Diesel glow plugs?

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by Cleve, Aug 16, 2001.

  1. Cleve

    Cleve LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Rockmart, GA
    Messages: 404

    I have a 94' Walker with the 3 cylinder diesel. Everything is fine except that I now have to operate the glow plugs for about 45+ seconds on a cold start. That is only when it is started the first time each day. After that it will start fine all day without the glow plugs (even after sitting for a couple of hours). I'm starting to think that maybe one or more of the plugs is not working.
    Has anyone any experince with how to check these? And how about changing them? I also have a Ford PSD and have heard horror stories about these things coming apart in the cylinders when trying to remove them.
    Thanks in advance.
  2. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,411

    Pull the wire and use a continuity test lamp. Light means good, no light means bad. They come out like a spark plug, I think its a deep 3/8 socket but may be wrong, I bought one special for my Ford years ago. Dont forget generous amount of neverseize compound on the threads before installing the new one.

    If it were mine Id just replace all 3, you going to pull the wires anyway.
  3. sdwally

    sdwally LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    On the all of our engines the test produce is really simple.(From the service manual) Remove the glow plug and connect to power source(12v battery). If the tips heat up and turn bright red, the glow plug is ok. I use jumper cables from the units battery to do this test.
    If you have over 1000 hours on the machine you may want to consider having the injectors rebuilt. If the injectors are dirty they will not atomize the fuel correctly, causing longer start times and lack of power. To check the injectors yourself you would need an injector testing pump, steel and brass tooth brushes to clean the tips(helps some if there is a lot of carbon build up). Use only a brass brush around the actual injector tip. If you pull an injector use a new copper washer when reinstalling.
    Most units with lots of hours will have a drop in cylinder compression which also hinders start up when cold. Some of our older unit takes about 30 seconds of glow plug use to start. With 45 seconds seems a tad much, hope you have a bad glow plug.
  4. captdevo

    captdevo LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 932

    Sounds like glow plug problem.

    I recently had this happen on both of my 92' Walker diesels. Simple test as posted. Real simple change.

    Also check the glow plug connections, my other unit had some corrossion on the connection, it wasn't getting enough power to it.

    sprayed a little tv tuner spray (Radio Shack) and has worked fine since.

    With over 3500 hrs. each, these little engines have held up great!!

    Also, add fuel treatment from time to time, i had a fuel bug once that gave me fits.

    Good luck!!
  5. Cleve

    Cleve LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Rockmart, GA
    Messages: 404

    Thanks for all the suggestions.
    I'll check the glow plugs first. At least they are located in a good spot to work on them.
  6. Cleve

    Cleve LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Rockmart, GA
    Messages: 404

    Problem solved...!
    Ended up being the fuel pump.
    Was trying to locate new glow plugs and seems that everyone from my Walker dealer to the local Kubota tractor supply would have to order them..?
    Kept looking at the fuel system and noticed that when I loosened the vent plug on the injector pump to see if I had air in the fuel supply line I got no flow at all with the electric fuel pump running.
    At least the local tractor dealer had the pump in stock ($145). I had removed it and checked it by wiring it direct to a 12v battery. No flow at all. Don't know how the engine was running at all.
    Then after replacing the pump I had to clean out the fuel tank on the mower. Turned out being almost impossible to do. Can't remove the tank and had to clean it in place. Suprised how much crud can accumulate in the bottom of a diesel tank. I also assume this helped to kill the fuel pump. Can't pump what can't get out of the tank.
    Walker now running like it was new. Starts in less than 30 sec. cold now. Glad I didn't replace the glow plugs.
  7. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,555

    Good deal,if you didnt fix that pump,eventually it would have burned out the injection pump $$$$$$.When the lift pump dies,the injection pump has to pull its fuel,which strains it,and can cause cavitation,which burns them out quickly.
  8. captdevo

    captdevo LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 932

    you should've been able to hear that it wasn't pumping, when you're preheating it primes.

    Glad that's all.
  9. Cleve

    Cleve LawnSite Senior Member
    Male, from Rockmart, GA
    Messages: 404

    That is what had me fooled. Pump was making the same sound it does when preheating the plugs. Just clickiing right along. It just wasn't moving anything through the fuel line. I'm going to take the old pump apart and see what is inside. Can only assume the diaphram might be broken.

    By the way, does anyone know how to remove the fuel tank on a Walker? It sure would help if I could take it off and really clean it out. Or at least get the pickup tube from it to clean it. Looks like it is installed in the bottom of the tank with a rubber "grommet" of some sort.


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