803a not warming up

cbisson

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AAR followup:
Temperature -25 to -30 Celsius, base temp, plus strong wind (generator outside in wind)
Arctic heater warms unit up to 180F no problem.
Turn arctic heater off, and start generator.
After 10 minutes running generator cooling down to 155 to 165F.
Freq starts to warble.
Drops load
Generator engine dies after some black smoking.

Solutions tried
Polished fuel and added howes anti gel - still cools down and stumbles, drops load and dies.

Added plywood to block off radiator (horizontal surface on top of generator), ran actic heater, put plywood infront of air intake directly in wind, run generator - generator keeps temp - and runs. Coldest temp with 40mph winds started to cool off to 175. Did ok with 100% load and warmed back to 180F.

Last try, defrost setting
Run arctic heater, block horizontal surface on top of generator with plywood, start generator, leave arctic heater running, check one hour later, set has defrosted and coolant temp 220. Even defrosted ice on aluminum hinge for control panel.

If having problems, I would run last way again for an hour or two and then turn heater off.

Questions remaining, is a 190 or 200F thermostat a good option?

Should a 750 watt coolant line heater with cord be considered, that I either charge from house battery, or once generator running, self powered convenience receptacle.
These are about 70$ and gives another option to warm and reduces fuel usage.

Does adding a coolant hose heater add complexity or fragility?

Should I mount the generator inside sea container, or potentially mount an 831a inside container with a nice transfer switch to select power source.
Seems like you might be dealing with gelling fuel. The fuel in the filter and separator will be warm(er) due to heat in the enclosure from the warmth provided by the arctic heater. After it runs through the warmed fuel it now has to draw the bone cold fuel from the tank that sits at the other end of the enclosure and down low so less likely to get any heat from the arctic heater. Doesn't make sense for the drop in engine temp to be enough to kill the engine.
 

Ray70

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Makes sense. At the temps you are talking about it looks like most of the common anti-gel additives ( including howes ) are questionable at best, despite their advertisements of -65F With Diesel 911 being a NO-GO at as little as -20F, which is right where you are at.
I'm no diesel expert but with the pickup tube being at the bottom of the tank you will still be sucking up cloudy / border line gelled fuel.
Sounds like a good place to start investigating!
 

NATCAD

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Something still doesn't seem right.
I can't believe the engine isn't producing enough BTU's to maintain combustion??
There's gotta be something else wrong.
Once running the coolant temp shouldn't drop too much if the thermostat is working, and the machine should not smoke and shut down just because temp dropped from 180 to 150ish. These machines start fairly easily with no heat down to at least 0C. I can't believe it's shutting off on you only due to cooling down from 180 to under 150F.
Is your temp gage working now, or are those temps still from an IR temp gun?
Yes temp gauge is working now - and yes the set will start fine without the arctic heater.
 

NATCAD

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Makes sense. At the temps you are talking about it looks like most of the common anti-gel additives ( including howes ) are questionable at best, despite their advertisements of -65F With Diesel 911 being a NO-GO at as little as -20F, which is right where you are at.
I'm no diesel expert but with the pickup tube being at the bottom of the tank you will still be sucking up cloudy / border line gelled fuel.
Sounds like a good place to start investigating!
I just watched that recently and thought I would procure some 2 stroke oil for adding lubriscosity to my main bulk tank. I recently added a clear filter bowl with water absorbing filter on main bulk tank (which I fill set out of) so I can run fuel with a visual reference.
 

NATCAD

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Any issue with holding load during the warm months?
No, runs very well.
I am just waiting for that bowl cartridge filter to change it and weather to go cold again to provide opportunity to test. And I guess I should be taking a fuel sample next time to put in freezer and verify.
So aside from the commercial anti gel's referenced in above videos, what else can be done?
I also think that the strong wind factor at those temps plays a big role in cooling the set down.
AFAIK this set was in use by the NG unit from LaCross WI until I got it.
 

Ray70

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I think maybe some additional cold weather testing might fit the bill here...
The thermostat should do a decent job of maintaining engine coolant temp, within reason, but maybe the wind and air drawn in by the fan is contributing to cooling down the water separator and other fuel system components, if the heat from the engine is being drawn through the enclosure too quickly.
It would be awesome if you could rig up a few thermocouples or remote thermometers, so you can watch the temps within the enclosure while the set is running and see what happens.

