9.0 Westerbeke gennie problems

Discussion in 'Classic Sea Rays' started by gdavis67, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. gdavis67

    gdavis67 Active Member

    135
    Mar 1, 2017
    Saugatuck, MI
    1990 390ec
    Twin 454 Mercruiser T 340 with Hurth drives
    I have a Westerbeke 9.0 BGB generator on our 1990 390 EC that has been giving me fits the last two seasons. Problem: Starts fine and runs for some undetermined amount of time, sometimes 20 minutes, sometimes an hour. After a while of running (both under load and without load), the gennie shuts down. Acts like it ran out of fuel kind of sputtering to a stall. This past winter I replaced the impeller, plugs, cap, rotor, and wires, fresh oil change and filter. The coolant level is good. I found some time to work on it this weekend after reading a post about the fuel solenoid in line just after the filter. Jumped out that solenoid and no change. What I did notice was the time the gennie ran before shutting off was very short the last two times I have run it. Probably 10 - 15 minutes max. After the gen set shuts down, it will start right back up, but shuts off very quickly. I believe that the motor is getting over temp and shutting itself off. I checked the water coming from the exhaust on one of the restart cycles and that water was quite cool. I expected it to be much warmer. The coolant temp in the gen set does get quite hot, but not sure exactly how hot. So, I guessing it is time to service the heat exchanger? Has anyone done this before and exactly what is the procedure? If you have other advise as to what might be happening, I would be appreciative to hear it. Thanks in advance.
     
    Grosen likes this.
  2. gdavis67

    gdavis67 Active Member

    135
    Mar 1, 2017
    Saugatuck, MI
    1990 390ec
    Twin 454 Mercruiser T 340 with Hurth drives
    Sorry, wrong model - 9.0 BTG.
     
  3. kap2

    kap2 Member SILVER Sponsor

    166
    Oct 28, 2013
    Rhode Island
    370 Sundancer 1998
    Twin 7.4L Mercruiser V-drive
  4. gdavis67

    gdavis67 Active Member

    135
    Mar 1, 2017
    Saugatuck, MI
    1990 390ec
    Twin 454 Mercruiser T 340 with Hurth drives
    Thanks, I do have the manual on my laptop. Did some reading on it this morning and ordered a new T-stat as well. I'm going to start there, but if anyone has advice on cleaning the heat exchanger that would be great.
     
  5. Boater420

    Boater420 Well-Known Member

    Mar 11, 2015
    Clearwater, FL
    '97 330 Sundancer
    V-Drives
    Westerbeke 4.5BCG
    Twin Merc 454's
    While the generator is running, the first thing I do is measure the voltage and hertz of the generator. I use a multi-meter to test for 120v and 60Hz at any of the outlets on the boat. If you're putting out more or less, adjust to the proper specs.

    Next, look at the control panel for your generator. The manual shows 3 switches (ON, Start, Stop). Start normally, then just as your generator starts to cut out, hold down the ON switch. This bypasses the safety switches that shut down the generator. If it continues to run, you either have a oil pressure, coolant, or exhaust temp sensor causing it to shut down.

    If this is the case, test each sensor by jumping it out (eliminating it from the circuit) until you find the one causing it to shut down.

    If the generator still dies, try this test. Start the generator. Once again, just as it is about to die, hold the Stop switch down. (ONLY DO THIS FOR A FEW SECONDS). If the generator continues to run you have a problem with the mechanical governor. The generator is shutting down on an over-speed condition.

    If this is the case, change the oil in the governor following the directions in your manual.

    If neither of these tests work, you might have an electrical problem in the panel or generator itself.

    To clean the heat exchanger, you can remove it from the boat, take it apart on the bench, and then soak it in lime away. I use this product because it won't harm the metal. If you can locate a thin push rod of some kind it might be helpful in cleaning the tubes in the exchanger. I used a thin wooden shish-ka-bob skewer. Once cleaned you can test by placing a garden hose on each of the inlets (raw water, coolant) to test the water flow.
     
    Grosen likes this.
  6. Cocktail Time

    Cocktail Time Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    729
    Jul 9, 2007
    Lake Lanier, GA
    1998 400 Sundancer, Garmin 840xs GPS, Furuno RDP-110, B&G GPS pilot etc.
    Cat 3116's, Westerbeke 7.6kw
    If it is sputtering like it is starving for fuel, check the fuel filter on the genset as well as the racor. I had a similar issue on mine that drove me nuts. Turned out to be a $10 westerbeke fuel filter was gummed up. I also treated my fuel per Fwebster's fuel treatment post and have been good for a long while. Check out the post, DIESEL FUEL MANAGEMENT in the club level of the site. It is well worth the $25 for sponsorship.
     
