View Full Version : Westerbeke EFI generator issues

11-10-2016, 08:45 PM
I have a Westerbeke generator EFI that will not run anymore. It quit working while running. It sputtered and stalled out as if it ran out of fuel. We did all of the recommended self checks as advised by the manual. The fuel injector works. The oil sensor is good. Fuel lines were bled. Also the spark plugs are dry. Not sure if anyone else on here has had this happen. We would appreciate advise on what else we should check.

Frantically Relaxing
11-12-2016, 02:12 PM
An engine needs only 4 things to run:
1- fuel (correct amount helps)
2- air
3- compression
4- spark (delivered at the right time)

Best I can tell from online searching, these are multi-port injected. If that's the case, while the injector may be working (they 'tick'), that doesn't mean they're spraying fuel, and IMO they're not. Evidence of that is the fact the spark plugs are dry. Fuel entering cylinders that aren't firing typcial make the plugs damp, or at the very least, reek of raw gasoline...

Chances are 99.999% that the engine's getting air and making compression, so the problem boils down to either lack of fuel, or no spark at the plugs (or yes spark but not even close to the right time, but that too is very rare)

It's easy enough to tell if you're getting spark with an inductive timing light- if it works, you have spark...

The other giveaway that it's a fuel issue is you said it 'sputtered to stop like it ran out of gas'-- that may be exactly what happened, in one way or another (water in the fuel, fuel line sucking air, plugged filter, plugged filter sock on the fuel pump, etc)- Spark issue shutdowns usually just stop the motor cold as if you turned off the key, no sputtering...

There should be, or might be, a schrader valve on the fuel rail to test for fuel pressure. Looks like a tire air valve. If you can't find it, time to consult a mechanic. If you do locate it, any auto parts store has gauges to check the fuel pressure on these valves. Crank it over a few seconds, you should get around 30 psi of pressure if all is well...

11-12-2016, 03:45 PM
Thank you for replying. We did preliminary diagnostics and check fuel pressure at the schrader valve with a test gauge and saw just under 40 lbs of pressure and through bleeding it off we saw no air in the gas. Put a different injector in and same result of crank but no start with dry plug.

11-12-2016, 04:55 PM
Could there be an electronic problem with whatever fires the injector?

11-12-2016, 05:03 PM
I think that is what it is looking like.

11-13-2016, 03:07 AM
did you you try pulling a plug and putting a very small amount of gas in the cylinder to see if it starts or fires?

11-13-2016, 03:09 AM
Hm. It's a simple thing but have you checked the oil? There may be a low oil shutoff.
Any of the possibly several shutdown mechanisms could be at fault.

11-13-2016, 08:46 PM
Went back up to the boat today to troubleshoot the generator some more. Still no resolve. The oil is good as is the gas. Not sure what actually fires the fuel injector but whatever it is may be the issue.
Thanks for your input though. Let me know if you can think o something else to check.

11-14-2016, 07:38 AM
I can't help with your EFI - my experience is only with carburetors on generators.

However, if you are spinning your genny without it firing, you can fill up your water lift muffler - it relies on exhaust pressure to blow the water out of it. If the muffler fills up with water, it can fill up your cylinders with water via the exhaust valves. If that happens, you will be looking at a much bigger problem.

Your muffler should have a drain plug. You might want to drain it some as you are trying to get the genny started.

11-14-2016, 06:22 PM
Thanks on the water in the muffler info. We will drain it when we go back to the boat. I contacted a Westerbeke supply store and hoping that he will be able to recommend someone who can give us advise or go up and fix it.

11-15-2016, 12:46 PM
Here is a dumb suggestion but it bit me in the butt with the 8.0 EFI I installed. Next to the on switch on the physical generator, there is a little switch. See if resetting that works. It is a fault switch that you need to reset if the generator shuts down.

11-15-2016, 04:12 PM
Thanks I will go up and see if we have another switch to reset. I have a repair guy going up next week if I can't get it running before then.

11-16-2016, 02:36 PM
Thanks I will go up and see if we have another switch to reset. I have a repair guy going up next week if I can't get it running before then.

There was also a fuse there as well. See if it isn't blown.

11-16-2016, 06:42 PM
Update. The breaker is good as is the fuse. The repair guy told me during our phone conversation that it sounds like its the computer. I would test it if I could get my hands on the "communications cable" $200. I already downloaded the program to test it. It will be approx $500 of just labor to look at it and trouble shoot. I wonder if I should just try to buy a new computer for it and put it in.I am having a hard time finding the part number for it it though.

11-17-2016, 06:59 AM
Since it is Westerbeke red I can guarantee the ECU will be expensive.

Here is the troubleshooting guide. https://www.westerbeke.com/troubleshooting%20guide/efi%20troubleshooting%20may%202006.pdf

11-18-2016, 07:35 PM
Yes it is very expensive! 1760 dollars.

11-19-2016, 07:01 AM
Ouch! At that price you might be better off having the technician troubleshoot and install it. Assuming it IS the ECU, you still don't know WHY it failed. If you don't correct that, it could get even more expensive. If it's NOT the ECU, you now have an expensive "spare".

