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Lessons learned about genset and oil pressure-gctid808969

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    Lessons learned about genset and oil pressure-gctid808969

    During our recent outing on a family Easter cruise I thought I had blown something in my Westerbeke genset.

    A week prior when on the hook, I had an episode with the genset where it had shut down. After looking at it closely, I found the genset shut down, as it was pretty close to out of oil, I felt so stupid as I thought I had checked the oil just a week prior. I was perplexed as to where all the oil went. Regardless, I refilled the oil and thankfully the genset started right up and seemed to run ok. I was ready for the Easter cruise. Thank God for the low pressure shut down switch.

    Easter came and we loaded Omega with family and food for a brunch fit for a king. To keep the warmers and crock pots warm, I had to use the genset. After running a couple hours, the genset suddenly shut down without notice. Thank fully we were finishing up the need for the warmers so I didn't really worry much, but it did alarm me. I looked at the genset again and found that once again it had almost no oil, This time I knew I had looked at the oil, so I felt a bit redeemed from my prior worry of being stupid and not checking the oil.

    I refilled the oil and the genset seemed to start up again and run like always. Perplexed, I went to the engine room wind looked around. To my horror, I found a huge amount of spent oil in the keel. It was significant. I instantly shut the genset down until I could take the time to look at it in depth.

    Well, after all couple weeks of sorting through things, cleaning them up and such, I finally found the issue. I was originally worried that I blew a gasket of cracked the block or something. I was fearing a HUGE bill, if not a need to replace the genset to the tune of $15k or so. Well, yesterday I finally found the culprit. Thank fully, it was not a gasket or a cracked case, it was a damaged/defective oil filter.

    The filter had been installed since last year and had no issues...until just before Easter . That's when it decided to literally come apart at the seams. Evidentially, the welded ( I assume ) seam fractured during use and began spraying oil all over the bottom of the engine, which in turn leaked into the keel. What a mess. But thankfully, it was a small price to pay by only having to replace the filter and change the oil, verses having to replace the engine.

    The lessen I learned from this is to not only check the oil and such of an engine, but to check the filters by both visual and tactile inspection by carefully running my hand around the seems of the filter, I'm not sure if this would've prevented my mess, as I think the filter simply let loose all at once, but I figured it might be worth a moment to share my recent "ahhhh" moment, If it helps just one of us it's a good thing...

    Happy and safe oil pressure to all...

    ~BJ
    BJ
    OMEGA
    5788

    #2
    Glad the issue was not worse - and hate to tell you, but it may not be over...

    At the base of the oil filter is a pressure bypass valve - usually a ball bearing held in place with a spring. Oil filters are not designed to take a lot of pressure and the valve is there to bypass oil and keep the pressure experienced by the filter down to allowable levels. If the valve sticks, the filter experiences out of tolerance pressures and often the sign of this happening is a split filter..

    It's entirely possible this was a one-shot thing, may never happen again. But if the new filter splits, dig a bit deeper when replacing it and see if you can clean the bypass valve assembly at the same time..
    ________________
    1989 Bayliner 3270

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      #3
      Thanks for the insight. I will definitely keep a look out for further issues... I hope it was a one time thing, though...

      ~BJ
      BJ
      OMEGA
      5788

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