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Perkins 403D-11 Diesel Genset - 10kW

Discussion in 'Generators/Gensets' started by AlYaz, Sep 3, 2016.

  1. AlYaz

    AlYaz New Member

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    Location:
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    Morning gang.

    I have four diesel engines, that I have maintained but I have never had to tear into one for any serious repairs, thank goodness. Anyway, just another maintenance question on the Perkins diesel genset. The Perkins is a smallish 3 cylinder diesel engine that is our off-grid ‘generator’ that powers our house and recharges our 24v battery bank.

    The Perkins has 900 hours on it after almost five years of full-time off grid living. It really only gets used when we don’t have enough solar power, which is mostly the winter season here on the coast of BC. I change the oil, oil filter and primary / secondary fuel filters religiously. However, I have not dropped the antifreeze yet and am thinking it may be a worthwhile thing to do at this point. The diesel is not subject to dirty / dusty / or a hostile environment. It is housed in a building that has good air flow etc, so not even sure if the antifreeze really needs changing, just thought it couldn’t really hurt.

    Anyway, the radiator shroud that came with the Perkins set up (Hardy Diesel) is not going to come off easily as I have the front of the rad quite close to the vent in the wall. I would need to unbolt the generator from the concrete pad I poured for it and roll / lift it back a bit. So in short I can’t get to the petcock on the bottom of the rad nor the bottom rad hose.

    The Perkins manual shows what appears to be a ‘drain plug’ on the right side of the engine block, just in front and a bit higher than where the oil filter is housed. It has an inset ‘allen bolt’ head, if I have the bolt identified correctly. I see it has a blue teflon (guessing) sealing compound on the allen bolt. I suspect the blue signifies water/coolant? Is backing this allen bolt out a recommended way to drain the antifreeze? If so, does it cause any grief in trying to get air out of the block/system, being that getting at the hose to burp the system is not going to be easy?

    Advice appreciated.
     
  2. Delmer

    Delmer Senior Member

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    The only problem with using the block drain is there will be some coolant left that doesn't drain. Shouldn't matter for getting the air out of the system.

    Drain it after you run it next time, refill with distilled water or clean rain water, run it again ten minutes, drain. Repeat if there's any sediment in the bottom of the bucket of rinse water. The tint of the water doesn't matter because you're not going to get all of the old coolant out. Get some ELC CONCENTRATE, add half of the cooling system capacity, finish filling with distilled water. Check the level before you start it the next few times.

    You could also get the coolant tested, but for that quantity the hassle and $$ is not worth it.
     
  3. AlYaz

    AlYaz New Member

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    Thanks Delmer.

    Does it sound as if I have identified the correct drain plug / bolt?

    Regards,
     
  4. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

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    I agree with you that I would not mess with the radiator shroud, etc. just to change the coolant. Changing coolant on a unit that has no problem is a "best effort" kind of deal where you get as much as you can easily and if your point of choice does not drop very much then just change it again sooner.

    The coolant does need to be changed from time to time as it starts to get corrosive and/or calcified inside. It is cheap insurance. Several years is fine between changes, though.

    The blue goop signifies nothing. Just whatever they had on hand at the time.

    I have a junker one of these in the yard and I see what looks like a 1/2" pipe plug above and between the dipstick and oil filter, is that what you are looking at? I am not sure what it is because radiators are usually my only drain point.

    The only thing you can do is try and see. Back it out slow and if you get coolant, then go for it. If it is oil, then screw it back in.

    So long as you get a gallon or more, you can consider it changed. These little units don't hold much.

    Before you drain it, sharply squeeze the upper hose. If you can hear the little bleeder ball rattle, then you should be able to just refill.

    As for putting it back, first try to catch everything you drain and measure it. If you are able to put that much back or more, you are good to go.

    If not, or if you spilled a lot and can't measure it, then you need to make sure the cylinder head is full. There is a pipe plug just below the thermostat. Take that out and refill until water comes out of it. Put it back and fill the rest of the way.

    When I start after a coolant change, I always check the little recirculation hose to make sure it begins to warm up right away which means the water pump is pumping water. I will run with no load until the top tank of the radiator gets hot which means the thermostat opened. Shut down and recheck the level when the pressure is off. Then you are good to go.
     
  5. AlYaz

    AlYaz New Member

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    Thanks Birken

    Much appreciated.

    Regards,
     
  6. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

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    Also I disagree on ELC, I would just drain once and refill with whatever is in there. ELC may have problems of its own and these little units seldom have any coolant related problems.
     
  7. Delmer

    Delmer Senior Member

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    Yep, that new you should be able to find out what's in it, and get something close. Birken, are there any problems you've heard of from using ELC where it's not specified?
     
  8. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

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    There are at least 4 formulations of coolant out there and some don't play well with each other or certain engines.

    The risk is probably small but this is what I know as for formulations available

    1. Conventional green
    2. Pink Fleet Charge type which is not too far from conventional
    3. Dex cool orange sludge forming full Organic Acid
    4. Bright red ELC which is some kind of Hybrid Organic Acid
    5. Something blue
    6. Something yellow
    7. Something purple

    Since the goal here was just to do a partial drain and refill to keep it fresh I would stick with what he's got to keep it the same. Most of these little Japanese engines still have green in them.
     
  9. lantraxco

    lantraxco Senior Member

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    We ran into grey market Japanese forklifts back in the 80's with pretty colors of coolant that when tested with the float type coolant tester had no anti-freeze protection at all! Turns out the colored coolant had anti-corrosion properties but no protection at all from freezing temps. Figured they must have been used in heated warehouses?
     
  10. AlYaz

    AlYaz New Member

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    Location:
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    Thanks gang. I purchased the Perkins new and am pretty sure the manual tells me what antifreeze to use. Generally I put Amsoil OAT type antifreeze in all my stuff, so will check first but suspect it will coexist happily with what is in it now...