11-19-2016, 10:38 AM
So very true. That is a huge concern. Also the tech is not able to test the computer unless it actually runs. He said it takes 2 weeks to get in another ecu. I do not want an expensive spare part for sure.

11-19-2016, 04:55 PM
I might be way off base but it doesn't make much sense to test it AFTER he fixes it. Then he's testing NEW parts (which you may not need and are trying avoid buying). Sounds like one of those "keep changing parts (at owner's expense) till you get lucky" mechanics. Been there.

On the other hand, that's probably the only way he'll guarantee his work.

11-20-2016, 12:28 PM
I think we might pull the ecu and see if they can test it in their shop. Or maybe send it to Westerbeke. I have to talk to the shop to see if they have a way to test it without a generator.

11-20-2016, 02:25 PM
Good idea! I'm sure Westerbeke can test it, not so sure about a local shop.

11-20-2016, 03:13 PM
Any body close you can try on their Genny? These are a fairly common unit.

Did you unplug and spray every connection with contact cleaner?

11-20-2016, 07:06 PM
If they cant test it in the shop I will try to find one to swap it out for a test. Also no did not spray contact cleaner. I was having a hard time finding the muffler plug to pull. Pulled what looked like it might be it but there was no water in it. I wonder if it was the right thing or not. We attempted to crank it many times so I was expecting some water.

11-21-2016, 06:50 AM
Does your muffler look like this?


It should have a drain plug close to the bottom edge.

11-21-2016, 02:40 PM
If there was no water in the muffler maybe you have a water pump issue, and some safety circuit is shutting down the fuel?

I installed a water-flow alarm on my old diesel. No water flow doesn't shut the engine down, but does set off an alarm.

11-21-2016, 07:31 PM
Thank you for the picture. We will be able to locate the plug now. Also, The shop loaned us a used ECU for a week for $118. If that is the problem they will sell it to me for $880.

11-24-2016, 11:48 PM
Well it is not the ECU that is the problem. Still doing the same thing.

11-25-2016, 10:35 PM
Here is a video clip that I posted on youtube of our generator.

P.S we were able to locate the plug in the muffler and drain the water.
We are going to replace spark plugs tomorrow.

Frantically Relaxing
11-29-2016, 11:32 PM
OK-- You have 40psi of fuel pressure.
This means the problem isn't any sort of fuel cutoff issue (low oil, low water etc) ... mostly because those types of shutdowns don't come into play until the thing is actually running, plus, the way they work is they cut off power to the fuel pump. And you have pressure!

A new ECU didn't change anything. And you have lots of fuel pressure but no fuel in the cylinders.

I don't know what these engines rely on to locate the #1 cylinder and TDC, but I have a feeling that they work like early EFI did, which would be a crank sensor to tell the ECU where TDC of each cylinder is, and a cam sensor to tell the ECU when the #1 is at TDC... this is so the ECU knows how to sequence the spark. My old '84 Turbo Buick has exactly such a setup. The start procedure is this:
Turn on key- this energizes the fuel pump.
Start- Engine cranks, and the ECM(U) looks for a signal from the crank sensor AND the cam sensor. BOTH sensor signals must be received, or the ECU will not open the injectors OR start the spark-firing sequence...

---- you have lots of fuel pressure and bone dry spark plugs, which perfectly fits a sensor issue...

If you do have a cam sensor, and it goes dead while the engine is running, the engine will stay running, as it's only used to locate the #1 TDC compression stroke. But afterwards it won't start. You said yours died while running- You should ask your mechanic friend how and where the crank position sensor is on that thing. Hopefully that's all it is, they're way cheaper than computers!

11-30-2016, 06:28 PM
Thank you for your information. The update is that we changed the spark plugs. They are wet and have soot on them after we attempted to restart.

12-01-2016, 06:57 AM
Did you perform the trouble shooting process that is in the manual that is in post #15?

12-01-2016, 01:24 PM
Yes. We keep finding more things to test too. Still on our investigation.

12-17-2016, 08:50 AM
It's been two weeks... what did you find?

12-30-2016, 08:46 PM
Putting my money on a head gasket.


12-31-2016, 05:02 PM
did you run a compression test?

01-01-2017, 09:55 AM
I'm beginning to think the problem has been found and fixed, and it was one of those simple little issues that is just too embarassing to report. Been there!

Comon Ltrdays, 'fess up!

01-14-2017, 05:19 PM
Problem finally solved!!! YAY!! It was the speed sensor. Thank you everyone for your great advise.

01-14-2017, 09:24 PM
Glad you found it! I know how frustrating such issues can be.

01-19-2017, 07:23 PM
Where does the fuel draw from? What tank? I know this isn't a good example, but the same thing happened with the Onan generator on my motorhome. After much ado (like you are going through) it turned out that the fuel was drawn from the same tank as the MH's engine but did not go to the bottom of the tank. When the fuel got down to between 1/4 and 1/3 full, bingo, no more fuel to the genny. Filled up the tank and it ran like a champ. Point is the symptoms were the same as yours. And if it was water getting into the cylinders, yu would have seen it on the plugs.