Question about my '85 E35 cockpit Universal control panel.

1911tex

Member III
It has the tach, on-off key switch, glow plug and start buttons, temp/amp guages...however, it also has a "toggle switch" located between and just above the push button glow-plug and push button start buttons. The toggle switch is labeled "glow plug" in the direction of the glow plug push button and switchable to "start" in the direction of the start push button.

What is the correct start procedure?...key "on", push and hold glow plug for 20 seconds (with the toggle on glow plug), then switch toggle to start and push start button or continue holding glow plug and start push buttons at the same time; or just start button? ....confusing..yes...description...yes...advice? All the pics in the manual do not illustrate the factory "toggle switch". Next time out, I will take a picture...should have done it here!
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
The toggle switch is ususally for the blower. The universal panel never has a label for it because apparently it was an option and not every not panel has one. They just stick the switch wherever it's convenient--yours is obviously near the glow plug button.

The blower typically takes air in from one of the 3 inch (4 in?) corrugated air ducts in the engine compartment and vents it out through one of the aft dorade vents.

The factory wiring typically wired the start button through the glow plug switch, so you had to hold both to start the engine. A lot of owners undo that so you can operate the switches independently.
 

fool

Member III
Here is a cut and paste from elsewhere in the forum. The names remain the same to protect the innocent:

"The new start and glow-plug buttons and push-pull ignition switch were mostly for bright and shiny peace of mind. I even bought a new oil light test switch, since the old one didn't seem to do anything. Sometimes it lit up the oil light and sometimes it didn't. I tried it with the engine on and the engine off. When faced with a puzzle like this, what I do is logically think it through. I envision the purpose of an electrical component, trace its circuitry in the mind's eye, and apply logic. That way you avoid the dumb mistakes of inexperienced boobs. For example, the salesman at West Marine, who when I explained the oil light test circuitry to him didn't seem to really grasp it. He did sell me an expensive switch. However, when I removed the old one, its wires were not connected to anything. I effortlessly deduced that this could well be the cause of its intermittent function. But without a wiring pattern to copy, I didn't know how to wire it. Furthermore, the oil light test switch was not on any Ericson wiring diagram I could find. So, taking advantage of the Ericson Forum, I asked Tom Metzger for help.

"Oil light test switch?" he said. "What is that? No such thing."

"Yes, there is. Look at the picture I sent. It's the switch right under the damned oil light."

"That's the blower switch. It's not on the schematic because the blower was optional. Do you have a blower?"

"Of course not. I threw it away last year. Who needs a blower with a diesel?"

"Well, you still have the switch." I could hear Metzger laughing while typing a thousand miles away. "Since it has nothing to do with the oil light, you can throw it away too."
 

1911tex

Member III
You folks are invaluable and I appreciate your kind tech support!
The toggle switch is ususally for the blower. The universal panel never has a label for it because apparently it was an option and not every not panel has one. They just stick the switch wherever it's convenient--yours is obviously near the glow plug button.

The blower typically takes air in from one of the 3 inch (4 in?) corrugated air ducts in the engine compartment and vents it out through one of the aft dorade vents.

The factory wiring typically wired the start button through the glow plug switch, so you had to hold both to start the engine. A lot of owners undo that so you can operate the switches independently.
Kennth K: Yes I can hear the blower when I flick the toggle switch from "Glow Plug" to "Start", which is good prior to starting, even if the engine is a diesel. Then when I flick it back to "glow plug", there is no blower sound. I assume (never assume) leave the switch pointing to glow plug while engine is running...logic says it's not necessary to have the blower going continuously while engine is in operation. Correct?
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
If you ever leave the glow plugs energized for very long, they will be consumed by the heat. Really, it's similar to a direct short in that high-amp circuit. That "glow" is the red tip inside the combustions chamber. Try to never use them over about 18 to 20 seconds continuously. When the ambient temp is above 50, you should be at 10 to 15 seconds, max.
Treated gently, they seem to work for 25 years or more, sometimes a lot more.
Note that they do have a finite life span, but thru a Kubota (tractor) parts source they are inexpensive. This has been reported here and on other forums for many years. I seem to recall that the price @ thru Universal-Westerbeke was near $100. each, and thru a tractor supply was $8 to $10.
 

Afrakes

Sustaining Member
Blower use, while not necessary to remove explosive vapors from the engine compartment with a diesel, they are great at removing heat and fumes when motoring for long distances. We always use the blower when approaching our slip and for about10 minutes after docking. On a hot summer's day it helps. Engines without direct connected crankcase ventilation tubes do emit fumes into the engine compartment even after the engine is turned off.
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
I'm one of the last people who would dispute the wisdom of Loren Beech, but I thought I'd relay the story of the first time I started the engine on my boat.

It took me over two hours, and dozens of failed start attempts. I checked and rechecked everything, and even drained the water lift muffler because I was afraid of it filling with water after so many failed starts. The ultimate culprit? I wasn't holding the glow plug switch long enough. I was using 10 to 20 seconds, and it never started. When I went to 40 seconds, it cranked right up the next time.

The original Universal owner's manual says to hold glow plugs 30 to 60 seconds depending on outside temperature. I would add, it also depends on the layout and condition of your wiring, and the size and condition of your battery bank.

Now that I've installed a digital voltmeter, I can see that my line voltage drops to 11.2 volts while I'm running the glow plugs. Don't know what that means exactly, but I still use 30 to 40 seconds, and the engine starts right up.

