I am not a diesel mechanic but I try to capture what I learn as I work through different issues. I read everything I can find about the early L-Series Tractors. I understand the L175, L210, L225, L225DT, and L260 are essentially the same tractor except for differing engine size. Also the L225/L225DT has a 3 cyl engine and the 225DT has 4 wheel drive components. If you know other wise, let me know. I think the 1969-70 L200 is somewhat like these but didn't have headlights.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

More Hard Starting

It's that time of year again. Traffic on this blog always picks up when it's cold. Guys that used their diesel tractors all summer without problems are wondering why they won't start.

Before we go any further: Stop cranking the tractor if it won't start in 2 or 3 revolutions. You're putting unnecessary wear on the engine. Typically, if a diesel won't start in three or four seconds - it won't start. There are some exceptions in the case of injector bleed down or dry rings, but mostly it's not going to get better by cranking.

I wrote extensively about it here last winter.

One of the dynamics is the physics of Lead-Acid batteries. Over time, heat reduces their potential to generate current. But then it's compounded because when they are cold they actually can use less of their available potential. So over the summer, your battery was being decayed by heat and now the cold saps it of the ability to release the remaining energy. Even with gasoline autos, most starting problems appear in the winter.

Make sure your glow plugs are actually heating. I had a short last year and my glow plug indicator was lying to me.

You can try force feeding your diesel with a 1500 watt blow dryer or a heat gun, but I'm not sure that will make any difference with an ice-cold oil bath air filter. Let me know how that works out.


Blogger gomoorefast said...

I also have a L 1500 (same as a L 175) and have some sort of electrical problem. My battery went bad thsi winter, and I replaced it a month ago. it cranked fine. But last week, my son cranked it while I was out of town, and now it won't start at all. He said the glow plug indicator wasnt getting hot. When I got home, the dash lights came on when I turned the key, but the glow plug coil never heated up. When I tried to start the tractor it made the dreaded clicking noise.

Now when I turn the key, the dash lights don't even come on. I am currently unemewployed and cant afford to have someone repair it. Also, I cant justify buying parts to start the "process of elimination".

I have loossen the dash board and dash board cover off the tractor and do not see any bare wire spots that may cause a ground. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what may be the problem?


12:30 PM

Blogger ironcross11 said...

At first blush it sounds like the battery isn't charging. As in... worked at first, but then stopped. The mechanically fuel injected diesel will run forever without electricity once it's started, but takes a lot of amps to crank.

Do you have a battery charger?

Troubleshooting absolutely demands you start with a charged battery.

If the battery won't take and hold a charge, your new battery is bad. Get it replaced.

Test the Starter.
With the battery fully charged and connected, and the tractor out of gear and parking brake engaged, use a piece of wire to short from the positive terminal on the starter (that connects to the battery) to the small terminal on the starter solenoid. If the starter kicks, then you probably have a bad key switch. That is a pretty common problem.

When you turn the key switch on, do the oil light and the charging light come on? If not, replace the bulbs. They aren't the problem but the charging light will tell you if you are charging or draining unless your voltage regulator is bad.

Disconnect the battery between tests to keep it from leaking down.

Disconnect the negative cable from the battery.

Make sure the key is OFF.

Shade the terminal with your hand and tap the cable clamp to the battery terminal. If the key is off and you see sparking, you have a short. Works best at dusk or dawn when it's not too bright.

If you have a short, disconnect the voltage regulator and the alternator/generator. Mark the correct connections of the wires. Do the tap test again. If you still have a short it's probably in the wiring under the dash or under the fuel tank. disconnect one wire at a time from the key switch till the sparking goes away.

You can use an ammeter to test for lesser shorts if you know how to use one.

A bad key switch can keep it from starting, keep the lights from lighting on the dash, keep it from charging and drain the battery while it's idle.

Many auto parts stores can test your alternator/generator for free.

3:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Feb 23, 2009, at 11:48 AM, Steve Moore wrote:


The negative terminal clamp on the battery had a hairline fracture and was not grounding sufficiently. I must have broken it when I put the new baterry in a month or so ago. It was a head scratcher when I went to jump the starter and ...no sparks. I’m lucky it was that easy, and thankful to you for the practical tips to troubleshoot. Like I said in the original email, I had already started taking the dashboard loose looking for a short.

Thanks again for saving me much grief and potential $’s. A $5 ground cable and I’m back and running.
Bets regards,

10:16 AM


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