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  1. #1

    Default Cold Starting Problem

    A kind hello to all TBN readers and members. I have been reading this forum for about two months now and have learned a great deal from its many friendly users. This is my first post. I purchased a 1998 B-21 with 2300 hours for $12200 2 weeks ago. Overall the tractor was well maintained. About the only problem I have encountered pertains to starting the tractor. Over the last two weeks, when starting the tractor (engine cold) the outside temperture has been about 50 F. The engine would not start unless I held the key in the "pre-heat" position for 30-45 sec. On Sunday, it was much colder then it had been with the temp yesterday about 22 degrees when I went out to start it. Any guesses as to what happened next? In fact I tried setting the key to the "pre-heat" position for 3-5 mins at a time. About the only thing I accomplished was getting a numb thumb and index finger. Then the battery went dead. I charged it up, an hour later when the outside temp was up a bit it started quite easier than it had any time during the last two weeks. Now for the fine print. Inially when I got the tractor, after starting it up the key would not completey return to the run position. Rather, it would get stuck in the preheat position. And unless you happened to notice it, I could stay this way for ???. This was a rental unit with many different users, thus I am sure the key was left in the "pre-heat" position many times. Can this ruin the glow plugs? Is there a way to test them? Are they difficult to replace? What about the battery, could there be more than one issue compounding the problem. This is my first tractor, for that matter first diesel anything. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Posts
    1,396
    Location
    Queensland, Australia
    Tractor
    Kubota L1-20 DT

    Default Re: Cold Starting Problem

    Not sure about new tractors, but my truck, and many older ones before it, had a timer on the glow plugs. They cut out when they are ready and a light goes off on the dash.

    I suspect that seeing you have a preheat position, maybe this feature doesn't exist on tractors.

    So basically, as usual, I have little to add. [img]/w3tcompact/icons/sad.gif[/img] Except that if the plugs were on for a long period of time, I don't think that would be very good for them.

    They shouldn't be needed for anything much longer than 1 minute. We hardly need them at all over here.

    Not difficult to replace if they are a problem though.

    Cheers

  3. #3
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    856
    Location
    South West Pa/Greene county
    Tractor
    Long/Landtrac360DTC

    Default Re: Cold Starting Problem

    Neil,
    My Long/Landtrac, has the timer feature. You can override it and use it like a preheat function by turning the PTO switch to on and putting the key in the start posistion. The tractor won't start with the PTO on, but it kicks the glow plugs on, allowing you to preheat the engine, although I've never had to use this function, even with temps as low as 15 deg F, it started after the normal timed preheat.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    752
    Location
    Saline, Michigan
    Tractor
    L3700SU

    Default Re: Cold Starting Problem

    My B2400, which is a close cousin to yours, has glowplugs that reduce the amount of current they draw after about 8 seconds. This translates, in my mind, to the greatest heat being available during the first 8 seconds.

    You might try checking the wiring connections to your glow plugs. Maybe they are just old/dirty.

    One thing that I have figured out, as a seat of the pants rule (others will disagree with me I'm sure) is that since the hour meter reads the hours at PTO rpm, it's a good bet that the number of hours on the meter is significantly less than the actual hours the engine has been running. That assumes most people don't run one of these tractors at PTO rated speeds while performing loader work or other work that doesn't require so much power (and noise) As an example, I have done a lot of loader work with the engine runing at 1850 RPM. Which means that 6 hours seat time, is only slightly more than 3 hours time on the hour-meter. Because of this, I do my maintenance with respect to seat time.

    If you "buy" my "rule", then those glow plugs may be very tired.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    1,028
    Location
    Mid-Michigan
    Tractor
    Kubota L3710 GST

    Default Re: Cold Starting Problem

    Johnny,
    I can't comment on your exact model ... but on my L3710, I have a dash light. At between 0 and -10 F it will stay lit for about 30 - 40 seconds. At any higher temp, it stays lit much less. At 40 degrees, less than 10 seconds.
    Based on that ... I would say that it should <font color=blue> never </font color=blue> take more than a minute.
    Since you don't have a visible reminder like the dash light, I'm sure the circuit doesn't have a timer ... so I'd say that yes, it would be bad for your circuit to be live for extended periods.
    If you do a search, theres been several threads in the past several months on the glowplug circuit and how to test your plugs.

    Welcome to the site!

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Posts
    686
    Location
    Westminster, Maryland
    Tractor
    Kubota B7300

    Default Re: Cold Starting Problem

    If your battery is weak, the engine will be turning over slower and generate less heat (for ignition). I found if you start with a marginal battery, it makes getting things going VERY HARD! (longer preheat times, slower starter speed, etc)

  7. #7

    Default Re: Cold Starting Problem

    <font color=blue>...when starting the tractor (engine cold) the outside temperture has been about 50 F...</font color=blue>

    Hey... 50 degrees is T-shirt weather... certainly not cold... [img]/w3tcompact/icons/frown.gif[/img]

    How old is your diesel fuel...?(contaminated/water/stale?) There are a number of threads on checking glow plugs for testing and operation... also I would put some "fresh" fuel in ... it's the cheapest test yet... you'll need it eventually... [img]/w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif[/img]


  8. #8

    Default Re: Cold Starting Problem

    The fact that it started so easily after charging the battery makes me suspicious. You might want to check the condition of the battery, and charging system.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Cold Starting Problem

    <font color=blue>...it started so easily after charging the battery makes me suspicious...</font color=blue>

    Oops... I read the post... but missed this... [img]/w3tcompact/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    I agree...just break down an buy a new battery if its the original... (sub first with another new...)


  10. #10

    Default Re: Cold Starting Problem

    Thanks for all the great suggestions and quick response. A few quick comments. 1.) The fuel is new. 2.) On the B-21, there is an indicator light on the dash to shows when the glow plug circuit is active. Before I fixed the key issue, several times when I noticed that the glow plug indicator light was on because the key switch had not completely gone back to "run position", when I moved the key slightly to the left to the "run position" the idle speed would come up slighty (50-75 rpm)???
    I will try replacing the battery even though it is only 2 years old since it is the quickest and easiest thing to rule out.

    Thanks again. I will post an update.

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