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John Deere 4239 Diesel Engine Won’t Start and Won’t Fire on Ether


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  #1  
Old 03-13-2018, 10:05:10 PM
Joe Stewart Joe Stewart is offline
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Default John Deere 4239 Diesel Engine Won’t Start and Won’t Fire on Ether

John Deere 4239 diesel engine in a Lull telehandler, 1994 vintage. Photo attached.

Not sure if this forum is the appropriate place to post this. Please move if inappropriate.

ďIt used to run fine, but now I canít get it startedĒ

Iíve owned this telehandler for about 9 years. It always required a small sniff of ether to get it started, but once warmed up, it would start on its own and run fine.

About a year ago, the injection pump (Stanadyne) died on me (I believe a plastic plate inside the pump disintegrated due to old ageĖ a common occurrence with these pumps). I removed the pump and brought it to the local diesel injection shop and had it rebuilt (cost me $1200 Ė they had to replace a couple of real expensive parts in there).

Anyway, I got the pump back and reinstalled it on the telehandler. Started the machine up and it ran fine. We used it for about four hours one day, and after the work was done, I parked it in my barn.

About a month later, I tried to start it, but for the life of me, I could not get the engine to start. Ether did not help. For some reason, it will not fire on ether. The motor locked once because I think I shot too much ether into it, but it would never fire.

I thought the starter was the problem (turning over too slow). So I paid $120 to get the starter rebuilt. With a rebuilt starter, it turns over just as fast as before (its one of those reduction starters, so it does not turn the motor fast). Still no start.

I got frustrated and let it sit for a couple of more months. Then went back to work on it. I did not trust the mechanical fuel pump so installed an electric pump on it. Iím getting solid fuel (no bubbles to the injector pump).

I ran a wire directly from the battery to the fuel cut off solenoid on the injector pump. I can hear the solenoid go ďclickĒ when I energize the wire, so Iím pretty sure its working.

I installed an extra set of battery cables on it, so that I can run two batteries for maximum cranking power. I am using brand new 810CCA batteries.

I re-checked my timing marks, and they are still spot on.

I removed the injector lines from the back of the injector pump, and I can see small amounts of fuel spew out each port when I crank it over.

Iím now at the stage where I am trying to bleed out the lines. I max out the accelerator and crank the motor, but by the time fuel reached the injectors, the starter had heated up to the point where smoke was starting to come out of it. Several times during this process, we sprayed some ether directly into the intake manifold. Still no fire. Iím stumped. I threw in the towel and sat down and wrote this post.

My main question is: What would cause a diesel engine (that was running fine at last use) to not fire up on ether?

It does not even seem like any smoke is coming out the tail pipe while cranking. I hold my hand over the intake manifold and can feel good suction while cranking, so I think all the push rods and valves and rings are intact.

The dang carriage of the telehandler is positioned over the motor, which restricts access to the injectors and valve cover. Cannot do a compression test (or even remove the valve cover) with the carriage in this position. Need to get this engine started up so I can use hydraulics to move carriage forward, so that I can better evaluate this engine.

In the meantime, does anyone have any ideas?
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  #2  
Old 03-13-2018, 11:14:57 PM
Heins Heins is offline
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Default Re: John Deere 4239 Diesel Engine Won’t Start and Won’t Fire on Ether

If it doesn't smoke when you are cranking it, it won't run. You shouldn't run the starter long enough to make it smoke, stop and let it cool off. It sounds to me like the fuel shut off isn't turning on. You should leave the injector lines tight on the pump and loosen the lines at the injectors until the fuel comes out. Make sure the injector pump is getting fuel.
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:31:25 PM
sunshineman sunshineman is offline
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Default Re: John Deere 4239 Diesel Engine Won’t Start and Won’t Fire on Ether

Hi
Maybe something simple .
Like a blocked exhaust, something may consider it a good home.
Wasps, rats, etc have stopped a few engines that I have seen.
Sunshineman
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:38:23 PM
Oldtech Oldtech is online now
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Default Re: John Deere 4239 Diesel Engine Won’t Start and Won’t Fire on Ether

Make sure the return hose from the top of the pump isn't plugged. That'll kill it too.
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Old 03-14-2018, 01:02:18 AM
b7100 b7100 is offline
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Default Re: John Deere 4239 Diesel Engine Wonít Start and Wonít Fire on Ether

As heins said if theres no smoke while cranking it it won't start. Chack fuel filter (especially. In very cold weather). Air leaks in fuel lines. Compression. To much ether? I've seen where mice will build a nest causing problems. I don't know how you would deal with the boom being in the way. Maybe another telehandler to pick it up. Maybe tap into a hydraulic line and feed from another hydraulkc source. Machines are great when they work but are a pita when they don't. Especially when you need them now. Sometimes you just have to go to the bank and take out a second mortgage and call for the John Deere repairman

Is the exhaust covered so it don't get water down it?
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Old 03-14-2018, 05:33:53 AM
Phil P Phil P is offline
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Default Re: John Deere 4239 Diesel Engine Wonít Start and Wonít Fire on Ether

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldtech View Post
Make sure the return hose from the top of the pump isn't plugged. That'll kill it too.
Hi

We have JD similar to yours in an old JD grader it failed that plastic wobble plate also.

