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Old 19-05-2019, 13:53   #1
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Diesel engine won't start

Hi. I am trying to fix my diesel engine myself before I have to get a mechanic. The engine turns over but won't start.

Here are the facts:

1. Kubota DH1101 engine marinized, 1998. This is actually a tractor engine.
2. Changed fuel filters, bled the system, fuel was flowing through. Engine did not start.
3. Mechanical fuel pump did not seem to be pumping, Took it out, cleaned it up. Put back in and fuel was coming through. Had to buy a new gasket for air intake and put back together.
4. Bled the system at the injectors. Did have a few bubbles come through then fuel only. Still would not start.
5. Detached outflow fuel line at pump, turned it on, pump had good fuel flow but the pump does make a pumping noise about every 10 to 15 seconds after turned on continuously. It did not used to do this.
6. Grounded a spare battery to the engine and touched + lead to the middle glow plug. Had spark. 9.8 volts when glow plugs are turned on.
7. Just as an FYI, last time it ran the diesel heater low pressure fuel pump started making a continuous noise then packed it in and does not pump. Engine ran the next morning no problems. This was the last time it started.

Any all all suggestions on what to do next to trouble shoot and fix before I call the mechanic would be greatly appreciated. I would like to fix myself as you can't call a mechanic when you are in the middle of the Pacific!

Thanks
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Old 19-05-2019, 14:07   #2
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Re: Diesel engine won't start

More air in the system or fuel shut off not set right. Then many more reasons that need diagnosing to determine.
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Old 19-05-2019, 14:55   #3
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Re: Diesel engine won't start

Just a guess, but from all the things failing, it sounds like you had some crud in the fuel. You now have clean fuel at the injector heads - but the injectors themselves might be gummed up with crud.
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Old 19-05-2019, 16:13   #4
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Re: Diesel engine won't start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodesman View Post
Just a guess, but from all the things failing, it sounds like you had some crud in the fuel. You now have clean fuel at the injector heads - but the injectors themselves might be gummed up with crud.
You may be right. If I have fuel and heat then the fuel may not be getting in. Have to research how to ckean injectors thx
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Old 19-05-2019, 16:29   #5
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Re: Diesel engine won't start

9.8 volts seems very low. Is the engine turning over fast enough. Last fall were were trying to start a Perkins M50. Would not go. Added another batter and it fired right up.
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Old 19-05-2019, 16:42   #6
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Re: Diesel engine won't start

Along the lines of Drk Horse's idea, often hard starting has to do with poor electrical connections, usually the engine ground. So in addition to your fuel issues, check the wiring and battery condition. Good luck.
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Old 19-05-2019, 17:13   #7
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Re: Diesel engine won't start

i don't understand about your pumps, it sounds like you have both a mechanical and an electrical fuel pump??
Best thing you can do is get a workshop manual for your engine if you want to avoid getting a mechanic as they normally have a trouble shooting section. Or Trouble shooting for marine diesels by Peter Compton is a good book to help you diagnose.
You can try gravity feeding filtered fuel direct to the injection pump & see if it starts then to check if lift pump is the problem.
Assuming you have sufficient cranking speed as others have suggested checking voltage etc.
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Old 20-05-2019, 10:18   #8
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Re: Diesel engine won't start

What is the voltage on the cranking battery while you are cranking? Anything under 10.5 is too low.

You say you had no fuel from the mechanical pump, themed it and have fuel. Do you have enough fuel? I'd replace that pump.

Electric pump is for easier fuel bleeding. Has nothing to do with fuel to the engine.

Does it pop on any cylinder(s)? If not don't worry about cleaning the injectors. I doubt that's your problem. Manually go and tap the fuel cutoff lever to make sure it's in the closed position. I had 1 boat where that lever looked fine but in fact was out maybe 1/16" and that was the culprit. Check your cranking voltage, if good, then replace the mechanical pump, if that doesn't work you've got an air leak somewhere. If you want to, you could remove 1 injector, turn the engine over and see if the spray is fine and even.
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Old 20-05-2019, 11:21   #9
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Re: Diesel engine won't start

Hi, Ive got one of those engines and it wont start even in warm ambient temps without 15 secs of glow plugs so they need to be good.
Double check you've got clear fuel bleeding out the fuel injector pipe at the injector.

