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  1. #1

    Default GM 4.53 13 years not used

    Hello all

    I amintending to buy a steal boat from 1962 completely restored 15 years ago
    but onlyused for two years so the boat is inside a hall (not warmed) for already 13 years.

    Two enginesGM 4.53 who were overhauled also 15 years ago.

    Myquestions is: is there a possibility those engines are still ok?
    How to findout?


    Thanks alot for any advice



    Walter
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    Last edited by nunuwawa; 10-29-2016 at 09:04 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    Jersey Shore
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    4,635

    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    Check the oil, fill the coolant, Check the fuel, put water to it hook up a battery and crank it over. It will start if it is not physically broken.
    Chris
    Dockside Marine Services
    Jersey Shore.
    Mercruiser/Mercury Certified
    Let the insanity begin.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    temecula, ca., usa
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    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    They should be fine if they were fogged and stored with fresh oil in the crankcase. Even if they weren't fogged, if they sat with fresh oil they should be ok.

    Engine bearings and crank journals immersed in used oil may experience "etching" from acids that develop in oil that has been heat cycled and contaminated...primarily with condensate water. The cleaner the oil seems, the better. If it's black, it might be worth your while to pull the pans and look under a couple of caps....at a minimum. Either crank them over several times with the governor in no fuel/stop or use a pre-luber to oil the upper end and prevent a dry start. Keep a weather eye on oil pressure during first few hours of operation.

    Make sure you do a flush of fuel lines and polish the tank(s). That along with new filters should
    Take care of the fuel system and remove any "bugs" that may have grown.

    Cooling system is simply drain and fill . I would also consider new t-stats. Keep an eye on pump seals and temp during run in and you should then be able to enjoy these two reliable old workhorses for many hundreds of hours.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    maplevalley WA
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    3,549

    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    Hire a reputable marine diesel mechanic to do a complete survey on engines and gear reduction units assuming it is a twin screw setup. He will be able to do the initial spin up and bleed the fuel system if necessary.
    It takes a nickle to go first class!
    If it aint broke dont fix it!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Oregon
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    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    Years ago my family had a business that restored mothballed ships to running condition for their new owners. Sometimes delivering the ship. When I got old enough, the diesel generators became my job. The engines were mostly Detroit or GM.
    By the time I was involved, the engines had sat for 15 to 20 years. Some had never been prepared for storage, just shut down. None were frozen, or required rebuild. The old ship diesel had better lube properties and I suppose protected the sleeves.
    I cleaned any existing fuel, added about 10% #1 diesel, catalyst and biocide of the day, circulated the fuel thru the fuel system and started the engine. After a good warm up and run, changed filters, oil and coolant. I never had a major problem.
    Because 2 cycle Detroit Diesels don't have an injector pump, the fuel circulates continuously thru the filter, rails and injectors. Put a 2 micron filter in the primary filter housing and a electric fuel pump in line. (I have pumps like the picture inline on my DDs. About $20 on ebay. I use them when changing my secondary filter, to circulate fuel when the engines aren't running, and as emergency backups. The DD pump will pull thru them fine.)
    Add a vacuum gauge after the primary filters but before the electric fuel pump. As the filter plugs, the gauge will go up. The filters probably won't plug. Run the electric pump to circulate fuel. DDs don't need bleeding like injector pump engines because the injector internal plunger makes the high pressure needed. Either get new fuel or do what I did above. After a couple hours of circulation, start the engines.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    Thank you all for the advice and help.

    In the meantime, I bought the boat
    I could turn the crankshaft from both engines so they are luckily not blocked.
    Some people tell me to remove the injectors and spray some wd40 inside
    before starting to prevent damage the first turns, is this a good idea?
    The fuel I will take out and put new one.

    The batteries are broken after so many years of course, they used for start batteries
    two times 4 optima red from 52 AH parallel so 208 AH for every engine
    Is this not a bit overkill as start batteries?

    Maybe OK to use two single bigger batteries around 160 AH?


    The service batteries are separate

    Thanks

    Walter

  7. #7
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    temecula, ca., usa
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    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    Walter,

    Amp hours, or, in other words, the batteries' ability to provide power over a period of continuous use is not as important for starting batteries as is what is known as "cranking amps" or the ability to provide a large amount of power for short bursts....usually measured in 15 second intervals.