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  7. gdavis67

    gdavis67 Active Member

    135
    Mar 1, 2017
    Saugatuck, MI
    1990 390ec
    Twin 454 Mercruiser T 340 with Hurth drives

    Great information - thanks. I did order a new t-stat as well. I will go through this process this weekend first and see what results I get.
     
    Cocktail Time likes this.
  8. hottoddie

    hottoddie Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2012
    Boston/Cape Cod
    1986 Sea Ray 390 EC
    Garmin 4212 Chartplotter
    Garmin 24 HD Radar
    Garmin 546s Plotter
    454 Crusaders
    Go buy a $20 infra red thermometer at Harbor Freight or an auto parts store. Run the generator up to temp and check the engine temp at the thermostat housing and the exhaust elbow next to the sensor. Infra red thermometer is always a good tool to keep onboard.
     
  9. bahamabreisus

    bahamabreisus Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2007
    Hampstead NC
    500 dancer, previous 420,390,300 dancers
    detriot 8v92
    Bet ya it's the pump itself. They are notorious for doing that. They run for quite sometime and overheat, then shut down. Take the old one to a good auto parts store, they can get them $50 range
     
    Grosen likes this.
  10. kysearay

    kysearay Active Member

    173
    Jun 15, 2017
    KY
    42 Sundancer

    65 Monticello
    8.1's gassers
    I have had a similar problem for years with my 14kw westerbreak on my houseboat. have always thought it was overheating and boiling the fuel as it would act as if it was vapor locking - i could get air out of the schrader valves every time it died, once it cooled down it would start back up and then do the same thing!
    Last weekend a dock neighbor suggested bypassing the racor filter and it ran great!! I spoke with the builder of the boat and he thought that the fuel pumps are so week that it cant keep up with such a large filter. I have also seen the service bulletin on the oil switch.
    Dont know if this is your issue but took me years to figure this out!
    chris
     
    Express 390 and Grosen like this.
  11. Express 390

    Express 390 Active Member GOLD Sponsor

    220
    Sep 14, 2018
    South Shore of Long Island NY
    1986 SeaRay 390 EC
    Twin 454 Crusaders inboards 4 blades

    Could be as simple as a faulty high temp switch ! The fact that it runs for a while then quits.
    good luck hope you find the problem.
     
  12. kysearay

    kysearay Active Member

    173
    Jun 15, 2017
    KY
    42 Sundancer

    65 Monticello
    8.1's gassers
    thanks once I bypassed the RAcor filter she runs like a champ - thought is that the fuel pump is so weak for that GEN that pulling through the larger RACOR filter is "running her dry"! Runs great now!
     
  13. The Bill Collector

    The Bill Collector Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Jun 2, 2008
    Tacoma, WA
    450 Sundancer
    3126 Cat's
    he is gas....
     
  14. gdavis67

    gdavis67 Active Member

    135
    Mar 1, 2017
    Saugatuck, MI
    1990 390ec
    Twin 454 Mercruiser T 340 with Hurth drives
    So I found some time this weekend to work on this and investigate. First, changed the thermostat just for good measure. Started the gen set and it ran for 7-9 minutes and shut off. Reset the start switch and it fired right up. Shut down within 30 seconds. Did this again, and when is started to shut down I held the "pre-heat" switch down (this is not really pre-heat as I am gas, but bypasses all safeties), motor still shut down. Left all switches on and went to the engine room to observe. Started gen and after several shut off re-start cycles noticed that the governor would move toward the belt side of the motor at the beginning of the shut down. Next attempt, I held the "on" switch (not start) and held the governor wide open when is started to shut down. As soon as I let of the governor, it returned to position and shut right down. If I tried to move the governor back (toward the carb) during shut down, nothing happened and it continued to shut down. This leads me to believe that it is either the governor or the overspeed switch. The manual says something about moving the coil at T1 to check the overspeed switch. I will check that and double check the belt tension. Any other ideas?
     
  15. PlayDate

    PlayDate Well-Known Member

    Dec 25, 2006
    Washington DC
    1994 370 Express Cruiser
    454 Mercruisers
    Great diagnostic work... The issue appears to have nothing to do with the safety systems if the Pre-heat switch doesn't keep it going. I believe you have the old school oil filled governor on your generator. It works on a mechanical connection to engine speed versus load which I will get back to in a second. It is unlikely the overspeed circuit is being tripped but that is easy to check with a tachometer attached to the coil.

    What is more likely is the governor has an issue. How many hours are on your generator and have you changed the oil on the Governor?

    Governor Maintenance (from the service manual)
    1. Periodically lubricate the linkage arm attaching points at the governor arm and throttle lever. Use a graphite lubricant or equivalent. NOTE: Free movement of this linkage arm is important for proper governor/throttle operation.

