June 24, 2018, 09:47:48 PM

Author Topic: Starting a diesel engine in cold weather  (Read 9321 times)

Offline JohnEd

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Re: Starting a diesel engine in cold weather
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2010, 05:20:04 PM »
After doing all that terminal cleaning, bat testing and cable checking there is only one real test.  "How many volts are being dropped across the starter?"  You need to measure the volts at the pos term of the starter and the ground at the starter.  Not the bat term or the wire or anywhere else....AT THE STARTER.  Now you can run a very small gauge wire to the starter for the sole purpose of measuring during cranking and you need one of those accurate meters and not something like what you might find on a dash board.

The manufacturer says "min 10.5 while cranking or damage will result".  21 volts for you big fellers.  Please verify those numbers with an auto electric shop.   No matter what you have done to connections or how toasty you have warmed the bats....you must see the min voltage or you have a problem that must be solved. 

Back in the day it was said that  XX% of the wear in an engine was experienced while the engine was warming up.  The Germans want to to start and drive away immediately and not heavily load or rev the engine till it is warm.  Olds used  to give you a red light that meant you had to  idle the engine till the light went out and that was a OEM screw up.   The D doesn't warm when idling so I guess the procedure would be to start, air up, check the gauges and proceed.  3 minutes?

No insult here but you sound new to the game.  I am too but I have developed an ear for a newbee.  You need the BOOK.  First is an operators manual for the engine.  Then there is the mechanical.  Are you mechanical and do you have tools?  Your questions should start off with "the book says I am to do XXX but i am confused about YYY".  You need to be there for your sake and your rapid education. We all will still answer any question you might ask, regardless of how complicated or simplistic to our own satisfaction. ;)Best of luck and you are in the correct place,

John
"An uneducated vote is a treasonous act more damaging than any treachery of the battlefield.
The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Plato
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
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Offline DaveG

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Re: Starting a diesel engine in cold weather
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2010, 05:33:14 PM »
Like folks are saying, colder temps play against starting a compression ignited engine. If you follow all the posted advices and still have problems, don't heistate to give it a snort of ether. If it becomes a regular thing, you can plumb a "starting aid" type ether injector in the engine compartment with a push button in the drivers area (or where ever you start the bus from). Just a reminder, the engine "builds" heat in the combustion chambers with each revolution...so I would be inclined to crank it a little longer than most folks here (psst, maybe 15 seconds or more...especially if it sounds like it really is trying to start).

One day, you might need an in-frame...then your cold starts won't be so bad!

Offline buswarrior

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Re: Starting a diesel engine in cold weather
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2010, 09:21:49 AM »
Did it start?

No problem here.

Call back if it doesn't.

Thank you for posting at busconversions.com

happy coaching!
buswarrior
Frozen North, Greater Toronto Area

Offline mlh1936

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Re: Starting a diesel engine in cold weather
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2010, 11:39:06 AM »
Boy JohnEd has a real talent for sniffing out newbies. I guess he could tell by my stupid questions. Ha! Yes my engine starts. It just takes lots of cranking when it's cold. I was also concerned that I'd overheat the starter. Thanks to all for the good advice.
1987 MCI 102A-3, 8V92, HT-740 conversion in progress.

Offline John316

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Re: Starting a diesel engine in cold weather
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2010, 12:03:29 PM »
MLH, you don't want to crank you engine for more then 15 seconds, at a time. 15 second, rest 15-30 seconds. Repeat....I have heard that if you do more then that, you can burn up you starter.

Just what I have heard...

God bless,

John
Sold - MCI 1995 DL3. DD S60 with a Allison B500.

Offline JohnEd

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Re: Starting a diesel engine in cold weather
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2010, 12:27:53 PM »
My acute powers of observation....like your having 30 posts and a category of "NEWBEE" surely helped.  

There ain't no such thing as a stupid question....except from a smart @$# when the mood strikes him.  You aren't in that category...I can sniff that out also.

Your answer was what I was talking about.....lots of cranking with "low voltage at the starter" will lead you to discovering the cost of a new starter and the labor charge to R&R.  Most of the problems, from what I read, are associated with bats and cabling.  Taking a voltage read at the starter WHILE CRANKING will put you on the trail of the problem much faster.  And telling us what the reading is will surely help us help you.

A real bright side for me in your post was learning, from your profile, that you are a 73 year old "newbee".  I am pushing 69 and I often wonder if I am too old to start this thing.  My sched is a Pre in 1.5 years.

Unsolicited advice category:    A blow out will cost you $500 to a few thousand dollars, will be a serious inconvenience and might kill you or others.  You need a tire air pressure monitoring system.  Considering a ply separation will get very hot before it blows and might hold airtill the moment of destruction...you need the temperature monitoring feature, as well.  Lots of info in the board achieves for you.  You have road side assist and towing, right?  RIGHT?

