First Aid for old cold diesels.

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 22:46
ThreadID: 86848 Views:3248 Replies:13 FollowUps:24
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My first thought is of a single cylinder Deutz tractor with a large flywheel on the side which was on a farm in the foothills of the Darling Scarp. Believe it or not the owner used to light a small fire under the sump to warm it up to make it easier to start. Fast forward to the Collie coalfields on a frosty morning 20 years later and a good spray of Aerostart into the airintake of the 6 cylinder Cummins does the trick. Now , thinking about the challenge of keeping old diesels warm until the hard start is problem solved, do you think laying an electric blanket over the engine or pouring hot water over the engine or leave a hair drier blowing warm air over the engine would be helpful in the short term?
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Reply By: westskip - Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 22:52

Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 22:52
I can remember theold Lanz or Deutsch tractors. Back in the fifties we had one at Kojonup and in winter would apply a blow torch to the engine block on cold mornings,

John
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Follow Up By: Doomadgee Roadhouse - Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 22:55

Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 22:55
oh not the "bulldog", we had one at Gnowangerup.... and as you only know it was blddy cold...
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Follow Up By: Notso - Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 23:12

Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 23:12
There was one of those old tracors that they heated up the intake manifold with a blow torch when starting to help vaporise the Power kerosene
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Follow Up By: Farmboywa - Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 23:16

Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 23:16
G'day westskip, now you mention it I recall the blowtorch warm up being spoken about in the wheatbelt. The tractor may have been a Lanz but Deutz springs to mind maybe because the farmer was German not that that is important, it is the inginuity of solving the hard start which is interesting.
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Follow Up By: westskip - Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 23:25

Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 23:25
Actually my father-in-law bought a couple of old ones to use in his orchard at Donnybrook. He would mount a water pump on the front driven by a pulley off the flywheel and pump out of a couple of soaks. He would start them up as soon as it got dry and then they'd virtually pump non stop all summer. System worked well then after perfecting it he sold the orchard.

John

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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 14:48

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 14:48
They reckon that if you left one of those Buldogs idling in a boggy paddock and came back an hour or so later you wouldn't find it, they would sink.
Probably just a joke but they were rough on idle, weren't they.
Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Member - joc45 (WA) - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 15:39

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 15:39
In the early 60's, the old man had an English Field Marshall, 6-litre, single cyl tractor for pumping on the farm (also Donnybrook) - like above, he mounted a 4" pump on the front of the tractor and ran belts off the flywheel. Whereas the Lanz used a blowtorch to heat the pre-ignition chamber, the Field Marshall used ignited paper treated with salt petre. The paper was rolled up, ingited and inserted into the cylinder head on a long shaft and tightened down. The engine could then be started from cold, the burning paper lasting long enough to allow the fuel to burn from cold. For really cold starts, the engine also had a shotgun cartridge, specially made for this tractor. Basically a normal cartridge without the lead shot. This was mounted in a breech, and fired. The charge went through a pipe into the cylinder via the decompression valve. Worked every time, but it was an expensive way of starting the tractor, so it was only used for really cold starts. But it took some practice to get it started with the crank. One had only 4 turns of the crank before the decompression valve shut. As a skinny 17yo, it took quite a technique to master getting a 6L engine with large flywheels up to speed in 4 turns!
Many farmers bought up these old single cylinder tractors quite cheaply for irrigating, as they had limited use as a proper tractor, but were wonderfully reliable and economical as a pump engine.
Gerry
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 16:11

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 16:11
History Lesson

These motors were actually not diesel motors. They were run on diesel fuel but would run on heavier fuel (crude oil engines.) They were Hot Bulb engines. Their compression ratio was too low to work on the diesel principle. The piece below is from Wickepedia:

The hot bulb engine, or hotbulb or heavy oil engine is a type of internal combustion engine. It is an engine in which fuel is ignited by being brought into contact with a red hot metal surface inside a bulb. Most hot bulb engines were produced as one-cylinder low-speed two-stroke crankcase scavenging units.

For further reading see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_bulb_engine

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Akroyd_Stuart

Site Link

It's also interesting to note that Herbert Akroyd Stuart was the actual inventer of the diesel engine and not Rudolf Diesel.


