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Stupid mistake

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Stupid mistake
« on: May 16, 2012, 12:39:08 PM »
Last Thursday afternoon I decided to till the garden area again.
I've got a Ford 4000 (3 cylinder diesel) tractor with a tiller.
The tractor has the 10spd SOS transmission so 1st gear is great for tilling.

I had just made a couple passes when I noticed the engine RPM was dropping so I bumped the throttle to get RPM's back up and soon the RPM's were dropping again and this time it died. :(

Yep,  I hadn't checked my fuel level and ran out of diesel.

Unfortunately I have a battery/starter problem where I can't do a lot of cranking.  Usually need to hook up a charger to start the tractor if it doesn't fire off quickly.  So I had the tractor out in the garden area with the tiller sunk in the ground and a fuel system that needed to be bled.  I did put some diesel in the tank and tried briefly to crank the engine hoping that being warm it would start quickly, but must have enough air in the system that it became obvious that I wasn't going to start it in the garden.

Ended up taking my Bobcat skidsteer out to the garden to take the tiller off the tractor.

Then used the Bobcat to tow the tractor back to the shop where I can bleed the fuel system and also use the charger.  Of course having the SOS transmission the tractor couldn't be towed until I could move the drive disconnect lever to disengage the SOS transmission.  It didn't want to budge until I used a piece of wood as a lever.

Haven't had time to bleed the fuel system yet and get it started.

You can be sure that next time the RPM's drop unexpectantly that I'll shut it down quickly before getting more air in the fuel system!

Not sure what my battery/starter problem is.  It will crank fine for a few seconds and then fairly quickly slows down to a slow crank.  Doesn't seem to make any difference if I've got a second battery jumped to help it start or not.

Not sure if the tractor battery is bad or if the starter is the problem.

Actually, I've got a heavy duty new battery I just bought for one of my cars that I might try on the tractor.  If it behaves the same as the current tractor battery it might indicate the starter has a problem.

Stupid mistake
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2012, 06:26:04 AM »
George;

Sounds like the place to start on the cranking problem, is the battery and starter cables. Could be dirty connections, corrosion in the cables or possibly wrong cables that are too small. Try cranking it and then feel the cables for any hot spots in the cables.

Gene

Stupid mistake
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2012, 08:37:49 AM »
Hi George,

I agree with Gene a couple hundred %. Sometimes batteries short internally in strange ways and all aspects of the cables are high on the list.  If I can remember correctly, dirty starters will draw way high amps and turn slow from the git go.  I remember one on my Mothers '65 Mercury convertible ( 390 c.i.d.).  The car was not that old when I and my little family took a trip with Mom and Dad to Niagara Falls.  Every time we needed to start the car you needed a hope and a prayer. It always started, but was grunt, grunt, grunt trying to turn the engine over.  Sometimes had to retry two or three times.  In the next day or two I took the car to the local garage and had them test the amperage draw of the starter.  It was something like 2 1/2 times book.  I took the starter off, cleaned the commutator, undercut the mica, and replaced it to the car.  it never gave another moments problem for the next 70,000 miles or so when she replaced the whole car.

Charlie V.