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Old 09-05-2006, 10:07 AM   #1
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Hard time starting my 5.9 Cummins this weekend

We went camping way out in the woods this past weekend with my bus and I had a hard time starting it when it was time to leave. Heres a detailed discription of what happened, maybe you guys can give me some pointers?

I started the bus to leave for the trip at my house and it fired right up - just as it always does. For some reason I always have to tap the throttle pedal as the engine is cranking for it to start. This started last winter when Jason turned up my governer. But even when the engine is warm I have to tap the throttle for it to start. I dont know if this matters, but thought I'd mention it.

Anyway... It started fine when I left on Friday, drove it about 80 miles or so; the last 4 or 5 of which were down a very bumpy 2-track to the campsite in the Manistee National Forest (in Michigan, about an hour or so north of Grand Rapids)

I know the bus had at least 1/4 tank of fuel - probably closer to a half tank (my fuel gage reads empty when there is closer to 1/2 tank of fuel, and it was reading 1/4 tank) So I don't think it was out of diesel. When I tried to start the bus to leave yesterday it cranked over but wouldn't fire. I had a spare fuel filter so I changed that & primed the fuel system... still nothing. I took off the air filter to see if it was clogged... still nothing. It would crank then once and a while would sputter like it wanted to start but wouldn't.

So we took a truck up to the nearest store (probably at least 30 min away) and ran a geni to plug in the block heater & run the trickle charger, while we were gone. The temp outside was mid to high 70's so I dont think it was cold, but it does seem to run better when the engine's warmed up.

We came back from the store and I cranked it as a friend shot starting fluid (said it was for gas engines, but we were in the middle of nowhere and thats all they had) and the engine ran off the starting fluid. Did this a few times but it would stall as soon as it used the shot of starting fluid.

Finally I took a ratchet and tapped on the Injunction Pump while cranking the engine and it slowly started - chugged and smoked for a few seconds then started and ran fine for the rest of the way. I even shut if off a few times & restarted it on the way home and it fired right back up.

Is this a sign that my injection pump is going out? Anyone else have a problem like this before? Maybe there was air or a blockage in one of the fuel lines that was knocked loose when I tapped on it?

I read another post on here about a weak lift pump may stress/damage the injection pump & that it might be a common problem for the 5.9L Cummins (my engine)

My bus is a 91 with a 5.9L Cummins turbo/innercooled diesel - auto trans. I'm told that IP looks like a Bosh IP

Any help is appreciated.
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Old 09-08-2006, 09:58 PM   #2
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The weak IP's in the Cummins that are getting all the bad hype that I read about are the VF44 pumps. These are rotary pumps used on the ISB version of the 5.9. I'm almost positive you still have a 6BT 5.9, almost always regarded as more stout. Either way...I'd just keep trying and at home and see what happens. It may have just been a fluke. I can't imagine what else it would have been.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 09-09-2006, 08:28 PM   #3
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Old 12-12-2006, 11:15 AM   #4
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sounds like possibly the fuel solinoid is tired, most mechanical pumps use energise to run fuel solinoids(electric coil pulls spring loaded plunger to run) it's on the injection pump, remove the solinoid remove the plunger and spring, install the solinoid, start the engine. their is a manual/mechanical lever on the side of the pump to stop the engine. look up bosch ve pumps online for pictures or visit your local diesel pump shop for advice.
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Old 12-23-2006, 10:24 PM   #5
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Any chance that last 4 or 5 miles of rough road shook up enough crud in the fuel tank that some bypassed the filter?
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Old 12-24-2006, 08:51 PM   #6
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From experience as both a truck driver that used to have a Cummins motor, and from working at a Ford-Sterling Heavy Truck Dealership in the parts department...I can tell you that Cummins Injector pumps have been notorious for failure. I think they have retro's most of them these days, but if you got an older one it may fall into that catagory of questionable pumps.

These pumps are also epensive to replace....extremely expensive! I turned down a great deal on a bus last year because it needed the IP replaced before it could be driven off the lot.

Our parts department sends them out for rebuild whenever possible because of the cost difference... (about half what it cost to buy a factory reman)....we have a local company that rebuilds them for around $700...
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Old 12-24-2006, 09:41 PM   #7
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Cummins hard start

When any diesel will not start, add start fluid. There is a bit of a caution. Never spray any start fluid into an engine with glow plugs while engine is not turning. My personal method is to crank the engine for about 1 minute, which should raise the combustion temps a bit. Wait about a minute and try to start the engine again. Wait another minute, and attempt to start the engine and add short bursts of start fluid. After the engine starts, give some additional shots of starting fluid in 30 second bursts. Keep spraying fluid for a time until the engine makes some heat and begins to smooth out the rpm. You cam add gallons of start fluid after the engine is running but not before the engine is turning. Having no starting fluid is not a problem. If there is gasoline available, pour gasoline into a shop towell or any rag. While engine is turning trying to start hold gas rag near the air cleaner or inlet. The fumes from the gas will light that diesel now. Only use any start aid while the engine is turning. Diesel starters are always destroyed by cranking too long., Any starting aid is better than destroying the starter. Never attempt to start a diesel with a low charge battery. When the battery voltage goes down, the amperage draw can double or tripple. A charged battery will indicate 12.5 or 12.6 volts. A battery showing just 12.0 volts is 75% discharged.
A digital volt meter is a must have for all. Frank
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Old 12-24-2006, 11:37 PM   #8
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i am scared of starter fluid. I try not to use it.
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Old 12-25-2006, 01:55 AM   #9
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If gas on a shop towel held @ the air cleaner intake doesn't start your engine, it needs something other than ether, that's only a prescription for an early rebuild (damaged piston) ar starter damage when the engine kicks back.
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Old 12-25-2006, 10:08 AM   #10
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Re: Cummins hard start