When you know thats good, if it still won't start you could pull an injector and connect to an injector pipe and spin it over to see if you get a spray pattern, if not you may have injector pump issues. Note do not get your fingers near the spray nozzle when doing this as it can inject diesel into your blood stream.

When bleeding have it on full throttle, same to start after bleeding, normally 10% for a usual start.

Be careful not to cook your starter motor while dong this. 15 secs max with time between to cool off.
You can assist the starter while bleeding by using the decompressor, also get engine spinning to starter speed then flip the decompressor back over is useful if your batteries a bit low can help starting.
Hope that helps.
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Old 20-05-2019, 11:59   #10
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Re: Diesel engine won't start

I have no advice.

It's a great thing to learn these systems yourself, and you're knee deep in an adventure. Good luck - I'll be trying to learn something from the responses-
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Old 20-05-2019, 12:29   #11
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Re: Diesel engine won't start

I've encountered the same problem with Perkins 4108 & 4107s three times over a 34year period. It was always traced to a poor ground connection at the battery that wouldn't allow the starter to spin the engine fast enough. On the first occasion I found that the cable terminal was of such poor quality that I could rotate the cable inside it by hand, which was an easy fix, but of course I had tried everything else in the book before stumbling on the answer. It's easy to check and be certain you're getting full voltage to the starter
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Old 20-05-2019, 12:30   #12
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Re: Diesel engine won't start

I have the same engine in my Tartan.

Suggest you attack one system at a time. First 9.8v sounds low. On old boats the ground wires tend to rot. IF YOU HAVE A GOOD HELPER— Take a car jumper cable and jump from where the ground wire connects to the engine to the battery ground. Crank the engine, if it is bad you will hear the difference. If you do not have good help remove the cable and inspect.

With electric out of the way bleed the system.

Assuming you have an electric lift pump all
You need to do is bleed to the injector pump. Going beyond that is a waste of time. Once you have solid fuel coming out at the injector pump tighten things up. Now preheat for 20-30 seconds and push the throttle to wide open and crank. One injector will catch in 5-10 seconds and the engine will run. Give it another 5-10 seconds and the RPMs will come up. Clearing the engine this way, be sure to keep the RPMSs under 2k as the engine is cold.

Hope this all makes sense.
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Old 20-05-2019, 15:18   #13
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Re: Diesel engine won't start

I have had the same problem with a Northern Light generator. That is build on a Kubota. I tried with diesel starter in the air intake, and that made it to start. The problem appeared to be the glow plugs. Two were gone but one worked. One is not enough to start, it appeared.
The way of checking is to measure the resistance in each of your glow plugs. They are easy to check and can be bought for a reasonable price when not original.
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Old 20-05-2019, 18:56   #14
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Re: Diesel engine won't start

Excuse me if I repeat the advice of others - I confess to not having read the whole thread - just the OPs question so far
Couple of things here to my mind - first that a diesel needs fuel, air, compression and somewhere to send burnt gases, and that is about all.
My diesel will crank with 12 and a half volts, but needs around 12.8 to actually fire - that is a compression thing (yeah - you can cheat with ether spray if your compression is just a bit low to fire, for whatever reason, but a strong battery is the best place to start)
Assuming that air and exhaust flows are good (can be a risky assumption - got badly stumped by a blocked exhaust port not long ago) since they have not been disturbed recently, I would be inclined to pull an injector, plumb it back up and check its spray against a piece of paper or similar (not your hand - that can be fatal).
Guessing you will not see anything from the injector because crud has either blocked it or blocked a filter somewhere. could also be air, but if you have bled thoroughly at the injectors that should have fixed that. I would work backwards from the injectors I reckon, until the culprit is revealed.
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Old 20-05-2019, 20:19   #15
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Re: Diesel engine won't start

I would give it a shot of starter fluid in the air intake and see if it would fire with that.
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