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Old 11-29-2010, 02:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Cold starting a diesel

its my first winter with an 'old' diesel - and it refuses to play every morning. Any tips?

symptoms:
turns but doesn't fire

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Old 11-29-2010, 03:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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do not use ether you will cook your glow plugs/wash oil from the cylinder walls or otherwise give it a low compression ether addiction.

Install a block heater of some sort. A propane torch applied to the head (not to the valve cover) can bring up the temperature enough to get it to fire up. Warm to the touch but not so hot you burn things keep it moving and dont heat the injector pump, glow plugs, wires, hoses or other bits.

Double cycle the key so the glow plugs get a little warmer has helped the oil burner get over the hump on a cold morning.

How long have you cranked? How cold is it out? Have you checked to be sure your plugs are heating?
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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'80s Rabbit diesels had many difficulties with sub-zero weather. Sometimes they'd start but would be unable to achieve any rpm above idle. Part of the problem was not having proper fuel in the tank- it was basically a tank full of jelly. We had a wood stove so we'd place a pan full of hot coals under the tank.

I'd love to have a Rabbit diesel again but as long as I live in this god-forsaken frozen tundra, my plan now would be to not fight that 5 or so months when it's too cold for the diesel by having a gas beater for winter.
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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when I plug mine in for a couple hours prior to starting it has no trouble. Most of those suggestions come from years of fighting forklifts in the bush that would have been tossed decades ago.
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Old 11-29-2010, 06:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Temp = -10c/14f

Crank time = 3-4sec

Glow plug test = not yet do that tonight (provided it starts to get home!)

I've just beeen jump starting it off the missus' scenic (gas) and it coughs into life after a bit of turning even the RPM isn't muich higher
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The lump in your polo (and in the Felicia diesel) should have a preheat triggered by drivers door handle- maybe you're not getting a pre heat?

My brother's occasionally fails to start- but that looks like a starter motor issue-as can hear the solenoid "Click"
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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my tdi was fine last winter, I just have to start blending down the b100 sooner. I should probably spend $60 on a starter rebuild though, just for the peace of mind.

I wonder how much electricity it would take to keep the fuel in the 40s if you insulated the crud out of the tank and lines and filter and added a small heater/circulation pump.
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:58 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Other option is your battery is goosed and not getting enough Amps to spin it?

Worth trying to insulate the battery?
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I have to crank for quite a while some mornings. 5-15 seconds a couple times black smoke pouring out so I know some sort of combustion is happing. Typically down around 15* F. One trick for a tired diesel is a bit of wd40 in the air box, though I would have to debate if I really wanted to keep the engine, and how badly I needed it to start this time. We kept a really poor forklift going an extra winter by spraying wd40, pumping the primer, holding down the throttle and turning the key. Yes one guy could do all 4 opperations at the same time and it looked a little obscene.
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I had an old 300D Benz for 10 years and all of these tips I used with some success. Below 14 Deg F the fuel tended to get stuck in the filter. I used an additive, but 25% Kerosene works just as well.

One time I was on vacation in Yellowstone and the temps dropped below freezing in the summer! The old Benz would not start and I was not prepared to deal with the cold. I ended up boiling water on a camp stove, pouring it over the engine head near the glow plugs and the damn thing started!

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