I'm about halfway done installing a glow plug relay circuit, which should fix this problem, and then I think Loren's 10 to 15 seconds will be in order. At least that's what I hope.

I also use my blower during long periods of motoring, and before/after shutdown to clear out the heat and diesel smell, especially on hot days. I don't use it during start because of the additional current draw.
 
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Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Hi Ken (or anyone),

I have only recently become aware that installing a glow plug relay might be a good idea to reduce the current required by the glow plugs, but I have found very limited information on how to make this change. Can you (or someone) describe the exact name or part needed, and exactly how it is wired into the circuit to be successful. Finally, what difference can I expect by making this change, and how important is it?
Thanks,
Frank
 

Kenneth K

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
It works just like the starter relay (solenoid). A short, high current wire runs between the starter post and one side of the relay. Another short high current wire runs from the output of the relay directly to the glow plugs. This keeps the glow plug power circuit short for less resistance.

You then use the existing glow plug circuit (from the engine panel) to simply activate the relay. It doesn't matter that these are small, long wires because the relay itself doesn't use much power.

The main advantage is less draw on your battery when activating the glow plugs. Time required to "glow" the plugs should reduce greatly as well.

Here's the relay I'm using: https://www.littelfuse.com/products/dc-solenoids-and-relays/standard-high-current-relays/continuous-duty-spst/24117.aspx

20200202_153154.jpg

Note that mine is mounted but not hooked up yet--that matches the current state of most of my boat projects.....
 
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Tom Metzger

Sustaining Partner
Hi Ken (or anyone) - [snip] Finally, what difference can I expect by making this change, and how important is it?
Frank - After 35 years of your engine's life why do you think now that you may need the solenoid for the glow plugs? It's a great project for those that don't have enough to do and a few extra loonies to spend, but it's not necessary. Does it do some good? Yes, it will save you a few seconds of holding the button, but being retired we can afford the time.

I look at it as just that much more hair in the scuppers. One more thing that can cause a problem.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Hi Tom,
Thanks for your question, because I have been pondering this, and you raise a good point. There are several reasons I have been contemplating this change. Firstly, I love our boat and sailing and maintaining it in pristine condition is my passion, hobby and significant pastime. More to the point, my engine currently starts reliably (now that I got rid of the trailer plugs and shortened the harness) with glow plug use of about 20 - 30 seconds in slightly above freezing temp, faster when it's warmer. I anchor out a lot, often for a week or more at a time. I have 3 year old AGM batteries, two 100 amp house batteries and a 100 amp start battery, which I manage carefully, but still I try to minimize electrical energy use while cruising. I thought that adding the relay to the glow plug circuit might shorten the time I need to use the glow plugs thereby increasing their longevity and secondly save some battery.

Obviously, using the glow plugs means I'm starting the engine after a night anchoring out, and I usually run it for at least an hour or more before starting to sail, so as to recharge the batteries, so I'm not overly concerned about using some battery for glow plug use, but thought adding the relay might help.

But I am 68 years old, tired sometimes, and prefer sailing to doing electrical work on the boat, so if you think this is only a marginal, and largely unnecessary improvement, then I would take your advice. I have read your posts over the years, and trust your knowledge on this.

Frank
 

Tom Metzger

Sustaining Partner
Frank - You're quite young yet. Wait a few more years and see how tired you get. :cool: I know.

Adding a glow plug relay or solenoid won't do much for your battery's state of charge or life. While you would run the glow plugs less time you would run more current. You have to get the same amount of power/heat into the plugs. In this case the difference is insignificant, but a higher current reduces the capacity of the battery.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
All of us have missed the point for 20 years in the 10,000 pages here of glow plug discussion, the bragging about 5-second thumb-mash times, the despair over 60-second necessities, the glow plugs ripped out, the injectors shipped off, the joy of a quick engine start and the agony of worry about the 20-second stutter and die followed by another shot at the perfect push-time, the God of Glow PLugs always glowering down from his hot heaven, delighting in our uncertainty and laughing as we dive yet again into the manuals to reconfirm "30 to 60 seconds", yeah but that seems like awful long, the inconsolable unworthiness of our own push-time, never predictable, always a question, always containing the horrible implication that the engine itself has aged out, is far gone, and didn't it make a funny sound last time? and how much does a new engine cost? and you gotta be kidding me, ten or fifteen thousand dollars?

All this over a $7 part that just gets hot, like a toaster.

Here is the point we have missed: nobody would bother talking about this if you could start up an Ericson without bending double in medieval torture to hold down a button spring-loaded to 700 pounds resistance with the throttle unreachable above our head.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Thanks, Tom, for your further clarification. It doesn't sound like I would gain much from making this change, if I understand correctly. And Christian, I love your way of helping us all to keep these things in perspective in your post above! :)
Frank
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Frank, as you may remember, I changed the glow plugs on the M25. Brand new ones, no expense spared. Now boy did it run smooth!

Then a month later I tested the old ones on my workbench and they all still worked perfectly. Hmmm.
 

Frank Langer

1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
Frank, as you may remember, I changed the glow plugs on the M25. Brand new ones, no expense spared. Now boy did it run smooth!

Then a month later I tested the old ones on my workbench and they all still worked perfectly. Hmmm.
Hi Christian,
That's interesting! It always seems to me that my boat sails better when she's all clean, waxed, and maintenance done, and my car runs more smoothly and has more pep after a car wash. I've no idea why those things should make a difference, but I swear it does. I wonder if new glow plugs did the same for you, even though the old ones tested ok.
Frank
 
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