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post #1 of 20 Old 03-22-2020 Thread Starter
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1984 Universal M18 wont start

All, looking at a friend's boat, I'm not a diesel guy but I am good with gas engines (car).

The back story, last time the boat was out (end of last summer) the boat overheated on the way in due to a broken fan belt. Noticed at the time. Then in November the boat wouldn't start when it was time to pull it.

Now, sitting on the hard, we are still having trouble getting it to start. I should note the engine maintenance on this boat is horrible.

First thing in addition to the broken fan belt, was at disconnected wire on the momentary glow plug switch - now fixed. As of today, here is what we've done and some stats.

- 43F degrees here in Connecticut
- power confirmed at the glow plugs
- glow plug wires not hot (external, not sure about the tips)
- fuel confirmed at throttle body (old fuel filter)
- still not fan belt
- crapy oil
- no visible fluid leaking or coolant in the oil pan (suspect cracked block)

Engine cranks but will not fire, feels like there is decent compression - untested.

What am I missing? If it were a gas motor I'd think ignition but this doesn't have that.

Any thoughts appreciated.
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post #2 of 20 Old 03-22-2020
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TEST compression, pull a glow plug and verify that it works, pull an injector and verify that fuel is spraying (be careful, and if you don't know how, hire someone who does).
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Re: 1984 Universal M18 wont start

Chances are pretty good the head warped so the engine has little or no compression. Unlike gas engines, diesel engines fire by compression and have nothing like a spark plug to make them fire. Glow plugs are not spark plugs.
Your friend will have to pull the head, have it milled flat again and with a new head gasket, reinstalled. Depending on the amount of milling, you may need to put in shorter rods, as well.
Big job, so while you're at it, I'd change the rings, main bearings, have the valve seats ground, check the cam, have the fuel distribution pump, injectors and oil pump serviced. You'll also need to readjust the valve train (rocker arms) and if you aren't very careful, the timing. New front and rear main seals would be good, too.
If the block is rusty, send it out for an acid bath, cleaning both the water and oil passages and have it painted professionally. If the engine is rusty, the engine mounts probably are too, those should be changed too, so you can align the engine when it goes back in.

If you do it right, it will be like a new engine for half the price of a replacement.
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Re: 1984 Universal M18 wont start

My 1st thoughts are to check that old oil and learn if it has
water in it.
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Re: 1984 Universal M18 wont start

Wouldn’t I find coolant in the pan or leaking if the head was warped?

And yes, if the motor come out for decking, it would be fully rebuilt.

Thanks!


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Originally Posted by capta View Post
Chances are pretty good the head warped so the engine has little or no compression. Unlike gas engines, diesel engines fire by compression and have nothing like a spark plug to make them fire. Glow plugs are not spark plugs.
Your friend will have to pull the head, have it milled flat again and with a new head gasket, reinstalled. Depending on the amount of milling, you may need to put in shorter rods, as well.
Big job, so while you're at it, I'd change the rings, main bearings, have the valve seats ground, check the cam, have the fuel distribution pump, injectors and oil pump serviced. You'll also need to readjust the valve train (rocker arms) and if you aren't very careful, the timing. New front and rear main seals would be good, too.
If the block is rusty, send it out for an acid bath, cleaning both the water and oil passages and have it painted professionally. If the engine is rusty, the engine mounts probably are too, those should be changed too, so you can align the engine when it goes back in.

If you do it right, it will be like a new engine for half the price of a replacement.





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Re: 1984 Universal M18 wont start

No water in the oil.

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My 1st thoughts are to check that old oil and learn if it has
water in it.





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1984 Universal M18 wont start

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 cederholm; 03-22-2020 at 10:01 PM.
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Re: 1984 Universal M18 wont start

If you have good compression, 350 PSI or more (you must use a diesel tester as a gas engine tester won't go that high, then forget the warped head theory. However, it is possible that the head gasket leak could miss the water passages, hense no water in the oil.
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Re: 1984 Universal M18 wont start

Read up on how to bleed the fuel system.
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Re: 1984 Universal M18 wont start

We did bleed the system and can confirm fresh fuel arriving to the injector pump (please correct me if using incorrect diesel terms).

I will read up on bleeding and testing the injectors.

Thanks,
Carl

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Read up on how to bleed the fuel system.
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