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How does one start a diesel?

Discussion in 'Repair & Technical Discussion' started by Black River Farm, May 16, 2009.

  1. Black River Farm

    Black River Farm New Member

    May 15, 2009
    OK, so just switched from a 1968 IH 434 gas to an Allis-Chalmers 6060 60hp diesel.

    Today she doesn't want to start. Now I'm wondering if there is something that I don't know about doing this. The manual is on order, and the dealer said just to turn on the ignition. There is an ether button, as well as a manifold heater button. He said not to bother with either one.

    However today, the shed was full of black smoke, she was cranking over for about a minute and a half but wouldn't catch. I have put the batteries on charge for the night. The tractor was delivered Thursday, started and ran Thursday night, and wasn't used Friday.

    So... I ask you... in a diesel engine do I need to turn the ignition on and let it sit, BEFORE I engage the starter? Where should I set the throttle for this?

    Next question: The manifold heater -- is that another name for glowplugs? What's it actually heating? I'm certain a manual would help to clear up these question fairly quickly, but since I don't have access to one YET, bear with me on this! OK?!


    SHARTEL New Member

    Feb 11, 2009
    Welcome to TF Black River Farm.

    I believe your manifold heater is a common setup like many other diesel tractors...where the igniter pre-heats the intake manifold and vaporizes the fuel to a gas (cloud) - but usually intended for cold starts.

    All your tractor needs is compression and fuel to ignite and a power source to spin the engine (spool up) to make it happen.

    I think I would trace all the steps in the fuel delivery system starting at the fuel tank vent and following the fuel filter, fuel lines and bleeders (if so equipped). Black smoke often indicates un-burnt fuel. Air ingested in the fuel system at, or before, the injection pump is typically the problem. Old fuel lines that are weather-checked or have cracked/split ends at their clamps should be replaced. If replacing all the lines, and bleeding the fuel system (with a full fuel tank), and it still refuses to fire, check the lift pump (or fuel solenoid if applicable) for poor electrical connections.

    Good luck.


  3. Black River Farm

    Black River Farm New Member

    May 15, 2009
    Ok, so let's say it's cold; how do you start in the cold than? I have as mentioned before a pushbutton for the manifold heater, but there are no lights or buzzers or timers to let you know how long etc. I still don't know where to set the throttle.

    Now my understanding of the diesels is that the fuel is injected into the cylinder at the precise moment of the start of the power stroke. if so than the manifold heater only heats the air going in, which means the colder it is, the longer you push and hold the button. Does the key need to be turned on first to power the fuel solinoid and let the fuel flow for any time before attempting to turn over the engine?
  4. Morgan

    Morgan New Member

    Oct 26, 2006
    Shoot some eaither in the air intake (it just takes a squirt) and crank it up.
  5. Morgan

    Morgan New Member

    Oct 26, 2006
    You shouldnt have to move your throttle very far at all for it to start maybe about 1/4 thottle, turn the key on for about 10 to 15 seconds and then shoot the either to it just a short burst of a squirt maybe about 2 or 3 seconds and then crank the tractor over. If you spray to much either in there you will lock the motor down and you will just have to wait it out for it to un lock, so make sure you only squirt a 2 or 3 second burst into the air intake. Let us know
  6. Live Oak

    Live Oak New Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    One the AC diesels the manifold heater not only heats the air in the manifold, it has a small diesel fuel supply to the heater. When you turn on the manifold heater, it vaporizes the diesel fuel in the manifold which is then in turn drawn into the engines combustion chamber in a MUCH more ignitable form as vapor vs. the diesel sprayed from the injectors.

    Check your manifold heater to ensure it is working properly. They typically almost NEVER get use because most folks don't understand how they work and end up being left in a state of disrepair and get very dirty over time.

    These East Block (Rumanian I believe built diesels) last a long time but are notorious hard starters, epecially in cold weather. Review your operator's manual on the manifold heater procedures and then inspect/service/repair the mainfold heater as required and try using it to start the engine.