    Diesel engines require more cranking amps than gasoline engines due to the increased compression ratios as well as the heavier build and resulting friction at start up.

    Cold weather starting adds to this equation and needs to be considered as well and, thus, most battery manufacturers will have a COLD CRANKING AMP rating for all of their batteries made for starting engines. This rating is typically displayed as CCA somewhere on the case. Batteries without a CCA rating were likely not built to be cranking batteries.

    I don't have the specifications for your engines but I would be surprised if the recommended CCA rating for the 4-53 is under 400 amps and am guessing it may be higher than 450 amps.

    Hopefully someone here can provide you with the actual spec.

    Good luck.

    P.S. I would not necessarily argue with the WD-40 suggestion but, since the injectors are continuously lubed with fuel during normal operation and the fact that the Detroit system is a restricted return to tank system, I would simply use an electric pump to circulate fuel through the heads while hand rotating the engine. This will require plumbing the pump on the DELIVERY side of the mechanical pump because it is positive displacement and won't allow flow through. But this would still be easier than removing each injector and, it will likely provide more thorough lube of each as would spraying anything in them.
    Last edited by jgmo; 12-17-2016 at 05:28 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    Thanks for the fast answer

    When connect batteries parallel together the capacity AH will be the sum of both but is this
    also true for the CCA ?
    If this is the case then the CCA will be much bigger with those 4 lower capacity optima red tops (or whatever brand)
    In parallel compared with one bigger one

    For example this varta battery
    https://www.tayna.co.uk/629-M18-VART...100-P7670.html
    Has a CCA from 1000 amps

    The optima red has a CCA from 720 amps so X 4 results in a CCA from 2880 amps, this is a big difference.

    Or am I wrong?

    Your suggestion regarding the engines looks indeed better and more easy, need to study a bit how to do because is so different than a normal 4stroke diesel engine,
    I build a 42 feet sailing boat completely myself 35 years ago and I changed a Mercedes 240D diesel engine for marine use, sailed for 18 years with it and never had any problems
    so I know a bit from diesel engines but this GM is so totally different.


    In case somebody is interested, the boat is a feadship Akerboom built in Holland in the year 1962 for a German customer,
    here you can find some pictures using my Dropbox from the boat (Donít mind the dust from 13 years)

    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1fhnqq4t4...lXdwPDqya?dl=0

    Thanks

    Walter

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    barnegat NJ
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    2,706

    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    She's gorgeous Walter!! Good luck with her.

  10. #10
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    temecula, ca., usa
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    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    Yes, gorgeous vessel! She looks fast AND comfy!

    I agree with your amperage calculations. Batteries in parallel will have an additive effect to the amps they can provide. However, this will be subject to the size of the conductors and their rating for allowing current to pass at a given voltage. Or, the bigger the cables the more the current can flow.

    As far as the 2 stroke vs. 4 stroke "confusion" it's really just a matter of familiarity. I too began my carreer as a mechanic with 4 strokes.....gasoline 4 strokes. When I got involved with diesel engines, it was with the Detroit Diesel 71 engines. So, I understand where you're coming from when you lament the difference. But, just as it was with me, I'm sure it will be with you that, as you work with them and ponder the operational principles, you will come to realize just how much more simple the two strokes really are. With no intake valve train to add friction, and each cylinder firing EVERY revolution instead of every other, they are lighter and more efficient than their 4 stroke counterparts.

    Once you digest how the air intake system works and, the fact they won't start without the blower, it really then just comes down to the unit injectors and minor fuel system plumbing differences.

    In other words.....Don't worry! You'll have it all down in no time!
    And then?
    And then, you will have the same love/hate relationship all the Detroit guys have with these engines.
    But mostly love!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2015
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    Oregon
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    72

