Elevation = rough start up..?

priberc

New member
Joined
Jun 5, 2019
Messages
24
Location
PG BC Canada
Tractor
M85 Mahindra, 2 x 740 and 1 x 750 BCS with multiple attachments
This past summer I transported my 2019 LS MT125 from sea level in Oregon to my Idaho mountain property at 3,200' elevation. Immediately cold start ups were rough and smokey. After a bit of warm up it smoothes out and all is good. Now that cooler weather is here the start ups have been noticeably rougher, to the point I believe the motor will just die. Hasn't happened yet, but definitely a concern. I've applied the ten second plug preheat, maybe more is needed...? Incidentally I've just 78 hours on the machine.
My thoughts are the map for the fuel injection needs to be upgraded... I have been under the impression ALL modern fuel injection maps were programmed for elevation changes. Any body have any thoughts on this and anyone operate at simliar elevation.
Might wanna put some thiner oil in it....5w/40 instead of the summer weight oil that is in it. That may help it start easier. But cold engines all run rough for a time when starting cold/not plugged in
 

jyoutz

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2000
Messages
1,004
Location
Edgewood, New Mexico
Tractor
JD4100
This past summer I transported my 2019 LS MT125 from sea level in Oregon to my Idaho mountain property at 3,200' elevation. Immediately cold start ups were rough and smokey. After a bit of warm up it smoothes out and all is good. Now that cooler weather is here the start ups have been noticeably rougher, to the point I believe the motor will just die. Hasn't happened yet, but definitely a concern. I've applied the ten second plug preheat, maybe more is needed...? Incidentally I've just 78 hours on the machine.
My thoughts are the map for the fuel injection needs to be upgraded... I have been under the impression ALL modern fuel injection maps were programmed for elevation changes. Any body have any thoughts on this and anyone operate at simliar elevation.
I live at 6850 elevation and I’ve never had to have any altitude adjustments.
 

jyoutz

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Joined
Apr 7, 2000
Messages
1,004
Location
Edgewood, New Mexico
Tractor
JD4100
Might wanna put some thiner oil in it....5w/40 instead of the summer weight oil that is in it. That may help it start easier. But cold engines all run rough for a time when starting cold/not plugged in
In my truck with Cummins diesel, I used to have to plug in the block heater overnight when temps fall below 10 degrees. After switching to Rotella T6 synthetic oil, I haven’t yet had to use the block heater to start the truck.
 

ForestGrump

Silver Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
100
Location
Big Bear Lake, CA
Tractor
Mahindra EMAX 22
I live at 7,000‘ and are lows are in the 20’s, now. Longer use of the glow plugs gives a smoother startup as does a little throttle. Once it starts increase throttle till the engine smooths out. Usually she does smoke at startup. I use Shell synthetic Rotella 10—40 And California ultra low diesel.
 

piper184

Silver Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2019
Messages
203
Location
Central, ND
Tractor
Jinma 284
It seems that every diesel engine has its own little idiosyncrasies particularly when it comes to starting. My tractor for example needs a little glow plug help even up to about +70 degrees, at least on the first start of the day. I usually start at about 1/4 throttle and then idle down to 1000 RPM for warm up as soon as all cylinders are firing evenly. After 14 years I can just about guess what will be needed for a smooth start at any temperature. Experience is a great teacher.
Cold engines generally require a richer mixture for cold starts. You elevation change actually helps that. However cold air is more dense so you have to compensate for that with more fuel. It is entirely possible to "flood" a cold engine. Cranking for a few seconds with the fuel in cut off (if possible) will help in these situations.
Make sure your glow plugs are actually all functioning. Having a dead one or two will really take a toll (ask me how I know) Also battery condition plays a big part as well as starter condition. Mine needs to be cleaned and lubed every few years to keep it in tip top shape. Even more important as temps drop.
Fuel grade may play a part too, although I don't know if that will affect ignitability. Shouldn't be an issue at your current temps but if you plan on using at lower temps you might want to check into that as well as have some anti-gel additive on hand.
 

DSteiner

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Joined
Nov 29, 2007
Messages
15
Location
Ohio
Tractor
Ford 1320
I use diesels at 10K feet in wyoming. There is no special injectors for this elevation, just give it some more air (throttle).
Diesels do not throttle the air like a gas engine. There should be no noticeable difference between the two altitudes.
 

CoyPatton

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Aug 10, 2015
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1,450
Location
Poplar Bluff, MO
Tractor
Yanmar YM2002D with Koyker 110 FEL
Perhaps I am wrong, but I thought a diesel most always operates with excess air (or O2) as the intake has no restrictions. You control the rpms or power with the "throttle" by giving it more fuel in the fuel injection charge rather than more air (like a gas engine). My guess is that this elevation change has nothing to do with starting but it is more temperature related. However Turbo chargers do help diesels at elevation more than at sea level as they can out of excess air at the lower atmospheric pressure and O2 levels under heavy engine load conditions.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but air is regulated on all engines. I know I am old, but even old gas burners using carbs had butterflies that somewhat controlled air mixture with fuel. Modern gas burners are fuel injected so mixture happens in the cylinder much like diesel engines. However the air is still regulated. There are lots of electronic things present on fuel injected gas burners measuring and regulating air mixture. Just thrown a few MASS air flow, IAC, TPS, the list continues.
 

jayhawk238

Bronze Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2013
Messages
69
Location
Featherville Idaho
Tractor
2004 Kubota L5030
This past summer I transported my 2019 LS MT125 from sea level in Oregon to my Idaho mountain property at 3,200' elevation. Immediately cold start ups were rough and smokey. After a bit of warm up it smoothes out and all is good. Now that cooler weather is here the start ups have been noticeably rougher, to the point I believe the motor will just die. Hasn't happened yet, but definitely a concern. I've applied the ten second plug preheat, maybe more is needed...? Incidentally I've just 78 hours on the machine.
My thoughts are the map for the fuel injection needs to be upgraded... I have been under the impression ALL modern fuel injection maps were programmed for elevation changes. Any body have any thoughts on this and anyone operate at simliar elevation.
I live in Idaho at 4500 foot and have no problem with my Kubota L5030 in the winter. However, I do have a block heater and a battery blanket installed. Helps in a huge way!
 

CobyRupert

Super Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2012
Messages
5,194
Location
Washington County, NY
Tractor
JD 5075E
We sure engine isn’t getting a burp of bad fuel? Temps are getting colder, wide night-day cooling swings. If there’s a low fuel tank level that’s mostly air, it can pick up a few drops (or more) of condensation with cooling cycles and water settles to bottom of tank where effects are experienced for the first minute or so at start up.
 

the old grind

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Jul 21, 2012
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4,695
Location
Mid-Michigan
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NH T-1520 HST, NH TC33DA HST, Case DX26 HST, .Terramite T5C, . NH L785
I agree that diesels are easy to flood above sea level and suggest an under-recognized cause is a sticky butterfly in the intake tract. Throttle position sensor or someone haveing tinkered with idle mixture screws can also impair a proper stoichiometric air/fuel ratio & glow plugs might not fire below 1/4 throttle.

btw, beware of a lean run condition caused by a plugged tank vent that doesn't allow equalization between that and the fuel bowl vent in the injector pump.

Things really haven't changed that much since the old days. ;)
 
 
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