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Old 09-20-2018, 02:39 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
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Location: Gold Bar, WA
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 2000
Engine: 5.9 L Cummins Turbo
Rated Cap: 28
won't start - was getting crankier each time

Hi. My engine (1991 bluebird, cummins 5.9) will not start. It cranks strong, but no smoke from exhaust. All safety locks were removed long ago, brand new and charged batteries, 1/2 tank of fuel, no obvious kinks or leaks, pre-filter looks good when drained some, fuel filter put in maybe 200 miles ago and it is full and looks clean. Pumped manual lift pump with a stick from above and I can clearly hear a sound which sounds like fuel, not air. Does this mean the lift pump is not the culprit?

There is a giant spring under fuel lifter with completely rotten rubber boot - think this is just the governor, so shouldn't have anything to do with starting? Other ideas? Bus has only been driven once in 2 years, but started regularly. However it has been getting harder and harder to start each time. Once started it runs just fine, but due to having it not road ready haven't been able to test under load.

Would gladly hire a mobile diesel mechanic, but they won't bother unless you have a fleet and my build is not in a good place for getting it towed so trying to figure this out myself. Appreciate any info.
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Old 09-20-2018, 07:17 PM   #2
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Quite a few things come to mind re your no start.
So, no smoke is no fuel right, if it is cranking fine?

Why would that be....stale fuel from sitting, algae growth, the pump, etc?
New filter 200 miles ago, might be plugged depending on the length of sit time.

Do you have a grid heater or glow plugs?
Clean and tighten all connections and bring those batteries up to full charge again while you check out things.


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Old 09-20-2018, 09:22 PM   #3
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Do not rule out the battery.
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Old 09-20-2018, 09:23 PM   #4
Skoolie
 
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Location: Gold Bar, WA
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Year: 1991
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Chassis: TC 2000
Engine: 5.9 L Cummins Turbo
Rated Cap: 28
no start

No sign of algae or debris in pre-filter, looked clean. Opened top of fuel filter and was full and looked clean. Priming fuel lift makes nice "pshhh" noise of gas being expelled. Bus has grid heater. Batteries get a charge after each attempt at starting, crank is good and strong, but no exhaust, so gas not getting through or possible solenoid or such is not working. Think gas is getting through low pressure system, so sort of wondering about solenoid at this point (that might be wrong but it is listed near the top on Cummins check list). Connections on it looked clean, honestly couldn't see anything obviously wrong anywhere from looking above and below.

MIGHT have found a mobile mechanic, but last one cancelled after boss heard it was a bus, guess it is a pain to access, but then they are getting $110 an hour.

On the positive side after studying so many schematics I now have a much better idea how diesels work. I think if mechanic doesn't come through I will try testing the solenoid - out of my depth but would be worth a shot. I assume if priming lift pump emits gas, that it works? Engine really shakes on cranking so think it is ready to go if it just got gas, or properly pressurized gas. Once I get it started it runs great, just taking more cranks each time to get it to start.
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Old 09-20-2018, 09:28 PM   #5
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Chassis: TC 2000
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Heh Marceps. I do have new batteries, added them one at a time so I wouldn't mix leads. I also tried starting with AC charger on 50 amps and no go. Crank is strong but no smoke and no smell of diesel. I was pumping the gas pedal like crazy until I read that is bad for diesels as you need to let the oil circulate before raising the rpms.

Of course anything is possible.
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Old 09-20-2018, 10:43 PM   #6
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It sounds like a fuel issue for sure, is there an electric solenoid valve after the lift pump that could be sticking or burned up?

Edit: Just saw you're in Gold Bar. I've got a coworker up there, and I pass through frequently. Small world.
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Old 09-21-2018, 05:51 AM   #7
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Ok, on diesels there is no gas so fuel is the terminology to get used to using.


Solenoid it could be, an easy test. Usually you can hear it energize too as they are loud like a bang or knock.


Grid heater ..does it get hot? You should be able to hardly hold your hand on the steel in the area of it. Do not use ether with a grid heater.
Can you check the power on the grid relay? One side of the larger cables is always hot to ground, 12v. The smaller wires on the coil should come alive with the key on in the heating mode before startup. If not then time to trace them back and see why no power. 12v directly to that relay will prove the relay and the grid heater.



Time to bleed some air from the lines. Crack open the fuel line fittings that are in the system and work towards the engine block from the earliest filter, pump, etc.

You can do this and save your money, patience is key.
A great lesson for you here. Likely not the last time bus will not start so def a learning experience. Enjoy!


New batteries do not necessarily mean fully charged. Get a hydrometer and check the specific gravity of the cells.



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Old 09-21-2018, 11:31 AM   #8
Skoolie
 
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Location: Gold Bar, WA
Posts: 117
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 2000
Engine: 5.9 L Cummins Turbo
Rated Cap: 28
solenoid

So my knowledge (what little there is) comes from the Cummins quickserve site diagrams.
There is a clicking in the control panel when I turn the key (assume box type solenoid working?). So is it the electric fuel shut off solenoid you are referring to? I will have to look harder as I can't see it where shown in this picture.

Screaming park and low brake pressure alarms makes listening very hard.

UPDATE: OK, I believe this is what you are both referring to (see new picture). I found a video which shows spring as part of solenoid so think replacing this would be a good start.
Attached Images
File Type: gif 12Ve_locations-2.gif (95.9 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg 20180921_100926.jpg (178.5 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg solenoid and boot.JPG (32.5 KB, 9 views)
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Old 09-21-2018, 01:47 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
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Year: 1991
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Chassis: TC 2000
Engine: 5.9 L Cummins Turbo
Rated Cap: 28
Smile got her started

So did not have the right tools to get into the bolts holding the fuel shutoff solenoid, so tried pushing the piston in and out and it moved freely, then pushed it all the way in. Just on the off chance that it did something I started her. Started right away and died 3 times, then rough and now fine. I could have introduced air when I opened the fuel filter.

Guess without the boot that gunk has gotten into the little piston so will endeavor to borrow tools to get it out and replace it, or perhaps just a cleaning and new boot. Thank you for help. Youtube videos also helped me see how to remove this, once I knew what "this" was.
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Old 09-21-2018, 03:53 PM   #10
Skoolie
 
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 2000
Engine: 5.9 L Cummins Turbo
Rated Cap: 28
Spoke too soon. Won't start again and this time plunger valve doesn't want to stay compressed but pops back out.
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