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Old 07-31-2013, 06:44 PM   #1
grizzzly OP
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Need help with a large cat diesel

I have a truck with a CAT 3116,
we got it on a steep rough road and it died. I am thinking that it ran out of fuel. Is there a way to “prime the fuel system”?
We pulled it to level ground and put some fuel in it, cranked it the first few attempts it would start but it wouldn’t catch just kinda loop but never get over 1000rpm (I am just guessing at that number)and then die. Now it just cranks, I hit it with a quick squirt of starting fluid and it would hit than die immediately. any ideas
All my experience wrenching is on gas engines
thanks chris
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:58 PM   #2
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I would at very minimum fill the fuel filters completely with fuel. If you got her air bound you'll prolly will have break all the fuel lines and fill them with fuel.
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:04 PM   #3
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is there a bleed nipple at the end of the fuel rail to open and get diesel through? which would then mean that the injector’s would/should have fuel to them.
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:07 PM   #4
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Sometimes the fuel filters have manual prime pumps on them.If your fuel shifted to the back of the tank you might want to put 10 gallons or so in it before working on it more.If you loosen a fitting at the injection pump and work the prime button on the filter( if it has 1) until you see fuel flowing then tighten the fitting and try to start with some starting fliud.When a diesel fuel system gets air in it it sucks.
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Old 07-31-2013, 07:43 PM   #5
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The injectors are under the valve cover
The fuel pumps are electric and I didn’t see a manual pump (like on the older trucks I have worked on) I couldn’t hear the pumps running.
I didn’t have any good tools with me when I was at the truck so I couldn’t break a line to see if I had fuel or could get the pressure to drop and cycle the pumps.
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Old 08-01-2013, 01:47 AM   #6
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Need a little more info, year and make/model?

I don't have much experience with newer ones, I suspect if it has electric pumps it will be self purging if low fuel were the issue. It could be junk (mainly water) in the tank that got stirred up but you should be able to crack a line before the injector pump and verify fuel flow and if there is water in it. Other than that need more info.
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Old 08-01-2013, 05:38 AM   #7
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I am going to take some wrenches with me today and see where I have fuel
someone mentioned that the fuel pick up on these are prone to breakage
95 GMC with a CAT 3116 and an auto transmission
it is the stiffest sprung truck I have ever seen with hydraulic breaks
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:30 AM   #8
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Bring a tank of air, stuff a couple rags in the fuel filler, and crack a line in the engine compartment. Blow air gently into the tank until you get flow from the cracked line. This should bleed a good portion of trapped air. Good luck.
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:51 AM   #9
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Starting fluid in a diesel? Is that a good idea given the compression ratio? I'm thinking that may cause more harm than good.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bronco638 View Post
Starting fluid in a diesel? Is that a good idea given the compression ratio? I'm thinking that may cause more harm than good.
Two (very opinionated) schools of thought on this:
One says you'll blow the intake manifold into small pieces.

The other says "hold my beer and watch this!"
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bronco638 View Post
Starting fluid in a diesel? Is that a good idea given the compression ratio? I'm thinking that may cause more harm than good.

It does work on diesels AND can severely damage them too, some coworkers did that by using too much on a diesel generator...
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzzly View Post
95 GMC with a CAT 3116

It has a manual priming pump on it, you unscrew it, then pump it a thousand times.

Fire the guy that ran it out of fuel.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:37 AM   #13
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Ether is not a good replacement for poor maintenance, but used cautiously can be an excellent diagnostic tool.

Since I wasn't there, it is not for me to judge what someones motives are.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:40 AM   #14
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Took some of the fuel lines off (all lines had fuel in them) pulled the fuel pick up out of the tank (The fuel pickup was coated with a black slime )put everything back. Than pumped air into the tank until I had fuel to the injector pump. Cranked the engine for about 30 seconds and it hit a few times than finally started. It ran like crap for about 10 minutes now it is running fine

I don’t understand why it wouldn’t start last night after we fueled it

The fuel pickup was coated with a black slime so I am wondering if it didn’t have a clogged fuel line i was able to get fuel through the filter by pressurizing the tank
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:47 AM   #15
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Ether is not a good replacement for poor maintenance, but used cautiously can be an excellent diagnostic tool.

Since I wasn't there, it is not for me to judge what someones motives are.

That is very true but sometimes it will give you that little kick needed to get over that edge and run.

I have seem a few very spectacular explosions from someone using too much
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