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Truck wouldn't start today...what'd I do wrong?

Discussion in '1982-Present GM Diesel' started by AJMBLAZER, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. AJMBLAZER

    AJMBLAZER Better to be lucky than good. Premium Member

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    Lemme just say I did get it to start so that's not the issue. I'm still a diesel newb so I want to know what I did wrong.

    1. It has been driven every day so far this week at least three times a day.

    2. Started up and ran fine this morning but it was plugged in all night. Was about 21 degrees F this morning...:crazy:

    3. Usually takes one cycle to start if it's been above freezing or plugged in. Two if it's colder. Occasionally when it was REALLY cold it took three but started and grumbled a bit before settling down.

    4. Gas guage was showing about 1/4 tank but probably less. I put additive in it and ND30w with every fill up. Took less than 17 gallons when I filled up after all the hoopla so I don't think it could have been bone dry...?:confused:



    Drove to work this morning and parked it. Sat there for around 8 hours and when I was leaving just didn't want to start. Cycle the glow plugs, turn the key...chuggachuggachuggachuggachugga etc almost but not quite. Okay, it's in the upper 20's, let's try again, she's cold.
    Same thing, almost catches but no cigar.
    Third try, catches and then stumbles...and dies.
    World record fourth try...same thing.
    FIFTH cycle...same thing.

    Now slightly worried as my DD is down with a bad alternator and Big Ugly is suddenly my DD again I grabbed an extension cord and plugged it in for about 15 minutes.

    Cycled it again and kept my foot firmly on the floor...chuggachuggachuggachuggaVROOOOOOM....and I'm billowing out big clouds of smoke and it idles happily (for a 6.2L at least) at high idle for a few minutes before dropping down to the low idle. I drove it down to the gas station and filled it and no issues after that.

    Too cold?
    Crap in the tank?
    Flooded it somehow?
    Driver stupidity?:doah:
     
  2. tRustyK5

    tRustyK5 Big meanie Staff Member Super Moderator GMOTM Winner Author

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    I'd switch to some "Quick heat" or similar constant duty glow plugs...and a manual push button so you can control the glow time yourself. At those temps i let em glow for 12-14 seconds and it'll fire right up the first time.

    How is your cranking speed? It needs to be spinning over at a good speed or it'll be a lot harder to start than it needs to be. A new gear reduction starter made a huge difference in how my truck started...

    Rene
     
  3. AJMBLAZER

    AJMBLAZER Better to be lucky than good. Premium Member

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    Cranking speed seems to be okay. Hasn't really slowed or anything, has been the same speed since I got it.

    It was just like it was almost ready to start but not quite there...

    A set of Wellman plugs is in the future but I haven't gotten there yet.


    I'm not quite ready to convert it over to the full winter package as hopefully (please dear god...) this is it's, and our, last winter in the snowbelt.
     
  4. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    sounds like mine...diesels + cold = frustration!

    My 82 K20's 6.2 has been a bit balky starting it the first time after sitting overnight..it's been pretty cold here,temps in the 20's or lower,and I haven't been plugging the block heater in,because I don't use the truck every day,hate to waste $$$ on electricity..

    When I attempt to start mine at 10 degrees,I let the glow plugs energize for about 10 seconds (I use the "buzzer" that comes on when you turn the key on as a "timer"..usually it ALMOST starts,you can hear one or more cylinders "firing",but most times I'll have to stop cranking,and give the glow plugs another 10 seconds to heat up again..then it'll start,but when it first fires up it sounds like its barely firing,then suddenly it'll roar to life and run more smoothly,and all the while white smoke belches out both pipes..(my starter whips it right over fast,even when its frigid out!--makes me wonder if the compression is low..)

    I only have 7 working glow plugs,one wont come out,and I'm not going to force it and break it off!..I replaced my glow plugs in January of '04,with AC #G60's..but they look real rusty already,and I would not be suprised to find one or more has died already (Haven't tested them,its too cold!)..but it always starts,you just have to keep trying a few times before it will fire up and run..it runs kind of "lopey" when it warms up,it seems to run smoother when its cold,after it heats up it "skips" like a gas motor with a sticky valve or bad plug wire would..I think the injectors are dirty ,or maybe on their way out..