PeterD
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Follow Up By: Member - joc45 (WA) - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 18:26

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 18:26
Hi Peter,
yes you're right about the Lanz Bulldog being a hot bulb engine.
However, the single-cyl Field Marshall was a true diesel. It used ignition paper merely to get the engine going, then it ran as a proper high-compression 2-stroke diesel.
Gerry
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Reply By: Doomadgee Roadhouse - Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 22:56

Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 22:56
What sort/kind/brand of motor are you talking about ???
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Follow Up By: Farmboywa - Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 23:04

Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 23:04
G'day Doomagee Roadhouse, I am generalising about diesels and fishing for peoples opinions and experiences.
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Reply By: Notso - Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 23:11

Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 23:11
There's a heating device you can fit to a radiator hose that plugs into a 240 volt socket and heats the coolant and hence the engine, a lot of fire trucks in Canberra had em, well a few years back, not sure about now.

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Follow Up By: Farmboywa - Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 23:26

Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 23:26
G'day Notso, thats another memory jogger, same thing in major WA stations. Howabout the hair dryer left blowing warm air on the radiator hose, that might do the same thing.
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Follow Up By: Kelvo - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 05:12

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 05:12
This is the UK version of the plug-in engine heater Kenlowe Pre-Heater

Kelvo
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Follow Up By: Farmboywa - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 21:27

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 21:27
Thanks Kelvo, surprising what is out there when you tap into others knowlege.
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Reply By: westskip - Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 23:29

Wednesday, Jun 08, 2011 at 23:29
It;s a bit irrelevant but certainly in Canada most vehicles have block heaters installed that run off 240 volts or similar. It's intriguing to go out at night to visit friends and find power leads running to all the cars parked outside.

John
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Follow Up By: Ray - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 07:35

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 07:35
My cousin in Sudbury Ont has one but I believe it is 110 volt
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Follow Up By: Farmboywa - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 21:31

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 21:31
Thanks westskip, yes it is relevant as it shows the inginuity to adapt the cars to the cold.
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Reply By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 06:41

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 06:41
We have a farm out near Captains Flat NSW at 1050m elevation and it can get very cold overnight.

The 165 Massey is always shedded and have no problem starting of a morning,(I take a bit longer). This past week has been a frost every morning but not enough to freeze the water troughs, so the cattle can still get a drink.

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Follow Up By: Farmboywa - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 21:38

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 21:38
G'day Tony(ACT), the Masseys have a genetic advantage because they were born and bred in the UK and are no doubt used to the cold though I notice yours is a bit of a wimp having to spend the night in the shed.
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Reply By: Member - Bucky - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 06:45

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 06:45
Farmboywa

I remember that, and the young fellars today think that because I have actually kissed the Blaney Stone" in Ireland I am full of it ......

There is still an old bulldog in a shed near home. Not started in probably 40 years, but I bet she would fire up..

When they were clearing the bush, about 2 km from the farm I remember the big Dozers, having a small fire lit under the sump, to worm them up....
Then the bang of the compressor motor, and those big smoke rings..

The old "Bren Gun Carrier" used as a tractor, because no body couold afford tractors.

Wow
Where has the nostolga gone ?

Pity I could not video the flashback, and we could all enjoy it !

Cheers
Bucky

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Follow Up By: Farmboywa - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 21:46

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 21:46
G'day Bucky, thanks for the snapshot. I think todays young people would relish the challenges of the past but they are carried along with todays technology.
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Reply By: B1B2 - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 06:55

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 06:55
G'day farmboy,
I have used the light the fire in a cut down kero tin under the sump on a lifeboat in a frozen drydock. It wasn't to make it easier to start, it wouldn't start without it.
Aerostart has been used a fair bit, but if you need to give it a lot of squirts the knocking when it starts is a worry.
Cummins emergency generators use the heater in the sump.
Most diesels in cold areas use a 240 v heater in the sump now, which cuts in when the engine is stopped. If you have power it would be a reliable way to go. Most large electric motors have space heaters as well.

Cheers,
Bill

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Follow Up By: Farmboywa - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 21:54

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 21:54
G'day Bill, nicely put, the evolution of preheaters in a few sentences.
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Reply By: Rockape - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 07:57

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 07:57
I operated a Cat 14A D8 dozer that had a pilot motor to start it, the exhaust pipe from the pilot ran through the intake manifold of the main motor to heat the intake air and head. That worked well except for starting the mongrel pilot motor, you couldn't have given me a big enough hammer to hit it with.

