Oil Burner Occasionally Surges, Sputters, and Restarts When Shutting Down

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Old 12-28-11, 07:37 PM
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Oil Burner Occasionally Surges, Sputters, and Restarts When Shutting Down

Metzer Machine & Engineering Furnace
Forced Water - Baseboard System
Beckett RWB Model AFG Burner
Honeywell R4184D Controler


Burner Shuts Down and Surges Several Times before stopping - Damper flaps open like it was backfiring - Strong Oil Smell when it occurs.... it reminds me of a car "dieseling" when trying to shut down with bad gas....

It was/is happening fairly frequently - but not every time..

Service tech cleaned the burner - replaced fuel filter and nozzle.. said everything was really dirty - filter certainly was... it looked to be covered in sludge....

System started easily and ran fine both before and after service call - rough shut down improved (happens less frequently), but is still happening occasionally after the service call.

Everytime it happens there is a strong oil smell.... Sometimes the reset button has to pressed to restart... At other times it hasn't tripped and the system restarts itself when needed... It actually seems as if a reset is required more frequently since the service call, but I'm not sure...

In reading the manual, I saw something about an internal screen - I asked the service tech - he said he was aware of the screen, but indicated that he didn't clean it, that cleaning the inside of the burner, cleaning or replacing the nozzle, and changing the filter was all that he normally did on an annual service..... that the screen didn't usually need anything done to it....

Could it be that the system is occassionally geting "starved" for fuel and that is what the rough shut down is.... i.e. trying to restart but not getting enough fuel until the the controller finally shuts it down due to lack of oil/flame....

Could a dirty screen (which btw I couldn't find in the parts diagram) be the problem or does it sound like something else????

Any help or advice will be much appreciated...
 
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Old 12-28-11, 08:34 PM
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Did the service guy do a steady state efficiency test ,Co2 ,smoke, stack temperature , and over fire draft reading. Get him back and have him check the pump pressure, set electrodes with Beckett point gage as this set the nozzle and flame retention head distance also.Make sure the nozzle is the correct one as noted on the appliance.
 
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Old 12-29-11, 04:11 AM
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BTW, I started a duplicate thread on the: Gas and Oil Home Heating Furnaces Forum as that is probably where this should have been posted in the first place. Reply to either....

The answer to most of your questions is that I'm not sure, but thanks for the info - I'll ask him when I get him back out... He has worked on the unit (regular service calls) for several years. This is the first time we've had an issue that he didn't resolve on the first call.

It does sound from your reply though that you believe it fuel/fuel supply/fuel mixture related though and not a contoller issue. Correct?
 

Last edited by Tarheel59; 12-29-11 at 05:36 AM.
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Old 12-29-11, 06:05 AM
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The pump strainer should have been changed if all was that dirty.
The pump could have dirt in the needle valve causing it to not shut down cleanly if there is no solenoid valve. Changing the strainer and getting better flow could help clean internals of the pump if it is dirty. If there is a solenoid valve it may not be giving us a clean shut-down.
 
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Old 12-29-11, 06:53 AM
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Thanks - so the strainer is in the pump - I had seen an indicator that a strainer was present, but wasn't sure where it was in the assembly as I didn't see it in the burner diagram..... I'll look for a parts/assembly diagram for the pump...
 
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Old 12-29-11, 07:30 AM
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It's under the side cover of the pump. What is the model of the pump? A2VA-7116 ?
 
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Old 12-29-11, 08:31 AM
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Unfortunately I didn't write down the model number of the pump - just the info below about the furnace, burner, etc., I can tell you it was installed in 1999...

I'm hoping that this is something that I can take apart, clean, and reassemble as the unit is in house that is in a remote location and I won't be back up there until 12/31...

From your experience would gaskets, screen, etc. be reusable or am I going to get into a mess if I get into it w/o replacement parts readily available????
 
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Old 12-29-11, 08:51 AM
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You don't want to take it apart without having a new gasket and screen in hand. The parts are very cheap...

Something else I was thinking... might not be a bad idea to have a spare 'coupler' on hand as well.