    2. Governor oil capacity - 3 ounces 10/30 engine oil. NOTE: Do not overfill the governor.

    3. Change the governor oil every 250 hours of operation. To change the oil, remove the governor from the engine, remove the oil fill and the fill level plug, and drain all the oil. Reinstall on the engine and till with 3 ounces of 10/30 engine oil. Replace the plugs.

    4. Periodically adjust the governor belt tension (see DRIVE BELTS ADJUSTMENT). Since belts stretch slightly, this stretching will, to some degree, affect the governor's action.
     
  16. Boater420

    Boater420 Well-Known Member

    Mar 11, 2015
    Clearwater, FL
    '97 330 Sundancer
    V-Drives
    Westerbeke 4.5BCG
    Twin Merc 454's
    I believe your generator is shutting down on an over-speed condition. The T1 circuit is doing it's job and shutting down the generator. Pull the governor, change the oil and put it back together. If it's still not working you'll most likely need to have the governor rebuilt.

    The governor begins to leak oil through the shaft seal. Once they run with low oil it doesn't take long for them to go bad. Look at the surface of the generator directly below the governor. If the seal is bad and it's leaking oil you should be able to feel/see where it was dripping on the engine.

    To test the governor... start the generator from the engine compartment. Let it run while sitting nearby in the engine compartment. Once you hear it start to shut down, press the stop switch and hold it down. This should keep the generator running as it bypasses the over-speed shut down. If the generator keeps running you know it's the governor and not the T1.
     
  17. gdavis67

    gdavis67 Active Member

    135
    Mar 1, 2017
    Saugatuck, MI
    1990 390ec
    Twin 454 Mercruiser T 340 with Hurth drives
    Playdate and Boater420 - thanks a ton. You confirmed what I planned to do next weekend, and it's good to know before I dive in. Just in case I find it's not the governor, can either of you shed light on the location of the T1 and overspeed switch. I cannot find those in my manual. Thanks again!
     
  18. PlayDate

    PlayDate Well-Known Member

    Dec 25, 2006
    Washington DC
    1994 370 Express Cruiser
    454 Mercruisers
    I believe you meant the PreHeat switch not the Stop switch. I think he already did that in post #14. I'm pretty sure that his model has a separate circuit for Overspeed since it usually means the rpms/voltage are exceeding the limits. I don't believe that overspeed is influenced by the Preheat circuit button on his model generator.

    I agree it is most likely the governor.
     
  19. Boater420

    Boater420 Well-Known Member

    Mar 11, 2015
    Clearwater, FL
    '97 330 Sundancer
    V-Drives
    Westerbeke 4.5BCG
    Twin Merc 454's
    When my governor needed to be rebuilt, a guy in Kismet helped me diagnose the issue. It was 4 years ago, but I believe I'm remembering it correctly.

    The first thing he had me do was hold the Preheat switch just as the generator was shutting off. I did this and the generator still shut down. He said that eliminated the temp, oil, and coolant safety switches.

    He then told me to press and hold the Stop switch just as the generator was shutting off. I did this and the generator stayed running just as long as I held the Stop Switch. He said this reset the over-speed condition. His only warning was do not hold the switch in for too long, and don't try this with a load on the generator so as not to damage any equipment, since there was definitely something wrong with the governor.

    It couldn't hurt for the OP to test this and see if it works.

    EDIT: Just found this in the Westerbeke Manual
    Overspeed Shutdown - Should the generator shut down from an overspeed condition, the overspeed circuit must be reset before attempting to restart the generator. Resetting the over-speed switch is done by simply depressing the STOP switch momentarily and then proceeding with the normal starting procedure.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
  20. gdavis67

    gdavis67 Active Member

    135
    Mar 1, 2017
    Saugatuck, MI
    1990 390ec
    Twin 454 Mercruiser T 340 with Hurth drives
    So a follow up to this isssue - while getting the boat ready to pull for the winter this weekend I removed the governor to check the oil level. No apparent signs of leaking on the outside of the pump. Pulled the plug and drained the small amount of oil that was in the governor. I was planning to catch the oil and measure what came out, but dropped the pump into the bucket of freshly drained engine oil, so that was out of the question! After cleaning up the pump and carefully measuring out 3 oz (per the manual) of 10W-30, I carefully put that oil into the pump. Not easy considering the size of the fill hole! Reinstalled the pump and fired the generator with fingers crossed. Once warm, I switched all power over to the gennie and let her run. Ran flawlessly for 3 hours at the dock. Shut it down and called it "fixed". Thanks Boater420 for the suggestion. Two seasons of frustration behind me and another lesson learned thanks to SRO.
     

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