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Starting a diesel engine

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BrownOut

Banned
Hey guys, I know there are some gearheads on here. My problem is this: I have this old tractor that I haven't tried to start in a couple years. It started and ran fine last time I tried it. I need to get it started and running, because I have some big trees down in my yard, and the tractor is the best thing I have to move them. I've checked all the fluids, and the look good. What other precuations do I need to take before trying to start it? I know I need to see if there is any water in the fuel system, but that's about it. I have a diesel truck, but I never let it sit for years before starting it.

Thanks alot! ~Brownout
 

gabeNC

Member
Does diesel varnish like gasoline when left for a long period of time? I generally put stabilizer in my rider mower over the winter.
 

user_88

Member
The first thing to do is make sure that the crankshaft and pistons move freely.
You can usually get a socket wrench on the crankshaft end bolt .... where the radiator is, usually at the center of the harmonic balancer pulley.
Make sure the transmission is in neutral, or the clutch is not engaged.
Use the wrench to manually rotate the crank a revolution or two.
The reason for doing this is that moisture within the cylinder block can cause rust and corrosion to the piston walls, which might impede the motion of the pistons, as the piston rings try to slide.
If you feel too much resistance with the wrench, try to squirt a little 30 wt. oil in each cylinder, and then let it sit overnight. .... Try again next day.
 

Ross Craney

New Member
Take the injectors out & give it a good cranking under no compression to circulate oil through the system
 

Andy1845c

Active Member
What kind of tractor and what engine?

I wouldn't mess with the injectors unless they give you trouble.

Honestly, I would check the oil - loosen the drain plug a bit and see if any water comes out - it tends to condensate even if it isn't leaking in.

Make sure your air cleaner isn't full of crap. Water, beehives, mud daubers, mouse nest, ect.

Drain the old fuel and put some fresh diesel in. Maybe add an additive to help lube the fuel system a bit. Diesel does go bad and you don't want to clog anything.

Rolling the engine by hand isn't a bad idea if you can do it safely. If you can release the compression it won't fire, but otherwise simply spinning a diesel will make it want to run if it gets a wiff of fuel.

Past that, I'd crank on it a bit and give it a shot of either if need be and see if it fires. Just keep a close eye on your water temp and oil pressure gauge.

An oil change is never a bad idea either after you get it going again.

Let us know how it goes. :)
 

BrownOut

Banned
Thanks alot! What do I do with the old diesel? I burn old gas that I drain out of my boat in my car. I'll give this a try over the weekend, after I get back from the lake :)

PS: The tractor is an old Case 530.
 
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Andy1845c

Active Member
How much is in it? I just use old diesel to start fires and as parts cleaning solvent. Possibly it could be disposed of with drain oil. You'ed have to ask.
 

tcmtech

Banned
Most Helpful Member
If its only been a few years just charge up or replace the battery and fire it up. ;)

I work on old farm equipment from time to time and most often just doing a basic check over and then turning the key is all it takes.
Rarely diesel fuel will go bad to the point that a diesel engine wont run on it. At least not for a decade or two unless its been parked outside in a place that has high average humidity and large daily temperature swings or very hot days for a several years.

Ive started machines that have sat unused for over 20 years with nothing more than a good battery and a quick check over of the fluids and filtering systems.
Once its up and running then I would recommend doing all new filters, fluids and a good wash down.

Until something proves its a problem dont worry about it.:)
 

BrownOut

Banned
Man, that was easy. I warmed the block with a portable kerosine heater, a trick I taught myself to start old diesels that don't have glow plugs. Put in a fresh battery, a tiny squirt of ether, and she kicked right over. I can't get over how smooth a 50 year old disel runs. Starts and runs better than my car :)
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Man, that was easy. I warmed the block with a portable kerosine heater, a trick I taught myself to start old diesels that don't have glow plugs. Put in a fresh battery, a tiny squirt of ether, and she kicked right over. I can't get over how smooth a 50 year old disel runs. Starts and runs better than my car :)

I agree with tcmtech, 2 years is nothing, I'd expect any petrol or diesel engine to start easily after such a short time - just charge the battery and go.
 

Andy1845c

Active Member
I agree with tcmtech, 2 years is nothing, I'd expect any petrol or diesel engine to start easily after such a short time - just charge the battery and go.


Yes and no. In my experience the worst thing you can do it let any engine sit. Especially if its sitting out in the weather. Its never a bad idea to fire an engine up now and then and let it warm up. Maybe drive whatever its in around a bit, even if you don't need to use it. Its just good to get the oils pumped around, keep the rings from sticking, charge the battery a bit ect.

Its nice to not have to do much when you need to use a tractor or machine you only use now and then, and when you let stuff sit for long periods of time, seals seem to dry out, the battery goes dead, rings get stuck in the grooves on the pistons and cause problems, and with gas engines.... the old gas varnishes.
 
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