This is a common problem when that plastic wobble plate fails small pieces go in the fuel return line and that shuts down the injection pumps ability to make pressure.

We had to clean ours to get the engine running.

Phil P
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Old 03-14-2018, 07:14:28 AM
edward moller edward moller is offline
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Default Re: John Deere 4239 Diesel Engine Wonít Start and Wonít Fire on Ether

try putting some motor oil in the intake as you crank it over. will raise the compression, you probally washed the cyl dry with all of that either.
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Old 03-14-2018, 10:16:35 AM
ronm ronm is offline
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Default Re: John Deere 4239 Diesel Engine Won’t Start and Won’t Fire on Ether

A gear reduction starter normally spins the engine faster than a non-gear starter. I suspect the starter is your problem. These engines have to spin over fast to start. I suppose this is a hydrostatic or torque converter drive so you can't pull start it? Usually you pull them 5 feet & they will fire...
Try tapping on the top of the pump with the switch turned on, sometimes the metering valve will stick in the shutoff position if it sets a long time.
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Old 03-14-2018, 08:50:43 PM
Joe Stewart Joe Stewart is offline
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Default Re: John Deere 4239 Diesel Engine Wonít Start and Wonít Fire on Ether

These are some great suggestions gentlemen. Many thanks. I think that I have already addressed some of them:

"Check fuel filter" - I put a brand new filter on, and with that electric fuel pump, I am getting plenty of solid (no air) fuel to the injection pump.

"Make sure pump is getting fuel" - as above.

"Fuel shut off not turning on" - The injection pump was just rebuilt and it has only four hours of use on it. I can hear the fuel shut off valve go "click" when I feed 12volts to it, so I'm pretty sure its working. I also tried the trick of tapping the top of the pump with a brass drift to free it up - no effect. Plus I can see fuel spewing out each outlet on the pump (although not much, but this is impossible to quantitate) when I crank motor over, so again, I think the fuel shut off valve is working.

"Loosen injector lines at injectors until fuel comes out" - this is what I am doing to bleed the lines. Seems like it took kind of long for the fuel to get up to the injectors and we overheated the starter in the process. Need to continue this process when I get out there next weekend.

"Blocked exhaust" - I had to remove muffler from manifold in order to access the injector pump, so the exhaust is breathing freely. Of note: I also disconnected the air filter temporarily so the intake is also breathing freely.

"Pour motor oil in the intake to raise compression" - Haven't tried this yet, but if the motor won't fire on ether, I'm not really seeing the point in trying it.

"Return hose from top of pump might be clogged" - Now THIS might be a possibility! I disconnected the return hose from the top of the pump and turned on the electric fuel pump - it seems like only a trickle of fuel is returning to the tank! Note that this is while the engine is not running. It seems like much more fuel should be returning to the tank than what I am seeing (which is maybe 10 drops of fuel every 5 seconds). But this would suggest a blockage INSIDE the injector pump, which is freshly rebuilt, right? Not sure how to explain this.

"I suspect starter is your problem" - Well, I'm starting to think that also, because it seems like this engine should be spinning faster than it actually does with this freshly rebuilt starter. Plus, it seems like cranking this motor depletes my batteries pretty quick. I have an extra starter on the shelf which needs rebuilding. I may throw another $130 at it and get that starter rebuilt and see if it makes a difference.

But I don't think any of this explains why I can't get this engine started on ether. I've started many other diesels with ether (not a good idea, I know) but for some reason this engine won't fire on ether.

One other possibility I'm starting to entertain is that this engine is in the early stages of seizing up and that is why the starter is turning it so slow. I have no basis for this idea, since the machine ran fine last time I used it and it has plenty of oil in the pan and I've never noticed any oil pressure problem.
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Old 03-14-2018, 10:03:28 PM
enginenut2 enginenut2 is offline
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Default Re: John Deere 4239 Diesel Engine Wonít Start and Wonít Fire on Ether

Most diesels will run well on motor oil fed through the intake manifold and it has a "healing effect" on marginal compression caused by ???. Just be prepared to control the amount fed because the governor can't. The starting fluid can help along with the oil. these Roosa-Master pumps accomplish fuel shut off by raising the pump case pressure. If the return line elbow or fitting where the return line connects to the pump plugs, the pump won't deliver much if any because the case pressure is high. Remove that fitting and look for a small check ball inside. It often collects trash from a failing coupling and shuts down the pump. Repeated plugging of this area is many times the sign of a failing coupling. In my opinion these cheap assed Roosa Masters have caused more engine overhauls than starting fluid.

Last edited by enginenut2; 03-14-2018 at 10:04:52 PM. Reason: addition
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