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Author Topic: Starting a diesel engine in cold weather  (Read 4412 times)
mlh1936
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« on: February 13, 2010, 04:14:06 PM »

My DD 8V92 is difficult to start in cold weather. It has been requiring a lengthy bit of cranking before it will run. What is the recommended procedure for cold weather starting? How long can I crank without overheating and damaging the starter? Is it helpful to pump the accelerator while cranking? Or is it better to hold the accelerator to the floor while cranking? What can I do to make the engine easier to start? Anybody heating the engine in some manner? My engine usually starts  quickly when the weather is warm. Thanks.
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2010, 04:20:06 PM »

An electric preheater is the best thing I have found. This is the kind that goes in the cooling system of the motor block. My engine takes about 4 hours plugged in and will start easily in cold weather. I have used it down to 12 degrees.
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« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2010, 04:26:55 PM »

Where can I find one? Is it an aftermarket item?
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« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2010, 04:27:39 PM »

Hi, a DD 8V92 will be hard to start in weather going below the zero mark, simply having a block heater plugged in for approx. 4 or more hours will keep it warm and ready to start into the -30's.  This is Celcius, older diesels have always been harder to start and with any engine you shouldn't crank it long and no peddal action required.  If it's taking a long time to start even while plugged in, then you may want to add an oil pan heater to thin the oil or run a thinner oil in the winter months.

Cranking any engine excessive is never a good idea, the DD 8V92 likes to spin quickly to start, especially being a 2-stroke.  Add a block heater, possibly oil pan heater and check all of your battery cables.  Any sign of corrosion or bad cables will slow down the crank and check your batteries for their health in cold weather.  It takes allot more cranking juice in the cold and this engine needs to spin fast, once you have these addressed it will start quick and easy!

Have fun,

Chad
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'92 MCI 102-C3
Eagle Andy
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« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2010, 04:49:23 PM »

Hello , you can find a block heater for the 8v92 at any napa store for around 125 bucks. looking at your motor from the back of the bus it will be on the right side of the block . there should be a plate there with four bolts , that 's were the heater will go . You will have to drain some antifreeze out to make the job a little easier.
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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2010, 04:51:33 PM »

When I started converting my bus I found a cord tied to the frame next to the AC compressor and plugged it in. the electric meter started spinning but the engine got warm. Jerry
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1988 MCI 102A3 8V92TA 740
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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2010, 05:02:41 PM »

In cold weather I always let it crank for only a few revolutions then let it set for 30 seconds or so. Then crank again it always starts right up if I do this, otherwise I have to crank the S%$# out of which is not good.

John
« Last Edit: February 13, 2010, 05:04:28 PM by Jriddle » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2010, 05:18:31 PM »

As with jriddle  spin it around quick short "bursts" We have an air starter and have to be MUCH more cautious then the battery folk LOL not as easy to get a jump start! Spin it around for 5 seconds stop hit it again every time the engine rotates you'll be warming the cylinders making combustion easier with every rotation!
« Last Edit: February 13, 2010, 05:25:55 PM by ekhedge » Logged
JackConrad
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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2010, 05:20:19 PM »

Mal,
   First, make sure batteries are fully charged and all cable connections are clean & tight. The engine has to spin fast to develop enough compression heat to ignite the fuel.  Pumping or holding the throttle will do absolutely nothing.  The rack is already at full throttle until the engine starts and then the governor takes over and moves the rack to idle speed.  Crank for 5-10 seconds and let the engine "soak" for aboy 30 seconds, then hit starter again.  Best way is to use a block heater.  Jack
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2010, 05:30:27 PM »

You can get 2 different kinds of block heaters, mine is a circulating heater and circulates the warmed water thru the engine, thats a much better way than just a regular block heater that heats a given area or an oil pan heater that again heats a given area.
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bobofthenorth
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2010, 05:52:26 PM »

Everybody has been bumping around the edge of this and you may already know it but it bears repeating anyway.  In cold weather you have two things working against you:
- first your batteries are less efficient
- second your oil is thicker which makes the engine harder to spin

The combination of the two effects means that you don't develop compression heat as easily which makes the engine hard to start.  As others have already pointed out you can warm the engine which will deal with the thick oil and you need to make sure all your battery connections are good.  You can also warm the batteries. 

I hope to never have to do a really cold start again but if I do I have a block heater.  And I have my Proheat plumbed into the engine.  And I have battery warming blankets on both batteries.  And if the going really gets tough I've got two 750 watt magnets that I can stick to the pan for additional heat.
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« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2010, 06:01:19 PM »

Best heater for a 8v92 is move to AZ I never have problems starting mine lol .The best heater for a 92 is the factory one that mounts like Eagle Andy is talking about 2 hrs of heating and your good to go. 



good luck
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« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2010, 06:09:54 PM »

We have one of the better heaters. We have our Oasis (like a Webasto). Thirty minutes, and we are set (really cold an hour tops).

God bless,

John
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« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2010, 04:38:29 PM »

I don't know about 92s but the 671 was designed to start with ether and it does it very well. The ether cup goes directly into the air box.

I would sure prefer a block heater but don't have one so I use the original ether cup to start mine in cold weather.
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« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2010, 04:50:29 PM »

Nobody said anything but if you can shut off the fuel when you crank a couple times about 5 seconds and wait 30 it will start quicker.   Worked on farm tractors well.
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« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2010, 05:20:04 PM »

After doing all that terminal cleaning, bat testing and cable checking there is only one real test.  "How many volts are being dropped across the starter?"  You need to measure the volts at the pos term of the starter and the ground at the starter.  Not the bat term or the wire or anywhere else....AT THE STARTER.  Now you can run a very small gauge wire to the starter for the sole purpose of measuring during cranking and you need one of those accurate meters and not something like what you might find on a dash board.

The manufacturer says "min 10.5 while cranking or damage will result".  21 volts for you big fellers.  Please verify those numbers with an auto electric shop.   No matter what you have done to connections or how toasty you have warmed the bats....you must see the min voltage or you have a problem that must be solved. 

Back in the day it was said that  XX% of the wear in an engine was experienced while the engine was warming up.  The Germans want to to start and drive away immediately and not heavily load or rev the engine till it is warm.  Olds used  to give you a red light that meant you had to  idle the engine till the light went out and that was a OEM screw up.   The D doesn't warm when idling so I guess the procedure would be to start, air up, check the gauges and proceed.  3 minutes?

No insult here but you sound new to the game.  I am too but I have developed an ear for a newbee.  You need the BOOK.  First is an operators manual for the engine.  Then there is the mechanical.  Are you mechanical and do you have tools?  Your questions should start off with "the book says I am to do XXX but i am confused about YYY".  You need to be there for your sake and your rapid education. We all will still answer any question you might ask, regardless of how complicated or simplistic to our own satisfaction. ;)Best of luck and you are in the correct place,

John
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« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2010, 05:33:14 PM »

Like folks are saying, colder temps play against starting a compression ignited engine. If you follow all the posted advices and still have problems, don't heistate to give it a snort of ether. If it becomes a regular thing, you can plumb a "starting aid" type ether injector in the engine compartment with a push button in the drivers area (or where ever you start the bus from). Just a reminder, the engine "builds" heat in the combustion chambers with each revolution...so I would be inclined to crank it a little longer than most folks here (psst, maybe 15 seconds or more...especially if it sounds like it really is trying to start).

One day, you might need an in-frame...then your cold starts won't be so bad!
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2010, 09:21:49 AM »

Did it start?

No problem here.

Call back if it doesn't.

Thank you for posting at busconversions.com

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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mlh1936
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« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2010, 11:39:06 AM »

Boy JohnEd has a real talent for sniffing out newbies. I guess he could tell by my stupid questions. Ha! Yes my engine starts. It just takes lots of cranking when it's cold. I was also concerned that I'd overheat the starter. Thanks to all for the good advice.
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« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2010, 12:03:29 PM »

MLH, you don't want to crank you engine for more then 15 seconds, at a time. 15 second, rest 15-30 seconds. Repeat....I have heard that if you do more then that, you can burn up you starter.

Just what I have heard...

God bless,

John
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« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2010, 12:27:53 PM »

My acute powers of observation....like your having 30 posts and a category of "NEWBEE" surely helped.  

There ain't no such thing as a stupid question....except from a smart @$# when the mood strikes him.  You aren't in that category...I can sniff that out also.

