for exhaust restrictions 

Ensure good cranking speed, out of gear etc

Should start

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If it has a an external electric shut off solenoid rather than a pull cable disconnect and operate manually for now. Run position for the lever on the pump should be opposite to when the shut off solenoid is energised to stop.

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2 hours ago, Zonker said:

Engine mounted fuel filter checked?

There is a filter inside those fuel pumps that not many people expect. Wonder if it was clogged? (Have they thrown out the old one yet - if not keep and open up to check the filter)

The injection pump is driven by a keyed or splined shaft depending on the version. How can it get out of time? The front of the engine uses a gear driven valve train. Same story; no timing chain or belt to slip or jump.

Honestly suspecting the injector pump before everything else is eliminated is very suspect.

 

 

Replaced the spin on between the electric pump and injector as well. 
agree on sequence not making sense

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34 minutes ago, Crazy Horse said:

Looking at images of this engine it shows a rotary Lucas/CAV/Delphi DPA injection pump with mechanical governor. Can you please confirm that. If it is, Injection timing is checked on these through the side plate on the pump lining the straight edge of the circlip in the pump with a number/letter on the pumping rotor. Master splined or keyed into a drive gear as Zonker said, unusual to get out of timing unless timing gear failure. Can’t be adjusted under the valve cover. Is this engine a Perkins or similar marinised by Westerbeke ?

Back to basics

As the injection pump has been overhauled is the shut off on the pump or external to the pump working correctly. These pumps can have a sticking metering valve internally that will stay in the stop position.

Fuel bled through to the injection pump with one bleeder on the pump body 5/16” bolt and the same size on the governor cover. Crack the injection pipes at the injectors, crank and fuel should squirt from these, only a small amount but without air. Tighten injection pipe nuts and this should be set

Remove the rocker cover and either crank engine by hand or give it a quick crank on the key, make sure the valves are going up and down etc

Check for air intake restriction

Check for exhaust restrictions 

Ensure good cranking speed, out of gear etc

Should start

Agree the timing comment was dubious. Valve cover removal  was supposedly to see cylinder position.  

i personally bled at injector body, but was seeing bubbles, not fuel back on 9th. 
 

metering valve might be clue

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Metering valve in the pump will not affect bleed up to the injection pump, it will only affect delivery to the injectors. Air at the injection pump is a concern as it needs to be solid fuel. With the system plumbed from the auxiliary tank and with positive pressure via electric fuel pump or gravity to the injection pump, was there any air? 

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The first thing I always do is pull the return line from the tank, or wherever, to  confirm clean bubble-free fuel moving thru engine. Plenty of it. Either cranking, electric pump, or twiddling the lift pump. Not going to run without that quality. That is basic, and nearly free to check. 

In this situation checking the injection pump timing or anything like that would be the last thing ... they are doing a money removal operation ... surprised they haven’t replaced the starter and injectors yet :-)

Valve cover off? Just put you palm over the air inlet to confirm sucking with no blowing. 

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Note on page 17 of the manual regarding buffer screw. Has someone played with this thinking it was the bleed screw? Screwing this hard in like closing a bleed screw will not allow the engine to start.

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Lot of good advice here.

First thing is the wrench sounds like an idiot who is just replacing parts and hoping to find the problem while you pay for his education.  I would be all over the service manager for unleashing a fool on my motor.

 

check the air cutoff is in fact working correctly. But the fact you were motoring points against that being the issue.  But we then know it is getting air. Which leads to fuel.

The electric pump is likely a facet you can pick up in any automotive store. westerbeke paints them Toro red and triples the price.   Yes there is a filter in there. The new pumps ( Iast 15 years) have a nylon filter you can clean.

You do not mention what size racor filter you are using upstream.   You did not happen to use an old filter from 10 years ago that needed that 1 inch rubber tube extender without which was filtering jack shit last time you replaced it ?  that could cause crude in the lines when you were motoring in rough seas from sediment laying in the tank getting stirred up especially if less than full while the filter is clean as a whistle.  Also, did you put a clean cup beneath the Racor and drain a couple ounces out to see if it was all fuel, or had water in it?  You cannot tell from the sight glass unless you have a LOT of water.

On mine, there is a 3rd westerbeke filter just after the pump that would catch it.  The originals were paper and need to be replaced at least every 2 years so they do not swell closed, but the new version of the the filter is nylon mesh and can be cleaned and do not swell.

