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Old 01-08-2020, 08:38 PM   #1
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Replace gasket vs workaround

This is about my Bluebird International 3800 T444E. Her name is Daisy.

From the beginning, Daisy has almost always required a shot of starter fluid to get her going, sometimes even a day or two after last having been driven. A local bus guy is telling me it's because of a bad gasket on the fuel injector intake. He tells me that replacing it is a big job (like 8 or 9 hours) but he could do a faster and cheaper workaround by installing an extra electric fuel pump in line that would pump a bit of gas at startup to get it going. He also owns a bus that had this same issue and this is the way he worked around it on his own bus.

My hesitation is, it feels like a cheap fix. I don't know what other things may be affected by this bad gasket, and it feels just wrong to allow a fuel leak, even a small one, to exist. However, I'm no diesel engine specialist; maybe this is perfectly acceptable, maybe not.

What do you all think about this workaround?

I kinda have to make a decision by tomorrow so any expert advice is appreciated.
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Old 01-08-2020, 08:48 PM   #2
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I'm not a diesel mechanic either, but I am (or rather was) a mechanic, & I agree it sounds cheap. Cheap & hokie.

I'm also kind of puzzled as to why the mechanic himself would take this work-around approach to his own bus. Maybe I'm not being fair, but I wouldn't trust a mechanic that does half-a$$ workarounds on this own vehicle.

Looking forward to what our actual resident diesel mechanics have to say (lots of smart peeps here). If it were me, I'd learn how to do it, and then do it (right) myself.


Finally, starter fluid is supposedly very no bueno for glow-plugged engines like yours & ours.
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Old 01-08-2020, 09:07 PM   #3
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Yeah, I know what you mean, it's just that I live in a smallish city and there are few diesel mechanics around here, even fewer who will touch a school bus. I don't have a lot of options, and this guy is really passionate about buses. He's an old guy, decades of experience, and has owned buses all his life. Sometimes people who really know their stuff come up with easy workarounds that work just as well. I'm trying to decide if this is one of them.
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Old 01-08-2020, 09:17 PM   #4
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I'm not a diesel mechanic either, but I am (or rather was) a mechanic, & I agree it sounds cheap. Cheap & hokie.

I'm also kind of puzzled as to why the mechanic himself would take this work-around approach to his own bus. Maybe I'm not being fair, but I wouldn't trust a mechanic that does half-a$$ workarounds on this own vehicle.

Looking forward to what our actual resident diesel mechanics have to say (lots of smart peeps here). If it were me, I'd learn how to do it, and then do it (right) myself.


Finally, starter fluid is supposedly very no bueno for glow-plugged engines like yours & ours.
The fix worked for a guy who didn't want to tackle the intensive repair to be able to do what he needs on his homestead. Wasn't intending to go anywhere really so took the easy out.
I've heard from "experts" (people working on them for 30+ years), who claim it is safe to use starting fluid on the motors. I've heard from "internet Experts" to never use it. Yet I have 2 cans of starting fluid here that specifically says for diesel engines. Then we have someone here who claims they use it on every start with no issues. I have yet to see a real world report of blown injectors or grid heaters or glow plugs. I think the idiot who sprayed half a can of fluid in and blew up his chit is where the "NEVER" use starter fluid came from.
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Old 01-08-2020, 09:24 PM   #5
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Diesels work great when all their systems are in working order. I suspect your's is missing something. I would verify or replace,

Glow plugs, to include the controller
Batteries
Lift pump

Using starting fluid is OK if you use it correctly, even with glow plugs or heating grids, if you know what you are doing.

But you should not have to use starting fluid in Florida ever.

I started my bus, 280 Cummins, today, normally, after a couple tries. And it was 8 degrees here today. Took a little bit to get some heat into the cylinders.

When was the last time you changed your glow plugs?

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Old 01-08-2020, 09:38 PM   #6
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My guy also tells me he thinks starter fluid is not a great thing for diesel engines, so on his bus he keeps a Gatorade bottle full of diesel, with a small hole in the cap, to use instead of starter fluid when needed. Yes, he's a bit crusty around the edges, but he swears it's easier on the engine than starter fluid, and cheaper. I'm not a fan of keeping fuel in illegal containers, especially in a vehicle, and I can afford the occasional $2 or $3 for starter fluid, so I definitely pass on that suggestion.
He has his quirks.
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Old 01-08-2020, 09:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
I've heard from "experts" (people working on them for 30+ years), who claim it is safe to use starting fluid on the motors. I've heard from "internet Experts" to never use it. Yet I have 2 cans of starting fluid here that specifically says for diesel engines. Then we have someone here who claims they use it on every start with no issues. I have yet to see a real world report of blown injectors or grid heaters or glow plugs. I think the idiot who sprayed half a can of fluid in and blew up his chit is where the "NEVER" use starter fluid came from.
Back in the 1970's I hung out around my father's trucking company and the drivers and mechanics that worked there.