    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    If you don't have an engine manual buy one or download one online.
    Detroit 2 cycles work by the blower pressuring the air box. Each cylinder has sleeves with ports at the bottom of the stroke open to the airbox and opened or closed by the position of the piston. Both valves only open for exhaust. As the piston nears bottom, the ports become exposed and fresh air enters and goes into and up the cylinder, thru the valves, pushing out the exhaust and creating a fresh charge of air. As the piston rises, the ports are closed and the air compressed. Near the top, the cam via a 3rd rocker arm causes the injector to spray fuel into the cylinder, igniting and making the piston go down.
    Don't take out the injectors unless you know how to set them. They require a precision setting. Improperly done and the engine may not fire or it could runaway. Rpm is controlled by a governor. When you change throttle position, you're only telling the governor to run the engine at a new speed.
    Fuel is controlled by a rack under the valve cover. It is important each cylinder gets the same fuel amount and the engine can be shut down.
    Before you start, make sure the rack and the injectors move freely. See pic. The silver item going thru the injector is controlled by the rack. These all need to move freely. As the rack moves these control how much fuel is injected. To move the rack by hand you will need to disconnect the rack from the governor. Don't try to run the engine this way! If any are stuck with age, pull the injector and have an injector shop or a Detroit mechanic look at it. If all injectors and both racks move freely, reattach the governor, circulate fuel as I said before and go for it.
    The injector has 2 fuel lines, in and out. The head has fuel channels and fuel always circulates thru the engine and injectors and back to the fuel tank. Detroit Diesels pump much more fuel than they use. I don't know your specs, but on 671 they pump 35 gallons/hr. This preheats the fuel and also means the fuel goes thru the filters several times.
    If you have 2 water pumps, one is coolant and one is salt water. The impellers may be bad because of age in the salt water pump. Also, the seals could be bad in all the pumps. They can be rebuilt. The blower produces about 2 atmospheres, but not at startup. Diesels start because air temp increases with compression to above the ignition point. Until the engines have been run and warmed the rings may not be fully seated from sitting. If they have block heaters use them for a couple hours before starting. Any increased warmth will help heat lamp, heat gun, heat the engine room, etc. Use any ether sparingly. It greatly increases compression and can crack rings. Do not try to run the engine on ether if it doesn't start.
    Engines with stuck injectors/racks can runaway. It's not common, but can destroy an engine and everyone near by. Have a plan. Get many rags to put in the intakes or some method to stop airflow, Some engines have an emergency stop on the blower or intake. If yours does, make sure it moves freely.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    Happy New year to you all

    Thank you for your help, I will coming back soon with an update
    and probably some more questions

    Walter

  13. #13
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    Nov 2009
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    temecula, ca., usa
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    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    Right back atchya Walter! Happy New Year!

  14. #14

    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    Hello all

    I did not disconnect the governor but I could move governor rod for a big distance to the off position,
    everything is full of oil and looks to go very smoothly so the regulators from the injectors seems to glide fine.
    When I turned the crankshaft manually, the injectors make one by one a prrt sound, I suppose this is a good sign?, that they are still in working order?

    Walter
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    I admittedly am not fully comprehending the throttle linkage from these pictures but it looks like everything is there and, from your description, sounds as if there are no stuck injectors.

    Sounds like you're getting ready to light her off?

    Just make sure that YOU understand how the throttle linkage works, especially the shut down, and that you have a reliable way to deny air to the engine if it is not equipped with an emergency shut down system that works. A piece of 3/8" or 1/2" plywood with a makeshift handle attached that you can quickly slap over the air intake duct usually works nicely. If she does have an E-Stop, make sure you know that it is working and also how to trigger it manually if necessary.

    Other than that, make sure the drive is in neutral and give her a go!

    After 13 years, be ready for some smoke and keep a weather eye on oil pressure and engine temperature.

    Good luck Captain!

  16. #16

    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    Sounds like you're getting ready to light her off?
    Yes and no, I am busy to find optima batteries (red tops) to start and separate service batteries
    then I need to clean the fuel tanks and replace fuel filters etc.
    will be soon though
    especially the shut down
    I think there is a mechanical shut down, block the air intake?
    see pictures in the two positions possible (pictures 4687 and 4690)
    Then I was wondering what this filter housing is, filtering the closed circuit cooling water? (4677)
    did not open yet
    never saw this on a other engine
    Does anybody know if there are zinc anodes somewhere? inter cooler?

    Walter
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  17. #17

    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    Hello again all

    In the mean time I worked a lot on the boot and last Saturday I started the first engine
    I cleaned the fuel tank, replaced the fuel filters, flushed the fuel lines with fresh diesel fuel
    and started, engine started immediately, almost no smoke so was a relief, all Ok

    The second engine also started at once but could not hold his RPM, governor constantly working
    to try though, I thought maybe something with the fuel supply so I placed a plastic tube between the return fuel line
    to see if air inside and yes, a lot of air, takes a while before the fuel comes with big air bubbles than this changes to almost foam,
    I made a movie from it which you can see using this link


    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/hbpj4glob...g5oeCrOba?dl=0

    The fuel pump is a gear pump right? So how is it possible that after stopping the engine the fuel runs back so fast?

