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.

  • 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.


    yeah that's what i was doing with mine but Mark the Brilliant Mechanic reckons that it just wasn't enough for this engine to have it turned on, then off, then quickly back on again,etc a few times over. He says the glow plugs were still warming up when the key is turned even when the light is off (hence why he thinks its some sort of communication problem) so I am better off leaving the ignition on when the light goes out for a few more seconds. I guess I'll find out tomorrow once it has sat overnight again.

  • yeah that's what i was doing with mine but Mark the Brilliant Mechanic reckons that it just wasn't enough for this engine to have it turned on, then off, then quickly back on again,etc a few times over. He says the glow plugs were still warming up when the key is turned even when the light is off (hence why he thinks its some sort of communication problem) so I am better off leaving the ignition on when the light goes out for a few more seconds. I guess I'll find out tomorrow once it has sat overnight again.


    Ok ask him to test his theory before you spend. You can manually activate the plugs by attaching a live cable directly from the plug bar to the battery live. Attach count misissipis then remove and try

  • Hahahaha your support is the best. Love it!


    Well today I noticed that the pigtail light is staying on longer than normal, but not long enough to accurately tell me when the engine is warm enough. So following my mechanic's advice I didn't turn the engine over until twenty or thirty seconds after the light went out, and hey presto, he started first time!! :D clever Snail (that's his name, just in case anyone doesn't know yet).


    Currently parked up in Oxford with a coffee (that I've just made on my camp stove) and just had my dinner. Sun is casting the most beautiful light over the old stonework here. Happy times.

  • Afternoon all.... just in case you all thought this was over... think again! Here I am with more news...


    So, Monday morning I'm chilling curbside having a bit of breakfast and considering my next move. I jump in the front, start the engine, and hear the cranking get slower and slower and slower, till nothing. The van had been struggling to start for two weeks previous but I eventually got him going so I'd just being going with it, presuming that the warmer weather was helping.


    After hassling everyone who stopped nearby to ask if they had jump leads, I called my breakdown and paid the damn £40 call out charge (my breakdown costs £18 a year, and then you pay a call out fee. Yup.) to get a jump start. I drove him straight back up to Lincs to my trusted mechanic, Marc, and have left him there for a sleep over for a couple of nights so that Marc can see what's going on.


    Got a call just now and we've now got the following news:


    Low compression. Marc reckons an engine flush and an oil change will help seal up any valves that might be letting the compression escape. That would explain why starting hot is fine, cos obviously the components have expanded enough to keep the seal. He's also putting a better battery on for me cos he says the one that came with the van was too low on its crank power, or something. That makes sense to me, cos the one I put on it was a 55aH/340a and the one I took off my BMW to put on it is a 70aH/640a and Marc reckons this ol' diesel needs a bit more then 70aH to keep it going reliably in the cold. Oh, and just to top it off, it's not had an oil change in that long that the oil filter was actually rusty. Haha.


    So, today I'm treating Snail to an engine flush, oil change (Castrol Magnatec) and a new powerful battery with 5 year warranty. And I'm treating myself to........ a day of not looking at my bank account.

  • BUT... let's think positively here... even with an engine flush and oil change and a new fancy battery AND labour to have it diagnosed and hopefully fixed, it's still coming to less than one week's rent in Oxford. So there we go people. Live in vans!! :D

  • Raffi, loved you build thread. At least you're making progress on getting the problem sorted out. It's great to see your not losing heart with the van, everyone gets sick occasionally. :-)

  • Raffi, loved you build thread. At least you're making progress on getting the problem sorted out. It's great to see your not losing heart with the van, everyone gets sick occasionally. :-)


    Thanks! Ah how can anyone lose heart with that little van... it's so damn cute. The first few times I got stuck I got so pissed off with the van that I was all for taking out a 10k loan and getting a one or two year old one, but then I think about it and it's done me proud despite these little hiccups. Haha on Monday morning I didn't get at all annoyed with it when it died. I actually just smiled, took a deep breath, and then went on the hunt for jump leads. This van is making me soppy!

  • On another thread somewhere in here, I advised someone to ask for a set of jump leads as a christmas present.


    Then spend some time learning how to use them on your van.


    It is a lot easier if you have the cables in your hands to ask for a jump start.


    Avoid the cheap and nasty ones from poundland.


    :beard:

  • I made my own jump leads, bought the croc clips and then made up the leads from 10 lengths each of 2.5mm cable, this is more flexible than standard jump leads, can carry more current, and can be whatever length you want. of course you still need a spare battery.
    Grendel

  • Sad news, ladies and gents and all in between...


    The work done on the van and the new battery has only made a slight difference to the starting problems. Marc the Mechanic reckons that the piston rings and seals etc must be buggered and he says only thing to fix it all properly would be an engine rebuild or a new engine. Soooo that might be the end of the line for me and Snail. Hopefully he will last me a couple more months, then Snail v2 will be in the making. Ohhhh dear.

  • This has been touched upon already, but since I've had similar problems with my Renault Master I thought I'd pitch in my experience.


    I've had lots of similar starting problems. I've been told it's basically dead due to poor compression, it smokes white on cold starts, I used to switch off when the light went out and back on to reheat the glowplugs with some success, I've changed glowplugs five or six times in 10 years. It's still dodgy in very cold weather or if I don't use it daily, but the biggest help has been to learn that when the pigtail light goes out, is not necessarily when the plugs are fully heated, if I keep the ignition at the heat position after the pigtail light goes out, 7 or 8 seconds later the relay clicks, switching off the glowplug heating, and low and behold it then starts a lot better.