As mentioned above, remove the return line at the injector pump and put into a jar and crank the motor.  Does lots of fuel come out?   If not, and you have replaced the lift pump, I would first check the polarity on the new pump.  Westerbeke pumps do not have plugs from the factory and the wrench may have installed it reversed which would not put fuel to the motor.   If that checked out OK, I would disconnect the input line at the racor, attach a piece of fresh rubber hose and try blowing into it or use compressed air.  You should be able to hear bubbling in the tank.  IF not, I would disassemble the lines from the tank to the racor looking for a piece of crud in an elbow or spigot (have had both bite me in the past).   reassemble and energize system to autobleed the system.  Please note: Some boat manufacturers added a screen to the pickup tube in the tank to stop crud in the lines.  If the fuel is stirred in a confused seaway, the lift pump can suck crud onto the screen which will stave the motor.   The blowing out may clean the blockage.  The motor should light once the lift pump has re-pressurized the lines.

Also you boat is of an age that many builders would run copper fuel line through the bilge.  couple decades with occasional dousing of saltwater and condensation does bad things to copper. You could have a slight hole in the bottom of the line for which lift pump cannot suck fuel.  this is where a vacuum gauge on the Racor (T handle option or cobbled together for  $20) tells  if the issue is before or after the distribution pump.

If you have fuel at the Racor, I would check that return line and then break all the injector lines loose at the injectors with clean rags around them and crank the motor. That will tell you if fuel is getting to the injectors via the injector pump.

Push comes to shove, give the folks at Hansen Marine in Marblehead Mass a call.   They are not only the NE regional distributors for Westerbeke but the national outlet for services such as factory injector rebuilds.  Many of the employees are retired Westerbeke factory employees  and have their shit together.  Run circles around the regional distributor folks down here in the SE..

 

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On 2/6/2021 at 3:53 AM, olaf hart said:

Is the fuel tank pickup tube blocked with crud loosened inside the tank when you were bouncing about at sea?

Nope, we were motoring down a smooth river/ICW. Boat had been trucked 2500 miles beforehand

 

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On 2/5/2021 at 6:53 AM, LionessRacing said:

After much unrelated mucking about we launched and departed Wilminton Marine Center January 9, catching the Dawn Ebb down the Cape Fear River having filled the fuel tank (45 gal) the day before. 

A brisk rollicking ride, about 5 kts boat speed, and seeing up to 10.5 SOG as we approached Southport and took the ICW cut towards Little River, making it in a bit less than 3 hrs. As we approached Holden Beach, the venerable Westerbeke (1991 W-46) suddenly shut off. 

We were unable to restart, drifting in narrow shallow water with a light head wind got the anchor down, and per a respected recommendation got a tow into the Holden Beach Yard that used to be "Hewitts" and is now a "Zimmerman". 

We (self and a 60 veteran of recreational marine industry who helped build Lioness) looked at the fuel system and found:

  • Fuel in Racor bowl was clean when viewed through glass
  • The gasket on the Racor had a cut in it, which Might explain the lack of fuel due to a vacuum leak
  • Replaced the gasket and filter, and were unable to get fuel to the injector Bleed port, but did see bubbles
  • Confirmed that the old manual shut off valve was not a factor, though the spring had fallen off. 

When the yard was able to get to look at Lioness, on Thursday following, they found the Shore power had become unplugged, (probably from pitching in boat wake) and the batteries dead.

Since that time: No joy in getting engine to start, they have done the following sequentially

  • Replaced Starting battery: while putting NOCO genius charger on house
  • confirmed shut off solenoid operating correctly 
  • Added 14 gal of fuel as tech thought it was empty (this is odd as that would suggest burning > 2 GPH while at a cruising RPM...) 
  • sent the injector pump to be rebuilt, while observing that the timing was way off 
  • re-installed injector pump 
  • diagnosed electric fuel pump as not putting out pressure
  • determined that the Replacement Racor was not getting fuel from tank
  • replaced electric fuel pump, and now diagnosed that fuel tank has sediment and water (though none previously seen in Racor bowl) 
  • Attempted to start engine on external fuel tank to remove question of internal fuel
  • Called Westerbeke to confirm 23 degree before TDC on cyl 1 as correct

Anyone have suggestions on something that may have been missed? 

When you say suddenly shut off, did it go from cruise rpm to zero near instantly (suggesting mechanical/engine timing type failure) or did it slow more gradually/sputter/shut down (suggesting fuel delivery issues)?

