Van starting issues.. any advice?

Welcome to UKHIppy2764@2x.png

UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

  • OK so this is the first start after (a) putting in a new fuel filter ten miles ago and (b) having the van stood for 15 hours. It's not cold today. We're doing much better... but we're not quite starting properly... now it's sounding much more like fuel starvation to me. What do you guys n gals think? I need to put my non-reverse valve plan into action, I reckon.


    [video=youtube_share;J3qCH80m3hw]

    [/media]

  • Although the non reverse valve may solve the problem its not really curing the problem. If theres air getting into the system the non reverse valve wont stop the air getting in and potentaly the problem comming back or getting worse

  • Although the non reverse valve may solve the problem its not really curing the problem. If theres air getting into the system the non reverse valve wont stop the air getting in and potentaly the problem comming back or getting worse


    Yeah you're right. Been getting help from my dad's mechanic friend who can't really be arsed to help me..keeps trying to fob me off with short answers and making me seem silly for suggesting issues/sources of the problem. Going to see where I stand payday and get the van taken to another mechanic if it's doable. Bloomin' 'eck.

  • I do not think that it is a "fuel returning to tank problem" as it would take a lot more turning over to draw fuel up from the tank it sounds like its trying to fire on one or two cylinders i still think problems with glow plugs

  • I've been away for work again over the past few days so have had to find ways to start the b****r. Couple of frosty mornings which hasn't helped. The only thing I can get to work is turning the ignition on and waiting for the pigtail light to go off four or five times, then starting, then letting it stall, then it starts up immediately when I turn the key the next time. I've no bloody idea what's going on so once I get back to Lincs I'm going to take it to another garage (ie not my dad's unhelpful mate :( ).

  • letting it stall, then it starts up immediately when I turn the key the next time.


    this suggests your charge air heating system (glow plugs) they may be good but for some reason not working or intermittent
    suggest you find an auto electrician and have him test the resistance of the plugs and the operation of the relay :) a way to test this is to remove the air inlet between the turbo and the manifold if not at the turbo and run a hair dryer into it for a few min when cold if it kicks first time you have proved it by manually pre heating the air

  • Not yet no :( I can get it going after a while but takes ages starting. Been waiting for payday and now I've got to wait for my mechanic to be free. The joys!

  • No idea... without somehow to test it properly by myself I can't put all this expert advice form these wonderful people into action. I'm going to call my mechanic tomorrow and see if I can drop it off in the afternoon. It needs to be sat at his place all night so that he can see what it's actually like trying to start it normally cos if I tell him about the problems once I've driven it there, he won't believe me when it starts up perfectly in front of him! Will definitely update everyone once I've found out!

  • Little update for you wonderful people who have given me advice and encouragement with my starting issues....


    Been thinking and researching more about my starting issues, as it's continued since I posted this thread. Taking the big ass battery of my hyped-up-sported-up-messed-up BMW and plonking it into little C15 has helped somewhat, as has the warmer weather, but it's still taking a good fifteen to twenty seconds of engine turning and getting progressively faster and putting my foot on the throttle to get it going... SOOO... today I fitted an extra hand primer with integrated non-reverse valve into the fuel-in line. I've heard that the existing primer should be really hard to push down, and mine wasn't, so it might be that there's something wrong with the fuel filter housing and perhaps the valve in that is letting fuel drain back into the tank like some people on here have suggested... so, rather than spending £100+ on new housing and getting it fitted etc I decided to try this £7.99 bulb primer that I could fit myself instead.


    After a fair bit of time faffing around with the fuel lines (the rubber had gone really hard so it was difficult to connect the bulb primer) we (me, my dad, and my dad's mate) finally got it fitted and clamped down with jubilee clips.


    Like I say, this should fix the problem of fuel running back into the tank once the van has sat for a while.... so I'm leaving the van for tonight and will strike him up tomorrow and see if there's any difference.....


    ... the suspense...

  • Quote After a fair bit of time faffing around with the fuel lines (the rubber had gone really hard so it was difficult to connect the bulb primer)



    you may have just found the problem the hard rubber pipes may not be making a air tight seal it may not be leaking fuel but will suck air in under the vacume from the suction fuel pump

  • Quote After a fair bit of time faffing around with the fuel lines (the rubber had gone really hard so it was difficult to connect the bulb primer)



    you may have just found the problem the hard rubber pipes may not be making a air tight seal it may not be leaking fuel but will suck air in under the vacume from the suction fuel pump


    Good thinking!!!! Let's see what happens in the morning and if its still buggering about then i'll try new fuel pipes :)

  • sounds like a pile of trouble, get rid before it drives you mental.


    I had a renualt cleo 1.5 diesel the ffin thing just would not start run right it stopped at will it was basicly a pain in the arse, took it to a mate we tried all sorts, in the end i think it was injector trouble, and there dere, replace the dam things as a set dont try and do them individual because like mine did it sent the ecu fkkin crackers, i think it was drawing air in through the injectors you cant see this you get good spray but if they aint perfect seal they draw air in.



    Heres a few pointers.


    relay, wiring on top of injectors, that ofetn needs soldering or faffing about with, pump, glow plugs, glow plug loom, ecu or sodding brain, electronic throttle could be buggered, finally tank might be full of sludge from someone before you running or poor cheap grade diesel sold at all good supermarkets or running on bio diesel chip fat etc etc, this means tank off clean tank, clean all fuel lines and row on for days trying to sort this problem.


    she done a few miles if so if serv hist is a bit slack, then if milage is getting high some of the above problems might be occouring.


    sounds a nightmare, i had a good mechanic on it a mate he ws too busy to faff on but it was costing a fortune to sort so i bowed out gracefully and flogged it at a loss to another garage as a "project" car

  • I've just had a read through this whole thread and tried to piece together all the facts to see if I can suggest anything. Let me know if anything I've picked up here isn't totally accurate.


