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post #1 of 21 Old 03-24-2012 Thread Starter
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Diesel Starting - Glow Plugs

What's the procedure for diesel engine starting if equipped with glow plugs? In particular, my Yanmar 3YM20.

Always use on cold starts?
How long to run them before cranking?
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post #2 of 21 Old 03-24-2012
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Re: Diesel Starting - Glow Plugs

I have never liked glow-plug starting systems.
Give me direct injection any day.
.
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post #3 of 21 Old 03-24-2012
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Re: Diesel Starting - Glow Plugs

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Originally Posted by Rockter View Post
I have never liked glow-plug starting systems.
Give me direct injection any day.
.
Both direct and indirect-injection engines have glow-plugs. Whether we like them is beside the point, the engine won't start (or is very hard to start) cold without them.

To the OP, the answer is however long it takes to start the engine easily. For a really cold start, it might be 40s. I usually give it 30s unless it's really cold. However, that's on my 1984 Universal. The manual states 30s to 1 minute.

The Yanmar manual says 15s.

http://www.yanmaritalia.it/amministr...V2_21JAN09.pdf

Is there some reason you don't want to just follow the instructions?

Modern engines have quicker-heating glow plugs. Modern TDI cars take 2s.

Bear in mind that time on the glow plugs is saving work that the starter motor would do. So if you suspect that the battery charge is marginal, it's really important to give the glow plugs the full time.
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Last edited by MarkSF; 03-24-2012 at 10:05 PM.
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post #4 of 21 Old 03-25-2012
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Re: Diesel Starting - Glow Plugs

The only thing that I would add to what MarkSF said is that you do not want to exceed the engine manufacturer's recommendation for length of time by too much. The reason for this is that some glow plug tips will break off and fall into the cylinder if left on for way too long. I have never heard of this happening from someone holding them on too long but it does occasionally happen on engines with an automatic controller that fails and leaves them on. This is really not something to worry about, just don't run them for 5 minutes. Yes, you should absolutely be using them though, they are there for a reason.
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post #5 of 21 Old 03-25-2012
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Re: Diesel Starting - Glow Plugs

You shouldn't need more than 30 s on a glow plug for the engine to happily start. If you do, the water's likely too hard to sail on anyway.
If the manuals says 15 s, I'd use 15 s.

It's 5 o'clock somewhere:


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post #6 of 21 Old 03-25-2012
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Re: Diesel Starting - Glow Plugs

BL, Mark and klem have it right...

The only thing that I would add is that on many engines, the starter will not crank unless the Glow Plug button is pushed as well as the starter button.

I usually push the glow plug button for about 20s, then push the start, and I am rewarded with a happily purring engine.
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Re: Diesel Starting - Glow Plugs

... also one man's 15s, may be my 20s. This ain't Swiss timing or anything. When the engine is cold, I just count 1- one thousand, 2 - one thousand, 3 - one thousand... 20 - one thousand, and push the start button, while still holding the glow plug button.
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Re: Diesel Starting - Glow Plugs

I had a VW Diesel which had an automatic time out device, IIRC about no more than 10 seconds or so. In really cold weather it wasn't enough so I installed a solenoid operated by a switch to power the the plugs for as long as I wanted to. I can't remember ever glowing for more than about 20 seconds or so. Suggest you try a little, if no fire go another 10 or so, assuming everything is up to spec, such as compression & so on.

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post #9 of 21 Old 03-25-2012
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Re: Diesel Starting - Glow Plugs

rtfm is always good advice.

Universal diesels (I know, you don't have one) have glow plugs. The older model engines ran the (small) wiring from the batteries all the way to the cockpit panel and then back to the glow plugs. This required the 30 second warm up. Many of us have installed solenoids for the glow plug circuit which reduces the time to 15 seconds or less.

The newer Universal engines have a built in solenoid.

The newer Universals also have a (strange-to-me) start circuit wiring arrangement where the glow plugs are tied into the fuel pump and oil pressure switch requiring you to hold the glow plugs on to bleed the engine! Although the newer engines are self bleeding, it is rather a PITA. CRITICAL UPGRADES - DO THESE OR ELSE!!!

That said, the advice is to simply do what the manual tells you to do and then to completely understand how YOUR engine and wiring works. Beware PO changes, too.

In many cases, having the glow plugs ON at the same time you push the starter button or key switch will create difficulties because of the large electrical draw on the batteries. On our boat, I do the glow plugs, release them, then start.

Hard starting is usually related to bad electrical ground connections at the engine.
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Last edited by Stu Jackson; 03-25-2012 at 11:41 AM.
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post #10 of 21 Old 03-25-2012
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Re: Diesel Starting - Glow Plugs

I don't see a glow plug circuit on may engine panel. almost automotive diesels have a glow plug indicator. some engine panels have another stop on the key circuit. I dont see either on my panel. Maybe some 3ym20's don't have them .?
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