Your answer was what I was talking about.....lots of cranking with "low voltage at the starter" will lead you to discovering the cost of a new starter and the labor charge to R&R.  Most of the problems, from what I read, are associated with bats and cabling.  Taking a voltage read at the starter WHILE CRANKING will put you on the trail of the problem much faster.  And telling us what the reading is will surely help us help you.

A real bright side for me in your post was learning, from your profile, that you are a 73 year old "newbee".  I am pushing 69 and I often wonder if I am too old to start this thing.  My sched is a Pre in 1.5 years.

Unsolicited advice category:    A blow out will cost you $500 to a few thousand dollars, will be a serious inconvenience and might kill you or others.  You need a tire air pressure monitoring system.  Considering a ply separation will get very hot before it blows and might hold airtill the moment of destruction...you need the temperature monitoring feature, as well.  Lots of info in the board achieves for you.  You have road side assist and towing, right?  RIGHT?

Keep talking Newbee.  Ya don't know what ya don't know...think about it. Huh Shocked Cool

John
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« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2010, 02:36:25 PM »

One method from 'the old days' is to crank the engine for 15 seconds, let it rest for twenty seconds, and repeat until it starts.

Theory is the compression heats up the cylinders and the wait allows the heat to distribute around.

Also kinder to the battery and the starter motor - and the cycle also probably gives a bit of warmth to the battery and helps it produce more amps.
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« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2010, 10:57:27 PM »

Cranking 5 seconds, waiting 10 seconds, then cranking 5 seconds-many times after the second or third time it will fire.
Or you can do it my way.  If you have a mechanical engine, start it from the back.  Turn on the rear start, then hold the governor lever closed with your thumb.  Start cranking the engine, then after 5 seconds slowly release the lever over the next 5 seconds and the engine will just come up to idle.  What this does is number one allow the oil pressure to build and to retard the timing on the injectors which facilitates starting in cold weather.  I do it any time it is below 40 degrees.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #23 on: February 15, 2010, 11:09:20 PM »

One other thing I found with my 8V92, is letting the batteries get low can damage the ECM. I just had to replace mine because the voltage dropped, and looking back over all the previous owner invoices, it had to be done before (2005) when the batteries were low.

So be careful not to drain the batteries while trying to start in the cold weather.

(I might be the only one to experience that, but mine shorted the 12v power-in diode, or something like that.)
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« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2010, 07:45:34 AM »

cold weather tricks for me, ......maintain batteries,  electric block heater (if installed), or magnets on pan, Webasto if installed, torpedo heater pointed at the powerplant for an hour or less- watch you dont cook anything, ...patience on my side with warming process helps most for me. you can drape the exposed 12 inches under the bus with blue plastic tarp, tape it on the side of the bus with masking tape,put the torpedo at the rear ,and shoot it toawrds the front , the skirt keeps the heat in somewhat, I seen this done for gelled fuel and frozen coolant...Webasto is King though.
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« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2010, 08:21:16 AM »

Tom - what lever do you hold closed on the governor - the engine speed lever?  Is closed all the way to idle, or full speed?

Brian
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« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2010, 08:44:58 AM »

Brian- you hold the stop lever closed (not the engine speed).  It can be a bit stiff.  If so, us a pliers to turn it shut.  Cranking a cold engine without fuel allows oil pressure to be built, keep cold fuel from washing down the cylinder walls, and cuts down on white smoke.  I've used this method for years (since my first truck in 1980).  Don't be afraid to use Ether.  A 2 second burst is usually enough to get the cold engine running.  Never use on a warm engine.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2010, 10:01:06 PM »

I use a block heater if I have the time and the juice available. Otherwise ether always wakes her up. I learned the hard way to NEVER start your engine with the block heater plugged in. I forgot that rule and had to replace a fairly new heater. The tech support educated me to the fact that they are somewhat delicate when hot, and the shock of diesel combustion can break the heating element.
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« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2010, 08:49:26 AM »


Tom - what lever do you hold closed on the governor - the engine speed lever?  Is closed all the way to idle, or full speed?



Brian -

TomC's method is easy to do on his coach, as he's got a V-drive powertrain, so the governor housing's right out there in the open.

Your T-drive configuration MCI, with that big old long cooling blower belt, OTOH, makes for a potentially quite dangerous situation, comparatively.

Don't want to have to read about a fellow busnut getting hurt trying to start his coach in cold weather.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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« Reply #29 on: February 17, 2010, 02:58:00 PM »

RJ- good advice!!
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