    - Cold starting difficult, particularly over winter, 20-30 seconds
    - Warm starting ok (starts straight up after running for a while?)
    - White smoke on cold starting
    - Good fuel economy when running
    - Previous problem with glow plugs



    I'm normally a petrol engine guy, but just trying to draw some conclusions:


    The white smoke on startup is a sign of incomplete combustion. This would tell me straight away that fuel is getting to the engine even from cold, so I don't think think you have a fuel or fuel pump problem. Good fuel economy tells me that things like your fuel pump or injector timing is ok, and your ECU is receiving all the proper signals from the throttle, etc. So basically a healthy engine.


    The main reason diesels are difficult to start is that the fuel/air mix (after injection) has to be above a critical temperature to ignite and continue to burn, as you already know. When cold, the engine block will absorb most of the heat generated by the compression, so the fuel/air mix won't be hot enough to ignite until you have been on the starter for about 30 seconds - enough to pre-heat the engine block from compression alone. Then you'll eventually approach the critical temperature where it will fire, and the engine will reluctantly start up.


    You can see where this is leading... and I think you've already touched on what the problem might be. Everything is hinting that your glow plugs aren't getting a power supply at startup. The fact that 3 were damaged previously gives a possible explanation. If the 3 had failed short-circuit, then they might have damaged something upstream, could be as simple as a fuse, relay or melted wiring/connector, or anything related to providing power to the glow plugs.


    This is why I think you need to test the whole glow plug system in operation - don't rely on replacing individual parts, or listening for relay clicks, etc. The two ways of testing it would be to measure the current going to each glow plug (good garages will have the kit to do this) or take the glow plugs out and observe for them heating up at startup when they should be. This would be my advice for the first thing to eliminate before going any further.


    Hope this is some help. I find that with problems like this, the most difficult part is the test on patience, then secondly researching and locating the actual problem, and thirdly the fix itself is usually very simple. This has been my experience every time. Good luck with it and don't give up :)

  • Thanks so much for taking the time to think about this and write that up, andyvw. I really do appreciate your help, and the help of everyone on this forum. You guys are the best!


    I've asked my dad's friend (my current mechanic) to test the glow plug relay on three separate occasions over the past few weeks when the van has been in the garage. Each time he has come up with some other reason for the problems and hasn't checked the power to the new plugs. It seems perfectly reasonable to me that something might have gotten fried in the process of the engine trying to start on only one working plug previously so I'm lost as to why he won't bloody check it for me.


    I'm really hoping it is something simple to fix. I'm taking it to another mechanic tomorrow and hopefully he will be able to find the problem. Don't want to give up on my little C15. Aside from everything else, he is still giving me ridiculously good fuel economy (258 miles on the last 20 quid I put in it... measured by the trusty 'put-£20-in-when-the-diesel-light-comes-on-and-see-how-far-it-gets-until-the-light-comes-on-again' test). Guess we will know more tomorrow or Tuesday... this is becoming quite the UKH mystery drama ;)

  • when the old glow plugs failed they may have caused arcing at the relay, and despite it clicking away the contacts may not be making a connection, a relay only stops clicking if the coil fails, +1 for checking the voltage at each glow plug, the old ones may not have failed - but if they were not getting power, they would give the same indication of not working.
    I used to spend 1 month of the year testing relays at power stations, and in all 6 years of doing it only ever found 2 relays with failed coils, but many more that just needed the contacts cleaning to get them back up and running. (it might be worth replacing the relay anyway if its not too expensive, then keep the old one as a spare).


    Grendel

  • Got the van to a mechanic today and after an hour of playing about under the bonnet, we've come to the conclusion that either the engine temperature sensor is buggered or there's something up with the communication system between the sensor, the ECU and the light on the dash. He tested everything and there's definitely enough power getting to the plugs and they all glow properly yadda yadda so he reckons that one of those two things is the problem. His theory is that for whatever reason the pigtail light on the dash isn't staying on as long as it should. It always goes out after 5 or so seconds, even when it is freezing outside, and he said it should be on much longer than that when it's cold. He listened to the relay and it clicked off after about 55-60 seconds. He thinks that what has been happening is that I have been following what the light says and trying to turn it over before it is warm enough... and that even turning the ignition on over n over before start up won't have been enough cos everytime I turned the ignition off again it just lost what heat it had gained in those few seconds... soooooo ..... for now, the engine temperature sensor has been replaced. I'm going to try it again later once the engine has had time to get cold again and see what happens. If the light stays on longer, like it should be doing in this temperature, then it has hopefully fixed the problem. If not, he reckons we can look into other options.


    Either way... alternator is OK, starter motor is OK, fuel system is OK, battery is OK, relay is OK. So those are most of the expensive options checked and out of the way!! :)


    Now let's just pray that the new sensor fixes it, or that it starts after waiting another 20-40 seconds for the plugs to warm up (even though the light goes off) depending on temperature.


    What a game!!

  • On a really cold day (scraping the frost off cold)
    I will often wait for the glow light to go out, then turn off and back on again, so the glow plugs have a couple of goes of getting to temperature.


    My van keeps asking nicely when we are going somewhere warm!


    :beard: