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seabird
Last seen: 2 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 9/8/17
Posts: 16
M35B fuel pump issue?

I have an issue I can't seem to figure out with my otherwise reliable M-35 on our 2002 Catalina 36 MKII (~1,000 hours). On delivery the other day about 30 minutes after leaving the yard (in flat calm water) the engine started to rumble and RPM dropped quickly. I quickly pulled out a sail thinking it would die, but it actually recovered and went to back to seemingly normal operation. About 40 minutes later same thing, but worse and it didn't seem to be coming back, but it didn't die. I shut the engine off because we had a little breeze and drained racor bowl and cracked bleed screw, but saw no indication of air. After a half hour or so just sailing it fired right up, but after maybe 20 minutes the same thing happened again, really rough and RPM drop as if it was shutting down, but did not. Waited 20 minutes or so and it fired up no problem and ran for probably 20 minutes again before the same issue. I can't seem to figure out what the issue could be. I feel like if it was air getting in or a clogged filter (I changed fuel filters near end of last season and they have maybe 10 hours on them) it wouldn't turn over up no problem and run normal again for an extended time, right?
Another issue that I thought was unrelated, but am rethinking now is the oil pressure alarm (since reading https://www.catalina36.org/forum/technical-discussion/m35b-alarms). Our does not sound when you turn the key to the on position as it should. Oddly, it only occasionally sounds when you kill the engine and leave the key on and it often doesn't do that for sometime after shutting it off. Is it possible that my problem is a fuel pump issue intermittently malfunctioning due to some fault in this circuit?  This alarm not working predated this performance issue, but the OP in the thread i referenced above seems to imply his FP problem was related to the oil pressure switch.

Additionaly, has anyone ever had to adjust their tach per the instructions in the operator's manual?  I also noticed that the boat seemed really slow on this first trip.  GPS speed of about 4.5 knots in flat calm water at 2300 rpm, which is like a knot less than last year.  My guess is that I'm not actually operating at 2300 rpm...

 

pkeyser's picture
pkeyser
Last seen: 15 min 18 sec ago
Joined: 5/18/13
Posts: 298

Can only offer partial suggestions. It does sound like the engine is being starved for fuel. There is a 3rd, small, fuel filter - part of the fuel pump or just up stream- I forget. That would be worth checking into if it's never been changed in a thousand hours.

Also- when you encounter the stumbling engine- can you hear any different sound that the fuel pump is making vs. the pump sound when the engine starts and runs normally?

--

Paul & Wendy Keyser
"First Light"
Newburyport MA/Rye NH
2005 C36 MKII #2257
Wing, M35B

VermontSailor's picture
VermontSailor
Last seen: 4 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: 11/15/08
Posts: 94

I had a similar problem a few years ago. We had picked up some fuel with emulsified water in it. The Racor filter does not stop all of it. We could run hours before the engine would run rough or stop. The engine, could be restarted. When I finally determined it was the fuel I pumped out the tank and put in fresh and the problem went away. You might want to see how clear the fuel in you tank looks compared to fresh. The two pictures attached show the difference from the top to bottom of the tank. Fuel was from the Bahamas, no pink.

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Nile Schneider
Mañana C36 #1798
Lake Champlain, VT

Catboat Willy
Last seen: 1 week 5 days ago
Joined: 12/22/14
Posts: 156

SeaBird;
 Name (?, Location ?)
We had a similar problem several weeks ago and it drove me bonkers until I located the source of the problem. The engine would run at various RPM and then slow down - then speed up in RPM's .Never quite quit but wild variations in RPM.  We were motor-sailing several miles off shore and more than a little concerned. I followed much the same procedure as yourself, checking the Racor Water Separator Filter for contamination, inspection fuel lines, fuel filters and fuel pumps.
 
