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Engine Power Issue

Dec 29, 2017
40
Catalina 310 Middle River
Wasn’t sure how to title the topic but hopefully this will work. Have a 2002 Cat 310 with the standard universal engine. Was out sailing over the weekend and had some issues when engine was above 2000 RPM’s and engaged in forward. As I crept above the 2000 mark the engine would sputter for lack of a better term and drop down below 2000 RPM. Once or twice the engine completely shut done, most times by managing the throttle I was able keep motor engaged. Issue did not occur when engine was in neutral, engine would rev up to 2800 RPM without a problem. One of my thoughts is that as we have had significant marine growth in our slip area the zebra mussels are interfering with shaft. Any thoughts regarding what could be the issue are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,312
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Another possible culprit:

Along with filters, hose clamps, old hoses, pickup tube in tank, bad fuel. It's a pretty long list and YOU have to be systematic and methodical in tracking it down. Could be more than one, but fix only one at a time or else you won't know which one it was.
 

Tom J

.
Sep 30, 2008
1,691
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
Classic symptoms of clogged fuel filter. At a minimum, change out fuel filters. Then consider getting your fuel polished. Often, sailing and heeling the boat, or being in bumpy conditions will stir up sludge in the fuel tank. I have had this happen on my C310, and on a delivery trip on a trawler yacht. You might consider installing a vacuum gauge for the Racor fuel filter, which would give you a heads up on when the filter would need to be changed.
I haven't heard of any issues with the fuel pickup on the C310's, but as mentioned earlier, that is always a possibility.
 
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Dec 29, 2017
40
Catalina 310 Middle River
Thanks for the insight on the fuel filter - is this the filter that’s mounted on the engine or something in the line between the tank and the engine? The filter on the engine was replaced at the start of the season and I’ve put less than 30 hours on engine this season. I have had lots of heeling and bumpy rides over the past few weeks, so how would I go about polishing the fuel? Is this just a term for additives?
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,312
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
is this the filter that’s mounted on the engine or something in the line between the tank and the engine?
The link says: "The filter housing is the Racor 220 / 225 Spin On Series, using the ubiquitous Racor R24 Series filters, installed on most Catalina 34 boats. On the top of the housing is a large plastic screw, identified in the manual’s first page diagram as the “Flow Check Valve” and on page four, it is replacement part list Item 3, part # RK20011, “Check ball valve and plastic cap.”

It is a Racor filter, not engine mounted.

The link also says: "PS The Racor 500 series housings do NOT have check valves in the housing, but the manual says to install a check valve in the inlet of your fuel hoses to the housing if your tank is below the filter."

So if you have a different filter housing or manufacturer you may not have this issue in the housing.
 
May 24, 2004
6,539
CC 30 South Florida
More than 80% of the Diesel engine running issues are fuel related. Start by replacing the primary and secondary fuel filters. Bleed the air out of the lines. It may seem your filters are getting clogged and the engine is starving for fuel above 2000 RPM. Why do the filters get clogged? 1) not being replaced at a regular interval will allow it to gradually get clogged with sediments and contaminants in the fuel. 2) A dirty fuel tank full of sediments at the bottom is shaken in rough waters and releases the sediments to quickly clog even a relatively new filter. 3) old and fouled fuel. Diesel fuel can and will grow bacteria and this bacteria dies and accumulates in the bottom or decomposes into a gelatinous glob which can clog the strainer at the bottom of the fuel pick up tube. For these reasons try to change the filters periodically and use a diesel fuel additive to reduce the growth of bacteria.
 

Tom J

.
Sep 30, 2008
1,691
Catalina 310 Quincy, MA
The Racor fuel filter (primary) on my C310 is located under the aft cabin cushions. I believe some have been mounted on the bulkhead aft of the engine. The Universal engine (M25xpb) on my C310 is self bleeding. Just fill the new filter with fuel when installing, then hold the "ignition" key on all the way for 20 to 30 seconds before starting the engine. It should fire right up. Your fuel tank is mounted above the level of the engine, so I believe there is no check valve.
Fuel polishing involves removing the contaminated fuel from the tank, cleaning it, and returning it to the tank. A professional polisher will come to your boat and place two lines into your tank. One will pick up the fuel, and the other will return it after the fuel has been run through multiple stages of filters. This cycle will be repeated until the fuel is clean. Some guys will move the lines around inside the tank and try to pick up any sludge.
 
