I have rebuilt several gas engines over the years. In my younger days I raced fast karts and had to rebuild the carb, or change a piston, sometimes right at the racetrack. I rebuilt engines on a few motorcycles as well. A diesel engine however is completely different. There is no carburetor, there are no spark plugs. Gasoline engines have spark plugs to provide ignition to the fuel/air mixture. On a diesel engine the diesel ignites upon compression, no spark is needed. There are ”glow plugs” that are used when starting a diesel. They heat the combustion chamber up so that the diesel will ignite easier especially when it is cold. The fuel (diesel) is under relatively high pressure when it goes into the cylinder through the injectors. Diesel engines are more fuel efficient and provide lots of torque. They are typically louder than gasoline engines, are more expensive but will also last much longer. “Heavy equipment” such as backhoes, excavators, tractors, loaders, graders and locomotives use diesel engines.
That was about the extent of my knowledge of diesel engines. If you would have asked me a year ago I wouldn’t have thought I would be taking apart the fuel system on a diesel engine, especially the one on my own tractor especailly because I didn’t have a tractor!
So back to the dilemma I was in lol. My neighbour came over after supper to give me a hand to get the tractor running. We removed the fuel filter and cleaned it and put it back together. We checked the seat sensor for proper function and it was working. We removed some of the fuel lines and there was fuel flowing.
After a few hours working with flash lights we had enough and we were also getting cold! We didn’t get the tractor going but we verified fuel up to the fuel pump.
My brother-in-law owns several pieces of heavy equipment and has worked on them over the years for general maintenance and some repairs. He lives in the US but was very helpful to try and help me diagnosis the problem over the phone. He looked on-line to try and find information about the engine as it is a different brand than his machines.
I ordered a service manual online today but it wont be in for a week. It will hopefully be fixed by then but the manual will be handy to have in the future. A hard copy was $230 but I got a used digital version for $60!
In the morning I went to Digby to pick up a new battery. $200 later and I have a battery, and it’s the proper one for the tractor. The battery that I’m replacing is not the correct size but smaller.
I installed the new battery and texted my brother-in-law back. We continued to try and diagnose the problem. I checked for fuel at the pump again and then at one of the injectors. What a spot to try and get a wrench into. There were hoses, steel lines and a large wiring harness in the way. After finally getting a wrench where I needed it there was only enough room to turn the wrench about 15 degrees at a time. It took a few minutes to get the nut loose enough so that I could wiggle the steel line. I then tried to start the engine which would get the pump pumping. There was no diesel coming out of the injector line that I loosened. That's a problem!!
My bro-in-law had an idea but I needed to warm up the steel injector lines. I needed a small propane bottle for my torch. On the way back from town the road mechanic from the tractor dealership called to get my address. (I had sent an email to them the day before to get a price on the small window that broke and to ask about the ”crank, no start” problem. The service manager had called me this morning and said they have a mechanic in the area. Their mechanic was working in Digby but would be done by mid afternoon. I told him I was working on it and might get it running. He said his mechanic would call to check with me)
The road mechanic said he was pulled over on our road but unsure of our exact location. A few corners later I see his service truck along side the road. He follows me in to our remote site. I explain what happened and told him what I had checked. He takes out his test light and checks a few wires and sensors. Several minutes later he says "its a blown fuse". I’m like noooooooo way!
The blessing was that it was nothing expensive and it was an easy fix... at least easy for the mechanic!