After very close inspection, what I found was that the Racor water separation filter assembly was actually at fault. Upon closer inspection of the Racor filter assembly, I found one of the Racor's rubber  'O' rings - located behind the filler nut at the top of the filter assembly  - had actually broken down over the years and caused an air leak in the fuel supply. This air leak was the cause of the varying RPM's issue.  Replacement parts from Racor are difficult to obtain and, since the boat is 20 years old and the filter assembly probably is too, our remedy was to buy and entirely new Racor Filter Assembly. I installed the new filter assembly, including a new filter, and did not see the problem again.
Given some of the more recent comments regarding Racor filters, (paint disintegrating, rubber parts breaking down, etc,) it might be a wise idea to invest in a new water separating filter assembly or look for another brand.
Let us know how you make out.
Bill

--
Bill Dolan 1990 Catalina C-36 MKI - Hull #1041  'Williwaw'
Std. Rig, Walk Through, Wing Keel
M35, Oberdorfer Conversion,
Home Waters; SW Florida
'You are never out of work if you own a boat'

 
pierview
Last seen: 2 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 9/27/09
Posts: 453

Had a similar problem. Kept changing the filters and nothing helped. Finally had a tech check it out an found that the fuel line goes into the water separation filter at a 90 degree angle. The line clogged at that point before the fuel got to the filter. After that was cleaned out, no problems. He had to take the filter unit out and clean it out in the shop but maybe you could disconnect the fuel liner at the filter and try using a pipe cleaner to get the junk out.

--

Chuck Parker
HelenRita 2072 Mk II
2002 Tall Rig - Winged Keel
Atlantic Highlands, NJ

LeslieTroyer's picture
LeslieTroyer
Last seen: 2 days 20 hours ago
Joined: 3/13/16
Posts: 364

Lots of good suggestions here, one to add is check the tank pickup tube. They can get clogged. One way to check is to remove fuel gauge sender and then pull the fuel line into the Racor and blow compressed air into the line back to the tank. It should flow freely. 

Also check tank tank vent for obstructions (insect nests)

As far as the OP switch - you should get a buzz in the key on - with no glow plug power. No buzz with glow plug power.   I never liked that design— too complicated  especially on something as critical as OP.  My M25 never had this type of circuit but I like the result (no buzzer while heating the GP’s so I put in a simple waterproof relay to kill power to the buzzer while the GP’s were energized.  

Les

--
Les & Trish Troyer
Mahalo 
Everett, WA
1983 C-36 Hull #0094
C-36 MK 1 Technical Editor. 
rjwilson's picture
rjwilson
Last seen: 1 day 3 hours ago
Joined: 4/28/14
Posts: 37

What you are describing could be a fuel pump cutting out.  I had a broken lead at the pump and the wire was being held in by the zip ties on the wiring harness.  It would cut out just like what you are experiencing. The engine would either shutdown or only run at low RPM.
 
For your second question, Yes.  The techs are known for being off from being from the factory and it easy to check.
 

--
Bob Wilson
S/V Morning Breeze
2003 Catalina 36, Hull 2122
Williamsburg, VA
seabird
Last seen: 2 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 9/8/17
Posts: 16

Bob,

Thanks.  I checked the connections on my fp and it looks good, but I actually have a spare pump so I'll probably just switch it out and see if that helps.  The only reason I haven't already done so is a contradiction I keep seeing in some other threads on here, that due to the placement of the tank above the engine the lift pump is not necessary.  Sounds like maybe that is true at lower rpms, but at cruising rpm the injector pump still needs the help of the lift pump?

You say it's easy to check the accuracy of the tach; how do you do that?  A light or something?

P.S. Attached is a pic of fuel I took out the Racor.  I guess it's kind of cloudy but I don't see actual water or sediment in it.

2002 Catalina 36 MKII Tall Rig
Hull 2106

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LeslieTroyer's picture
LeslieTroyer
Last seen: 2 days 20 hours ago
Joined: 3/13/16
Posts: 364

Erik
The tach is checked by  putting some reflective tape on the flywheel and "shooting" it with an optical tach (the association tool loan program has one - or 20-30 bucks at harbor freight).  The tach is then adjusted via a small hole in the back of the tach and an even smaller straight slot (think bobby pin).  I upgraded to a digital tach and it uses button pushes on the back - a royal PITA.

If you were local I'd loan you mine.

