LD 28 Marine won't start

Discuss (and cuss) the Nissan LD-series OHC Six diesel engine, popularly available in the US in 1981-83 Datsun/Nissan Maxima Sedans & Wagons.

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LD28 Owner
Posts: 41
Joined: 13 years ago
Location: Olympia, WA

LD 28 Marine won't start

#1

Post by LD28 Owner »

OK, so I have a new-to-me, 1075 hour, LD28M that won't start. The engine has been sitting for 3 or 4 years. The PO installed rebuilt injectors last year to get it started to no avail.

What I've done:
1. Installed new batteries,

2 Set up a system with a fuel pump and 2 gallon gas can full of new diesel to bypass the 3 or 4 year-old diesel in the boat tank. Good fuel is now flowing thru the IP.

3. Replaced non-functional starter with a rebuilt. I re-read the starter thread here and decided to keep the old starter and pay the $18 core charge. The old starter turns over fine when I bypass the solenoid just like the two Al mentioned in the starter thread. The old starter is the high-power version. The rebuilt I got was the low-power style. I installed the rebuilt.

4. Checked the glow plug system. The marine system is real simple. The plugs are 12 volt plugs and the starter switch has a momentary position allowing the operator to energize the glow plugs will a full 12 volts for as long as he wishes. The glow plugs are good and the feed wire delivers the full 12 volts.

5. Ran a cold compression test. The reading from front to back are: 150, 200, 150, 125, 160, 150.

6. Disconnected the fuel lines at the injectors and turned the engine over. The IP delivers fuel in a timed manner, suggesting that the IP belt is intact.

Turns over fine but won't start.

The cold compression numbers sound low to me and I think my next step will be pulling the glow plug and squirting a bunch of Mavel Mystery Oil or similar product into each cylinder to see if I loosen up some rings and increase the compression.

I'm also thinking of swapping the solenoid from the rebuilt (low-power) starter to the old (high-power) starter in hopes of getting a more robust starting effort.

I'm very interested and open to anyone's suggestion at this point.
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asavage
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Re: LD 28 Marine won't start

#2

Post by asavage »

LD28 Owner wrote:5. Ran a cold compression test. The reading from front to back are: 150, 200, 150, 125, 160, 150.
You'll need compression over 350 to start reliably. Hopefully, this is a dry cylinder issue. If it was stored in a moist environment, the valve seats/valves may have developed rust.
The cold compression numbers sound low to me and I think my next step will be pulling the glow plug and squirting a bunch of Mavel Mystery Oil or similar product into each cylinder to see if I loosen up some rings and increase the compression.
That's exactly what I'd do. Any light oil will temporarily increase the compression. However, I don't know how stuck the stuck rings might be. Rings do not typically stick unless there was a moist environment or it was put away with gummy junk in it (ie WVO or SVO for "fuel").

If you have rusted cyls or rusted valves/seats, the oil will be much less effective. But adding some oil to each cylinder is what I'd try first anyway.
I'm also thinking of swapping the solenoid from the rebuilt (low-power) starter to the old (high-power) starter in hopes of getting a more robust starting effort.
You can get 150 RPM even with the gasser starter (just not for very long). If it's cranking too slow, your compression test results are suspect as well.

You might find -- as I did -- that the various Hitachi solenoids do not interchange across starter series. The catalog for the replacement Hitachi solenoids has literally page after page of solenoid illustrations.

You're near Olympia -- I will be in Tacoma this Friday all day for professional training, and I'll be travelling to Oregon for Memorial Day weekend (Friday night down, Monday back). I have at least one loose LD28 starter, perhaps two. You're welcome to borrow one -- just don't burn it up.
Regards,
Al S.

1982 Maxima diesel wagon, 2nd & 4th owner, 165k miles, rusty & burgundy/grey. Purchased 1996, SOLD 16Feb10
1983 Maxima diesel wagon, 199k miles, rusty, light yellow/light brown. SOLD 14Jul07
1981 720 SD22 (scrapped 04Sep07)
1983 Sentra CD17, 255k, bought 06Jul08, gave it away 22Jun10.
rlaggren
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Location: San Francisco

#3

Post by rlaggren »

Re. starter cranking speed.

