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Old 02-02-2015, 12:33 AM   #1 (permalink)
jaydiesel
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FUEL or ELECTRICAL SYSTEM ?HELP

I have been battling some issues with my 87 'burban lately. Had a nasty floating ground that downed my glow plug system for almost two months. Figured that out finally and decided that I should change the fuel filter while I was there. I am stuck between a mechanical problem or electrical problem.

The alternator was failing me so I had it checked. A 78 amp alt was putting out 54 amps. Not really helping the cause. Needless to say I installed a new one.

I changed out the filter, purged and primed, and viola! She ran like a champ until I tried to go home form work. She decided I needed to stay. The only way I could get her to start was jumping off another car.

When I got home, I put the batteries on a charger until they were full but she continued to act like there is air in the lines.

If she starts under her own power, it is normally short lived. She dies within a minute (fuel starvation ?). After that, it is just continual cranking.
If I have someone to jump off, I can normally get her going again, and what really throws me is that once i do get her to start, she runs fine.
I think the fuel starvation is so bad that when it sits for long periods of time , the priming drains the batteries too much to actually kick the engine over.

Adding to my confusion, the previous owner (or before him) bypassed the lift pump with an electric pump (pictures included). I was pretty freaked out when I saw nothing connected to the lift pump. I thought my truck was running on religion alone.

I am guessing that I am suffering bleed back air in the lines, but uncertain how to check that. I have seen where people have installed clear line on the filter to look for air bubbles, but I don't know if that is the supply side or return side.

Any thoughts on how to better troubleshoot?

Thanks,
JD

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Old 02-02-2015, 01:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
Bigboytoys
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I would disconnet the alternator while it sits untill you can replace it cause it could be a internal draw to ground.

Next I'd get your batteries test and or replaced as poor batteries can kill a good alternator, the other side is all diesels fire off the heat of compression. The fast the engine turns over the faster/ higher the heat is produced, the sooner it will fire.

Lastly, you probably have an air leak.

Is there any wet spots along the fuel lines, IP...

Here is a pic of the clear return line, it goes from the IP to the return system.



A 1/2 in bubble in the line after sitting over night is good, no fuel or bubble/foamed fuel coming out when you start cranking or it first fires....very bad.

Give this a read.

https://www.dieselplace.com/forum/63-...leak-6-2l.html

Does your fuel pump run prior to you cranking the engine or just after?

Which filter set up do you have? The Model 80, square fire wall mounted filter setup is prone to leaking air and most replace it compared to repairing.

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Old 02-02-2015, 01:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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i hope you have been dis-ableling the glow plug circuit, because everytime you jump it with another vehicle it ups the chances of burning out all the glow plugs from the excessive current... the return line is off the top of injection pump, trace back this line to find the other end, install a clear line and report back...
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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How is that electric pump wired? Does it come on anything the key is on? Does it stay running when you are cranking? The metal thing in the right side of the photo is a filter. Not sure why but they list a different filter for the gas vs the diesel pumps. Oddly of you buy the pump form the OE manufacturer Facet? they don't specify a different model gas vs diesel. Its a fairly course filter but I still wonder if you could have some issue there since its a pretty small filter. I have been getting those filters from Summit. The tractor I have that pump on does not have any sort of filter in the tank so I seem to end up changing that filter fairly often.

I don't know the exact wiring layout on your truck but I would look close at the interconnect cable between the batteries and grounds. You can get some really strange things going on if the load and alternator are on different batteries and there is a connection problem between em. One battery gets overcharged and the other one under. When it sits the kinda drain each other even through a bad connection. That also ends up being hard on the alternator so could explain why it had a diode out.
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
Diaric
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaydiesel View Post
I am guessing that I am suffering bleed back air in the lines, but uncertain how to check that. I have seen where people have installed clear line on the filter to look for air bubbles, but I don't know if that is the supply side or return side.

Any thoughts on how to better troubleshoot?

Thanks,
JD

I would agree that's what it sounds like, but if an electric fuel pump is working properly, you should have very few issues with prime. It may start and stall a few times while it works out the air, but it should do it easily because the pump is always trying to send fuel to the IP.

Id check for air leaks as listed in the FAQ's and check if the pump is performing properly.
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well to make your pump retarded, you could let it hang out with me for a day
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Old 02-02-2015, 11:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
roadhog0
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Sounds like a bad lift pump. Just did this, my lift pump was really weak but still clicked and the truck was a pain to start, but when it did you could drive and drive and drive it, but turn it off and good luck... Put a new lift pump in it, and a starter cause that died, and it's good as new!
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Last edited by roadhog0; 02-02-2015 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 02-02-2015, 05:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Test the fuel pump. If you have the original box filter, open the air bleed screw and turn on the pump. Mine is wired to come on with ignition, so just turning the key to run turns on my pump. Yours may be different, but it is the easiest way of wiring it up so I would guess it is the same way. anywho, once the pump is going you should see a steady stream of diesel spraying out the air bleed on the filter housing. It should shoot probably a good 8" or more. If not then it isnt working as well as it should. It could be the prefilter on the pump is clogged or maybe the pump isnt getting the full power and ground needed or its just tired and needs replaced.

