Starting problems with the daily driver
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  1. #1
    Rods 'n' Sods Junkie mundungus's Avatar
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    Starting problems with the daily driver

    Hi all,

    Really sorry everyone, I hate having to ask non rod related questions but my daily driver is giving me starting problems I just canít seem to solve.

    Itís a 1999 Rover 220 turbo diesel that for the last few months has been getting worse and worse at starting. The problems started out with it just taking a few goes of the glow plugs and a good bit of cranking before it would start, but over time deteriorated into cranking to the point of almost flat battery or needing to be jump started.

    I naturally did the voltage tests on the battery and alternator (as you do) and precautionary replaced the glow plugs (well, the three I can get to anyway). The voltages seemed ok (just over 12.5v when off, and 14.3 when running).

    As the problem seemed a bit intermittent, I then suspected the glow plug relay, so as a test I wired up a little light on the dash fed directly from the glow plugs. This always lights up as expected, so I ruled out a glow plug problem.

    I then changed the battery. This was when we had all that snow in December. I figured that it was bloody cold so maybe it wasnít performing very well due to temperature. The old battery was in warranty anyway so didnít cost me anything to change for a new one. Although it didnít need jump starting anymore, the problems persisted and continued to deteriorate again.

    Next I figure I either have a current drain somewhere thatís flattening the battery overnight, or a bad earth thatís stopping the full current getting to the starter. Iíve put my AMP meter in series with the battery and turned it off as normal. There is no drain. I tried cranking with a jump lead between the negative terminal and the engine block to test out the engine block earth and it made no difference either.

    Well last night is the final attempt, and I now think its worse somehow. I tried again to crank it. It made the most feeble attempt at turning, basically it just made a metal on metal rubbing/grinding noise and stopped completely. Sounds almost like something is mechanically seized. It now wonít even turn over at all when trying to jump start from a running car. Itís as though the ECU has just given up with the exciter wire, and the battery light is on on the dash.

    I took off the new battery thinking its dud and Iíll take it back to Halfrauds, but as a final test on that I put it on my Landrover, it started the Landy immediately (which has a bigger diesel engine). Making me think the battery is fine, and not even flat.

    So can anyone think of anything else it can be? Or anything else to try?

    BTW, the starter motor is under a year old, and the fuel filter is primed and full of fuel. The alternator is the original one, but is kicking out 14.3volt when running, so Iíd expect it to be charging ok.

    Sorry for the long post.

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  3. #2
    Official RnS Addict mygasser's Avatar
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    2 things, it only takes 1 duff glow plug to make a diesel a bugger to start. if you couldn't get to the 4th 1 its a fair bet nobody else has changed it for some time either. 2nd the starter may be duff, just cos its not very old doesn't mean it cant go wrong. especially with the metallic noise you heard and the fact it won't turn over. regrds, neil.

  4. #3
    Rods 'n' Sods Junkie
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    wot he said

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  6. #4
    Col
    Heavy Oiler Col's Avatar
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    As above + dirty injectors. Does it smoke on start up?
    I take it that it cranks at normal cranking speed prior to latest non cranking problem. A diesel needs to turn over fairly quickly to start.

  7. #5
    Administrator blackpopracing's Avatar
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    Starter certainly sounds suspect.

  8. #6
    Rods 'n' Sods Junkie mundungus's Avatar
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    Yeah the fourth glow plug was changed by me about four years ago, and I swore I'd never attempt it again.

    It's hidden behind the diesel pump, which you have to take off in order to change the plug. The pump runs off a belt driven off the cam, and the timing is critical. When I took it off I marked up the sprockets and belt and pulled the sprocket off the tapered, grooved (for a woodruff key) pump shaft, only to find that the sprocket doesn't actually have a woodruff key in the groove, and the fecking spindle thing moved. .

    It cost me 80 quid to have a diesel specialist reset the pump with a dial guage. Cos it drove like a bag of poo with the timing out even slightly.


    Re the starter, until last nights episode it seemed to spin the engine fine. Although I didn't realise the speed of the spinning was critical. Is there anyway to test it other than shorting the exciter to see if it spins. It was about 140 quid if I remember rightly, so is quite a bit of cash to specutively change.

  9. #7
    Col
    Heavy Oiler Col's Avatar
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    If it spins over OK other common culprit is an air leak into diesel fuel supply (ie) leaking seal on fuel filter, loose hose clip, porous fuel hose etc. Again if smokey on start up, could be faulty injectors.

  10. #8
    Official RnS Addict tangomoggy's Avatar
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    Short of the fuel filter being primed and full of fuel, is the fuel flowing fully? There's not a partial blockage in the fuel lines, or a waxy build up anywhere between the tank and the filter is there? Might it be something like this, as I understand diesels can sometimes have a problem with waxing? Correct me if I'm on the wrong track...

  11. #9
    Off the Xmas card list kapri's Avatar
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    Ive found these guys very helpful and a wealth of tech on their forum if you use their search facility ( we run a 416 Tourer )

    Welcome to the Rover 200Mk2 & 400Mk1 Owners Club

  12. #10
    I'm a grown up member now !
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    It's been mentioned a few times already, but it's quite likely that the starter is goosed. The bearings could be binding, or the windings on their way out.

    Before binning it, I'd make sure the motor earths properly (as in the engine / starter faces aren't corroded) and the starter feed cable hasn't got a high resistance - if it's not warm when you've cranked it's normally a good sign, but checking it with a multimeter is a more surefire way of confirming it.

    Might also be worth changing the relay anyway - if the contacts are corroded could be a possible cause.

    If not, then ask about on the forums specific to Rovers.

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