Let it bleed!
QOur narrowboat’s Vetus engine has stood idle for about 4-5 years. We put 40 litres of fresh diesel in the empty tank. It turns strongly but will not fire at all, despite numerous attempts at turning the engine to pump the fuel up to the engine.
AYou don’t just crank the engine to get fuel to the engine. You need to follow a procedure called ‘bleeding’. If it has an electric lift pump, turn the starter on and loosen the bleed points on the main fuel filter and injector pump in turn, only tightening them when fuel with no air bubbles flows out.
If you have a mechanical liftpump, use the priming lever or handpump and do the same. When no air is left in the fuel, loosen all the injector pipe
Aunions (the large nuts) on the injectors and then crank the engine on the starter. As each union drips or spits, tighten it and the engine should start.
Clouds of whitish exhaust ‘smoke’ while cranking means fuel is being injected into the engine. Only a few wisps or no smoke means you still have a fuel problem. If you have the normal Vetus electric fuel pump, one thing to check is the small filter in the end of the pump cylinder under a bayonet cap.
I have seen just one engine with that rocker cover, and we could not find those seals. All I can suggest is that you get another rocker cover or make a seal yourself. I am 98% sure a rocker cover from a BMC B type petrol engine will fit, but try to get one from a 1.5, not a 1.8, in case it’s different. Alternatively, buy some solid neoprene strip from the likes of Seals Plus Direct, cut the oval shape to fit the hole, then a round or oval shape to fit over the rocker cover by say 6mm all round and then glue them together and punch the hole.