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Old 11-20-2002, 02:47 AM
lrg lrg is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 1,163
I agree that it's probably lousy fuel. Also check your inline filter to make sure there's not too much air in there. If you ran the tank a bit low before your fill-up you may have gotten some air in the system. Also, going to a lower viscosity (or synthetic) oil in the winter really helps. If the engine turns faster you'll get started faster.

84300dt: Winter grade diesel is lighter and has a lower BTU output per unit so there is less energy to do the work, that's why you get lower mileage. Your car starts but gets lower mileage, proving once again there is no free lunch.

1987 300D Turbo 175K
2006 Toyota Prius, efficent but no soul
1985 300 TDT(130K miles of trouble free motoring)now sold
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Old 11-20-2002, 03:06 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 310
The winter diesel blues

Trust me on this one. I've been worrying diesels into function in the NORTH country for nearly thirty years at as much as fifty(50) degrees F. BELOW zero. Yup, that's fifty big ones.

Northern Minnesota can be the WORST place for us guys. and, now, in South Dakota, you get the WIND. I've been stranded more than once before I got a propane -fired radient heater. Now, even in the boonies, I can get the heater glowing and put it under the front and wait about an hour before cranking right up. At home, I just plug in the block heater for as little as a half hour and zoom. In a pinch, if it is not lower than 25 degrees, I can get by with glowing the plugs as much as three times before hitting the starter. If it is not going to lite in the first five seconds, you are uselessly drawing out those amps and digging a deeper hole in the battery. Unburnt fuel builds up in the cylinder, washes down the wall, compression drops off and you have entered the death spiral.

Also, make sure that the starter is not dragging but putting out full RPMs. Most battery places will perform a free amperage draw test to see how much juice the starter is using . Do it as cold as practicable to imitate the morning start-up. The engine must turn over at sufficient speed to lite off the injected fuel. No speed=no compression=no fire= no trip to the mall today.(I know that no tech will believe this, but, I once had a real problem gettin a 78CD going even in summer and when I had the starter current-draw tested, I saw thirteen HUNDRED amps on the meter. The starter shaft bearings had gone and the rotor was dragging on the stator. The battery was a real cooker and the starter lead was glowing and had burnt off the insulation. Now, THAT'S a STARTER--a MERCEDES starter. GM would have gone to starter-heaven looong ago.)

In desparate situations, we have put a blanket or quilt over the hood and put a weed burner under the oil pan. (I can hear the shrieks from here.) The operative word here is ,"desparate", remember. Also think,"Out on the farm about a zillion miles from any Triple-A".

It would be good to check the comprehensive coverage and station an observer with a fire extinguisher nearby if one opts for that extreme.

Also, a garage does wonders-even an unheated one. And, the old trick of a lightbulb(maybe a 'rough service' one), under the hood overnight has served many folks for a long time. I used to place one near the injector pump and seemed to get a better result. Don't try a wattage higher than 75 to keep plastic from melting. You've got to use your brain cells in this deal. I sleep more peacefully now that I have the block heater.

Diesel won't go off like gas will but it's not innocent and here is where I inject my disclaimer and a warning that these methods need to be used with due consideration.

All the tricks with the oil and the fuel additives have not come close to the answer like heat has. And the very cold starts are tough on the machinery. Ever hear the thing rattle and groan? Thats not the sound of satisfaction goin on in there. HEAT, applied first before the glow, smoothes the process immeasurably.! I can think of very few places that would require more than the block heater and a good battery and starter functioning up to standard.

Last edited by gs sparhawk; 11-20-2002 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 11-21-2002, 02:54 AM
MVK MVK is offline
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Queens, NY
Posts: 447
Check for

Weak battery or loose battery connections.

One or more bad or weak glow plugs: Note- Glow plug test at relay area are not always reliable. If that test shows all ok, then turn on the key when engine is cold dont cranck, quickly touch around each glow plug area and feel for warmth, if you dont feel warmth or feel very little warmth aroung a particular glow plug, its the bad one.

Fuel you put recently can be a bad quality. Drain out as much as you can, refill a premium grade, add a good quality diesel additive and give it a try for about 50 miles drive. Then check next day.

Does this sound like a good plan.

I always wait for 15 seconds after the GP light goes off before I cranck.

One penny saved is three penny earned.

1985 300D Turbo 179,000miles
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Old 11-21-2002, 08:53 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: North Central Kentucky
Posts: 1,068
We get diesel for daughter's 300D a couple of places, but the one I like best is the local Flying J truck stop. They sell a ton of fuel so I know it's fresh. Conditioner goes in pretty early in the season.
I also try to use an additive "Power service" or some name like that. Get it at AutoZoo.
I have the block heater set up to run for two hours in the morning before she leaves for school. Target just had timers on sale for $11 for heavy-duty outdoor type. I did some testing last year and two hours is about right. Water temp rises and then stabilized at about the two hour mark. Any longer was just a waste since I knew when the car would need to leave. That way she is disconnecting a dead cord. Important in the rain or snow.
I just put a new chain and rails on the car and it started with no trouble the other morning at 26 degrees F., WITHOUT the block heater (I had not set the time correctly on the timer).

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