Make sure the main power cables and connections are good. In a marine environment the cables can go bad by corroding up the wires (inside the insulation) 6" - 12" from the connectors; connections are always a problem - they all need to be clean and tight. Oversize cables are always in good taste, also. West Marine sometimes has "end of spool' sales on cable - I got about 6' of 00 (I think - been a while) at 1/2 price; made a big difference. Or get welding cable; it's cheaper than the tinned stuff but you need to really seal the connectors to the cable to keep out moisture. You can make up new cable with the hammer cripper or West Marine will do it for you; you stand a good chance of doing it better yourself, especially if you get a couple extra connectors and cut the cable a little long just in case. I think I used a hacksaw to cut the cable; holding it still is the main issue there. After you crimp, pull HARD on the connector, ditto if you have it done; if it comes off do it again so it doesn't.

Put a volt meter on the starter while you're cranking. IRCC less than 9v at the starter means something isn't as it should be; in that case, see if you also get less than 9v at the hot battery terminal - if so, there's a battery problem. Also you could try feeling the cables and connections after cranking 5 secs - any real hot spot is something to look at. Do check the ground cable from the battery, also.

Good luck. Rufus
82 Maxima wagon
LD28 Owner
Posts: 41
Joined: 13 years ago
Location: Olympia, WA

Update

#4

Post by LD28 Owner »

I shot a little 10-30 motor oil into each glow plug hole and let it set for a day, turned the engine over to distribute the oil, waited another day and turned it over again. I ran another cold compression test today and the results (Cylinder, Original reading, New reading and Change) were as follows:

1: 150, 240, +90
2: 200, 200, No change
3: 150, 220, +70
4: 125, 430, +305
5: 160, 440, +280
6: 150, 240, + 90

The oil improved all but one cylinder, two cylinders (4 & 5) look great but four cylinders are still too low

The optimistic conclusion is that the cylinders were dry and the oil fixed the situation. There is still a valve problem.

The pessimistic conclusion is that I have a ring problem that benefits temporarily from oil and I have a valve problem too.

I suppose a leak down test would give additional info but I really don't have the capacity to maintain an air flow at 240 PSI.

My inclination is to pull the head, to:
1. See if the low cylinders look different that the good cylinders and,
2. See if the valves in the low cylinders look any different than those in the good cylinders.

If the low cylinder valves are worse than the good cylinder valves, I do a valve job and bolt it back together.

If the low cylinder valves are as good as the good cylinder valves, I go to plan B and list some engine parts in Buy-n-Sell.

Any thoughts out here on this approach?

P.S Al, thanks for the offer of the use of a good starter -- I hope to get to the point where I need it.

Rufus, I did clean up the battery and starter terminals real good and didn't notice any cable problems. I didn't do a voltage check -- the starter had no problem with the light load of one cylinder at a time. I promise I'll check the cranking voltage if I get to the good situation of six high PSI cylinders.
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asavage
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#5

Post by asavage »

430/440 look great, but those figures can be influenced quite a bit by only slight variations in the amount of residual oil.

The numbers for the other cyls are pretty ugly.
rlaggren
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Location: San Francisco

#6

Post by rlaggren »

I haven't done it in 3 or 4 years, but as I recall I used a 30gal portable air tank to supply pressure while I listened to see where it was all going; I think I got about 1 cyl per tank after all my futzing around. Need a quiet place to work, though. To do a proper comparison test you need to ensure a uniform pressure, but to locate the trouble spots it's OK to let it bleed down while you listen.

Seems like it might be worth the trouble - I've always found it much easier to diagnose an engine _before_ it gets taken apart. Just to check, I assume your test was made using a well sealed adapter w/good connections (no leaks) and the check valve on the gauge worked well enough to hold pressure a couple minutes for you to read easily; same number of "puffs" for each cyl, same starter motor speed, all that stuff. Don't want to tear your hair w/out making real sure about the incriminating tests themselves. Like, How Do I Know? <GG>

Also in the "before" vein, do you have a cylinder head gasket? Some members had trouble finding them a while back. There are people who will make them up for you but they need an original to work from if somebody hasn't already ordered that particular one; delivery is about 4-6 weeks. Five-six years ago they ran about $100, but I was looking for gas engines - diesel may be more.

Oh, and as for just getting it to start, assuming the IP and valves are in the ballpark, you can get more spin-up speed by putting your hand over the air filter spout, cutting off it's air; the (relative) vacuum is easier to compress, hence less starter load. Once it's spinning take (pull) you hand away. I've used this method on 6 cyl diesels and it makes enough difference to start engines that wouldn't because the battery was way down. WD40 makes a decent diesel starter fluid and the engine can run on it w/out damage for a short time so you can get a big can and keep spraying if it's willing to cough over (done that too). This should also run the engine even if the IP is out of whack for some reason, long as the valve train is not _too_ bad. Might joggle some piston rings back into the working world if it putted over a little.

