Why won't my diesel start?
April 14, 2008 9:28 AM   Subscribe

How can I get this diesel to start? I have a 1996 Vandura van with a 6.5L diesel motor. I stored it all winter...and with a quick jump it started. I drove it around and it did fine, but then right before I got it home it died. Now it won't start. What am I doing wrong? Do I need to add something to the fuel? The batteries are fine and it cranks, but won't turn over.
posted by rocket_johnny to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)
Has it run out of fuel?

(for terminology, cranking IS 'turning over' - 'running' is the stage afterwards).

You need to see if it is still getting fuel. How far did you drive it for? It is possible that it has just got some air in the lines and they need bleeding (you used up the amount in the fuel pump/line and then ran out as no more was filled afterwards). You'll have to check your manual to see if your fuel system needs to be bled and how.

Cracking off a fuel line and cranking will pretty much tell you if it is getting some, too. If it ran, then stopped it just sounds like a fuel line blockage/delivery problem to me.
posted by Brockles at 9:48 AM on April 14, 2008

Any temperature difference between the day it started and the day it didn't? With bad glow plugs (or bad glow plug circuit), it might start on a warm day but not on a cold one. But I think Brockles is probably right. Can you see any fuel moving in the line from the filter to the pump when you crank it? When was the last time you changed the fuel filter?
posted by bricoleur at 10:29 AM on April 14, 2008

Oops, I really should have read the question more carefully. Scratch the glow plug idea.
posted by bricoleur at 10:30 AM on April 14, 2008

Response by poster: Hmmm. I'm going to have to learn about this thing quick. A friend of mine is storing the POS on the side of my house--but is a slackass and hasn't done crap w/it in 4 mos. I am now selling the house and moving 2700 miles to the west coast on Wednesday---so I'm trying to get it started and outta here.

I have no idea the maintenance history. All I know is that I can see the battery and the intake through the tiny little hood---and everything else is pretty much hidden (stupid van).

I know that he purchased it 2000 miles ago from a bus trade-in store..and prior to that it was maintained for active service by the school district.


I think it might be the fuel filter being clogged...because it got a bit sluggish and then wanted to die when I drove it before. It has about 40 gallons of fuel in it...so no worries about that.
posted by rocket_johnny at 10:34 AM on April 14, 2008

I would Google "Vandura diesel forum" and see what comes up; probably a couple forums of people who are actually into this kind of vehicle.
posted by Doohickie at 10:58 AM on April 14, 2008

I was going to suggest the fuel filter, although it could also be water in your diesel.
posted by TomMelee at 11:38 AM on April 14, 2008

Sounds like sediment is blocking the filter at first glance.
posted by iamabot at 1:29 PM on April 14, 2008

A tow company would gladly tow it to your buddy's house and drop it off for a nominal fee. If it were my "slackass" friend, I would do something along these lines rather than fuck around with fuel filters on a car that isn't mine. You have enough to worry about in the next 72 hours.
posted by autojack at 1:54 PM on April 14, 2008

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