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Rebuilt Cat 3204 motor will not start on own power.

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JamesB1991
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:47 pm    Post subject: Rebuilt Cat 3204 motor will not start on own power. Reply to specific post Reply with quote

I hope this isn't to long of a post but I need anyone's help on this one. The motor being worked on is a PC naturally asperated 3204 cat engine. I had recently pulled the motor out of our D3 dozer due to the motor having a large oil leak between the block and flywheel housing. The motor was on the tired side so we decided to have a reputable rebuild shop rebuild our motor. It was a long block rebuild, and since we rebuilt the motor we also had the injection pump rebuilt, new and tested injectors, as well as a rebuilt lift pump. The motor went back together like a dream until we tried to start it. As of now you can start the engine with ether, shut it off and you can start it right back up again on its own. wait more than five minutes you have to use ether again.
We have a book for this motor and followed the Cat timing instructions, as well as, using the correct timing plate for the accessory drive housing. The procedure the book states was to align the timing marks on the crank and cam, pin the motor on compression number one ( both valves being closed on number one/ having vale lash at number one), installing the timing plate into the accessory drive shaft, and then torqueing the accessory drive gear while the timing plate was installed. After all this one needs to only install the pump; due to the offset cutout of the pump shaft and accessory drive shaft the pump can only go in one way. After the motor was installed and no start persisted we verified the timing marks were correct by fishing a camera light down the front of the timing gear cover. and going over the process again....and again.....and again.
After verifying timing and doing it more than just once, we then moved onto compression. We used the glow plug port and had 425 on all 4 cylinders.
Maybe 180 degrees out on valve setting i was told. We checked and even tried to set it off 180 degrees but physically couldn't due to massive lash issues, as well as, pushrod to rocker clearance issues. So valve adjustment is good.
Lift pump fuel pressure is just above 40 psi. We sabotaged our fuel line from filter housing to injection pump by removing a section of it and installing a clear hose to see if we were inducing air into the system before the injection pump. No bubbles, and we started it on ether to run it a while to make sure it had no air bubbles in a running state.
Thought the pump was possibly rebuilt wrong and sent it back to the repair shop. Said it bench tested good. I trust the pump place as we have done a lot of business with them in the past.
No air restriction for intake on motor and the starter is cranking the motor fast enough.
Only thing we haven't done is re-tested the injectors. Which number 3 and 4 when twisted apart had fuel in them but 1 and 2 did not. Don't know if that means anything or not. Injectors were torqued to 55 ft-lbs per cat spec into the pre-cup chambers and cross over lines to 35 ft-lbs per cat spec. We removed injectors to verify possibly if we had mashed one by mistake and did not.
Glow plugs are working, and pulling good amps. We even removed them and grounded them to be sure how hot they were getting. Once it starts with ether the motor runs well. Took temp readings on exhaust and looked good. We did the recommended break in period for the motor and it didn't lack power as well as any hesitation It did however smoke a light blue haze the entire time of running. Was hoping it would clear up when warm.
While trying to crank the motor we do not get smoke initially. It takes about 5 seconds for the exhaust to begin to emit smoke and 15-20 seconds to get full fuel pressure. The color is a white smoke while trying to start. The motor will not sputter or cough at all while cranking. Once started with ether and moved to 3/4 throttle and above we did notice a cylinder cutting in and out. Didn't notice that before when running it. Haven't loosened lines yet to see which cylinder it is yet. While running we get a faint blueish smoke out the stack.
I am not making oil so no diesel is leaking into the oil. We ran this motor for 3 hours at 75% load for break in.
Put 2 new fuel filters on it, cleaned the metal screen on the fitting going into the lift pump. replaced all lines from tank to injection pump which that wasn't cheep.
This is as far as my knowledge goes. I've probably left a few things out but I think its mostly there. I have been doing this a little over 10 years now and haven't really come across something like this before. Seems like the motor just isn't getting fuel. Any ideas would be much appreciated and helpful. I thank you for your time if you have read this and look forward in fixing this motor with your help.
 