Rufus
82 Maxima wagon
LD28 Owner
Posts: 41
Joined: 13 years ago
Location: Olympia, WA

#7

Post by LD28 Owner »

Rufus,
I'm fairly confident my cold compression tests were OK but I didn't give all the cylinders the same # of "puffs". I just kept going until the gauge stopped rising. I'll give your hand choking and WD40 suggestion a try -- I have successfully used WD40 in the spring to get the old lawnmower going and getting the LD28 started would be good.

I remember the head gasket availability issue and I'll be checking up on it today if I can't get the engine going.
Jim
goglio704
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Joined: 15 years ago
Location: East Tennessee

#8

Post by goglio704 »

No time to elaborate now, but I have new gasket leads. Post back here if you need gaskets.
Matt B.

83 Maxima Sedan, LD28, 5 speed, white, 130k miles. My original Maxima.
83 Maxima Sedan converted from gasser, LD28, 5 speed, 2 tone blue, 230k miles
82 Maxima Sedan, LD28, 3 speed auto, 2 tone Gray/Silver, 140k miles
81 810 Sedan, LD28, 3 speed auto, rust, rust, and more rust!

2005 Jeep Liberty CRD
rlaggren
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#9

Post by rlaggren »

Another trick to starting a diesel:

Aim a (lit) propane torch down its throat while cranking. Some Perkins diesels employed this technique using a factory installed (at the mouth of the intake manifold) spray of diesel fuel and a glow plug to light it off; I read several posts that it worked very well.

I can vouch for the propane torch working on my LD28. 5 out of 6 glow plugs quit last week for no particular reason I know of and I got worried about cranking it too much. Need two people, though, unless you have a start button in the engine bay.

(later)
Well, I need to add that the propane torch doesn't seem to work all the time; this morning I gave it a try with no luck. I quit when the carbon build up in the intake started burning too much (put hand over throat to put it out) and the engine didn't act like it was interested. Maybe my previous success was due to lots of cranking shortly before.


Rufus
Last edited by rlaggren 13 years ago, edited 1 time in total.
82 Maxima wagon
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#10

Post by diesel-man »

Just a dumb question that may already have been asked....But can you definately say that the valves are closing all the way on the low compression cylinders? Meaning have the valves been adjusted? Has a little ether been tried?
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asavage
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#11

Post by asavage »

Per a PM conversation: he gave up on that LD28 and installed another LD28 that was a known runner. Geographically, he and the boat with the engine, and the pulled engine, are thousands of miles apart (three ways), so trying things now is not an option. But the boat is under power, and that's what's important now.
LD28 Owner
Posts: 41
Joined: 13 years ago
Location: Olympia, WA

#12

Post by LD28 Owner »

What Mr. Savage said is all true -- have a good engine in the boat and the other engine on a pallet at the other end of the country. I'm so curious about the "no compression/no start" problem and possible solutions that I'm inclined to ship it back to the west coast to figure it out. I have the additional rationalization that the value of the parts would be close to or slightly above the shipping costs if it turns out to be completely hopeless.

Stay tuned...
mrtaquito85
Posts: 17
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#13

Post by mrtaquito85 »

aa
Last edited by mrtaquito85 8 years ago, edited 1 time in total.
LD28 Owner
Posts: 41
Joined: 13 years ago
Location: Olympia, WA

#14

Post by LD28 Owner »

Marine LD28's do not have EGR but I'm not sure how you'd use the manifold in an automotive setting. The marine manifold is a heavy, water cooled, cast iron combination intake and exhaust manifold with an integrated thermostat casting. The exhaust exits at the top center of the manifold and the air intake is at the rear of the manifold. It bears no resemblance to its automotive equivalent--it even has a unique manifold gasket because of the integrated thermostat.
LD28 Owner
Posts: 41
Joined: 13 years ago
Location: Olympia, WA

Update

#15

Post by LD28 Owner »

We got the boat in the water and running fine after pulling the original engine and replacing it with an 850 hour takeout engine from another boat.

The takeout engine runs fine and moves us along quite well.

The only issue with the takeout engine is that it never runs until the third starting. The first and second startings last 10 or 20 seconds before the engine stops. The third firing then results in continued operation.

Seems like a fuel issues. Any thoughts out there on this one?
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