    (can see at the end of the movie when I stopped the engine)
    Anyone any idea?
    Something with fuel pump?

    Also a question on the side, is it normal this engines even leak oil not running?


    Thanks for any help


    Walter

  18. #18
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    temecula, ca., usa
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    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    Hi,
    I couldn't get your movie to run. There was just a still photo of the clear line.

    Not knowing where, exactly, you placed the line ie:before or after the pump...
    All I can say is that yes, the pump is a gearotor positive displacement type and should not allow drainback of fuel that is on the delivery side of the pump.

    However, there should be a check valve at the inlet to the primary filter to prevent drainback on the suction side of the pump. If that check valve fails the pump will lose prime when the engine is shut down.

    The air you are experiencing could be from anyplace on the suction side of the pump including filters, fittings and lines.

    The blower air box drains will leak some oil after shut down if the air box has a lot of oil in it.
    After all those years of sitting you may have some dried seal lips and shrunken gaskets. Plus, these engines are famous for being a bit "messy" when it comes to leaking oil.

  19. #19

    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    Thank you for responding

    I think it is important you can see the video so I uploaded to YouTube, hope you can watch it this way
    Link: https://youtu.be/CNNy3VcaJK4

    The transparent tube is placed on the fuel return line just before the fuel goes back in the tank
    so after the pump filter injectors etc.

    One thing I forgot to mention is that when I startup this engine I forgot to open the fuel line
    so the engine died starving fuel, could this do any damage to the fuel pomp?

    Walter

  20. #20
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    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    I don't think I've seen that before. It sure looks like it's draining back through the pump as you say. The only thing I can think of is that these pumps have a pressure relief valve and it may be stuck partially open. But, even if it were, the fuel should still hold if the supply line check valve were closed.

    I am fairly confident you didn't hurt the pump by not cracking a line but I guess anything is possible.

    At any rate, the air has to be entering somewhere on the suction side of the pump. You may need to block off the supply line at the pump and apply regulated shop air to pinpoint where the leak is and inspect the suction line check valve. Once you've solved that problem you'll want to check the pump.

    If you can access the pump pressure relief hex...5/8" I think, take it out and see if the spring is intact. Otherwise you may need to remove the pump and look it over. One other thing you could try is to substitute the pump from the other engine as a test if you don't have a spare.

    Good luck.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    One thing to be cautious about is the possibility of fuel entering the crankcase through a failed pump oil seal. The pump is gear driven and it's something that could happen.

    As a matter of fact, keep a close watch for fuel dilution of the engine oil on both of these engines due to the long lay up time. If one or both start "making oil" you will need to find out why.

  22. #22

    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    Hello again

    Finely I think I found the reason, no more foam in the fuel return line
    When I bypassed the Racor strainer I had no air so I opened the strainer and replaced all O rings etc. checked for leaks,
    tried again and again foam, was driving me nuts.
    Turns out I was using a 10 micron filter in the Racor and the engine filter is also 10 micron so I changed the Racor
    filter to 30 micron and guess wat? No more foam, engine runs perfect.
    So it looks that two times filter for 10 micron plus fuel to suck up let’s say one feet created enough vacuum to
    create this tiny foam like gas bubbles from the fuel it selves…………
    Hope I am right but I tried the engine several times today and still OK

    The fuel level in the return line is still draining but very slowly now, there is no check valve so I think best to install one
    between Racor strainer and fuel tank?

    Walter

  23. #23
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    Default Re: GM 4.53 13 years not used

    Walter,
    Yes! That makes perfect sense! When a primary and secondary filter are used inline, the maximum filtration is 30 primary and 10 secondary.
    I think you GOT IT!

    And, yes, put the check valve on the inlet side of the Racor. That will prevent you from having to run down to the boat some day, in a hurry to get underway only to find she has lost her prime and won't start.

    In addition to convenience, keeping the fuel from draining back prevents partial dry injector operation. This adds unwanted wear in the injectors possibly shortening their lives.

    GOOD JOB!

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