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post #11 of 20 Old 03-23-2020
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Re: 1984 Universal M18 wont start

Hey,

I bet the issue is a combination of cold temperatures, low battery power, and bad glow plugs.

-Diesels don't like to start when the temperature is cold
-Diesels don't like to start when they don't spin fast enough

Here's some suggestions for you:
-charge the batteries
-make sure all batteries are paralleled when you try to start the engine (if you don't know about boats then this involves using the battery switch to use the house and engine batteries together to provide as much power as possible for starting)
-power up the glow plugs for at least 30 seconds before starting the engine.

If those don't work I would:
-use a hair drier or heat gun to warm up the engine and the air going into the engine. This assumes you have A/C power available. If not, or if that doesn't work
-Use a short spray of starting fluid

I had a Universal Diesel M25 in one of my boats. If the air temp was below 50 the engine would not start unless I gave it a shot of starting fluid. When the air temp was warm the boat started right up.

Many people will tell you not to use starting fluid, your engine will blow up, your hair will fall out, the boat will sink. I would not recommend using starting fluid on a regular basis, but to get a very cold engine running, one that hasn't run in a long time, would be a good thing. Way better than spinning the starter for a minute and pumping the engine full of unburned diesel fuel.

Oh - one more thing. Boat's don't have fan belts. Assuming your M18 is fresh water cooled then it has a belt to drive the water pump. This is an external pump that is used to pump seawater through a heat exchanger (HX). There is another water pump that is used to circulate coolant through the engine block. The HX is used to cool the engine coolant. Note that the engine coolant and seawater to NOT mix. There are tubes in the HX that the coolant flows through. The HX is full of seawater and that cools the engine coolant. The raw water pump suck up sea water and pumps it through the HX and then into the engine exhaust. If the raw water pump is not being driven by the engine then the engine will quickly overheat.

Good luck,
Barry

Quote:
Originally Posted by cederholm View Post
After doing some reading around the web it’s worth noting that the batts only had 11.5v each and although the starter spins it’s a little sluggish.

Other forums indicate this matters especially in colder weather.

Next weekend we’ll charge then batteries, check the injectors and glow plugs and perform a compression test.


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Last edited by BarryL; 03-23-2020 at 10:22 AM.
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post #12 of 20 Old 03-23-2020
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Re: 1984 Universal M18 wont start

Don't use starter fluid on a diesel. WD-40 (yup) works better for a diesel, and won't make your hair fall out.
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Re: 1984 Universal M18 wont start

Thanks Barry, you're checklist is pretty much what I have planned for next weekend but I fully agree with Capta's earlier assessment and our biggest fear - a warped head.

So the plan for next weekend,

- Charge batts
- Check glow plugs with multimeter, replace as needed
- Check injectors
- test with WD-40 - I like my hair
- Perform compression check - I need to learn how to do this on a diesel. Do you test in the glowplug hole?

If it fails the compression test, i'll start looking into removing the motor. Rusty hardware being my biggest concern. Rebuilding the motor doesn't scare me, I've done a few car engines. The most recent being my 1952 Ford flathead for a Hot Rod.

I appreciate all the help guys.
Carl



Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryL View Post
Hey,

I bet the issue is a combination of cold temperatures, low battery power, and bad glow plugs.

-Diesels don't like to start when the temperature is cold
-Diesels don't like to start when they don't spin fast enough

Here's some suggestions for you:
-charge the batteries
-make sure all batteries are paralleled when you try to start the engine (if you don't know about boats then this involves using the battery switch to use the house and engine batteries together to provide as much power as possible for starting)
-power up the glow plugs for at least 30 seconds before starting the engine.

If those don't work I would:
-use a hair drier or heat gun to warm up the engine and the air going into the engine. This assumes you have A/C power available. If not, or if that doesn't work
-Use a short spray of starting fluid

I had a Universal Diesel M25 in one of my boats. If the air temp was below 50 the engine would not start unless I gave it a shot of starting fluid. When the air temp was warm the boat started right up.

Many people will tell you not to use starting fluid, your engine will blow up, your hair will fall out, the boat will sink. I would not recommend using starting fluid on a regular basis, but to get a very cold engine running, one that hasn't run in a long time, would be a good thing. Way better than spinning the starter for a minute and pumping the engine full of unburned diesel fuel.

Oh - one more thing. Boat's don't have fan belts. Assuming your M18 is fresh water cooled then it has a belt to drive the water pump. This is an external pump that is used to pump seawater through a heat exchanger (HX). There is another water pump that is used to circulate coolant through the engine block. The HX is used to cool the engine coolant. Note that the engine coolant and seawater to NOT mix. There are tubes in the HX that the coolant flows through. The HX is full of seawater and that cools the engine coolant. The raw water pump suck up sea water and pumps it through the HX and then into the engine exhaust. If the raw water pump is not being driven by the engine then the engine will quickly overheat.