Keep talking Newbee.  Ya don't know what ya don't know...think about it. ??? :o 8)

John
"An uneducated vote is a treasonous act more damaging than any treachery of the battlefield.
The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Plato
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
—Pla

Offline Tony LEE

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Re: Starting a diesel engine in cold weather
« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2010, 02:36:25 PM »
One method from 'the old days' is to crank the engine for 15 seconds, let it rest for twenty seconds, and repeat until it starts.

Theory is the compression heats up the cylinders and the wait allows the heat to distribute around.

Also kinder to the battery and the starter motor - and the cycle also probably gives a bit of warmth to the battery and helps it produce more amps.

Offline TomC

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Re: Starting a diesel engine in cold weather
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2010, 10:57:27 PM »
Cranking 5 seconds, waiting 10 seconds, then cranking 5 seconds-many times after the second or third time it will fire.
Or you can do it my way.  If you have a mechanical engine, start it from the back.  Turn on the rear start, then hold the governor lever closed with your thumb.  Start cranking the engine, then after 5 seconds slowly release the lever over the next 5 seconds and the engine will just come up to idle.  What this does is number one allow the oil pressure to build and to retard the timing on the injectors which facilitates starting in cold weather.  I do it any time it is below 40 degrees.  Good Luck, TomC
Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.

Offline PCC

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Re: Starting a diesel engine in cold weather
« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2010, 11:09:20 PM »
One other thing I found with my 8V92, is letting the batteries get low can damage the ECM. I just had to replace mine because the voltage dropped, and looking back over all the previous owner invoices, it had to be done before (2005) when the batteries were low.

So be careful not to drain the batteries while trying to start in the cold weather.

(I might be the only one to experience that, but mine shorted the 12v power-in diode, or something like that.)
For some, patience is a virtue.
Dealing with me, it is required.
Thank God - He is always patient.

Offline Dirtball

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Re: Starting a diesel engine in cold weather
« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2010, 07:45:34 AM »
cold weather tricks for me, ......maintain batteries,  electric block heater (if installed), or magnets on pan, Webasto if installed, torpedo heater pointed at the powerplant for an hour or less- watch you dont cook anything, ...patience on my side with warming process helps most for me. you can drape the exposed 12 inches under the bus with blue plastic tarp, tape it on the side of the bus with masking tape,put the torpedo at the rear ,and shoot it toawrds the front , the skirt keeps the heat in somewhat, I seen this done for gelled fuel and frozen coolant...Webasto is King though.
1996 MCI DL3 Custom Coach conversion

Offline bevans6

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Re: Starting a diesel engine in cold weather
« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2010, 08:21:16 AM »
Tom - what lever do you hold closed on the governor - the engine speed lever?  Is closed all the way to idle, or full speed?

Brian
1980 MCI MC-5C, 8V-71T from a M-110 self propelled howitzer
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Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia

Offline TomC

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Re: Starting a diesel engine in cold weather
« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2010, 08:44:58 AM »
Brian- you hold the stop lever closed (not the engine speed).  It can be a bit stiff.  If so, us a pliers to turn it shut.  Cranking a cold engine without fuel allows oil pressure to be built, keep cold fuel from washing down the cylinder walls, and cuts down on white smoke.  I've used this method for years (since my first truck in 1980).  Don't be afraid to use Ether.  A 2 second burst is usually enough to get the cold engine running.  Never use on a warm engine.  Good Luck, TomC
Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.

Offline Barn Owl

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Re: Starting a diesel engine in cold weather
« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2010, 10:01:06 PM »
I use a block heater if I have the time and the juice available. Otherwise ether always wakes her up. I learned the hard way to NEVER start your engine with the block heater plugged in. I forgot that rule and had to replace a fairly new heater. The tech support educated me to the fact that they are somewhat delicate when hot, and the shock of diesel combustion can break the heating element.
L. Christley - W3EYE Amateur Extra
Blue Ridge Mountains, S.W. Virginia
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Offline RJ

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Re: Starting a diesel engine in cold weather
« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2010, 08:49:26 AM »

Tom - what lever do you hold closed on the governor - the engine speed lever?  Is closed all the way to idle, or full speed?



Brian -

TomC's method is easy to do on his coach, as he's got a V-drive powertrain, so the governor housing's right out there in the open.

Your T-drive configuration MCI, with that big old long cooling blower belt, OTOH, makes for a potentially quite dangerous situation, comparatively.

Don't want to have to read about a fellow busnut getting hurt trying to start his coach in cold weather.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 ;)
RJ Long
PD4106-2784 No More
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Cheney WA

Offline TomC

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Re: Starting a diesel engine in cold weather
« Reply #29 on: February 17, 2010, 02:58:00 PM »
RJ- good advice!!
Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.