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5 hours ago, Crash said:

When you say suddenly shut off, did it go from cruise rpm to zero near instantly (suggesting mechanical/engine timing type failure) or did it slow more gradually/sputter/shut down (suggesting fuel delivery issues)?

Sudden as in on to off , as though I had switched the fuel “OFF” no starvation, or other symptoms. 

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That sounds like something mechanical broke to me as well.  Once had a timing pulley (on a car) fail at the key way, allowing pulley to rotate enough to let valves hit pistons while at highway speed.  Not trying to say that’s what it is in your case, but it sure sounds like mechanical failure lead to either timing issue or engine driven fuel pump/injector pump stoppage as a result

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Well, we have a solution: after the 2nd rebuild of the injector pump, the engine runs. 

A bit of smoking at first, but that cleared with 5 hours of steady running to get from Holden Beach to Little River via the AICW, pausing only twice to kedge in Shallotte inlet on a popup sandbar that was semi-marked with what appeared to be crab pot floats. 

The yard basically wrote off 40% of the labor, but since the total was 60 hrs that still ended up being spendy, and the mechanic seems to have lost the valve cover cap. While I might use the yard due to convenience, I'd skip this particular mechanic. Fortunately there are some that travel. 

We rigged a pair of 12 Gallon Outboard tanks as temporary fuel tanks, using virgin diesel to avoid using the internal tank until it can be polished in situ. Have a rig with a tank spray ball being configured for that, and hope to be done next week. 

Finally completed the last 1% of a 2500 mile journey after a 5 1/2 week hiatus, and have Lioness tucked into her slip. Now as soon as weather and new house projects permit, have a bunch of boat yoga to perform, including re-wiring to a new panel to fix 60 + years of (un)installations. 

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That sounds like some serious Unicorn hunting via the mechanic.  We had the same engine in our last boat and if you lost the fuel for any reason it was a major pain in the ass to get bleed out.  No ryhme or reason once it was bleed it was reliable.  Without preheat they are right on the cusp for starting on general.  

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Did you check the tiny fuel filter in the top of the lift pump? That is frequently missed on the old Westerbekes. 

It's not much more than an inch in diameter and about the same height.

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Lets just say that after 5 1/2 weeks, and emails that made no sense,  I was very content to get out and not get frustrated by asking questions, I would not likely believe the answers to. 

Turns out the mechanic also seems to have misplaced the valve cover cap, and left the engine access door off, which while a quick screwdriver job is just another example of the experience. 

I suspect that the corporate management will be having a discussion with my consultant who knows the boat rather intimately (since he helped build it back in 1962 at age 13) and recommended the firm to me based on his knowledge of the proprietor. He was rather abashed at the whole process, and helped rig the external tank at 6:45 Am to get out of dodge, and will be coming to the slip to polish the fuel and clean out the interior tank once he fabricates the polish rig. 

Quote

That sounds like some serious Unicorn hunting via the mechanic.  We had the same engine in our last boat and if you lost the fuel for any reason it was a major pain in the ass to get bleed out.  No ryhme or reason once it was bleed it was reliable.  Without preheat they are right on the cusp for starting on general.  

 Well, yes... I now have a mostly new fuel path, so I have that going for me.

With the electric lift pump this one bleeds itself pretty well in about 5-10 minutes, though it does want 10-15 sec of glow plugs normally. 

Quote

Did you check the tiny fuel filter in the top of the lift pump? That is frequently missed on the old Westerbekes. 

It's not much more than an inch in diameter and about the same height.

Not personally, but we did replace the spin on as well as the RACOR that's first in line. Neither showed any fouling that I saw. I'm taking mechanic's word on tank sediment, which would not be surprising given age of fuel.  

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So a coda to the whole experience: 

Had an email last week from the yard manager asking for a photo of the missing valve cover cap. Sent it to them, along with slip ID and marina address, requesting that they replace it (find/purchase as needed) and check oil, topping if needed; with a CC to the corporate "Info@" email, and to my consultant over the weekend.

Had a very early email Monday AM from the Corporate head of operations (presumably the boss of the yard manager) thanking me for bringing to his attention, apologizing for the problem, stating that they should not have left boat that way and would make it right. Somewhat later a email from yard manager, noting that it was strange as there was a video of engine after finally starting showing cap, but that they knew we had noted it before departure and the tech had basically shrugged... 