Good luck,
Barry
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Re: 1984 Universal M18 wont start

Compression testing a diesel may be possible through a glow plug hole, but I doubt that you could find an adapter that fits. The way to do this is to unscrew an injector (you're gonna' test them anyway - right?), and screw the adapter in the hole. Each cylinder should show between 300 and 400 PSI.

On my last test of my '87 Universal M25, I had the following: Cyl-1 380 PSI, Cyl-2 365 PSI, Cyl-3 380 PSI
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post #15 of 20 Old 03-23-2020 Thread Starter
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Re: 1984 Universal M18 wont start

Awesome - thanks for clarifying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eherlihy View Post
Compression testing a diesel may be possible through a glow plug hole, but I doubt that you could find an adapter that fits. The way to do this is to unscrew an injector (you're gonna' test them anyway - right?), and screw the adapter in the hole. Each cylinder should show between 300 and 400 PSI.

On my last test of my '87 Universal M25, I had the following: Cyl-1 380 PSI, Cyl-2 365 PSI, Cyl-3 380 PSI
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Re: 1984 Universal M18 wont start

Does anyone know the injector thread size off the top of your head? ...thinking compression test fitting.

Thank you,
Carl
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Re: 1984 Universal M18 wont start

Hey,

In my experience, the Universal Diesel engines are pretty tough. I had a problem with mine where the water heater failed (the engine coolant flows from the block to the water heater and then to the heat exchanger) and all the coolant was lost. The engine temp was at the top of the gauge. I saw steam in the exhaust which made me check the gauge (there was no high temp buzzer) so I don't know how long the temperature was spiked. Anyway, by the time I noticed I was in a small channel with a lot of traffic. I had no choice but to continue on for another five minutes.

I was worried that I warped the head or otherwise damaged the engine but it turned out to be fine. These marine diesels are really low stressed engines. Iron block and head, low revs, they are quite strong.

My last comment on this: IMO compression testing is difficult to do. Especially on an engine that doesn't run. Even more especially on a diesel that needs to be hot to really seal. Before I started unscrewing injectors and risk breaking stuff I would use a small shot (about a 2 second spray) of starting fluid into the air intake before I started taking stuff apart. I have tried WD40. For me, that did not work.

Good luck and keep us informed on your progress. You must be a good friend.

Barry



Quote:
Originally Posted by cederholm View Post
Thanks Barry, you're checklist is pretty much what I have planned for next weekend but I fully agree with Capta's earlier assessment and our biggest fear - a warped head.

So the plan for next weekend,

- Charge batts
- Check glow plugs with multimeter, replace as needed
- Check injectors
- test with WD-40 - I like my hair
- Perform compression check - I need to learn how to do this on a diesel. Do you test in the glowplug hole?

If it fails the compression test, i'll start looking into removing the motor. Rusty hardware being my biggest concern. Rebuilding the motor doesn't scare me, I've done a few car engines. The most recent being my 1952 Ford flathead for a Hot Rod.

I appreciate all the help guys.
Carl
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post #18 of 20 Old 03-23-2020 Thread Starter
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Re: 1984 Universal M18 wont start

Very helpful Barry, thanks again. I'll buy you a beer the next time I'm on the island.

~ Carl


Quote:
Originally Posted by BarryL View Post
Hey,

In my experience, the Universal Diesel engines are pretty tough. I had a problem with mine where the water heater failed (the engine coolant flows from the block to the water heater and then to the heat exchanger) and all the coolant was lost. The engine temp was at the top of the gauge. I saw steam in the exhaust which made me check the gauge (there was no high temp buzzer) so I don't know how long the temperature was spiked. Anyway, by the time I noticed I was in a small channel with a lot of traffic. I had no choice but to continue on for another five minutes.

I was worried that I warped the head or otherwise damaged the engine but it turned out to be fine. These marine diesels are really low stressed engines. Iron block and head, low revs, they are quite strong.

My last comment on this: IMO compression testing is difficult to do. Especially on an engine that doesn't run. Even more especially on a diesel that needs to be hot to really seal. Before I started unscrewing injectors and risk breaking stuff I would use a small shot (about a 2 second spray) of starting fluid into the air intake before I started taking stuff apart. I have tried WD40. For me, that did not work.

Good luck and keep us informed on your progress. You must be a good friend.

Barry
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post #19 of 20 Old 03-28-2020 Thread Starter
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Re: 1984 Universal M18 wont start

Just reporting back. 50 degrees and raining here in Connecticut. The batts were both close to 12v, I tested the glow plugs and they are within spec, had my son lean on the glow plug switch for a minute or two, gave a very good dose of WD40 and cranked it. ...and then she fired! A little more WD40 and did it again, and she came to life!

Without a way to cool her I didn't let it run to operating temp. I'll do that on a sunny day.

Thanks all for your help!

~ Carl
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Re: 1984 Universal M18 wont start

Great to hear
The batteries when fully charge should be 12.8 or so. Sounds like yours are suspect.
Runnng the RWP without water no great for the impeller if it’s in.
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