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Old Magnet
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Rebuilt Cat 3204 motor will not start on own power. Reply to specific post Reply with quote

What do you get for fuel pressure when cranking the engine?
Those early 3204's had a built in orifice in the fuel return circuit. If that got omitted or changed cranking pressure suffers.
 
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Eb1953
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Rebuilt Cat 3204 motor will not start on own power. Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Tell me more about the Long Block Rebuild. Could the rebuilder have installed DI pistons rather than PC pistons?
 
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Nordic
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Rebuilt Cat 3204 motor will not start on own power. Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Being that you have glow plugs it is the early version of the 3204. I have had several of these. I am thoroughly embarrassed on behalf of Caterpillar for designing only one compression ring (plus one double ridge oil ring) to go each piston. I hope the rebuild shop used the upgraded piston design with more compression rings. When I overhauled one of these I had a terrible time getting it started (stayed with original pistons). It would have never started the first time without ether. I would highly recommend buying new glow plugs because it really seems to help. Even if they get hot when testing they may not be as hot as new ones. Does the starter turn over fast? If not you have to address that. After one good day's work it should start OK with new glow plugs. Your challenge does not at all surprise me if the engine isn't broken in yet. I've had four machines with the exact same 3204.
 
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AJ.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:19 am    Post subject: Re: Rebuilt Cat 3204 motor will not start on own power. Reply to specific post Reply with quote

If the engine is running ok after you get it started that takes the timing out of the equation, when you crank the engine over are you getting smoke out the stack, you should be, no smoke no fuel, no start, with the fuel system serviced and you seem to trust the fuel people there are two tests I would do, first I would check the injectors for blow back, loosen the fuel lines at the injectors, with the stop control in stop crank the engine over watching the injectors for any blow back, if a nozzle sticks open it will allow compression to leak back into the pump causing an air lock, if that checks out ok stop the engine without using the stop control, stall it or, the reason is to see if it will start again from cold, if it does there is an issue with the pump rack.
Good luck
AJ
 
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Eb1953
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2021 3:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Rebuilt Cat 3204 motor will not start on own power. Reply to specific post Reply with quote

May I ask what you found with the 3204 starting problem?
 
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JamesB1991
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:03 am    Post subject: Re: Rebuilt Cat 3204 motor will not start on own power. Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Old Magnet the fuel pressure is at 40 psi while cranking. Thank you for helping on this one.
 
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JamesB1991
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:28 am    Post subject: Re: Rebuilt Cat 3204 motor will not start on own power. Reply to specific post Reply with quote

EB1953 that's exactly where we headed. Calling the rebuild shop they crossed the p/n from cat to theirs and are using the correct pc pistons. I was told by Garry Brown, the lead at the pump/engine department at Hillsboro Cat, said that I would be having an interference issue if the wrong pistons were used due to the extreme cut outs that pc pistons use verses the di pistons. I believe that was if pc pistons were used in di engines. If pc pistons were used in di engines they would turn over without an interference issue, but have hardly any compression. I have no idea if this is true, but what I was told that by a man who says he's done many of these engines. Which makes sense when he explained the machining of the pistons on a di and pc piston. I was also thinking if they didn't install the pistons in correctly, by having them backwards, but then again I would be having an interference issue due to the cutouts of the piston for the valves.
The rebuild shop rebuilt our original motor; the cam and crank are thee original cam and crank that were in the motor. They said they looked amazing and only needed polishing. The internal parts are not genuine Cat but American made by a company called Interstate McBee. I was told that these parts are cheap garbage by some and others swear by them. We personally as a company haven't had and any issues with these parts in the past. The rebuild shop doing the work is called Northwest Castings. They are located in Portland Or.
 
