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Old 04-05-2015, 09:59 AM   #1
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Advice needed - Starting a bus that has been in storage

I have had a bus in storage for about a year. It has not been started in that time. Do i need to be concerned about starting it up? It did not have a lot of diesel fuel in when I put it in storage. Would love any advice on precautions I should take before starting it up. Thanks!
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Old 04-05-2015, 04:41 PM   #2
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It's best to store them with a full fuel tank to prevent condensation in the tank. Did it have any additives for storage added to the fuel? If not I would recommend adding some PRI-D to the fuel to bring it up to refinery fresh. Were the batteries on a maintainer for the period of storage if not then bring batteries up to full charge. Before you start it check oil water belt and hoses then see if you can activate starter for 15 or 20 seconds of cranking to bring up oil pressure before allowing fuel to engine. By this I mean dry cranking the engine without key on to get oil to engine
bearings before allowing engine to fire. Try not to crank the engine for more than 30 seconds without a 5 minute rest to keep from overheating the starter. Good Luck
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Old 04-05-2015, 09:24 PM   #3
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What engine are you running? If it's a computer controlled engine with HEUI injectors (T444e, some Cats, the DT466e) then you should check the injector oil reservoir and add oil as necessary. The upper reservoirs have a check valve, but over time some oil may have trickled past. If it's empty then the injectors will not fire until it gets filled up again; meaning it could take many cranks. On mine there is a small npt threaded bung that can be removed to check/add oil.
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Old 04-05-2015, 09:24 PM   #4
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Starting any stored vehicle is easy

Add at least 5 gallons of new fuel. Check for oil. Make sure batteries are fully charged. If possible connect a running car to the batteries. Turn the engine over for about a minute. Wait a minute. Try and start the engine again. Wait a minute or two. Try to start again adding some start fluid and look at oil pressure gage. Engine is now probably started. If not try again with more start fluid. Recently, I started an old Detroit Diesel that was parked for 8 years. It took about an hour to make the engine sing. Power service is really good for fuel. Frank
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Old 04-05-2015, 09:28 PM   #5
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Try to start again adding some start fluid
Unless it has glow plugs! Do not use starter fluid with diesel engines that have glow plugs since it can be ignited by them and the flame could travel back down the air intake and make a real mess of things.
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Old 04-05-2015, 09:33 PM   #6
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Also, if the engine has a block heater, use it
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Old 04-05-2015, 09:45 PM   #7
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Glow plugs have no effect on start fluid unless

the fluid is sprayed into intake with the engine not turning with ignition on. When an engine is turning the glow plugs do not affect the start fluid. Poor advice.. Block heaters are merely a waste of time and money. Block heaters are very spendy to use. The heater does not circulate the warm coolant because of the thermostat and the radiator is trying to lose any heat. Best start method is to use start fluid carefully. My Cummins is lazy to start at temps lower than 40 degrees. A few squirts of start fluid saves the batteries and the starter. The number one reason for starter failure is low volts in the batteries. Frank
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Old 04-05-2015, 10:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by frank-id View Post
the fluid is sprayed into intake with the engine not turning with ignition on. When an engine is turning the glow plugs do not affect the start fluid. Poor advice.. Block heaters are merely a waste of time and money. Block heaters are very spendy to use. The heater does not circulate the warm coolant because of the thermostat and the radiator is trying to lose any heat. Best start method is to use start fluid carefully. My Cummins is lazy to start at temps lower than 40 degrees. A few squirts of start fluid saves the batteries and the starter. The number one reason for starter failure is low volts in the batteries. Frank

You sir have no clue. Without block heaters here, our diesel engines would never start for 7 months of the year.

Yes there are better units out there that thermosiphon the hot coolant, and there are expensive units like webasto heaters. However for the few $$ a block heater cost, it makes a massive difference.

Block heaters are only wasteful if you make them that way.
Run a timer if used regularly, and only run them for two hours before starting.

Most of our 400 buses have 2 or 3 block heaters in each.
Last year, the timer would trip the relay and switch all 400 plugs on at the parking bench.

This year all 400 buses are plumbed into a glycol system that is heated by a wood boiler.

Nat
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Old 04-05-2015, 10:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster View Post
This year all 400 buses are plumbed into a glycol system that is heated by a wood boiler.
Man, I'd love to see pics of THAT system. I'm a fan of wood boilers, and crazy uses of them in particular. That one takes the cake.
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Old 04-05-2015, 10:28 PM   #10
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
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Chassis: B3800 Short bus
Engine: T444E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frank-id View Post
the fluid is sprayed into intake with the engine not turning with ignition on. When an engine is turning the glow plugs do not affect the start fluid. Poor advice.. Block heaters are merely a waste of time and money. Block heaters are very spendy to use. The heater does not circulate the warm coolant because of the thermostat and the radiator is trying to lose any heat. Best start method is to use start fluid carefully. My Cummins is lazy to start at temps lower than 40 degrees. A few squirts of start fluid saves the batteries and the starter. The number one reason for starter failure is low volts in the batteries. Frank
Frank-id, those are blanket statements. This IS engine specific.

Firstly, my bus has a T444e and the block heater works great. It is noticeable easier to start if it has been plugged in for 1-2 hours and uses about 900w when plugged in. That is hardly "spendy" and well worth doing. Why not try every safe option possible? I recently started my bus after having it sit for 7 months in -20C (-4F) temperature. The glow plugs work, so a plugged in block heater, a charged battery and oil added to the HPOP reservoir - that's all it needed.

Secondly, the best reason not to use starter fluid on my engine? Because the manufacturer of the engine clearly says not to! A big, red warning label is posted next to the air-intake which seriously advises against it; mentioning air-box explosions. You see, the second the key is turned to the on position, the glow plugs are heating up. They will cycle on and off until a certain engine temperature is reached (or it has a timer.. I'm not entirely sure. They stay on for a bit after the engine starts, though). This is by design. If you happen to have ether in a cylinder when the glow-plugs come up to temperature, the ether will ignite. It doesn't matter if the air-intake valves are open, or the piston is before TDC (which can blow a head gasket, damage piston rings, bend rods, etc). If the glow-plugs are working properly then there is no reason to have ether in there anyway.

My opinion? If your engine has glow-plugs then don't risk it.
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