    I've nearly scrapped it several times, but don't be disheartened by doom and gloom stories from mechanics that don't have the skill or experience to identify the problem, what you need is a good auto-electrician. Eventually mine fitted a new relay, powered from a dashboard light circuit (so half my dash speedo at night is not lit ... ho-hum) and I ignore the pigtail light and listen for the relay click ... in very cold weather I'll sometime give it an extra 5 seconds heat after the click, but overheating the glowplugs is not good for them (similarly I'm told under heating them is not good?)


    Mine's an old van, it's compression is poor, but there's still a useful bit of life in the old girl yet!


    Hope that helps and good luck.


    Peter


  • Thanks for posting this, Peter! I've been doing the same as you. Thing is, my relay clicks off after 55-60 seconds, not 7 or 8! I thought this seemed abnormally long...


    I wouldn't mind having starting troubles if it weren't killing the battery so often. I've had three different batteries on it and they've all gotten drained cos of it.


    If I can get some money together then I'm going to get myself a bigger van anyway so I guess I'll just leave it to fate to sort it out!


    Hi raffi did you try starting it while running a hair dryer Into the intake it will put the glow plug question to rest


    Na I didn't :( should have done really but the glow plugs have been tested now and apparently they are all right..

  • ........... my relay clicks off after 55-60 seconds, not 7 or 8! I thought this seemed abnormally long....


    Depends how quickly your pigtail light goes out, in your video it seemed to go off very quickly to me.


    I just checked mine (1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, style) and my light goes out after 8 mississippies and the relay clicks after 15 mississipies (so 7 mississipies after the light goes out) ... so 55 to 60 seconds sounds way too long to me. Staying on too long can damage glowplugs (I was told)


    I'd be looking for a good auto-electrician if I were you.


    Good luck.

  • Nooo, sorry to hear this :( Keep being positive though :) I've grown to think that these sort of hiccups are part of the experience - a new vehicle with no possible faults would just be cheating :)


    I used to get pissed off when my car developed the slightest fault, I just wanted it to work and so I never put the time aside to sort it out... but when I bought my van, I actually bought a pile of problems that needed sorting (I know, I'm nuts). It's a different mind set keeping older vehicles running.


    At this point you might as well just keep it going for as long as you need, you know it will be pretty much reliable as long as you keep the battery healthy (and carry a spare?) and stay on the glow plugs for long enough. It might be worth running a few bottles of Redex type fuel additive through it. Some people swear by it, and others would say it does nothing... but it can't do any harm. The valves might be heavily coked up and therefore not closing properly. Some kind of additive might help slowly clean them and restore some of the compression.

  • Compression test is the only reliable way to diagnose low compression and you would be looking for a marked drop in pressure across one or more of the four cylinders. even if all four are slightly below rated pressure or a small variation in all four shouldnt cause the prob you are having.
    After temp sensor /battery change you say it started fine until the next time you tried and got slow crank no start, prob becauase alternator not able to charge larger amph battery.. I think maybe find out the rated battery for engine and fit exactly that as a start.
    As stated by PDCambs
    "I'd be looking for a good auto-electrician if I were you."
    Generally speaking with deisel engines if it conks out or wont start the prob is either fairly minor and in the right hands easily fixed or a major prob not so easily fixed but as you have had the engine started since your issue began I think prob not so big a prob but what is needed is an accurate diagnosis of the prob.
    Many times ive had engine issues put 2 and 2 together made 4 and thought right this or that must be whats wrong and ive been wrong. If someday says it must be this or I reckon its that unless backed up by test specific data treat as guesstimate.


    Hope this helps a little....:)

  • a quick test for engine wear is to remove the oil filler cap whilst the engine is running if you get what looks like exhaust coming out this is either worn or not seating valves or worn rings allowing the crank case to pressurise. If there isn't anything (you will always feel a movement of air) then the engine is more than likely ok, hope this makes sense to you.

  • Raffi is its pistons or seals try reddex stop smoke diesel treatment, i got a bottle out of asda for a fiver n its stopped my transit from rattling. It still smokes a bit but no place as bad. Its went from 40 a day to about 15


    note to self, always tip a bottle into any motor im selling the day before hand. The difference is unbelievable

  • Yeah its had a bottle of reddex in it and it has made a bit of a difference.. yesterday started fine after having sat for 12 hours overnighit but it was warm outside. im sure this bloody diesel isnt getting warm enough cos whenever it does start its warm from sun or warm from having already been running...

  • That's what they told me about LSD. Best thing about that trip was the ride in the ambulance. Dark windows only intensifies the visuals. People outside walking on the pavement looked like they were from another world. Try telling the triage nurse how you feel when your tongue is hiding in your throat, like a turtle that won't poke out its head. All I could say was tripping. Thankfully they understood and took me into the kids ward where they have a soft toy room to come down in. 🏥

  • Pyke + AW -- you're making me laugh my head off in some nice little quiet country pub. Snail has driven about 600 miles over the past couple of days. Only time we've struggled was in Derbyshire hills at 8am when it was freezing cold and windy. We got going after a few starts. Ahhh let's see how he survives the early winter. Don't think he will last cold cold winter but i'll probably have buggered off by then anyway.. :)

  • Raffi that explains something! I was sure I drove past you and snail just coming out of Bakewell on Saturday. So it was you afterall!


    IT WAS MEEEE!!!!! Funny cos I was thinking about you n Trap n whoever else is in Derbyshire when I was driving around!! Haha yeah you know it was me cos no-one else is crazy enough to live in a C15 :)