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Westerbreke Generator

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Hooked

Member
Our houseboat 12.5 sbeg low -co westerbeke generator has about 10,000 hours on it. We are located at Bullfrog. Last summer it would intermittently die after about 2 hours running. We replaced several parts on it and still had a problem. Looking at our options whether to buy a new generator or try to rebuild the one we have. Anyone have any experience/knowledge with rebuilding one? Also, recommendations of someone good to deal with rebuilding or buying a new one? Anyone heard of Kismet Marine? One of our owners talked to someone there today. Any comments or help would be appreciated? Thanks in advance.
 

Ryan

Well-Known Member
10,000 hours seems like a lot, but I know I have heard of units making it two or three times that many hours.

Hate to ask this, but are you sure it isn't a fuel problem? Like vapor lock? Does it have problems in the off season as well, or just during the heat of the summer?
 

Randy Helzer

Well-Known Member
I kind of agree with randyt’s succinct bit of advice, 10k hours is a lot of hours especially with a generator where you have two components (motor and electric generator) that can wear out. In addition I have had a 15 year love-hate relationship with a Westerbeke COSafe generator, and wonder if the intermittent lack of dependability are worth the benefits.

That being said, have you tried Old West Marine in Paige? I am not sure they are still working on Westerbekes but over the years Pete (of Old West) was very helpful.
 

birdsnest

Well-Known Member
Your symptoms do not sound sound like they are mechanical to me. Sounds like fuel. You must first determine cause of it dying before throwing parts at it. Those Mitsubishi engines are tough and some last 15,000 or more hours. I would consider a temporary change in the fuel source and try to eliminate as many fuel restrictions and heat problems as possible then see if it runs without shutting down. If you opt to give up then at least do a compression check and leakdown check before chucking the engine. I would not be afraid of a rebuild on the engine but would not try to rebuild the generator, just to tricky for my taste. Be careful of a fire no matter what you do.
Our houseboat 12.5 sbeg low -co westerbeke generator has about 10,000 hours on it. We are located at Bullfrog. Last summer it would intermittently die after about 2 hours running. We replaced several parts on it and still had a problem. Looking at our options whether to buy a new generator or try to rebuild the one we have. Anyone have any experience/knowledge with rebuilding one? Also, recommendations of someone good to deal with rebuilding or buying a new one? Anyone heard of Kismet Marine? One of our owners talked to someone there today. Any comments or help would be appreciated? Thanks in advance.
 

PowellBride

Well-Known Member
We’ve had a similar problems with differing causes. Once it was fixed with a new check valve, and the second time we repacked the fuel filter. The final time we realized the genset was shutting down when it was over heating. I don’t remember what we did to resolve the over heating
 

birdsnest

Well-Known Member
It's all good till it's a p.i.t.a.. Somethin about boats...... B.O.A.T. The favorite two days. And on and on. I've got two and wouldn't have any other way, but I know a fair amount about the mechanics.
 

bubba

Well-Known Member
I support inspecting the fuel delivery system, filters, lines, ball valves, pick up tube. But i would also explore a heat issue, make sure it is not over heating and make sure the fuel pump is not in a hot spot causing vapor lock. You can easily debunk heat as the source this time of year simply by opening the hatch when you run it, if it gets more than 2 hours with an open hatch then it may be a high heat issue. In the summer open the hatch and add a box fan to keep the engine and fuel pump cooler. A few years ago the CO safe Bekes has ENDLESS issues. Eric at Energy had a lot of wrench time on Bekes but he is living the dream in Hawaii now. Jay at Bulldog in Page would be my only call.

10,000 hours is a lot for the engine but not so much for the back end and the back end is not causing it to quit. If 12.5 is serving your needs I would get bulldog to fix it. If 12.5 is limiting your experience and you need more power then use this as the motivator to step up, but skip the 15 as that is about the same as a 12.5. Good luck.
 
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birdsnest

Well-Known Member
I support inspecting the fuel delivery system, filters, lines, ball valves, pick up tube. But i would also explore a heat issue, make sure it is not over heating and make sure the fuel pump is not in a hot spot causing vapor lock. You can easily debunk heat as the source this time of year simply by opening the hatch when you run it, if it gets more than 2 hours with an open hatch then it may be a high heat issue. In the summer open the hatch and add a box fan to keep the engine and fuel pump cooler. A few years ago the CO safe Bekes has ENDLESS issues. Eric at Energy had a lot of wrench time on Bekes but he is living the dream in Hawaii now. Jay at Bulldog in Page would be my only call.

10,000 hours is a lot for the engine but so so much for the back end and the back end is not causing it to quit. If 12.5 is serving your needs I would get bulldog to fix it. If 12.5 is limiting your experience and you need more power then use this as the motivator to step up, but skip the 15 as that is about the same as a 12.5. Good luck.
All good advice in my world.
 

Pegasus

Well-Known Member
My experience with vapor lock is that it occurs when trying to start a hot engine - I've not heard of vapor lock actually stalling a running marine engine or genset. I'd be interested in the answer to this question - i.e. if others have had vapor lock issues while the engine is running making it stall?

My 2 cents on repair vs. replace, find out the cause of the problem before making that decision as it could be as small a problem as a shorting resistor when it gets hot - a $15 replacement part. I had this issue with my 12.5 BEG a couple of years ago - it didn't stall on me but would cut in and out when hot.