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Sep 29, 2008
1,827
Catalina 310 #185 Quantico
One thing that came to mind, in addition to the filters, is how much fuel is in the tank and is the fuel pump running. The 310's fuel tank is mostly above the level of the engine so it will gravity feed fuel as long as there is over 1/3 of fuel in the tank. If less than 1/3 the fuel pump needs to be running. You can check the fuel pump by having someone turn your key to the spring loaded position and you can then feel/hear the pump clicking on the starboard side of the engine toward the top rear.
 
Dec 16, 2011
215
Catalina 310 Atlantic Highlands
I had an issue years ago with my RPMs suddenly taking a nose dive and then coming back up and then dropping again, sometimes leading to a stall. If I remember correctly, it was a problem with the wiring to the fuel pump or something similar on the engine. I think it was the first year I owned the boat so I hired an engine mechanic to fix it, which is one reason why I cannot exactly remember the cause...but he also started by replacing all the filters before he figured it out.
 
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May 24, 2004
6,539
CC 30 South Florida
That is why I don't like electrical fuel pumps. They complicate the troubleshooting process.
 
Dec 25, 2008
1,573
catalina 310 Elk River
There is a shovel connector that feeds current to the fuel pump located near the pump itself. This becomes corroded and the pump will not run effectively.
 

rukidn

.
Apr 23, 2012
117
Catalina 310 258 Sandusky, OH
Our design has at least two potential fuel delivery issues when our tanks are below half-full or so. As mentioned above, the lift pump isn't working much with the tank closer to full, so one could go a while without noticing a pump problem.

Also, with our tapered tank, motor sailing heeled to port can suck air if fuel below is about 5/8 in our experience. We experienced this twice shortly after buying the boat. Dead in water, we could not avoid hitting a marked submerged hazard.

So I treat our engine like an airplane engine... We keep a spare lift pump onboard, and generally keep the tank within 5-7 gallons of full unless motoring on a long non-stop trip. I also built a fuel polisher that we run after sailing stirs up the tank or motoring. We can reconfigure the polisher to push fuel and prime in emergency.

Ed
 
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Dec 29, 2017
40
Catalina 310 Middle River
Thanks for all of the responses. I changed the Racor fuel filter under the aft cushions and experienced same issue. Local diesel mechanic looked at system and noted fuel lift was weak. If anyone on this thread has replaced the lift, would appreciate you advising where you purchased, as my mechanic is having trouble finding replacement.
 
Feb 20, 2013
36
Catalina 310 Channel Islands Harbor
Don't forget about the fuel filter on the engine. I use a wix 33390 for that.
I changed my lift pump years ago and used a facet 40185 pump according to my notes.
If you hold the engine key full on to the glow plug position you should hear the lift pump ticking.
You can also jump a wire across the oil pressure switch to verify if the pump is working.
Good luck.
Jeff
 
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Dec 29, 2017
40
Catalina 310 Middle River
Thanks Jeff! I’ll look for that pump. Assuming install not that challenging.
 
Dec 29, 2017
40
Catalina 310 Middle River
I found the pump but my mechanic is now booked for quite a while on a big job. Has anyone in the group replaced the fuel lift pump? If so, how challenging of a job is it to replace? I looked for videos on YouTube and couldn’t find anything for the Universal and no luck. Any thoughts, links, etc., greatly appreciated.
 
May 20, 2016
2,955
Catalina 36 MK1 94 Everett, WA
Check the filter on the pump. Origional is probably facet - I’ve used composite truck turbin pumps at significant cost savings... just leave your bleed knurled knob open 1/4 turn. I do this on both solenoid pumps and turbine to help with air, but more important on turbine to keep them cool.