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post #1 of 7 Old 10-20-2009 Thread Starter
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starting dormant diesel

I expect to acquire a boat that has an Isuzu C240 which has been sitting for several years. I am told that someone has gone out and turned it over at intervals and that it ran when the boat was stored. What steps should I go through prior to attempting to start it?
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post #2 of 7 Old 10-20-2009
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The first thing to do is just a visual inspection to make sure that everything looks good and that you don't have anything corroded through, disconnected, dry rotted, etc. Check all your fluids and make sure that they are good. This includes fuel which tends to have algae in it. If you want to be really cautious, you can try barring the engine over by hand at first and just making sure that it will turn. If it has a compression release, use it. Then you are going to want to try to turn the engine over with the starter until you have oil pressure. Some engines actually have a way of manually pressurizing the oiling system which is even better but most do not. Once you have oil pressure, start it and high idle it for a while. Then shut it down and change all of the fluids.

A lot of engines that have been sitting will need to have their fuel system bled.

You may get lucky and it may fire right up or it may take some work. Good luck.
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-20-2009
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Good advice above..only thing i would add is change the fuel filter before you even try and start it...If there was a little moisture in the filter it can rust the bottom out of the filter from the inside out and start leaking from the vibration right from the get go...Their cheap...start out with a new one.
Be sure to fill the filter before screwing it on.

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post #4 of 7 Old 10-20-2009
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I agree with what Klem said, however I think I would check the fluid levels and just try to start it after I took a look at the raw water impeller if it is fresh water cooled. If it starts right up, great, if not then start bleeding the fuel system. If you don't have fuel to the injectors, check the filters and the tank if it has an access port. Sitting for a long time the fuel is probably pretty gunky, probably a good idea to have it polished if you can't visually check the tank(s).

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post #5 of 7 Old 10-20-2009
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I'd add that if it's been sitting for some time you should probably change all the rubber bits (belts, impeller, etc) as a matter of course before you run it....


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post #6 of 7 Old 10-20-2009
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All of the above is good advice from diesel owners.
As a gas engine owner (Atomic Bomb 4) my only input is that you should be careful about cranking your engine for an extended amount of time with the raw water sea-**** open. After you change the impeller and are ready to try starting it open the sea-**** and crank the engine for a few seconds to get some water in the water pump impeller for lubrication, then shut it off until the engine actually starts. I am not sure if this would be a problem on fresh water cooled engines but with raw water (only) cooled engines, excessive cranking can cause a lot of water to accumulate in the water lift muffler and without the air pressure from an active exhaust, the water can back flow into the crank case of some engines filling the cylinders with water which is bad.
If your diesel has 'glow plugs' for pre-heating the cylinders it would be nice to know that these are still functioning before over cranking the engine.
Also, apparently WD40 can be used on diesels instead of ether on gas engines. You might try spraying the air intake with a bit of WD 40 to see if it will even turn over.
Compression engines are a bit of a different animal then spark ignition (gas) engines and I have come to understand something about both. Not all lubricating oils are meant for Compression engines as most are manufactured for automobiles (Spark). Look for the API (American Petroleum Institute) decal on any oil can and find one that has a Cx rating as Sx ratings are for Spark engines. There are different additives for C vs. S type engines. The oil I use is by Shell called Rotella-T which is rated for both spark & compression engines.
Much of the above ramble is from reading the Nigel Caulder "Boatowners Mechanical & Electrical Manual' where he discusses oil types.
Best of luck.

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post #7 of 7 Old 10-25-2009
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Engine Oil

I would strongly recommend changing the engine oil and filter also. Then when you get it cranked up, run it for a few minutes, and change it again. Check the old oil for any signs of water. And like was said in a previous post, if you can spin it over with the compression release opened up, at least long enough to get oil pressure. And of course, double check everything, replace the impeller, and make sure all the hoses are in good shape. And good luck.

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