Have a good one,
RA.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 14:45

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 14:45
Yeah Rockape, those pilot motors didn't do much work but they sure were troublesome. I ditched ours and converted to 12 volt electric start.
And thereby hangs a tale.

I heard some years ago that the guys on the convoys up in Siberia used to pour petrol over their engines and light it to get going of a morning, that was about 30 odd years ago. Don't know if it was true but it would not surprise me in the least.
Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Farmboywa - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 22:18

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 22:18
G'day Rockape, yep, know the feeling, had a brief experience with that system with a D2 or D4 as a 16 yo. I think the pilot motor was a single or twin cylinder electric start petrol. The jerk off moment was when you pulled the lever to engage the pilot clutch to the big donk and the big diesel belched into life. There may have been some decompression lever manipulation needed. Rough as guts to drive but you didn't have to worry about puntures to the steel tracks. Capturing the exhaust heat from the pilot motor was clever engineering.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 22:34

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 22:34
Farmboywa, the pilot motors were a twin horizontally oposed water cooled magneto fired rope start on the smaller units (D4) and electric start on a D7 I drove once.
The pilot motor uses the main motor cooling system and so is warming the engine coolant, although only slightly, as well as heating the inlet manifold.

We overhauld the pilot motor on our D4 buit it was always a pain. Probably a magneto problem but I eventually got onto a 12 volt starter for the old girl and modified the dozer and now she is as easy as can be to start. She just demands a drink of ether for a nerve tightener before she will go. Once she is warm she will start like the cruiser.
Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Rockape - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 22:37

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 22:37
Farm young bloke from WA and Bruce C,

I also can't remember if it was 1 cylinder or 2 but I thing it was 2. If you didn't start the beautiful thing on the second go you were going to get very, very wild, again and again and again.

I used to love greasing all the track rollers every morning and filling the old girl with a quart stroke pump by hand, especially when I would lose count of how many strokes I had done , then just wait for the diesel to run down over my retarded head when it was full.
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Follow Up By: Rockape - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 22:44

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 22:44
Bruce,
You were a smart person, I drove the latter D9G's and then the H's which were electric start.

Have a good one both of you and I will be emailing a mate of mine who works in Siberia and find out how they do it.

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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 22:55

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 22:55
Let us all know Rockape as my info is about 40 years old. Probably a load of BS but made for good story telling.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: Rockape - Friday, Jun 10, 2011 at 06:38

Friday, Jun 10, 2011 at 06:38
Bruce,

if and when he gets back to me I will MM you and find out how they keep them warm, pretty sure they will just use sump heaters.

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Reply By: Gossy - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 09:03

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 09:03
Definately helps. I was crossing the Tanami Desert many years ago when I was posted in Darwin. Back in those days it was a single overgrown dirt track. Glow plugs died on the landcruiser so each morning we would spray coals from the fire underneath it (not too much so we didn't melt hoses etc). After 10 mins it started as good as new :)

Did this for about 4 weeks until we were back in civilisation to get to a mechanic.
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Reply By: fisho64 - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 16:42

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 16:42
the electric blanket works well.

I have a mate who restores and collects tractors, he has several Bulldogs, Field Marshall and also a few Eastern Bloc all restored.
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Reply By: Ianw - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 18:31

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 18:31
I used to drive a Field Marshall tractor as a 10 year old. Pulled a 10 disc stump jump plough. 3 gears, 300 rpm idle and 600 rpm flat out. Had to get off the seat to pull on the turning brake lever when cornering. Great old tractor, used to burn about 1 gallon of diesel per hour. Dad had to start it for me; I couldn't turn the handle.


Ian
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Reply By: The Explorer - Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 22:22

Thursday, Jun 09, 2011 at 22:22
Hi

Not as romantic as most of the previous reponses but a petrol soaked rag placed in the snorkel/air intake works in some circumstances (same as aerostart I suppose). It wasnt me that tried it ...it was the drillers :)

Cheers
Greg
I sent one final shout after him to stick to the track, to which he replied “All right,” That was the last ever seen of Gibson - E Giles 23 April 1874

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Reply By: Mark C - Friday, Jun 10, 2011 at 00:12

Friday, Jun 10, 2011 at 00:12
Never use gigle gas with glow plugs, burns the plugs out, it also tends to be addictive.
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