Patriot Supply - 2454
 
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Old 12-29-11, 03:28 PM
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Thanks for your help NJ Trooper!

Are these parts (screen, gasket, coupler) interchangeable on the various pumps? i.e. would I be wasting my time to go to local parts house with the numbers I have with me - furnace & burner info, but not the pump info - to buy parts before heading out to the house (2hr drive).... As it will probably be Saturday or Sunday before I'm on location - getting the number off the pump will mean that I won't be doing the repair this weekend.... but probably a couple of weeks down the road....
 
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Old 12-29-11, 03:45 PM
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It could have any of three pumps. The most common would be the Suntec A2VA-7716 as NJT mentioned. The others could be a Danfoss (labeled as a Beckett) or a Webster. The Danfoss uses a strainer different from the Suntec & the Webster has no strainer. Other than looking at the label the easiest way to tell one pump from the other is by the location of the bleeder port. As viewed from the end of the pump, the Suntec's is angled down at about the 5:00 position, the Danfoss bleeder is at 6:00 pointed straight down, & the Webster bleeder is on the top either turned 90[SUP]o[/SUP] & needing a 7/16" wrench or pointed straight up.
 
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Old 12-29-11, 04:17 PM
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How about buy a strainer set to cover all possibilities? They should be around $3-$5 each...

I think this is the one for the A2VA...

Patriot Supply - SSC-109

and this MAY be the one for the Danfoss... but it does say 'new style'... so I dunno...

Patriot Supply - SSC-127

Grady, are these the right ones?
 
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Old 12-29-11, 04:21 PM
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OK... I'm confused... (what else is new?)

This strainer for the CLEAN-CUT pump says to use the SSC-109 which I posted already.

Patriot Supply - 51843U

But the 109 says it's for an 'A' pump, and I didn't think that the strainer screens were the same...

Grady... help!
 
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Old 12-29-11, 04:34 PM
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OK Troop, I'll try to 'splain. The clean cut is not the same as a Danfoss. The clean cut does use the same SSC-109 as does all of the Suntec 'A' series pumps. The SSC-127 is for a Danfoss only. For a short while Beckett used private label Danfoss pumps but after many complaints they went back to Suntec.
 
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Old 12-29-11, 05:00 PM
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I don't know why I thought the clean-cut took a different strainer than the A pump! I have some out in the garage... I need to look at them. I thought that the ones I bought for the clean-cut were 'taller' than the A pump...

I would say that there's a 90% (at least) chance that Tarheel's pump is the Suntec A ... if one wanted to play the odds, picking up that strainer would probably be the one needed.
 
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Old 12-29-11, 05:08 PM
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I have seen 'A' pump strainers with a domed end while others are flat. All I've seen in the past few years have been slightly domed.

I presume the dome to be a means of holding tension against the strainer for a good seal against the gasket. Some of the flat top ones had a small square of foam rubber presumably for the same purpose. ?????
 
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Old 12-29-11, 06:42 PM
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Probably not the best practice, but I've used the same strainer for 10+ years. At tuneup time I just spray it down with brake cleaner and give it a few blasts of compressed air. Cleans it right up.

I've also used a small bead of anaerobic sealant on the pump cover in lieu of a gasket. Never had a leak.

That being said, in your case you'd be better off having a new gasket and strainer on hand. Faster and easier.

Something else to consider: A few years ago when I performed an annual tuneup on my Carlin oil burner w/Suntec pump, after I had cleaned and replaced everything as usual and then fired the burner back up, it ran like crap! I was alarmed, because that's the opposite of what you would expect, right? The flame was spitting and sputtering like crazy. It took me about an hour of trial and error to determine that the NEW nozzle that I had installed was BAD. Now, I don't know if the nozzle itself was bad out of the box, or if maybe some dirt had been loosened during the tuneup and immediately found it's way to the nozzle tip. But the bottom line is, that nozzle wasn't even worth it''s weight in scrap.
 