--
Les & Trish Troyer
Mahalo 
Everett, WA
1983 C-36 Hull #0094
C-36 MK 1 Technical Editor. 
kerry boden's picture
kerry boden
Last seen: 3 days 11 hours ago
Joined: 8/1/11
Posts: 30

Hi,
it may be that your lift pump is failing.
I had the same problem last year, with the motor starting ok, but then after a while cutting out.
The problem became more frequent and worse.
I replaced the lift pump (whish was dead) with a much better quality one and all is well.

cheers

--

Kerry Boden

 

seabird
Last seen: 2 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 9/8/17
Posts: 16

So I went down today to test the fuel pump possibility.  The engine ran for over an hour with seemingly n0 issue and even after I disconected the wire for the lift pump to disable it the engine continued running just find at 2200 rpm, I guess this is due to the fact that the tank is higher than the pump, so it isn't really needed once it's running?  I guess that rules out the pump; however after I shut it down (it never rumbled or died) I checked the racor and the bowl was half full with water (picture attached). 

So what's my next step?  I assume this is obviously the issue and while it seems I could just drain the bowl every hour and probably go on my way I assume that isn't the appropriate approach to actually fix the problem and I need to get all the fuel out of the tank.  There arent any fuel polishing locations in Chicago that I can find and honestly I don't see the point in paying hundreds of dollars maybe to polish $65 of fuel. So, what is the best way to get this out, since it has no inspection port.  Do I remove the fuel lever sensor and put a hose down there attached to a drill pump and just empty it out?  After it's empty I can get a look at the condition of the tank...  I really don't want to get into removing the whole tank or buying a whole new one, but I assume it probably needs to be cleaned if it's had this much water in it? I changed the filters probably 10 hours ago (last fall),  but I'll replace them again as well.

 

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kerry boden's picture
kerry boden
Last seen: 3 days 11 hours ago
Joined: 8/1/11
Posts: 30

Hi,
If you take out the fuel guage you can pump out the fuel.
you can then clean out the tank quite effectively by using a cheap wet and dry vacuum cleaner.
 get a piece of thin piece of
dowell and attach a piece of plastic tubing to it. securely tap the end of the plastic tubing tape to the end of the vacuum cleaner hose.
you can then guide to thin hose around the bottom of the tank. you will be surprised what comes out.
I have done this and picked up a lot of gunk and moisture from my tank.
lets know how you go
cheers

--

Kerry Boden

 

seabird
Last seen: 2 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 9/8/17
Posts: 16

Thanks Kerry, what have you found as the most effective method to pump the fuel out.  Will I have decent luck with one of those drill impeller pumps?  Anyone know the best way to get rid of 20+ gallons fuel?  I'm guessing autoparts stores etc won't want that much at one time.
 

kerry boden's picture
kerry boden
Last seen: 3 days 11 hours ago
Joined: 8/1/11
Posts: 30

Hi Bob,
I used a small electric 12 volt pump.
I was lucky that our Yacht club has fuel and oil disposal tanks.

cheers

--

Kerry Boden

 

Catboat Willy
Last seen: 1 week 5 days ago
Joined: 12/22/14
Posts: 156

Erik, Sounds and looks like you have some very bad fuel there and should find he source of that much water. Inspect the 'O' ring at the deck filler and try and understand where that much water is coming from. Not sure where you are buying your fuel or how long that fuel has been standing. We buy our fuel only at places that pump a large quanity of diesel fuel as water condensates in their tanks too.

On a fuel transfer pump, we cleaned out out fuel tank using this inexpensive pump from Amazon and it worked perfectly to get the 30 gallons fuel out of the tank. (See link below) The remainder of the crud at the bottom was sucked out with a 'wet dry vac' as suggested above. With regard to disposal of oil, we spoke to the fellows that collect our garbage and they said the county would make a special pick up if I called them so I suggest that you call your normal pick up service and ask how you dispose of the oil.
https://www.amazon.com/TeraPump-TRHA01-Battery-Operated-Transfer/dp/B00A...
We've since replaced that pump and use a different pump for transferring fuel while underway.
This is what I am using now to fill from aux. tanks while underway.
https://www.amazon.com/Second-Gen-TERAPUMP-TRFA01-Auto-Stop/dp/B00SBZRKEU/ref=pd_sbs_263_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B00SBZRKEU&pd_rd_r=89EBATMP6GWNBGJEECH3&pd_rd_w=uwCqJ&pd_rd_wg=tWgw5&psc=1&refRID=89EBATMP6GWNBGJEECH3

