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Old 07-08-2024, 09:25 AM   #1
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Bus wonít start without starter fluid

I have a 2002 20 passenger chevy express that will not start without starter fluid. It turns over but will not start without it. Once started, it sounds just fine. Iím a mechanic in training. I donít know much so any help is appreciated! Thanks!

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Old 07-08-2024, 10:15 AM   #2
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Glow plugs?
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Old 07-08-2024, 11:20 AM   #3
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Iím a mechanic in training. I donít know much so any help is appreciated! Thanks!
how long you been training?

It kinda hard for anyone to help you if you don't let us know what motor you have....

Troubleshooting 101 !
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Old 07-08-2024, 12:46 PM   #4
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I’m away from the bus at the moment, but I believe it’s a 4500 6.5l, diesel motor. Also, sorry what I should have said is I’m self taught.
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Old 07-08-2024, 02:28 PM   #5
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Should have a "wait to start" light to indicate the glow plugs are glowing, and then when they turn off-- you start the engine.

If they are not functioning-- the engine would be very difficult to start----without starting fluid. Starting fluid can damage your engine. You can crack ring lands on the pistons, and not even know it is happening.

WD40, or gasoline in a spray bottle would be a lot easier on the engine.
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Old 07-08-2024, 07:08 PM   #6
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I'm also self taught, but here's what I can say based on your provided input.

If the bus starts and RUNS after using fluid, it's not a fuel system issue as it's getting fuel.

It's not a spark issue as it's igniting after it starts. Plus if it were a spark issue your starting fluid wouldn't ignite either.

It's not fuel injector issues as it continues to run after starting.

It's likely Glow Plugs, though those aren't always needed especially in the summer time when diesel fuel is warmer already from the ambient heat. But even still some engines need it more than others. My T444E had failed glow plugs when I bought it but had no trouble starting in the summer. Wouldn't start for crap though in the Winter. So in my experience this depends on the engine during summer time if glow plugs are still needed for starting. I'd have those replaced first and see if it's still an issue.

I'm sure I'm leaving something out so I'll let others comment on what I missed.
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Old 07-08-2024, 08:58 PM   #7
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Do you have a check engine light on?

Have you tested the glow plugs?

Have you scanned it.

You should have a LB7 I believe

GM changed these engines so much so often. Seemed like every few years they bolted more crap onto the engines.
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Old 07-08-2024, 10:52 PM   #8
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These were my thoughts exactly. I would have never thought about glow plugs because with it being summer. That will be my next step! Thank y’all!
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Old 07-09-2024, 04:45 AM   #9
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These were my thoughts exactly. I would have never thought about glow plugs because with it being summer. That will be my next step! Thank yíall!
You didn't really answer the questions.

It's a place to start.

How many miles are on the engine?

Generally these start good, when warm out.

As the engines wear out, compression drops. They become more dependent on the glow plugs.

I had a Ford 4.9l inline 6. Had over 500,000 on it. One morning is did not start. Gave a shot of starting fluid.and fired right up. Good for the day. Allow it to sit overnight and it would not start the next morning again. Was plumb wore out.
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Old 07-09-2024, 12:40 PM   #10
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I have a couple welders with diesels in them and you won't get them started w/o glow plugs or a shot of either, some engines HAVE to have a little help getting started when cold.
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