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Old 08-14-2008
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Question about starting the Diesel

To start my diesel I press and hold the glow plug button and turn the key at the same time. This worked fine last year. This year I noticed that when I hit and hold the glow plug switch and turn the key at the same time the engine does not turn over. It does however turn over if I press the glow plug switch for a few minutes then let go of the switch and then turn the key to crank the engine.

-Did I damage anything by hitting the glow plug switch and turning the key at the same time?
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weak batteries?
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Old 08-14-2008
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I don't know about the potential for damage, but the way you're doing it now seems more correct. On my engine you can't activate both glow plug and starter engine curcuits at the same time: a simple turn of the key lights the glow plugs (which I hold for no more than ten seconds) and then with the key in the "off" position you push it in and turn it to start the engine. The purpose of the glow plug is to heat up the cylinder head.
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Starting a Diesel

According to Torrenson Marine instructions for starting a Universal, depress the glow plug for about 10 seconds prior to the start button. Important to get the glow plug hot first. This on only necessary when the engine is cold.
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According to Torrenson Marine instructions for starting a Universal, depress the glow plug for about 10 seconds prior to the start button. Important to get the glow plug hot first. This on only necessary when the engine is cold.
My point earlier, Glow Plugs draw major amps, can't and should not try to start and use the glow plugs button at the same time.
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I got a feeling that you got a dirty battery cable connection, probably the main ground cable at the engine end. If I were you, I'd TAKE APART and clean and refasten every cable, then top up the battery water and charge the battery.

And, by the way, don't overlook the possibility that one of the cells in the battery might be borderline, or already gone punk.

Oh, another thing, the glowplugs aren't to 'warm up the cylinder head', like someone said. If that were the case, up in Maine you would need to hold the button down for a week or so. The glowplugs provide a real hot spot to initiate combustion of cold fuel in a cold engine. And here is something that a lot of people aren't aware of. There are two kinds of glowplugs available for many engines - slow, and fast.

Slow glowplugs are the kind where you 'press and hold' for from 10 to 30 seconds. If you do that with 'fast' glowplugs, you will burn them out the first time you start your engine. I use 'fast' glowplugs in my engine and have them wired through a high-current solenoid and engaged by my 'start' position on my ignition switch, so whenever I twist it to start, they fire up. I carry spares, but I haven't had to change one for over five years.

Last edited by Hawkeye25; 08-14-2008 at 04:08 PM.
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just out of curiosity - do all diesels have glow plugs? I don't think mine has any buttons to turn them on.
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Not all diesels have the glowy thingys - My Yanmar does without them

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I recently started a Universal diesel where you could not crank the engine unless you were holding the glow plug button in. The panel was designed so that there was no power going to the start button unless the glow plug button was being depressed.
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Not a really bright design IMHO... the glow plugs take quite a bit of juice and if your batteries are marginal, might be enough to prevent them from starting the beast in an emergency.
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Originally Posted by SteveInMD View Post
I recently started a Universal diesel where you could not crank the engine unless you were holding the glow plug button in. The panel was designed so that there was no power going to the start button unless the glow plug button was being depressed.
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