Remember when trucks used to stick a piece of cardboard in front of their radiator in the winter?? Maybe you could experiment with partially blocking off air inlets to slow the air intake from the front / side inlets and rely more on the one underneath on the belly, which may alter the airflow within the cabinet.

Too bad you couldn't easily rig up a thermal fan clutch, but probably not enough room unless you were to remove the fan shroud....

Last thing I could think of would be lining the inside of the panels with the thin foil wrapped foam or bubble insulation to try to retain engine heat within the cabinet. Spray adhesive and just glue to the interior of the housing panels. If thermal testing shows the cabinet temp is dropping and causing part of your problem at super low temps.
 

glcaines

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When did you buy the diesel fuel? You may have summer diesel fuel and not winterized diesel fuel. Normally, winterized diesel fuel is sold in the U.S. between November and March.
 

NATCAD

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Remember when trucks used to stick a piece of cardboard in front of their radiator in the winter?? Maybe you could experiment with partially blocking off air inlets to slow the air intake from the front / side inlets and rely more on the one underneath on the belly, which may alter the airflow within the cabinet.
Yes I have looked at that fan several times and thought why isn't that clutched...with half inch plywood plus several 2x8 cutt off pieces blocking the horizontal surface, there is enough wind that my wind block nearly floats.

Yes, so using plywood and lumber and blocking the up wind air intake (downwind open) and blocking 98% of of the horizontal exhaust surface allowed me to run without issue.

I never tried with total cold start without added heat to see if it will come up to temp with above modifications in place.
 

NATCAD

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When did you buy the diesel fuel? You may have summer diesel fuel and not winterized diesel fuel. Normally, winterized diesel fuel is sold in the U.S. between November and March.
Confirmed winter diesel.
I hope changing the cartridge in metal bowl filter will be the ticket... still waiting for that filter, we are seeing major supply issues already with the trucker border mandate north of the border. This is napa supply chain that I use for all filters, as well as the indys..

What was that filter website people have referenced before?
 

NATCAD

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Another AAR - I haven't had the cold temperatures to confirm, but I did another filter change on primary and the cartridge and they were in terrible shape. Lots of rusty water in big filter and the sediment in cartridge filter. Generator seems to run stronger, gave it a good 65 amp load per leg for 5 minutes and she seemed to like that.
Ray - I tried to do an order with fleet filter and had my credit card stolen.... somebody in texas got a bunch of skip the dishes before card was cancelled.
 

Light in the Dark

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Yeah Ive used Fleet many times... thanks for the heads up on that one. I dumped $1500 this past fall at my local Napa on fluids, filters, batteries, etc stocking up so I won't need to for a stretch... but I will absolutely keep that in mind.
 

NATCAD

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Hi guys, to be clear, I don't know that the issue lies with them, there could be a MITM (man in the middle). Really with any website unless you click that locked / secure button at the top and review the security certificate and have a known reference for that certificate (you know what it should say) then anyone between you and there could be grabbing that data.
 

NATCAD

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Another AAR - with both the main and cartridge fuel filters replaced, had another repeat of previous problems.
Temperature is 5 F (was -5F overnight) and gale force winds.
Was running generator with 1/2 inch of rad vent exposed on horizontal surface, 50% load, started stumbling with eventual loss of power.
Can get 2 restarts out of it, but then rapidly dies.
This was all without running the arctic heater.

I am thinking to install a 750 watt coolant a/c hose heater as well now, plug it into convenience outlet when problem presents. As the generator always starts (even without preheat).

I am pretty out of ideas - I have a second thermostat I can boil and then change it out. Meantime thank you SS Ramon for that arctic heater, I had a feeling I would need it last summer.

Of course I have a 831a on a cart I can wheel out if I need to swap.
 

Light in the Dark

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Have you checked the feed line from the primary pump? You may be fighting a blockage which reduces flow.. if you have any buildup, it could restrict the pickup tube and the feed line. Only reason I mention this is I was fighting with an 802 at cold temps this week, only to find this very issue. Turns out it was running on the spitter spatter of fuel left in the separator and fuel filter, with nothing behind it. I just used 100PSI of compressed air back through the fuel line feed at the pump, and blew it clean into the fuel tank. Runs like a champ now.
 

Light in the Dark

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Yes undo it at the filter (leave the filter on the pump) it goes back into the tank and a dip stick down into the fuel.
 
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