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Thread: 4D55 Getting it started... help

  1. #1

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    4D55 Getting it started... help

    Hi, I've got a diesel d-50. Truck has sat for at least a couple years. I was told it ran when it was parked after being rear ended.

    So, here's what I've done so far:

    Glow plugs are good. Checked them, they have power to them.

    Fuel is good, rigged it so it would suck out of a can, and put the return line back in the can so I can see what's going on. (and so I know i'm using good fuel)

    Turn the key on, fuel pump starts working, and I can see fuel coming into the can from the return line.

    But, the vehicle won't start.

    So, any suggestions, ideas, etc? Diesels are a tad new for me.

    Even better, if someone who knows these motors is in the Southern California area, and is willing to give me a hand, I'd be happy to pay you for your time.

    Mike Warme was going to help, but he's gone incognito again. I think he's got too much on his plate now. But I can't keep waiting and need to get this thing running.

    Mike had mentioned something about a valve that gets stuck in the fuel pump, but the fuel is going to the motor...

    Any help is appreciated.

  2. #2

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    The valve you mentioned might be the stop solenoid located on the back side of the injector pump right above where the injector lines connect. When you turn the key on you should hear or feel it snap. That is what turns the motor off once its running, if its stuck or has gone bad then it won't start.

    Are you getting good hard crank from the starter?

    have you cracked the injector lines at the injectors to see if they are getting good spit. If so then the stop solenoid is working if not then it could be air or the stop solenoid. Try cranking the engine over with the injector lines loose to make sure there is no air in the injector lines, once you get good fuel tighten them down and try starting again.

    Sometimes old diesels like a good "drag" to get them going if they've been sitting. If you have the means tow it behind another truck to try pull starting it.

  3. #3

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    Hi Mac,

    Thanks for the reply.

    To answer your questions:

    1) Yes, the starter is giving a good crank.
    2) I've cracked the injector lines, and see fuel spitting from them. I also get fuel coming from the return line as well.

    3) The "drag start" isn't exactly an option, otherwise I'd gladly give it a try. The rear of this truck is smashed, so it's not drivable.

    Appreciate the response. Any other ideas?

  4. #4

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    I'm having a learning experience with my diesel myself but If there is air in the system you dont' want it to actually start. Could be bad being a diesel lol You sure the injector tips aren't clogged or anything like that? Compression good? I know you talked about making one good truck out of 2 so have you done anything else to the engine?

  5. #5

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    Engine hasn't been touched. I'm aware of the problem with air in the system. That's not it.

    Not sure about injector tips. The PO said the vehicle was a running driving car when it was rear ended.

    Haven't checked the compression. I bought a tester off ebay, and the POS broke the first time I used it. Fortunately the seller immediately refunded my money, but I still don't have a decent diesel compression tester.

  6. #6

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    I bought one that ran when it was parked too but now it has no compression. I can turn the crank effortlessly. I've gota get the body off and start tearing into the engine. The radiator cap housing blew off the radiator so I think mine has a blown h/g or warped head.

  7. #7

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    Well, I ordered another compression tester. So hopefully that will give me SOME answers. Will post more when I know more. Thanks for the help...

  8. #8



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    We have an engine manual for the diesels in the manual section > over 216 Manuals. There is a zip with a bunch of diesel s in there.
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  9. #9

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    Ok, I think I've found one possible culprit. Hidden under the dash is a push button that sends power to the glow plugs. This obviously wasn't stock.

    When the button is held in, there's 12V directly to the glow plug wiring strap. When it's not held in, there's no power.

    I'm wondering if there's an easy way to "jury rig" the glow plugs to work properly. Anyone know? Thanks.

  10. #10

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    IT's ALIVE!!!!

    It turns out, the electrical was a bit sketchy. I ended up having to use a push button to pre heat the glow plugs. Each time I tried to start it, I increased the amount of time on the pre-heating, and it started to attempt to start at a count of 15. (Probably about 10 second). It finally started after a count of 25. So it needs a bit of pre-heating on the plugs, then it fires right up, and ran great.

    I don't think the turbo is working though. At least I can't hear it. Hmmm. How does one tell if that's kicking in?

    Thanks.

  11. #11



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    if you see it spin by looking into the intake side it's working. The heat of the exhaust is what makes it spin faster when the engine is under a load. The heaver the load, the more heat, the faster the spin. DO NOT stick your finger in there. We had a guy in tech school try to stop a turbo at idle on a little Deutz diesel. It took the finer off up to the first knuckle. Myself and 2 other guys had the honer of tearing down the engine looking for the finger since it happened in my class. We were hopping it was in there. It cut that thing off and sucked it through and never miss fired.
    Also I herd that bypassing the timer / voltage reducer can destroy the glow plugs. So be careful with the button.
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  12. #12

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    I appreciate the heads up, but I tend to NOT stick my finger into areas where things could be spinning rapidly... lol

    So will it spin if the engine is revved, but hasn't warmed up?

    Thanks.

  13. #13


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    the turbo will always spin even at idle but it won't produce boost till higher RPM. The impeller on the exhaust side spins anytime there is an exhaust flow which turns the compressor wheel in the front half. Pop the inlet tub off in front of the turbo and look to see if its spinning.

  14. #14

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    Eddie, Even though fuel is making it to the rail does not mean a thing because it is not delivering correctly nor at the right pressure. If you have at least 325 psi per cylinder and a few seconds of glow than it should start. When these diesels have sat for a long time the pumps get goofed up period. Judging by all the oil that was all over the engine i'd say you most of your compression is in the bottom of the crank case!.

  15. #15

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    Mike, I finally got the truck fired up, and it ran fine. Blew a lot of smoke for a few minutes, then warmed up a bit.

    BTW, I tried to connect with you via text, email etc, a few times, but never heard back.

  16. #16

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    I ran my 84 (and then swapped into an 82 4wd for many thousands of miles 300,000+) with a push button feeding 12v direct to Gplugs without any issues. One finally quit in the second truck at about 500,000 miles, but I wasn't complaining...It still would start, just missed for a minute or so if below 45 degrees or so. Found one somewhere of a wreck and installed it...good to go, again. All working when sold at almost 600,000 miles. Two turbo journal bearings (used dino GAS oil and carboned up drain, like a dass)!, starter rebuilt brushes twice, a new clutch, adjusted valves once, timing belt once (but still looked new at 275,000 miles! yes I was stupid (and bad broke back then)!, scarest was oil sender blew the top off itself and I happened to look down at the gauge (in console, had buckets as a Sport truck model) and saw NADA! stopped in time, not empty/low enough to ruin engine THANKFULLY!! STopped up sender, refilled 3 qts oil, and drove to parts house for new sender! All good! Maybe an alternator..or just diodes, I think, from reversing jumper cables! ANyways bulletproof and amazingly economy!

  17. #17

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    SO, (sorry) GTGo re button to glow plugs, just don't over do it and leave it pushed longer than truck does (time the relay when it clicks off), to make sure, (or 30 seconds is about right I believe.

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