TeraPump A-TRFA01-001 TRFA01 2nd Generation Battery Powered Fuel Transfer Pump - 4AA Battery, 3 GPM  (Also at Amazon)

 

--
Bill Dolan 1990 Catalina C-36 MKI - Hull #1041  'Williwaw'
Std. Rig, Walk Through, Wing Keel
M35, Oberdorfer Conversion,
Home Waters; SW Florida
'You are never out of work if you own a boat'

 
seabird
Last seen: 2 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 9/8/17
Posts: 16

okay, so I drained the entire tank.  It went pretty easily with a drill pump for $13 from home depot.  I went in the through the fuel gauge sender with tube zip tied to a dowel and from what I could see got pretty much everything.  After all the fuel was gone I wrapped a cloth around the dowel and wiped it around on the bottom and side of the tank.  it certainly didn't seem to be any sludge or anything, the cloth came out pretty clean.  I put in 5 gallons of fresh fuel from the marina.  it's not pink, but the green (clear?) type.  After changing filters, bleeding and running it for about an hour the bowl was still crystal clear, so looks pretty good.  After finally taking her off the dock today and crusing around about an hour I check again.  it looks pretty good, although there is small amount of seperation visible now at the very bottom of the filter (not even above the drain).  So, I'll keep an eye on this and see how quickly I see more, but I guess my question (possibly a dumb one from a 6 year boat owner) is how often SHOULD I have to drain this?  Is the filter simply doing it's job, or is the filter more of a "last resort" that should never actually encounter any water?  If this fills a little more and I just drain it off, I can be assured I'm only delivering clean fuel to the engine, right?  I attached a pic of how it looks now.  Maybe I'm overthinking it, but of course after having the issue and getting stranded miles offshore with no wind and a plague of flies I'm anxious to know I've cleared the problem up

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Catboat Willy
Last seen: 1 week 5 days ago
Joined: 12/22/14
Posts: 156

Erik;
Did you dispose of the remainder of old fuel or re-fill it back in to the tank ? Did you change out the Racor Filter Assembly or just the filter ? Did you see any variation in RPM on this last voyage ?
On the slight amount of water in the Racor; That might be a result of water in suspension (emulsification) in your RETURN fuel line although, it would not be very much. (Recall that very little of the fuel that is supplied to the engine -is used by the engine. The majority of the fuel is sent back into the fuel tank via the return line)
If you started with fresh fuel (disposing of the old) and still see significant amounts of water getting into the new Racor filter - check that 'O' ring on the deck fuel filler cause that water is getting in somewhere and it will be a challange to find it. . Rain or condensation can be a problem too. Check the Racor frequently for water and drain it.
Another factor is how often your engine is run. Diesels that are run frequently usually have very little problems with water.
How did you make out with the tack problem ?
Bill
PS. Check your messages here on the board.
 

--
Bill Dolan 1990 Catalina C-36 MKI - Hull #1041  'Williwaw'
Std. Rig, Walk Through, Wing Keel
M35, Oberdorfer Conversion,
Home Waters; SW Florida
'You are never out of work if you own a boat'

 
seabird
Last seen: 2 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 9/8/17
Posts: 16

I disposed of all the old fuel I took out of the tank.
I didn't change the whole assembly, but replaced both filters 
I replaced the deck filler cap 
The engine is run almost daily - typically for around an hour.  I probably have good 4 hours or so run time since I completed the fuel and filter replacement and have seen no variation in RPM.  

I also took advice on here and a bought an optical tach from harbor freight.  I shot the crank shaft pulley from several inches away with no refelctive tape to make sure there was no interference from paint/dirt, etc on the pulley (and it read zero).  So, I placed the tape on and found that it's idling at about 750, depsite showing roughly 900 on the instrument panel.  The error increases as RPM increases.  I wrote down some incremental variances and by the time the tach on the instrument panel is showing 2500 RPM the optical tach is around 1600 RPM.  I am not surprised to find that it was off, but am surpirsed at the degree it's off; especially since I'm positive it wasn't this bad at the end of last season.

