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Old 10-26-2016, 08:33 PM   #1
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84 blue bird sat for a while wont start



Ok so its a back yard camper I start up and drive on my property a few times a year. This year to move down to my camping area with brand new batteries (Lights had been used) it wont start.

Ok, sure the cranking amps might be low but Iv had this start easy for a decade now! Used to start in .3 of a second!

1. Old diesel? (its 5 years old)
2. might need battery recharged? (although it had always started easy)

In the past few months its been acting like its harder to start!

could be anything but thought it could be something off your head like old gas or some shitty thing?

Its on non-op so no its not on the road, I just drive on a 5 acre plot and turn the motor on every few months and let it go for a half hour or less.
This time its not so happy!

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Old 10-26-2016, 10:14 PM   #2
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If it's cranking strong then it's probably just old fuel, especially if it's 5 years old like you said. I think diesel fuel has a shelf life of only about 2 years.

If on the other hand it's cranking slowly then I'd put some charge in the batteries before trying it again.

In either case I'd drain the old fuel out and put some fresh in.
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Old 10-26-2016, 11:28 PM   #3
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You could also try cracking an injector line and cranking it to see if you're getting fuel to the injectors.

Could be something as simple as an old dry-rotted fuel life with a crack in it that's sucking air instead of fuel.

Or a clogged fuel filter from sucking rusty fuel through it. If a steel tank sits stationary for an extended period of time at anything less than completely full, the inside of the tank that's above the fuel level can develop surface rust. The lower the fuel level, the more exposed steel there is to rust. Next time the vehicle gets moved, fuel sloshes around, washes the powdery rust to the bottom of the tank. Repeat a few times, and you have enough crud in the bottom of the tank to completely clog a fuel filter. Ask me how I know.

Or it could be bad fuel. But check to see if you're getting fuel first. Only takes a minute to rule that out.
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Old 11-16-2016, 11:09 AM   #4
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Hi Iv decided to drain the tank, its been sitting for 4 years.
I did not see a drain plug on the tank so do I get a hand pump and hose it out?

Big clouds of smoke comes from the tail pipe so its getting fuel, im guessing very old diesel.
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Old 11-16-2016, 12:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jaybus2 View Post
Hi Iv decided to drain the tank, its been sitting for 4 years.
I did not see a drain plug on the tank so do I get a hand pump and hose it out?

Big clouds of smoke comes from the tail pipe so its getting fuel, im guessing very old diesel.
Does that mean you got it running?

If so, and you can't find a drain plug, you could unhook the return line from the tank, stick it in a container and let it run until it runs itself out of fuel.

if there's a good bit of fuel in it, you could siphon out the majority of it before doing that though.
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Old 11-16-2016, 12:14 PM   #6
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no not starting.

symptoms.

1. started up in .4 seconds.
2. later in the year a full second, (hmmm thats strange)
3. Later in year 2 seconds. (wow thats not ok)
4. Later yet, 5 seconds DANG!
5. Not starting,
6/ Just tail pipe smoke.

Ill look see what I can take out for fuel lines and gravity drain.
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Old 11-16-2016, 02:55 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jaybus2 View Post
no not starting.

symptoms.

1. started up in .4 seconds.
2. later in the year a full second, (hmmm thats strange)
3. Later in year 2 seconds. (wow thats not ok)
4. Later yet, 5 seconds DANG!
5. Not starting,
6/ Just tail pipe smoke.

Ill look see what I can take out for fuel lines and gravity drain.
That doesn't sound (to me) like a "bad fuel" issue. It sounds more like the system is losing it's prime. As in, sucking in air somewhere.
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Old 11-16-2016, 03:03 PM   #8
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I was reading about that, im no mechanic. My lawnmower man mechanic friend said diesel has went sour or tank rusted a little and sloshed around.
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Old 11-16-2016, 03:11 PM   #9
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I seem to remember somebody suggesting you crack an injector line to see if you were getting fuel.

Did you ever do that?
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Old 11-16-2016, 03:26 PM   #10
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ill have to research where that is (injector line), I just got back to my mountain home to start wrenching
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Old 11-16-2016, 03:29 PM   #11
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I was reading about that, im no mechanic. My lawnmower man mechanic friend said diesel has went sour or tank rusted a little and sloshed around.
Diesel doesn't "go sour" quickly (we're talking years here.) My bus sat untouched for 4 years (before I bought it) and with fresh batteries, fired right off. It can develop microbes in it over time (this can be prevented or treated with fuel conditioner designed for the purpose). Aluminum tanks don't rust - that said, most buses have steel tanks which could rust, if water got in them.

Which brings to mind something else. Most systems have water separators. Check to see if yours has water in it. Most can be drained without too much effort. Also check for the presence of rust in the water/separator if you can. Your fuel filter(s) should catch any little rust particles floating around.

You need a diesel mechanic, not a lawnmower mechanic. The systems don't work the same.
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Old 11-16-2016, 04:12 PM   #12
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There doesn't have to be water in the fuel for the inside of the tank to rust. Just the humidity in the air is enough for surface rust to form if the vehicle isn't occasionally driven to slosh the fuel around and keep the inside of it coated in diesel.

That's a good idea about checking the water separator though.


Jay, what engine does your bus have? I'll see if I can help talk you through locating an injector line.
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Old 11-22-2016, 01:06 PM   #13
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Alright, a fresh charge and a new battery tender has this thing going.
It pretty much starts at first key clock now.
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Old 11-22-2016, 06:59 PM   #14
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Glad to hear that!

It's always nice when something turns out to be a easy fix.
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Old 11-22-2016, 07:21 PM   #15
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I am VERY very relieved that it was just a matter of a few dust bunnies being worked out after not being started for half a year.
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