The starting fluid argument was a popular topic of conversation. Not sure about any of them being "Internet experts" :

Typically the drivers used starting fluid as they saw fit and the mechanics got upset with them for using too much or for using it at all.

This is far from a "new" argument.

I avoid using it, but on engines without glow plugs or grid heaters in cold weather there have been times that was the only way to get on the road.

The last time I used it was in February 1996 in South Dakota. My options were start the bus or freeze to death. My 8v71 had no glow plugs, grid heaters or block heater.

I learned my lesson..... Don't go to South Dakota in February!
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Old 01-08-2020, 11:01 PM   #8
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So there's 3 likely things that cause the T444e engines to be hard to start. As mentioned before, the glow plugs may not be working. If you're getting a "Wait to start" and see a fair amp draw during this time, there's a good likelihood they are working. The next thing in the fuel system losing prime, either a fuel line or gasket is allowing a bit of air into the system when it's parked. This may be what he's diagnosing. Bacon mentioned a lift pump and your mechanic is basically suggesting an auxiliary fuel pump to re-prime the system each time this happens. It (probably) won't hurt anything but it doesn't address the root cause, which is likely to get worse over time (and with the electric fuel pump will, eventually, the leak will manifest itself into leaking fuel.) The third possible cause is the HEUI (sp?) draining down and having to pump oil back into the system before it will fire the injectors.


Now if he and you were talking about replacing/supplementing the lift pump with an electric one, that's a fair discussion and it will facilitate easier repriming the system after fuel filter changes. But it still doesn't fix the root issue, it becomes a rigged fix. Might be fine for a temporary use and if you only drive the bus a couple hours a week, a few times a year that might be fine, but if you plan to rack up some miles on it, you may want to correctly fix the problem.
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Old 01-08-2020, 11:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
I've heard from "experts" (people working on them for 30+ years), who claim it is safe to use starting fluid on the motors. I've heard from "internet Experts" to never use it. Yet I have 2 cans of starting fluid here that specifically says for diesel engines. Then we have someone here who claims they use it on every start with no issues. I have yet to see a real world report of blown injectors or grid heaters or glow plugs. I think the idiot who sprayed half a can of fluid in and blew up his chit is where the "NEVER" use starter fluid came from.
Many starting fluid products say right on the can "Not for use with glow plugs". Just one example:

Castle Fire One

This manufacturer says "Improper use or use in some glow-plug diesels could cause engine damage or bodily harm". I don't know what they mean by some.

https://www.goldcrest.com.sg/pdf/M3515-PI.pdf

Then there's the Ford Motor Company, referencing the glow-plug equipped Power Stroke Engine (7.3L powerstroke == t444e). The following quote can be found on page 10: "Do not use starting fluid, such as ether, in the air intake system (see air filter decal). Such fluid could cause immediate explosive damage to the engine and possible personal injury".:

http://www.fordservicecontent.com/Fo.../1160l6d5e.pdf

A little over a year ago, you seem to have had a different stance. I'm curious what made you change your mind:

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f37/st...tml#post302229


I do happen to know something about pre-ignition (though not diesel specific). Just because something doesn't necessarily blow up / break at the moment you're experiencing it doesn't mean you're not hammering the ever-loving sh*t out of your engine, creating damage that can ultimately result in premature component failure.
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Old 01-08-2020, 11:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Many starting fluid products say right on the can "Not for use with glow plugs". Just one example:

Castle Fire One


This manufacturer says "Improper use or use in some glow-plug diesels could cause engine damage or bodily harm". I don't know what they mean by some.



https://www.goldcrest.com.sg/pdf/M3515-PI.pdf


Then there's the Ford Motor Company, referencing the glow-plug equipped Power Stroke Engine (7.3L powerstroke == t444e). The following quote can be found on page 10: "Do not use starting fluid, such as ether, in the air intake system (see air filter decal). Such fluid could cause immediate explosive damage to the engine and possible personal injury".:



http://www.fordservicecontent.com/Fo.../1160l6d5e.pdf


A little over a year ago, you seem to have had a different stance. I'm curious what made you change your mind:


http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f37/st...tml#post302229
Stance has not changed at all. I said "caution" should be used. Not not use it at all. If used properly, is what I recommend. If used excessively it can cause issues

I think what happens a lot with the learning curve being so high for most noobs that they are listening to stories grandpa told back in the 60's and 70's. Well we ain't in the 70's no more and technological advances are so great that most of the old issues have been dealt with. That's why I ask for current real stories of blown motors from using starting fluid. BITD, ether was the prominent gent in starting fluid, today ether is not used in diesel starting fluids.
.
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Old 01-08-2020, 11:40 PM   #11
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My guy also tells me he thinks starter fluid is not a great thing for diesel engines, so on his bus he keeps a Gatorade bottle full of diesel, with a small hole in the cap, to use instead of starter fluid when needed. Yes, he's a bit crusty around the edges, but he swears it's easier on the engine than starter fluid, and cheaper. I'm not a fan of keeping fuel in illegal containers, especially in a vehicle, and I can afford the occasional $2 or $3 for starter fluid, so I definitely pass on that suggestion.
He has his quirks.
OK, a squirt bottle of diesel is not the same as starter fluid. If he is squirting diesel into the engine and it is starting, then, you lack diesel fuel for starting, hence the lift pump.