Quote:
Originally Posted by frank-id
A charged battery will indicate 12.5 or 12.6 volts. A battery showing just 12.0 volts is 75% discharged.
A digital volt meter is a must have for all. Frank
Hi Frank,

At 12.0 volts that battery is further gone than you think!

A fully charged battery in its rest state is generally 12.8 volts, at 12.1 volts a battery is at a 50% depth of discharge level, and at 10.5 volts its dead.
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Old 12-25-2006, 07:36 PM   #11
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I can't be trusted with starter fluid. My bus came with a can of it that was never used to start it....instead it was used to melt a cop action figure from the dollar store....
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Old 12-28-2006, 11:27 PM   #12
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Well it's started fine ever since that weekend. I didn't really want to use the starting fluid, but I tried everything else & I really didn't want to leave my bus in the woods.

I don't know if that did it or if it was me tapping on the fuel pump and fuel rails. But I'm keeping that can in the bus from now on, and I wont be using it to melt action figures anytime soon. hahaha

My engine doesn't have glow plugs, I've heard that you can use ether to start a diesel but like I said I was in the middle of nowhere and starting fluid was all they had.
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Old 09-28-2007, 12:51 AM   #13
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Re:

Quote:
Originally Posted by phillbus914
Well it's started fine ever since that weekend...
Until now... It seems this problem has shown up again. I have to keep priming my fuel system, it'll run for about 10 min or so then stall out. I checked the fuel lines and found a few places where it looks wet - an indication that air is getting into the fuel system.



I got a replacement filter and some rubber fuel line today... that filter has been on there for a while, it was full of muddy disesl. I've never changed it since I bought the bus - about 3 & 1/2 years ago now...

I started cutting off some of the old fuel line - from the filter to the engine and found a spot about 12" up where it has been "fixed" before and it was very wet at the clamps. It was hidden behind that plastic ribbed junk on the rt. of the pic. there... that stuff does a great job of holding rocks and road grime against the fuel line.

A storm rolled in before I could finish it, but it should be all set and ready to roll tomorrow. I just thought I'd update this in case someone else has an issue like this someday.
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Old 09-28-2007, 01:07 AM   #14
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Re: Hard time starting my 5.9 Cummins this weekend

I told ya that 5.9 was junk. I'll do you a favor and take your bus off yoru hands!
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Old 09-28-2007, 09:50 AM   #15
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Re: Hard time starting my 5.9 Cummins this weekend

Hey now it's not the motors fault the rubber fuel lines are leaking... the fixed part of hose I pulled off was very cracked and looked ready to fall apart - I think the school probably used some heater hose or something to fix it.

Soon as it warms up I'm goin out there to fix it.
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Old 09-28-2007, 08:14 PM   #16
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Re: Hard time starting my 5.9 Cummins this weekend

It's all fixed now. Starts right up and no leaks.

Spent the rest of the day washing the outside and painting the wheels with that rustoleum hammered paint. It's all ready to go for this weekend... I'm taking about 20 friends out to a bunch of bars. Should be a fun night.



I should have pressure washed the rims 1st but I didn't feel like goin and renting a pressure washer... Oh well they look better than they did before.
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Old 09-28-2007, 08:24 PM   #17
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Re: Hard time starting my 5.9 Cummins this weekend

Nice looking bus!
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Old 09-28-2007, 10:12 PM   #18
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Re: Hard time starting my 5.9 Cummins this weekend

Yeah, that rustoleum rocks! For future reference, instead of renting a power washer, just take it to the car wash. That's usually higher pressure than any portable power washer. I painted my mirrors with that rustoleum too.
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Old 09-28-2007, 10:15 PM   #19
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Re: Hard time starting my 5.9 Cummins this weekend

Thank you! I've put a lot of work into it.

It's shaping up to be a nice compromise between a motorhome and a party bus... I think of it as a motorhome and all my friends think it's the party wagon.

I should have thought of the pressure washers at the car wash... oh well if it flakes off I can just pressure wash it and do it over again - it only takes about 10 bucks in paint and an hour to do it.
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Old 09-28-2007, 10:31 PM   #20
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Re: Hard time starting my 5.9 Cummins this weekend

Yep. It took two cans for me to do all 4 wheels. It makes the bus look a lot better too. My paint has been on there for about 5 months now and it hasn't faded or peeled or anything. Your bus looks fantastic. Did you tint the windows yourself? There is a car wash down the road from my house that has an extra big bay for tall vehicles. Although most car washes are tall enough to get my bus in. My bus is right at 10' 4" tall.
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