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Author Topic: Diesel Generator Engine Won't Start  (Read 5394 times)
mlh1936
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« on: February 10, 2010, 07:41:38 PM »

My diesel generator engine has been running great until now. I think I let the fuel quantity get too low while the generator was running. The generator engine quit. Now it won't even turn over.  It has a flashing indicator light in the start switch. The start battery is good.  Appreciate any thoughts on the matter. Thanks.
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2010, 07:47:52 PM »

What kind of generator? How are you trying to start it? By the key downstairs, or by the remote panel?

If it doesn't even turn over, then how do you know you have good battery voltage? Do you have good connections between the battery and generator? If you let the fuel get too low, have you purged the air from it?

God bless,

John
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mlh1936
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2010, 07:58:42 PM »

Thanks for answering. My generator has a Kubota diesel engine. I'm trying to start it from a remote panel. I'm assuming the battery is still good because it was strong on the last start before the problem ocurred and was charged at least 6 hours before it ran out of fuel. I confess I have never purged an engine before. Can anyone give me a crash course on that?
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2010, 08:05:46 PM »

Do you have 2 switches on your panel


good luck
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2010, 08:11:48 PM »

I would check the battery to see if it really is good. Methinks it might not but, if it doesn't even crank. I would go down to the generator and try starting it manually. See if that works.

Now, here is how I purge the air from the Kubota's that I have had/worked on.
There will be a bleeder at the top of the fuel filter. Prime it until you get a bunch of pure fuel, with no air bubbles in it. On my 2004 Bobcat it had a manual bulb that you squeezed to prime it. On our generator it has a automatic fuel pump on it. I crank the engine and then stop. The fuel pump then runs and I have the bleeder valve open, and fuel sprays out. Repeat a couple of times. Then close the bleeder at the top of the fuel filter, and open the upper breather valve. It is a round nob, about the size of a quarter. It in the middle upper part of the engine. You can see it on the outside. Open that, while you crank. Let her fire up, smooth out, and you are set.

I leave our valve cracked maybe an eighth a turn. That makes sure that there is no air in the system.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2010, 08:17:48 PM »

Thanks, I'll give it a shot tomorrow.
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2010, 08:19:17 PM »

I forgot to reply to luvurbus. I only have one switch on the panel.
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« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2010, 02:28:59 AM »

Have your battery 'Load tested' - HTH & FWIW
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« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2010, 04:42:29 AM »

You still havent said what gen you have, if its an Onan quiet diesel than you have a box (sides) to contend with and it wont be fun.>>>Dan
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« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2010, 04:56:18 AM »

You guys educate me on a 1 switch starter on a Kubota are the glow plugs engaged by relays or a circuit board.
Mine will not turn over without holding the glow plug switch at the same time as the starter. 


good luck
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« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2010, 05:09:28 AM »

on my kubota you turn the key to the left for 20 seconds or so for the glow plugs then to the right for start it is a 10kw powertech
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« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2010, 05:17:56 AM »

    I think Mal has the PowerTech with the  control board. The control board is energized by momentarily energizing the start/stop switch. The board then controls relays to activate the glow plugs and fuel pump. After a preset time time, the board activates the starter. Oil pressure then releases the starter. If the engine does not fire in a preset time, the starter stops, waits a preset time and tries again. After 2 or 3 unsuccessful tries (I forget which), it shuts down.  
    I do not know if PowerTech still makes the "manual" version like mine that uses a 2 position switch and relays. I hold the switch in the preheat position (which engerizes the glow plugs & fuel pump) then move the switch to the start position and hold until the engine starts.
   Mal,  
     If you have the PowerTech unit with the control board, check the small fuse(s) in the front of the panel near your LED indicator lights on the generator. I would also check battery voltage at the connection on the end of the generator housing while it is trying to start.  Jack
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« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2010, 05:19:43 AM »

Have your battery 'Load tested' - HTH & FWIW

Hoping to not appear all that not up to speed, what does "HTH" represent?

Thanks,

BCO
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« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2010, 05:24:47 AM »

Thanks Jack that was what I was looking for, I know the glow plugs and the starter are tied together some way on all the Kubota's I have seen.
On my tractor you turn the key on and depending on the temp it starts in a few seconds I am not looking forward to chasing a problem if it doesn't start some day


good luck
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 05:38:42 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2010, 06:05:38 AM »

BoxcarOkie,
    HTH= Hope This Helps

Clifford,
    I have the PowerTech wiring diagrams ("Manual" & "Control Board" style). If you ever need copies, let me know.  Jack
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« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2010, 06:49:38 AM »

The comment "won't even turn over" in the original post concerns me that you.

I recommend you rule out a seized motor.

Have you tried jumping the solenoid on the starter with a screwdriver to see if the motor is capable of turning over?I just think it might be a good idea to make the motor "can" turn over before trying to troubleshoot further.

Just a thought.