Followed up with an email that I had also noted partial jugs of coolant and oil left on cabin sole, and that the drip pan under engine had standing coolant (overflow), and did they have a means to dispose of that, as I did not, and hoped that manager had enjoyed the bottle of "Lioness" wine from our former winery I had left.

I did add one last note that I had repaired the connection to shore power charger that the Tech had disconnected by cutting lines, and that it was now maintaining the start battery to which I had connected the replacement bilge pump , after he had left the previous one disconnected in the bilge, a hot wire moved from house  to the start battery,  billing me 90 min labor to pump bilge but not replace pump

Will see if this gets resolved, sometimes polite escalation works. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hopefully an end to the Saga: 

Zimmerman sent a tech who replaced the missing valve cover cap, cleaned up the oil and coolant and left the boat nicely. I also had an email, with a photograph that showed the trace of coolant that was described as a small leak, which I asked for a quote to repair. While the time and costs to fix the original problem were far more than I expected, they got it done, and my boat was made whole. I'm content with the firm, though I probably would not request the particular tech who spent 65 hours diagnosing etc. 

Over the weekend, I had Hank Hinckley who was my commissioning agent, bring down his newly built fuel polishing rig, and the two of us spent a few hours cleaning out the tank, and got about 2" of crud in a 5 gal jerry can with a few inches of diesel from the operation. Clearly there was a build up of water and sediment, so credit to the ZImmerman tech for spotting it, though I had not seen any evidence in the Racor bowl. This was  12V fuel transfer pump, twin Racor filters and the hoses to pull out of the 1 1/2" tank port and return to the deck plate filler. We were moving a stream of diesel that looked like a dockside pump flow. 

This morning, I had the joy of reconnecting the fuel lines, where the intake from the Racor to lift pump had been swapped to an external tank and the return line had been cut to return back to the external for the delivery from Holden Beach to Little River. 

Working under the muffler, behind the engine to access the fuel return line was a challenge, but with prodigious cursing, a modicum of blood and the amusement of my brother in law who was handing tools down into the locker its done. The engine runs and we even found an electrical problem of a disconnected ground. 

 

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  • 4 months later...

And an update:

Went to race back on 7/10 and had the engine quit while still in the slip during my traditional 5 min warmup

Found a few anomalies:

  • Tank was "full" and quite a bit of that (perhaps 1/3) was water
    • Theory is that the 20 + yr old O-Ring on the deck fill was devitrified +/or the plate was not fully tightened
    • Significant rains will submerge deck plate while draining via scupper and it rained hard in Early July.
  • Additional issues probably from from Yard visit: 
    • Overflow hose for coolant was not connected, and may have explained the coolant found below the engine
    • No element in the external Racor filter housing, thus any water in fuel would have been passed
      • "spin on" fuel filter showed rust, suggesting water had been present for a while.

 

Other fun while diagnosing and fixing:

  • Burned out the starter solenoid trying to crank
    • replaced entire starter as it was only $50 more than the solenoid
    • Noted Starting battery was at 12.5V even though on charger
      • Starting battery charger wire positive was damaged, and sitting on top of battery case, where rainwater may have been causing a short to gnd
      • repaired wire, dressed above battery and replace box cover to keep water out, starting battery now at 14.4V
  • After pumping out water and using polishing rig to screen the last of water and a bit of slime
    • Could not get fuel through the injector bleed screw
  • Found that the fuel shutoff solenoid power wire was broken
    • Looked to be a fatigue failure of the crimp fitting
  • Repaired shutoff power wire, and bled system  to injectors and engine started
  • Added fuel treatments:
    • to getter remaining water
    • lubricate/clean injectors
    • Additional biocide shock treatment

 

All of the above was accompanied by the ritual sweating in 90F, 90% humidity, boat yoga poses and frustration.

 

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4 hours ago, LionessRacing said:

No element in the external Racor filter housing,

how bad a mechanic do you have to use to do that?

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37 minutes ago, Zonker said:

how bad a mechanic do you have to use to do that?

Was told by an unaffiliated independent mechanic that it might have been their travel lift dude. 

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At this point, given the Solenoid shut off wire failure, I am wondering if that had been intermittent and the root cause of all the fun....

Certainly learned a lot about the engine the last 6 months. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, LionessRacing said:

Certainly learned a lot about the engine the last 6 months. 

To paraphrase Frank Capra - "Why We Work On Them".

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