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Old 12-29-11, 07:19 PM
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For $5-$10 per, I think you're right.... in that buying up the options is the way to go... The weather is supposed to turn a lot colder next week and the last thing I need is for this to shut down and the pipes freeze up while no one is there.....

I've had the place for about 7 years and to my knowledge the strainer has never been looked at or cleaned... So I'm hoping that is the problem... I'll carry all this info with me to the parts place and see what I come out with.... if nothing matches up when I get to the house, then I won't tear into it and get the numbers/brand off the pump while I'm there....

BTW, I mentioned earlier that the unit has an install date of 1999 if that helps narrow it down any...

With what I'm describing though - I take it that most likely it isn't a controller problem in that the controller is doing what it is supposed to do - trying to restart it a time or two before shutting down...

I'm just hoping it is just a case of a dirty system and not contaminated oil, which I don't think it is or it would start and run as well as it does most of the time....
 
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Old 12-29-11, 07:34 PM
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Ignition?

After re-reading the original post, I'm wondering if maybe it's not ignition-related?

Do transformers/igniters grow "tired"?

I had to replace a Carlin igniter once before, but it just up and died, and there was no indication that it was failing.
 
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Old 12-29-11, 08:24 PM
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It could also be an issue with air in the fuel... suction line leak... filter gasket...
 
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Old 12-29-11, 09:09 PM
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Tarheel, check for gravity when you have the cover off if the tank is higher then burner and no check valve.
 
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Old 01-03-12, 05:53 PM
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I was able to get back to this over the weekend.... The model of the pump is A2VA-7116 as suggested, so I think I can figure out what parts to order to replace the screen and coupler as suggested. A parts diagram or manual for the pump would be great if someone can point me to one...

I was able to spend a bit more time with it as well and can pretty accurately describe what it is doing now.... The problem occurs when the boiler is cold and has to run for an extended period before hitting the high temp mark on the boiler control or being cut off by the room thermostat.

In all cases the burner starts easy and runs smoothly for a while... If the boiler cut-off temp is reached, shutdown is normal and clean and restart is automatic. The same if the house thermostat gives a shutdown signal, again all behaves properly... If however the unit has to run for more than 10 minutes or so, then it begins to stumble a bit before shutting off.... the burner blower keeps running and the unit will try to restart, occassionally generating a flame, but eventually being shutdown by the controller and requiring a reset... The unit can then be restarted easily after giving time for the control unit to activate the reset buton..... It seems as if it runs less before having problems the second time around.... It sounds like and behaves like a car running out of gas - sputtering and misfiring before shutting down for good.... It is possible to reset it a couple of times to get the boiler temperature up and then it will cycle fine - shutting on and off as needed several times until hitting a period when an extended run is required, at which point it will stumble and stutter to a stop and require a reset...

It is an in-ground tank, lines come through the basement wall at about 4 feet above the floor, furnace is sitting on the floor.... I would estimate 10-15 feet of fuel line with a 3-4 foot drop from the bottom of the tank to the pump. Consistently downhill except for a slight incline at the pump... The filter is located about 3 feet from the pump in this line. The tank is probably 30+ years old.... There are two lines present, presumably the initial furnace used them both. The current pump only uses the one primary with the filter in-line....

The fact that it runs for a while before having a problem makes me think the problem may be more than the screen and might be closer to the tank or in the tank. The thought is that the fuel in the line and filter are buffering the short fall for a while.....

Anyhow, what do you think - does it still sound like a pump screen problem or does it sound like something else is going on?

If it is an obstruction in the line or tank, any thoughts on how to clear it?

I plan on changing the pump screen for sure, but if there is something else you can suggest I'd appreciate it.

Thanks in Advance!
 
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Old 01-03-12, 06:48 PM
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I suggest changing the nozzle, filter, & pump screen. After removing the old components & installing the new filter & pump screen, but before unstalling the new nozzle, connect the small
(3/16"?) line to the nozzle assembly & direct the end where the nozzle would screw in into a container. Run the burner for 30-60 seconds to flush the assembly. If the problem persists, you will probably have to blow the fuel line out. A vacuum gauge installed at the pump or inline would tell you a lot.
 
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