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JamesB1991
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:50 am    Post subject: Re: Rebuilt Cat 3204 motor will not start on own power. Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Nordic thank you for your replay. I as well am not a fan on using ether. A diesel motor that gets started with ether will soon always need ether to start. I used ether as a last resort, but yes, the starter turns the motor over fast and strong. I as well was thinking glow plugs and did buy some which unfortunately didn't help. I hate being a parts changer and have resorted a little to that mindset on this project; I hate to admit this and know it's not the correct mindset to have. The motor has been broken in and still has the same issue. New without break in we were running 425 psi cold on all four cylinders which is plenty of compression to fire. Thank you for your input.
 
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:10 am    Post subject: Re: Rebuilt Cat 3204 motor will not start on own power. Reply to specific post Reply with quote

AJ thank you. I do trust the fuel rebuild shop as we have done a lot of business with them in the past. On this project though I am starting to become a little frustrated with their work. The lift pump we found, which I did not state earlier, was inducing air into the fuel system but that is now fixed; and was verified by installing a section of see through line as stated in the original post. I did however pull the injectors before I read your post and had them tested which found 2 were bad. I didn't get into it at the pump shop and just said ok and thank you even though they were supposedly new and had been tested! Sorry going on a tangent. It seems to me a fuel issue and the pump is what I suspect. I will do both tests. Even though the injectors were just tested I will still do the blow back test. I will try and stall the motor. I am not an operator and know very little on how to operate a D3 other than operating it to work on it. How would you want me to stall the motor. Same as testing the torque slip but at low idle, and how does this tell me the governor has been miss adjusted if it starts right back up after stalled? Thank you for your help.
 
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:21 am    Post subject: Re: Rebuilt Cat 3204 motor will not start on own power. Reply to specific post Reply with quote

EB1953 I have been gone the last four days and just replying to posts so unfortunately still not running. I did however pull the injectors before leaving on vacation and stopped by the pump shop on my way to the coast. They tested them then and there and found 2 out of the 4 were bad. As I wrote to AJ the injectors were supposedly new and had been tested prior to this...... I guess not. Not very happy about that. Going to run some tests today and will let everyone know that's chimed in what's going on.
 
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 8:30 am    Post subject: Re: Rebuilt Cat 3204 motor will not start on own power. Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Update on the motor. Injectors have no blow back, but the pump still delivers some fuel when the governor is in the no fuel position, which is interesting. Also I never pulled a compression check after it was hot. 425 psi cold seems plenty of compression, but just for kicks I checked it after starting the motor and having it reach operating temp. The motor was still at 425 psi. After starting the motor and getting it to fire on ether we ran it until it reached operating temp again. We then proceeded to check fuel pressure/temp verses engine shut down time. We cranked it up and it fired after one minute, two minutes, three minutes, five minutes, ten minutes, twenty minutes, and forty minutes with no problem on engine restart. Before it wouldn't start after five minutes of sitting so maybe it was the 2 bad injectors!!!. It did however crank slightly longer the longer it sat. Psi on the filter housing was dropping a little but would jump right back up when cranking. So fingers crossed we let it sit for one hour and tried to start it. After one hour and engine still very warm it would not start. Tested again after firing it on ether letting it warm up to operating temp and shutting it down for one hour; no start. One hour is the magic number. After one hour of of shutdown after the motor being at operating temp it will not start on its own power. The motor is definitely plenty warm, even hot I would say. Give it a sniff of ether after sitting for an hour and off she goes running great. We found after one hour fuel pressure at the filter test port drops from 40 psi to 15psi; it builds pressure right back to 40 when cranking. It's not temp related, or timing we believe, but fuel related.
At this time we are going to remove the fuel pump and send it to a different pump repair shop and see if something is miss adjusted in the governor assembly. I was told these pumps are very straight forward to rebuild and almost impossible to miss- adjust but at this point I'm hoping something is miss-adjusted in the governor.
I will let you know what happens.
 