P.S. - Anyone know where the battery charger might be located on a 2002?  Nothing wrong with it, I'm just scratching my head about it's location as I've spend a lot of time every laz and compartment on the boat the last two weeks and never came across it.  I love the tidiness of the well hidden wire looms for everything, but it sure is near impossible to trace some wires compared to my old 1984 c&c 35....

LeslieTroyer's picture
LeslieTroyer
Last seen: 2 days 20 hours ago
Joined: 3/13/16
Posts: 364

@seabird you can adjust some of the tachs by inserting a very small straight slot screwdriver (think bobby pin size) into a hole in the back of the tach  - if it’s not linear adjust so it’s right at cruising speed.  

Les

--
Les & Trish Troyer
Mahalo 
Everett, WA
1983 C-36 Hull #0094
C-36 MK 1 Technical Editor. 
pierview
Last seen: 2 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 9/27/09
Posts: 453

I have a 2002 and the charger is in the seat in front of the gally to the left,looking aft, of the AC unit

--

Chuck Parker
HelenRita 2072 Mk II
2002 Tall Rig - Winged Keel
Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Catboat Willy
Last seen: 1 week 5 days ago
Joined: 12/22/14
Posts: 156

Erik;
 Hopefuly you replaced the '0' ring on the fuel filler pipe as well.
 Bill

 

--
Bill Dolan 1990 Catalina C-36 MKI - Hull #1041  'Williwaw'
Std. Rig, Walk Through, Wing Keel
M35, Oberdorfer Conversion,
Home Waters; SW Florida
'You are never out of work if you own a boat'

 
seabird
Last seen: 2 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 9/8/17
Posts: 16

Bill,

I replaced the the cap, assuming that was the o-ring referred to.   Where is there another o-ring?  I'm having trouble thinking through how else water gets in the pipe besides a faulty cap.  

Catboat Willy
Last seen: 1 week 5 days ago
Joined: 12/22/14
Posts: 156

Erik;
 That's the '0' ring I was thinking about. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my air leak was in the Racor filter housing itself. (Bad '0' ring in the filter assembly) Outside of the fuel tank vent, there should be no other spots for the water to get in. Let's hope the new filters & hose took care of the issue.
Bill

--
Bill Dolan 1990 Catalina C-36 MKI - Hull #1041  'Williwaw'
Std. Rig, Walk Through, Wing Keel
M35, Oberdorfer Conversion,
Home Waters; SW Florida
'You are never out of work if you own a boat'

 
seabird
Last seen: 2 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 9/8/17
Posts: 16

Bill, 

Thanks.  One more question for you... What filter do you guys use.  When I bought the boat last year it had a R20P filter, which is 30 Microns and a suitable replacement for the 230R racor.  Last year (and of course again this year after my power loss) I have purchased this same filter from west marine and used as a replacement.  However, I just noticed on Catalina direct that the filter they sell for our boat is for use with the 215R racor...  Next time I'm at the boat I'll obviously double check the racor model.  I never looked because I just assumed the correct filter was already on there.  Maybe an incorrect assumption.  All the dimensions of the R20 series filters are the same except height, so I assume it would fit and maybe even function fine?   I think the main difference in these racor models is simply the flow rate they can accomodate.  

LeslieTroyer's picture
LeslieTroyer
Last seen: 2 days 20 hours ago
Joined: 3/13/16
Posts: 364

The last letter in the module number is the filter size P=30 micron, T=10 micron, S=2 micron.   

Flow rate is is based on the series not the height of the filter.  Height in a series determines filtering load.   

Any Racor filter has enough flow rate for our small engines.  The 230R series I believe is rated at 45 gal/hour.  Which is 56x what’s necessary to deliver to the engine at .8 gal/hr.  

I chose the 120 series filter because of its small size.  Racor recommended their snap series when I asked them for the right filter for my 36.  

