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Old 03-19-2019, 08:21 PM   #1
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Exclamation T444E won't start consistently

Hello.
I recently purchased a school bus with T444E engine in it. It was working well until the deep cold hit. It was sitting in under 0 temps for a couple of days in wisconsin. I had the batteries charging and the block heater plugged in all winter but now every time I want to start it it takes up to 10mins of me turning it on and off to start. It will crank every time but doesn't start until my 15th or 20th try. We checked the oil and it seems fine and has plenty of gas. Any suggestions?? We also recently took the AC unit out if that helps
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:55 PM   #2
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AC unit wont affect starting.. so you are saying it fails to start even with the block heater hot? can you feel that the area around the block heater is warm? (that the block heater didnt die)..



if you pull the cap off the fuel filter bowl on top of the engine is it full of fuel?



if it starts easy with block heater on and not without, then the glowplugs or glowplug relay are suspects.. does your WARN light stay on? or just goes on and then off when you cycle on the key?
-Christopher
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:58 PM   #3
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I added Fuel Additive to help the diesel from gelling in the real cold temperatures.

https://powerservice.com/psp_product...-cetane-boost/

You may also want to check the filters.
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Old 03-20-2019, 11:32 AM   #4
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So yes the block heater is putting off heat and it is full of fuel when I pull the filter out. The warn engine light comes on when I turn the key then goes away. Even after I've had the block heater plugged in for a day it still won't start until the 10th try
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Old 03-20-2019, 11:36 AM   #5
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Also when I checked the oil just now it was covering full. So could it be gas leaking into the oil?
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Old 03-20-2019, 01:13 PM   #6
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Disregard the oil comment. Bus wasn't level . Blonde moment
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Old 03-20-2019, 02:53 PM   #7
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Cold start issues on a T444E, my first place to look would be the glow plugs. It's an easy diagnosis. When you turn the ignition on and the "wait to start" light comes on, you should see your voltage needle plummet. Those things draw around 100 amps of power which will put your needle under 12, maybe even to 10. If your needle doesn't do that, they're likely not engaging.

The easy test to be sure that's the problem is to bridge the glow plug relay (solenoid actually). There are 2 large wires and 2 small wires that connect to it, you need to connect the two large ones together for about 15 or 20 seconds (colder temp = longer connect) with the ignition in the "on" position. You can do this with a plastic handled screwdriver or even jumper cables, something that can handle a bunch of juice without shocking you. It should fire right up after that.

Your relay likely look like either this: https://amzn.to/2Hv0RXL
or this: https://amzn.to/2Yagwks

The second one is what I used to replace mine when it failed.
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Old 03-20-2019, 04:07 PM   #8
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Thank you so much! I will test that today and let you know. Also I'll absolutely check your build out!
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Old 03-20-2019, 05:13 PM   #9
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wierd that its a no start with the block heater plugged in.. almost starting to sound like an HPOP draining down... that will give very long crank times..



Brokedown's idea of testing the glowplug relay is a definite good place to start..
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Old 03-22-2019, 01:07 PM   #10
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So the voltage was good. I got it started after a while and it was working fine for a while. Then today it won't start again. The glow plugs and relay are all good to my understanding. What is hpop?
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Old 03-22-2019, 01:31 PM   #11
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HPOP is High Pressure Oil Pump
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Old 03-22-2019, 01:34 PM   #12
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Okay so you think that's the issue?
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Old 03-22-2019, 02:08 PM   #13
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the injectors are actuated by the computer and also Hiugh pressure engine oil.. your engine has 2 oil pumps.. the usual one (which shows on your dash gauge), and the High pressure or HPOP, the HPOP reservoire is filled by the regular oil pump.



the HPOP reservoir has to have oil in it or the injectors wont push fuel into the cylinders.. it is possible that its draining down after the bus sits for a time.. soi then you crank and crank which allows the regular oil pump to re-fill the HPOP..



the other possibility I thought of is an injector or injector O-ring allowing the fuel in the rail to drain out.. most likely you would notice a fuel smell in your oil... and / or your oil level going up above normal even if you filled it to normal fill level...



-Christopher
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Old 03-22-2019, 09:25 PM   #14
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Does your bus have a diagnostic button on the dash anywhere? Maybe you have a code stored the the computer that could help?
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