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Ok......Since winter months are here and I have noticed several posts where folks are saying that the only way they can get their diesel tractor started is by using starting fluid I felt the need to voice my thoughts. opinion and experience about the use of any ether based starting fluids in a diesel engine.....

I will never use an ether based starting fluid in a diesel engine with glow plugs. I will use a squirt bottle with diesel fuel in it and mist it in the air intake. I will use a rag soaked in gasoline and wrap it around the air filter or hold it over the air intake. You can even use carb cleaner or something like that.

In a diesel engine with glow plugs, adding ether to the air intake with the glow plugs hot can cause the engine to basically fire when it is not ready to fire. This can cause major damage to internal parts. If you have a tractor with glow plugs and you feel you must use ether to start it, either find a way to disconnect the glow plugs or turn off the key and wait a few minutes until you are sure the glow plugs are cool then quickly start it with ether not waiting for the glow plugs to heat up. In all honestly, if you have a diesel engine with properly working glow plugs, good fully charged batteries, good compression and the fuel and intake air system working correctly I see no reason that you should have to use ether. Block heaters also help out a lot in colder weather....

I know that some of the older tractors had ether injectors built into them and some even had a place to screw a can of ether into them, I have an older John Deere that has that but, those engines were designed properly to use ether...

Just my 2 cents worth.....
 

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Owners buy new batteries and starters because their tractor is hard to start, but that does not help. Some have devices that help at cold weather starts, but they do not know how to use them. They make the conclusion that the engine is worn. Since the engine is crap (in their opinion), they do not fear to feed it with starting fluid. After some time there is no doubt about the condition of the engine...

A lot of posts, on this and other forums, shows that connectors and wires are often in a bad shape. Some have pictures and in them you see old brittle wires with poorly crimped connectors and/or some solder hacks. Often the area of the wire is too small. Some owners give the wire from battery to starter some attention, but the ground wire and its connectors are often neglected.

Some of these engines only needed refreshed wiring for the starter to spin fast enough to start. An owner that knows what the User Manual says about starting sequence does the rest.
 

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Only time I use a starting aid is on my 3406 Caterpillar if I don't plug it in because it's 100% compression start, no glo plugs or intake manifold pre heater and my 4 stroke small engines once in a great while and just a whiff. I've found that WD40 works just as well as either and WD has some lubricating properties as well. Ether don't.

Using either on any starting aid equipped diesel is asking for internal engine damage like broken rings or bent connecting rods.

Problem with older diesel tractors is, most of them seem to be sold with no owners manual included. Like the owners manual has mysteriously vanished.
 

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I'll only utilize starting fluid as a last resort to get an engine started. I agree engine with glow plugs or intake heaters should not be subjected to starting fluid. Starting fluid utilized in conjunction with a factory installed starting fluid device that contains an orifice to limit amount induced into engine VS spraying into open intake manifold or air cleaner are totally different with different results.
 

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If one needs more help and comfort for starting in cold weather, I can't over-emphasize the importance of heaters. These can be block heaters that heat up the anti-freeze, or even the cheap magnetic heaters that stick to the bottom of the oil pan and heat up the oil. These have none of the adverse effects of ether if over-used, and they are cheaper than bearings, etc. to replace. I have even used the magnetic heaters on an aluminum engine by setting it on a block to hold it in place. Heaters have the advantage of removing the primary damage of an engine starting when the oil is cold, because the oil is already warmed up.
 

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All well and good if you have electricity in your storage area. My barn don't have power so it's always a cold start followed by a 15 minute idle warm up. Never been an issue with me in the last 15 years.
 
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