    My father has a AC 5030 that is very difficult to start like yours as well. I showed him how to use the manifold heater but it was pretty dirty and gummed up. It did not work all that well even after I got it working. Yours may or may not be the same.

    I would use ether an ABSOLUTE LAST RESORT. Some diesels were built with an ether start assist, but as a rule, it is best NOT to use ether as it is VERY hard on the piston rings with repeated use and is dangerous if not used properly. My father finally got fed up with trying to make the manifold heater work and give the air intake to the air filter a VERY SMALL wiff (read .5 second spray) of ether and hurries around to the tractor seat to start the engine. This usually works provide the batteries do their part.

    Once you get accustomed to the idiosyncrosies of your 6060, I think you will like working a diesel tractor better than gas.

    Be sure to get back to us and let us know how things go.
  7. k1burner

    k1burner New Member

    Mar 25, 2009
    I don't know much about the AC tractors but the Oliver 1850 diesel (with the perkins engine) has a manifold heater. The directions are:
    50-32F 30-35 Seconds of preheat (key on, not cranking)
    below 32F 40-50 seconds
    crank time 5-10 seconds of crank after preheat.

    Caution DO NOT crank and preheat at the same time.
    When engine starts then the preheat can be used to help even out and get to run smoothly-with this tractor it only requires it when extremely cold.

    Caution DO NOT use ether and the preheater; fire hazard; and damage can be done

    Don't know if this helps or not. Just my $0.02 worth
  8. Black River Farm

    Black River Farm New Member

    May 15, 2009
    Ok, next chapter (it's a good one), I thought about what an earlier post said about the black smoke being unburnt fuel. So I tried turning on the key and making sure that the solinoid did 'click', well it didn't. So that is probably the main cause of my troubles. I turned the key on and off and after several tries the 'click' was heard, but not everytime, so either my igmition switch is flakey or the solinoid. There was a manual switch to turn the vavle on and off, but it was left on at the dealer and when I went to look at it, dead batteries. So they determined that the switch that was already changed to a garden tractor type could handle the current of the valve so the dealer wired it in as it should. Now possibly I think that problem is why they installed the manual switch.
    Anyway, whith the throttle up fairly high and i made sure that I heard the click, I held the heater button in for about 30 seconds and turned her over, the engine started right up, no troubles. Hopefully the shouldn't be too many more issures on this subject once I figure out what is flakey.
    thanks all.
  9. Ac7000

    Ac7000 New Member

    May 2, 2009
    i have an allis 7000. and i love it. heres a dumb quiestion. ya put fuel in it'? if u ran out theres a primer on the side by the fuel filter. i would use the heater. its a life saver. leave the tractor in a field overnite and put the hearter on in the mornin shell fire right up! i dont have an either button and it IS NOT a good idea to use both at the same time. one or the other.also did u turn the fuel on. its usualy a black knob next to the steering. hope it helps
  10. fleetguardstore

    fleetguardstore New Member

    Jan 28, 2009
    We run 4 allis's 7020, 7045, 7060 and a 8050. They are all hard starters, during the winter we almost always have to use the either button, press it while cranking and only 1-3 times(but if it will start without dont us it). If used properly it will save engine, starter, and battery ware as apposed to cranking and cranking. As to the throttle position wide open until it starts and back it off right away to an 1/8 - 1/4 open. The best thing is just to get used to your unit as allis's all have a unique "personality".
  11. Ac7000

    Ac7000 New Member

    May 2, 2009
    my allis is the easyiest thing to start in winter. she fires right up. its easyier then starting my farmalls.
  12. Black River Farm

    Black River Farm New Member

    May 15, 2009
    Thanks guys. Listening for the fuel solenoid to "click" is having the most success. Guess I'm in for a little more wiring... or a call to the dealer who just sold it to me!