Keep us informed,

thanks,

rick
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« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2010, 07:06:37 AM »

Have you tried jumping the solenoid on the starter with a screwdriver to see if the motor is capable of turning over?I just think it might be a good idea to make the motor "can" turn over before trying to troubleshoot further.
Keep us informed,
rick

Rick,
  Unfortuanately, if he has the PowetTech in the factory sound box, it is virtually impossibe to get at the starter or the front of the crankshaft.  (the entire sound box has to be disassebled and removed)  I would have to look at my wiring diagrams, but he might be able to jump a relay to try to activate the starter.  
   Although our PowerTech is not in a factory sound box, our installation does not allow easy access to the starter. During installation, I added a momentary switch that is connected directly to the starter solenoid for test purposes. This helped me find a loose wire connection on the start/stop switch on the generator before I tried to pull the starter to test it.  This is something else he should check, I have found loose connections on several generators, possibly due to vibration when they are running.  Jack
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 07:12:47 AM by JackConrad » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2010, 07:13:54 AM »

I hope for his sake the bearing has sized on the generator head


good luck
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« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2010, 07:18:17 AM »

I hope for his sake the bearing has sized on the generator head
good luck

I think PowerTech recommends changing the generator end bearing at about 3-4000 hours as preventive maintenance.  Jack
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« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2010, 07:22:28 AM »

Jack,

Good point. I forget that some of you guys actually have "quiet" gensets! Not so the barron's.

Is there room to get a socket on the crank fan pulley? Maybe you could just slowly nudge the crank bolt to see if it turns. But be careful because it could start... and that would be a very big problem! I imagine it has a fuel shutoff when the key is off but I would still be careful. Don't ask me how I know that!

Clifford, Amen to that... regarding the generator head

It's far more likely that it's electrical correct? I don't want to scare the crap out of the guy. He's new here.

Rick
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« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2010, 07:30:43 AM »

He has not said the make of gen, or did I miss it?
 
Clifford, My Onan start stop rocker switch. In the stop position the glow plugs are on.  Tom y
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« Reply #21 on: February 11, 2010, 07:41:23 AM »

Clifford,
    I have the PowerTech wiring diagrams ("Manual" & "Control Board" style). If you ever need copies, let me know.  Jack

I have a pdf file of the same if anyone needs it

Cliff
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« Reply #22 on: February 11, 2010, 07:49:43 AM »

Rule out the simple stuff first.

Load test the battery, verify DC power at the starter, jump the solenoid if the start switch does not activate the solenoid.

If then it cranks but does not start, you need the diagram to figure out what is not allowing this to happen.

What make and model of Generator do you have?

Cliff
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« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2010, 03:48:46 AM »

BoxcarOkie,
    HTH= Hope This Helps

Clifford,
    I have the PowerTech wiring diagrams ("Manual" & "Control Board" style). If you ever need copies, let me know.  Jack


Thanks a bunch, it helped me.

BCO
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« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2010, 10:49:57 AM »

I don't have a diesel genset but when mine ran fine one time and didn't turn over the next, it was the starter battery. 

If it is easy to get at jump it and you will know.  On mine it was easier to take to the auto parts store than jump.  The batter read correctly with my volt meter but it died under load. 

Mike
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« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2010, 05:24:00 AM »

My generator is a Southeast Power Tec generator with a Kubota diesel engine. I tried to get some literature on the combination, but no luck. I haven't been out to the shop yet because of the cold and snow here in GA. Yes I know it's been a lot worse elsewhere.  I'll try to get going on it today.
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« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2010, 05:42:56 AM »

I'm in fla now and its cold and rainy,I didn't sign up for this....Go simple first...batt ;even a bad cell can trash starting voltage (weak cell)check ground..if its on slide with seperate ground thru slide sometimes it may not make a good connection..good luck and hope it is a simple solution..
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« Reply #27 on: February 13, 2010, 05:50:34 AM »

My generator is a Southeast Power Tec generator with a Kubota diesel engine. I tried to get some literature on the combination, but no luck. I haven't been out to the shop yet because of the cold and snow here in GA. Yes I know it's been a lot worse elsewhere.  I'll try to get going on it today.

Mal,
    We are presently camped at River Ranch for a SE Busnuts rally, but when I get home tomorrow, I will try to remember to  scan a couple pages from my PowerTech manual for you.  Is your generator in a factory made sound box?  Are there a series of LED  indicator lights on the generator (on the panel with the switch and fuse)?  First thing to do is check the fuse(s) on the panel with the LEDs and switch.  There should be 1 or 2 small round black fuse holders that you twist about 1/4 turn counter clockwise to remove the cap (with the fuse).  I have replaced a couple of these fuse holders that had failed.  Jack
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« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2010, 05:58:28 AM »

Jack's is easiest then progress on still sounds elect
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« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2010, 03:52:41 PM »

My thanks to all who helped. The generator now will start. The "fix" was to reset the 3 switches on the generator control box on the generator itself. I don't know which switch enabled the start, but on the 3rd attempt to start it continued to run. It will now start normally from the remote panel as well.
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« Reply #30 on: February 13, 2010, 05:04:52 PM »

Great news, glad you got it running.  I will try to remember to scan the wiring schematics for you "for the next time"  Jack
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« Reply #31 on: February 15, 2010, 08:45:22 AM »

Sorry to pile on after the fact.

I found this link to provide a helpful algorithm for gennie problems. http://www.powertech-gen.com/images/PTSMH%20-%2015-17.5-20%20OPERATORS%20MANUAL.pdf

I printed a hard copy for the coach.
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