Troubleshooting Auxiliary Diesel Marine Engines

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You come on your watch and notice the instructions left by the Chief Engineer to change the generators over because the 250-hour routine is due.

You start off your day by taking a round and looking up all the parameters of the functional mechanisms around the engine. Next, you head over to the generator platform.

Once you’ve inspected oil levels and opened the valves, you blow through the engine and shutoff the indicator cocks. Now you release the fuel and give the engine a kick but it doesn’t seem to start. What went wrong?

Auxiliary diesel marine engines are there to power up the electrical infrastructure on the ship. These engines are called auxiliary because the primary engine is used for propelling the ship. Typically, the auxiliary is a diesel four-stroke engine.

In this blog post, we address some common problems that occur with marine diesel engines and how you can address them:

The Engine Doesn’t Fire Up

You need to conduct an engine blow through so as to make sure that no incompressible fuel is left in there. You press the air release button and hear it escaping, but the tachometer barely moves. Once you inspect, you notice that the flywheel is not moving either.

Here is what could have gone wrong:

  • It could be due to low air receiver pressure. Restart the compressor.
  • If the pressure is perfect, you need to check the starting valve on the air bottle.
  • Check for any leakage in the piping.
  • There might be something with the air distributor. Try to rotate the engine with the turning gear.

Engine Doesn’t Run On Fuel But Starts Up On Air

In such a case, the engine picks up on air to start at the lowest RPM but doesn’t pick up on fuel. You might try to give the engine a longer kick and push the fuel up, but the generator doesn’t start. Eventually, the low air pressure will be activated. You might wait for the pressure to build up before you can try again. A practical approach is

to stop and inspect the engine for any problems.

In this case, the reasons could be any one of the following:

 

  • The fuel valve is not open.
  • You haven’t reset the trips after stopping the engine last time.
  • There is excess air in the engine and the fuel is unable to make its way to the injector.
  • There might be water in the line.
  • The oil filters are choked.
  • The fuel injection pipes are leaking.
  • The engine has gone cold.
  • There is something wrong with the fuel pump timing.

When Starting, The Safety Valve Blows

You blow through the engine and give it a kick only to be startled by a loud sound. This could be the safety valve. This typically happens when there is an uncontrolled combustion inside the cylinder, which can be due to the following reasons:

  • The engine is cold.
  • The fuel rack may be stuck in the max position.
  • There might be something wrong with fuel oil valves.
  • The safety valve has a low opening pressure due to a faulty spring.
  • The fuel injectors may be leaking.
  • Faulty fuel pump timings.

These tips are supposed to address the most common auxiliary engine problems and help you figure out a quick solution. If you constantly face problems, or are looking for high quality marine spare parts to streamline engine performance, get in touch with us today.

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