Now air in the lines is a real pain. I ditched the box filter and went to a cat spin on. The reason I replaced it instead of trying to fix the original housing... well it was a piece of crap and was leaking from 3 different places. I would have plenty of fuel to the filter but would be nearly dry from the filter to the IP every morning. On a good day it would start to drain my 850cca batteries just getting it primed. New filter setup, no more air and the filters are cheaper.

I see you are in San Diego, so I am going out on a limb here in assuming you don't have to deal with very low temps but even in the summer the glow plugs can be required to start easily. Glow plugs draw a ton of power and if the batteries are tired, the combination of glow plugs and the big pig starter being used to get it primed, you might be lucky to have just enough juice to actually get it to start.

If the alternator needs replacing again, I would recommend dbelectrical. Got a 105a (i think) from them with free shipping for around $75 and it's awesome.

Good luck
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Old 02-02-2015, 05:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by happypunch View Post
Test the fuel pump. If you have the original box filter, open the air bleed screw and turn on the pump. Mine is wired to come on with ignition, so just turning the key to run turns on my pump. Yours may be different, but it is the easiest way of wiring it up so I would guess it is the same way. anywho, once the pump is going you should see a steady stream of diesel spraying out the air bleed on the filter housing. It should shoot probably a good 8" or more. If not then it isnt working as well as it should. It could be the prefilter on the pump is clogged or maybe the pump isnt getting the full power and ground needed or its just tired and needs replaced.

Now air in the lines is a real pain. I ditched the box filter and went to a cat spin on. The reason I replaced it instead of trying to fix the original housing... well it was a piece of crap and was leaking from 3 different places. I would have plenty of fuel to the filter but would be nearly dry from the filter to the IP every morning. On a good day it would start to drain my 850cca batteries just getting it primed. New filter setup, no more air and the filters are cheaper.

I see you are in San Diego, so I am going out on a limb here in assuming you don't have to deal with very low temps but even in the summer the glow plugs can be required to start easily. Glow plugs draw a ton of power and if the batteries are tired, the combination of glow plugs and the big pig starter being used to get it primed, you might be lucky to have just enough juice to actually get it to start.

If the alternator needs replacing again, I would recommend dbelectrical. Got a 105a (i think) from them with free shipping for around $75 and it's awesome.

Good luck
Good post, the only thing I would add, is test the batteries. If they went through issues with a bad alternator, they could have taken a beating. I was thinking of glows too, just because the light comes on, doesn't mean they all function and poor glows cause tough starting.
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well to make your pump retarded, you could let it hang out with me for a day
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Bear with me. I am going to try and answer everyone's questions at once.

1. Thank you for the heads up on the alt ground issue. I will disconnect soonest.

2. Batteries tested good a few days ago, but that was before I replaced the alt. I can borrow a tester/charger from my neighbor or go and pick one up at the store just to be sure. I will test them while they are isolated form the system tto ensure I am getting true readings on the batteries and not peripherial components.

3. With everything I just went through to repair the glow system, I hope I didn't damage it. I didn't know it was neccessary to disable the glow plug system when jumping the car.

4. Just bought some clear line tonight. Need new clamps and will be able to clinc that peice together folling the picture provided.

5. I still have the model 80. I was looking at the truck tonight and noticed a slow drip coming from the bottom of the filter, very near the center but located at the rear of the unit. Not sure which o-ring is failing or if it is the housing itself. I am very interested in converting to a screw on filter. Trying to search the wiki now. Any guidance are greatly appreciated (please send me somewhere that has part numbers and supplier info). Additionally, I noticed some of the fuel lines going to the filter need replacing. Unfortunatly, one of them goes right under the intake to the IP.

6. The fuel pump gets power when the ignition switch is in the on position. I can let the glow plugs warm while the fuel pressure is building. I looked at the pump while I was at the store and noticed that it specifies it should be used only as a transfer pump and not with fuel injection. I am concerned the pump is not really up to the task and wondering if there is a better pump or one recommended for the conversion?

7. The age of the truck was showing some of those weird electrical problems caused by floating grounds and poor connections. I cleaned those up and it has been much more stable.

8. Thank you for the lead on the 105 alt. I was actually looking for one locally.

9. I can test the plugs. I normally just hook a test light to the battery and touch each terminal to verify power. It's faster than pulling each plug, but I don't know if it is the right way to check the plugs.

Lastly,
Thank you all for your assistance. This is my first diesel and it has been quite a learning curve for me thus far.
JD
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Old 02-02-2015, 11:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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heres a more recent thread. You want a 1-14 thread base. Im running the mount and filter shown and it works good. You can get barbed adapters from the hardware store. 3/8 inlet and 1/4 outlet.
https://www.dieselplace.com/forum/63-...er-setups.html

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