At 10k hours on the engine, you are likely on borrowed time so don't throw too much $$ into repair, but it seems a few hundred thrown in this direction may provide you good direction.
 

birdsnest

Well-Known Member
My experience with vapor lock is that it occurs when trying to start a hot engine - I've not heard of vapor lock actually stalling a running marine engine or genset. I'd be interested in the answer to this question - i.e. if others have had vapor lock issues while the engine is running making it stall?

My 2 cents on repair vs. replace, find out the cause of the problem before making that decision as it could be as small a problem as a shorting resistor when it gets hot - a $15 replacement part. I had this issue with my 12.5 BEG a couple of years ago - it didn't stall on me but would cut in and out when hot.

At 10k hours on the engine, you are likely on borrowed time so don't throw too much $$ into repair, but it seems a few hundred thrown in this direction may provide you good direction.
Vapor lock can and will shut down a running motor. That was the case with all the 4000 watt Onans that came with the rental fleets new Myacht's. Gens were installed in an aluminum enclosure with a flip up seat on top. when it got hot outside the Onan would start clicking (vapor in fuel pump instead of liquid fuel) then die. We took out the gens and put a 3/4 plywood piece for the gen to sit on which acted as a heat sink and that was the end of the problem. With a fuel pump mounted on the generator a vacuum is created on the fuel which then boils at a lower temperature making a vapor causing vapor lock. Simple physics but can be tricky. BTW the Onan enclosures were made of expanded metal aluminum so they were not an unventilated box.
 

Randy Helzer

Well-Known Member
Are you sure you are getting good water flow? Also, have you checked to make sure the sea water exchanger is not fowled? They will shut down if they over heat.
 
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Hooked

Member
I appreciate all the input. We have added fans to our compartment to help expel the heat, are getting plenty of water flow, we put stabil in our gas, have went to the expensive fuel pump that westerbeke has came up with for ethanol fuel. Have replaced fuel filter, expensive fuel pump again. map sensor, checked fuel lines, pick up tube, cleaned filters and pretty much everything that has been talked about here. Yes, it is worst in the heat of the summer even though owners had problems still in September. My husband is very mechanical, does all his own engine work and has done everything he can think of and like I said we were still having a problem in September. We are leaning towards buying a new generator but a couple of owners want to go the rebuilt route. Again, I thank you all.
 

Randy Helzer

Well-Known Member
That sounds very close to what we experienced with our COSafe when we were on our previous boat. We increased fuel line size, increased size of return line, filters, fuel pumps etc

Have you tried pouring water over the fuel pump when it won’t restart? Ours would start within two or three tries once we would pour water over the fuel pump.
 
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davew

Well-Known Member
2 options --that I have personal experience with --

you stated that it is getting plenty of water ---- how do you know? what can and does happen is that the heat exchanger becomes clogged over time with mineral deposits. The only way to check for this issue is to remove the heat exchanger and clean it out. there is very little difference between enough water going through it, and not enough.This is something you can not see just by looking. to check and fix this problem, remove the heat exchanges, and use a rifle bore cleaning tool to clean out all of the small water pipes located inside of the heat exchanger. reinstall, add a new impellor to the water pump, and see if this fixes the problem. I have done this fix twice after experiencing similar problems to what you describe.
If you decide to purchase a new generator, I suggest you contact

TDC Equipment

(714) 373-8099

The last genset we purchased from them was 1/2 the price quoted us by offshore.

PM me if you want more pricing details --- dave@knodeinsurance.com
 

bubba

Well-Known Member
TDC is awesome! They also have a selection of reman backends, they may have full reman systems too if looking to save some cash.

You have several months before the season hits, i would spend some time looking for a cause for excessive heat, and save the cost of a new system. If you boat at Powell long enough you will have generator problems. A few years ago we experienced the generator stopping, a call to Eric resulted in putting ice cubes in a zip lock bag and placing the bag on top of the fuel pump then wrapping with a towel. Problem solved. We relocated the fuel pump away from the gen set and it has not stopped since. A neighbor had gentset problems that was cured with replacing the fuel line that was clogged with sludge.

You have replaced the impeller, right? Keeping in mid a failed impeller may leave ripped flaps in the exit tunnel restricting flow. You may also have restriction at the suction side with mussels or even small fish getting stuck in the filter.

For me, if that engine is running strong and not burning oil and starts easy and runs for 2hours before quitting I would find the problem. If it is hard to start And burning oil I would look at replacing. If you replace with same size keep your backend or sell it.

Good luck.
 

capt.catfish

Well-Known Member
Anyone heard of Kismet Marine? One of our owners talked to someone there today. Any comments or help would be appreciated?

I purchased a rebuilt 12.5-kW Westerbeke from Kismet a couple years ago; I think it's a one man shop and the owner's name is Mike Sullivan, but last time I spoke with him he had relocated from Page to Oregon. He still sold me a replacement muffler and shipped it out. He's been helpful and seem very knowledgeable, but I wouldn't count on him for fast turnaround.

I asked about him at Offshore before agreeing to the purchase and the advice I got was that most customers were happy with the equipment, but it often took a lot longer to get there and get installed than originally quoted (I think the direct quote was, "He does good work, when he gets around to it.") My generator was delivered a couple months later than quoted and he never did make it to Bullfrog to complete the installation as agreed (I ended up installing it myself).

Not sure if he still sells generators in the Lake Powell area (he could probably still ship them freight), but he's always been happy to help me trouble shoot issues over the phone.
 
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