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Old 11-02-2010, 20:25   #1
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Volvo Penta Diesel Engine Is Hard to Start

I have a friend with a problem, The situation is this: When starting the engine, it will take several attemts to start and when that happens, the cylinders have too much diesel in them, thus the black smoke. Don't know if it is the glow plugs or a lack of compression that is the problem; or it could be something else entirely. The engine is a Volvo Penta, 3 cylinder, 27 hp, diesel. Once running, it is a great engine
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Old 11-02-2010, 20:38   #2
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It might be worth seeing if it has a "cold start" function that some volvos do:

Pull the stop lever all the way out and push it all the way back in again, then start the motor woth the throttle in the neutral position.

I have a 3 cylinder 27hp volvo and using this cold-start procedure works for me. Of course it could be something completely different too.
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Old 11-02-2010, 20:56   #3
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You shouldn't need to use glow plugs unless the temperature dips down to the freezing mark. Even down to a few degrees below that, most should still start without glow plugs, & although they will smoke, it should be white/grey, not black (until the engine warms up).

That's about the extent of my experience though, I can't say what the problem might be.
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Old 11-02-2010, 20:59   #4
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My MD2 had the cold start button on the aft end of the engine. You had to lean over the engine and push the button down. A real PITA though it did encourage me to do a thorough prestart check.
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Old 11-02-2010, 21:40   #5
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Water temp is at 52 degrees could I be over heating with the glow plugs?
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Old 11-02-2010, 22:15   #6
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If all the above fails, check the compression. How many hours on the motor?
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Old 11-02-2010, 22:36   #7
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While not familiar with your specific engine, in general black smoke is an indication of unburned diesel fuel. This could be caused by bad injectors, a very dirty air filter, or problems with the injection pump (on a non-turbo engine). The first thing I would check is the air filter and after that the injectors. Get instructions on how to pull them, then have them checked at a shop that specializes in diesel injectors.
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Old 13-02-2010, 20:04   #8
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Glow plugs are there for a reason......Follow the cold start procedure....and don't overcrank the engine......do not use any starting fluid...ever...ever...ever....
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Old 14-02-2010, 12:14   #9
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Glow plugs are there for a reason......Follow the cold start procedure....and don't overcrank the engine......do not use any starting fluid...ever...ever...ever....
Too much cranking can cause the wetlift to over fill and back up into the exhaust. Drain the wetlift every so offen or redirect the exhaust hose........
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Old 14-02-2010, 12:27   #10
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Is this perhaps a Volvo 2003 28hp engine? If so, it does not have glow plugs. They are notoriously hard to start in cold weather. I have the 18hp version (2002) in our boat - and it is a bear to start when it is cold. I have yet to try, but some have said that a hair dryer or heat gun (on low) pointed into the intake will help. Don't use starting fluid!!!!
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Old 14-02-2010, 12:59   #11
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I have 2 volvos on my cat. Stb side starts no problem yet if you walk past the port side with ice in your drink i need the glow plugs. Give it the full 10 to 15 seconds on the glow plugs and see if that make a difference.
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Old 14-02-2010, 14:50   #12
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There are a couple of things that you need to look at here. When there is a cold start issue, the first place to look is usually the glow plugs if the engine has them. Does the problem that you describe get worse as the temperature gets colder? Make sure that the glow plug controller is working properly by checking for voltage on the glow plug side and make sure that the resistance for each plug is correct.

Once glow plugs have been ruled out, the two most probable problems are a fuel issue or a compression issue. When you start the engine, do you get blue smoke out of the exhaust until it is up to temp? This would be an indication of poor compression. Poor compression means that not as much heat is generated in the cylinder making it less likely for the fuel to ignite.

There is also a possibility that you have a fuel delivery issue. Most commonly, the problem is an air leak in the fuel system so that the engine looses its prime. These leaks are usually very hard to find. Does the engine start quicker with the throttle significantly advanced? One good way to check for this problem is to prime the engine before starting it when cold and seeing whether it fires up right away or whether the problem is still present. Most engines have a hand primer or an electric pump that you can use.

Good luck.
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Old 14-02-2010, 15:51   #13
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Sounds like compression might be one possible culprit. If you can turn the engine over by hand while on the decomp, then it is compression.

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Old 14-02-2010, 19:16   #14
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We realy need to know the engine model plus the type of cold start aid fitted ie; glow plugs , manifold heater , excess fuel device etc, if not as per the std model fitment.

Cheers Shakey.
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