Starter fluid lowers the temp for detonation, which is why it works great in cold weather when it is hard to get the temp in the cylinder high enough for combustion.

Some (most) injector pumps suck fuel, but most are not designed to do so, that is why there is a lift pump to supply fuel to the injector pump. Trucks where the lift pump is not working usual start hard, etc., but once started the injector pump sucks fuel.

I am not sure on your truck, but, there may be a valve for bleeding the system that you can open and turn the key on and see if fuel comes out. Or you could crack the line, and do the same.

If your truck does not have a lift pump, your problem is still fuel related.

My opinion,

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Old 01-08-2020, 11:51 PM   #12
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Then there is always this.

Hope this helps,

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Old 01-08-2020, 11:58 PM   #13
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I think what happens a lot with the learning curve being so high for most noobs that they are listening to stories grandpa told back in the 60's and 70's. Well we ain't in the 70's no more and technological advances are so great that most of the old issues have been dealt with. That's why I ask for current real stories of blown motors from using starting fluid. BITD, ether was the prominent gent in starting fluid, today ether is not used in diesel starting fluids.
.


The products I linked to above are current products.
The manual I linked to was written by Ford Motor Company in 2011.
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Old 01-09-2020, 07:51 AM   #14
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E-fuel is a thing.. 99 and up Powerstroke 7.3 came with electric pumps.. (if you are not familiar, the 444E is what the Powerstroke ford 7.3 is made of).. there are "E-fuel conversion kits" made for the earlier powerstrokes so people could convert them to the later model electric pump system..



you can Convert your 444E to an Electric pump.. . what im trying to figure out is what "gasket" causes this? if there is a bad injector causing the fuel to drain down then thats an issue which needs repaired properly. an Injector O-ring.. same thing.. causes fuel to drain into the oil..



if its a check valve in the fuel bowl, then replace the parts around the fuel bowl..



what "gasket" is it? if he is any mechanic he should be able to tell you whats broken..


now onto the electric fuel pump.. placing an electric pump on the tank rail may very well be a good diagnostic.. it might positively pressureize the fuel system and show where the leaks is and what needs to be fixed..
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:09 AM   #15
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I bet this engine needs injectors.
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:13 AM   #16
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I bet this engine needs injectors.

thats why I wonder ewhat the mewchanic wants to replace.. Injector leaking into a cylinder is a bigger issue than adding a fuel pump..
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:12 AM   #17
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I have not changed the glow plugs ever. Think I should start with that?
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:16 AM   #18
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I drive it across country every year or two, Florida to Oregon or Washington, so I need it to be super reliable. There are stretches of hundreds of miles out there without so much as cell service, never mind mechanics. Looks like we need to dig deeper into the problem.
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:59 AM   #19
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I bet this engine needs injectors.
I'm on this boat. If it needs an 8 hour repair, something internal is getting fixed, whether injectors, o-rings, etc.

Are you sure you have a 2005 bus with a t444e 7.3 engine?

To me, it sounds identical to a high pressure oil leak, which is all too common on the vt365/6.0 powerstroke. If that is the case, no fuel lift pump will help.

The only reason starting fluid works to get it running is because it spins the oil pump fast enough to build pressure and overcome the leaks in the system.

If this needs to be reliable for you, then a proper repair is really the only way to go.
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Old 01-09-2020, 12:26 PM   #20
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I have not changed the glow plugs ever. Think I should start with that?
No. Spend that money on a proper diagnosis, not just randomly replacing parts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mullet View Post
I bet this engine needs injectors.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Booyah45828 View Post
I'm on this boat. If it needs an 8 hour repair, something internal is getting fixed, whether injectors, o-rings, etc.

Are you sure you have a 2005 bus with a t444e 7.3 engine?

To me, it sounds identical to a high pressure oil leak, which is all too common on the vt365/6.0 powerstroke. If that is the case, no fuel lift pump will help.

While worn fuel injectors can cause difficult starting, there are other symptoms that are not described here, such as black smoke while driving, poor fuel economy, not the usual amount of power, and excessive fuel in the engine.


It's possible this is an '05 bus with a late '04 production date.


I did mention the HEUI/HPOP oil drain-down issue in an earlier post as a possibility. Hence my above notation for getting a proper diagnosis. Someone should connect a computer to this bus and run the diagnostics when trying to start (if it hasn't been done already), which should (I'm assuming) be able to check the fuel pressure, HPOP pressure and narrow it down to an actual cause.
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