    I've had issues with the truck bogging out after a cold start when I drive off--it wont stall,wont accelerate,it just lays an egg, like it is running out of fuel!--then after a few seconds,it will take off normally..I have never changed the fuel filter (looks new already,no dirt or water drained out when I drained it--hate to buy one for nothing,would rather spend the cash on other parts--it needs tons of brake work,oil change,etc..!)..It usually only bogs out like that after pulling into traffic when its cold,but has done it at other times too..makes you nervous about driving it..:doah:

    I do have a universal electric fuel pump in line in addition to the stock lift pump--maybe that thing is losing pressure,or can't pump the diesel because it thickens up so much in the extreme cold??...my motor is a boneyard replacement,and has likely sat idle for a long time before I got the truck,plus I only use it sparingly..my injectors are probably sqirting rather than spraying,I see a lot of smoke upon acceleration..someday If I ever get the money I'm going to have to go right through this truck from front to rear..
     
  5. AJMBLAZER

    AJMBLAZER Better to be lucky than good. Premium Member

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    Did it again today.

    It's been sitting outside in the snow for a week but it was in the low 40's all of a sudden so I figured I'd run it down to the carwash today and get it cleaned off while the roads were dry.

    Wouldn't start after 3 cycles.

    I had just blown the snow off of the driveway so I plugged it in and went inside and warmed up for an hour or so. Truck started right up after that.


    I needs to find me a job and it needs to warm up so I can A - buy some Wellman plugs and B - get the backlog of work done that's been piling up since it's been freezing or below in the garage...:crazy:
     
  6. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    sounds familiar!..

    It's been below 20 degrees here the past few days--I didn't bother trying to start my 6.2 yesterday,used my car instead..though it probably would have started (hasn't failed me yet in the frigid weather we have had lately,in fact I am suprised it has started without being "plugged in"..I attribute that to my manually controlled glow plugs--my injectors are probably not spraying right either,but it still starts!)..

    I figured why "wake up" my diesel,in such frigid weather,only to drive it 5 miles?..I'm sure I have not done it any justice using it in the cold weather for short runs mostly lately..my oil must be pretty diluted by now...motor sounds horrible when first started, without the block heater plugged in..:doah:

    Do you use any "Anti-Gel" additives??...if not,it could be your fuel is jelling up on you while sitting..perhaps there is some water in it as well--have you tried draining the fuel filter (if yours is the round canister type with a petcock on the bottom)..only takes a small amount to cause big problems!..

    I've suspected water in my fuel,but so far I haven't gotten any out of the fuel filter drain..if I was not out of work,I'd have money to replace it,and everything else it needs,but right now I can hardly afford to keep it registered and insured,never mind fill the tank,or fix anything!..and fuel prices are skyrocketing here again--2.75 a gallon for diesel,it was 2.45 a week ago...:mad:
     
  7. AJMBLAZER

    AJMBLAZER Better to be lucky than good. Premium Member

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    I hear you on the fuel prices and out of workness.

    I use a specifically winter diesel treatment with each tank, in fact I use more than recommended.
    Haven't checked the fuel filter yet. Still a diesel noob and it's only getting started once a week now. In fact, since it got washed on Sunday, it isn't going to be driven or moved out of the yard until the snow and road salt is gone.
    What's the proper procedure for checking the fuel filter? I know it's the dohickey on the passenger side of the firewall.
     
  8. BKinzey

    BKinzey 1/2 ton status

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    I know you said new plugs are in your future but did you check your old plugs?
     
  9. AJMBLAZER

    AJMBLAZER Better to be lucky than good. Premium Member

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    Nope. Time and equipment issues. Also subfreezing weather.


    Yeah I know, weak excuses.
     
  10. enginenine

    enginenine Registered Member

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    How old is the lift pump? Bad lift pumps will cause cold start problems.
     
  11. AJMBLAZER

    AJMBLAZER Better to be lucky than good. Premium Member

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    Good question...no clue. I'd guess original or was put on sometime while the military had it.

    I started it on Monday in 40 some degree weather. Foot to the floor and a lot of cranking it started on the first cycle. Went fine after that. Starts up great while warm.
     
  12. k204dr

    k204dr 1/2 ton status

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    do you have a meter. disconnect all your glowpug wires, put the pos side of the meter on the batt positive, and use the ground to touch each lead of the glowplug. if it grounds, it should work. just a basic test.
     

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