As far as filter size I’m using the 30micron.   I’ve read posts from MaineSail something to the effect that on the boats he replaces lift pumps on 80% have 2 micron filters elements.  

--
Les & Trish Troyer
Mahalo 
Everett, WA
1983 C-36 Hull #0094
C-36 MK 1 Technical Editor. 
seabird
Last seen: 2 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 9/8/17
Posts: 16

Leslie,

Thanks.  I think the 230 is 30 gal the 215 is 15 gal, etc, but I get what you're saying in that either way it's plenty.  

80% of primary filters are 2 micron?  Or were you referring to the little lift pump filter?  Mine has never had the filter on the lift pump, but I've read it's not that necessary if you have a primary.  I do use the universal 298854 on the engine, which is 2 micron if I'm not mistaken?  So I've got just 30 primary and the 2.  On my old boat this was not problem over 6 years.  Sound like you have the same set-up?  Thanks!

LeslieTroyer's picture
LeslieTroyer
Last seen: 2 days 20 hours ago
Joined: 3/13/16
Posts: 364

Trying to say that 2 micron filters kill lift pumps and are over kill for our engines. 

Edit: the Wix 33390 filters I use are 10 micron which is typical of the on engine filters.  
The 298854 is 25 microns
 

--
Les & Trish Troyer
Mahalo 
Everett, WA
1983 C-36 Hull #0094
C-36 MK 1 Technical Editor. 
dlincoln3's picture
dlincoln3
Last seen: 1 day 18 hours ago
Joined: 4/24/16
Posts: 43

So for the 30 micron, would the correct size be the R12P?  I'm looking ar Parker racors specifically

--
Don Lincoln
"Nancy Lynn"
1993 Catalina MK1.5, Hull 1238
LaSalle, MI (Lake Erie)
Universal M-35AC
Catboat Willy
Last seen: 1 week 5 days ago
Joined: 12/22/14
Posts: 156

Erik;
Les is right on the money regarding fuel pumps and filter size. We had very much the same confusion when we started with our boat. On a visit to the factory in Largo, FL - we asked Gerry Douglass; 'Why would you put 2 micron fuel filter on the Racor and 10 micron filter on the engine ? Seems it should be the other way around ? His response was interesting; 'Ever tried to change an ENGINE filter in a seaway ? Much easier to change the Racor when under way' (Most Catalina's are equipped this way from the factory)
Now all of this just points to the confusion surrounding the issue. Diesel Guru Nigel Calder says' Use a 30 micron on the water seperator and a 10 on the engine'
But these comments usually do not take into account on how one individual is using his boat or how many gallons of fuel is being run through the engine.
Let me explain. If your diesel is running a continiously operating water lift pump in a farm type application- you might burn 85 gallons of diesel fuel per week in your XP 25. (Based on .5 per hour gallons X 168 hours) and you are buying your fuel from a reputable source like the local truck stop who pumps lots of fuel a day, this fuel might be relatively free of contaminants .  So a 30 micron (Racor) and 10 (engine) will be more than enough.
In contrast, compare that to a guy who uses less than 30 gallons over one or two seasons and is in a place where diesel fuel has sat in the tank for a while. The Islands ? Water and mold will build up and better filtering is required. This is where the confusion starts. All boat use is different and some use the engine more than others.
Your injectors will tolorate a solid item of about <10 microns.
Les makes the point that a 2 micron filter on the Racor primary filter  will cost you a lift/fuel pump and he's right - as it takes considerably more effort (pressure) for that pump to pump fuel through that two micron filter.(So add a fuel pump to your list of spares)
  OK, with all that logic behind you, you are in  marina with reasonabably clean fuel, I'd use a 30 micron on the Racor and a 10 micron on the engine. As Les mentions, the Wix engine mounted filter is a great filter.
Hope that helps.
Bill

--
Bill Dolan 1990 Catalina C-36 MKI - Hull #1041  'Williwaw'
Std. Rig, Walk Through, Wing Keel
M35, Oberdorfer Conversion,
Home Waters; SW Florida
'You are never out of work if you own a boat'

 
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