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Old 05-14-2003, 08:29 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 699
Please help me start a non-starting 240D.

After having some time to work on my old 1981 240D, I finally bumped into the most frustrating outcome of all the hard work:
the car could not start at all, just like it had been before I started working on it. I have done some necessary work on the damned thing:

1) Change engine oil to Chevron Delo 400.
2) Change power steering fluid
3) Adjusted valves lashes (Intake = 0.1 mm, Exhaust = 0.3 mm)
4) Replaced spin-on main filter, inline pre-filter
5) Bleeded air out of the fuel lines using the primer pump
6) Fully charged my battery using a battery charger
7) Confirmed that all 4 glow plugs work as expected (red hot glow)

8) Cranked the engine in order to start it, but it simply could not start! :-(

My questions are:

1) Is the coil resistance of my starter has become too big, making it hard to rotate the crankshaft fast enough? I don't know how fast is fast, but the cranking seems to be OK to me.

2) I stupidly forgot to press the accelerator pedal to the floor while cranking (thought I did need to press the accelerator while cranking a diesel). I did let the glow plugs work for several cycles before trying to crank the engine. Does a good diesel car can just start easily without a need to press the accelerator while cranking?

3) The car will start if being push-started. Is this ONLY due to a weak starter?

4) I didn't know how the compression level in each cylinder is. Is it possible that my car could not start because of bad compression

5) Is that true that bad diesel fuel will make starting impossible?

6) Any other suggestions?

Please help a desperate soul. I'm tired of diesel cars now :-(


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Old 05-14-2003, 09:32 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: central Texas
Posts: 17,277
". I'm tired of diesel cars now "..... ok,,, get the title ready and I will be over to pick it up....

I do not think you have to press the pedal on a diesel/fuel injected car....

If it will run with push starting then the cranking speed of the starter is certainly suspect.

You might ought to bite the bullet and do a compression test... that is the best overall indicator of engine condition...

It would be nice to know that you had fresh fuel in it....
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Old 05-14-2003, 11:02 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: NW WA
Posts: 6,296
Leathermang... you are shamless

I think you need 100 rpm on the starter, Are you sure all the air is out of the fuel system. Maybe crack the injector lines at the injecters and crank it over till fuel comes out, and take the fuse out of the GP line, no use wasting "juice" while your cranking. Like Leathermang suggested it may by compression test time.
Good luck

1985 Euro 240D 5 spd 140K
1979 240D 5 spd, 40K on engine rebuild
1994 Dodge/Cummins, 5 spd, 121K
1964 Allice Chalmers D15 tractor
2014 Kubota L3800 tractor
1964 VW bug

"Lifes too short to drive a boring car"
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Old 05-15-2003, 01:45 AM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596

Does the engine start when it is warm? If you start it by pushing it, and let it run until it fully warms up, and then shut it down, can you restart it using the starter?

Once it is running, does it idle smoothly? Does it have some pep when you are in third gear above about 30 or 35 mph, and in 4th gear above 45 or 50 mph? Will it pull up a hill and maintain its speed above 50 mph in 4th gear?

What is the engine coolant temperature when you are running it at highway speeds and while idling after being run at highway speeds at full temperature?

What color is the exhaust coming out the tailpipe when you first start it cold, and when it idles running fully warmed up?

With the car running at idle, fully warm, lift the hood and unscrew the oil filler cap. Check to see what the volume and color of the gasses are that come out. When you go to put the cap back on, is it surprising how much resistance you feel trying to get the cap to come down on the oil fill opening in the valve cover? Is it hard to get the cap down without being blown off to one side or the other?

Answers to these questions will help make a diagnosis, as will the results of a compression and leak down check.

Keep the faith, I don't think you are that far off from having a running machine, especially if it runs strong after push starting. My daughter reported similar problems with her car when it showed about 280,000 miles, and the general conclusion on the site was that the engine was shot. I had a hard time accepting that given the strong performance once started by pushing it. New engine mounts, starter, a valve adjustment, and a change to Delvac-1 and she was having no problems starting the car over the entire last winter in Albany, NY (lots of below 10*F weather).

Good luck, Jim
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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Old 05-15-2003, 09:58 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: PA
Posts: 5,440

Just because you did some work on your car, doesn't mean it will start. There is still another problem that you didn't fix.

You say the car will start by doing a push start. Have you had the engine running by push starting it after the work you did? If you did, the fuel sysem is primed and air free so you can eliminate that unless you have an air leak in the line from the tank to the fuel pump that sucks in air.

Do you have the automatic (parallel) GP? Are you sure they are working. Have you checked the resistance of the GP? Are you sure voltage is getting to them when the GP relay clicks on, AND does the relay click on? Do you notice if the cabin light (above read view mirror) dims when you energize the GP? If it doesn't, the GP are not working.

Your problem could also be a starter that is not cranking the engine fast enough. Try to find another car similar to yours that starts easily and observe how fast that starter cranks that engine.

If all the above checks out, a compression test is on order.

BTW, the GP relay is NOT a REED relay. A reed relay is a micro relay used in electronic circuits.


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