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:28 am    Post subject: Re: Rebuilt Cat 3204 motor will not start on own power. Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Very interesting results with your testing. When you try restarting after one hour, are you using the glow plugs? If so, how many seconds? I will just say this because it happened to me with the very first 3204 I had... after just buying it and having this difficult starting and only depending on ether for results I got suspicious of the fuel in the machine, put in by the previous owner. The smell of the fuel was not quite the normal diesel smell. After emptying the tank and putting in good quality fuel it all changed, like a different machine all of a sudden. I assume you know the quality of your fuel, just be sure it's the best, to eliminate all doubt. If you put in one or two quarts of Automatic Transmission Fluid in your fuel tank you will be amazed at improved starting especially in lower temperatures.
 
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:12 am    Post subject: Re: Rebuilt Cat 3204 motor will not start on own power. Reply to specific post Reply with quote

The throttle control on all injector pumps does not have a direct connection to the rack, the stop usually pushes the rack to the stop position, the rack is pulled back through the governor by a spring to the run and speed position, if the rack sticks in the stop position all that will happen when you pull the throttle to run is the spring will expand and no fuel would be injected, next time you stop the engine put the throttle on full after stopping and see how that will fare on the next cold start, I think by what you say that the engine rebuild is good, was the machine starting before the rebuild without ether, that engine needs heat to start from cold, Nordic made a very valid point about the diesel is it ok, the engine needs four basic things to start from cold, heat,fuel,air and compression, if it belches out smoke while turning over what is happening then is the fuel is not igniting, why, glow plugs, not enough pressure to atomize the fuel, lack of air or poor compression, we know the compression is ok, air is ok or you would have black smoke, Hmm if you posted saying just about it not starting from cold and not mentioning the rebuild bet everyone would be saying glow plugs, you are sure that they are working, I know how depressing it must be after the effort you have made and I would say you done everything right, it seems it is down to the heat or the fuel, what does the ammeter say when you apply heat?, come back about the smoke and the ammeter.
AJ
 
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 2:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Rebuilt Cat 3204 motor will not start on own power. Reply to specific post Reply with quote

Sorry everyone this is a long post. AJ and Nordic thank you for staying with me on this one. I have some bad news on this one unfortunately. After pulling the pump I noticed a metallic glaze to the motor oil....... I did not notice this on the dipstick after the initial brake in period. So pulled the filter and yes, massive amount of metallic. So we pulled the motor yesterday and it's not good. Massive play in the main bearings. After calling the rebuild shop and explaining to them what we were observing they gave us otherization to tear it down. Yes, we could of just sent it off, but I wanted to see what was going on. I have wasted serious time on this project and now know it's not looking like it had anything to do with the pump. After pulling the head we found we could move the pistons 40 thousandths inside the bore. Note we were not rocking the piston in the bore but moving the piston inline with the piston rod and crank. The rods and mains were hammered. The back side of the rod bearings all looked like they were spinning inside the rod eyes; but the tab on the bearings were not shaved off so they weren't spinning. Very weird with the measurements we came up with later. Back side of mains were fine. We checked bearing clearances for crank journals and rods and found them on the very outer limits on the tolerances. Needless to say due to the bearings being hammered. We checked the block main bearing ids and they were right on. Removed crank and checked the od on crank mains and rods journals and found them to be in spec. Thank God the crank doesn't appear to be damaged. Checked the cylinder bores of the motor and found them to be in spec and not out of round. Checked the id of the rod eyes and they are in spec. Measured the piston skirts as well as measuring them above and below the compression ring. Even with a lot of wear on the skirts they measured out. I don't know where the 40 thousandths is coming from...........Didn't know what the piston protrusion was suppose to be, but they weren't touching the valves. Lost the the camshaft. The lobs are gone on the outer base as well as all the followers. Rings were installed correctly and ring gap is good. All in all the motor checks out with the measurement side of things. Luckily the company I work for brought in the big guns and brought a machinist to help me take the measurements and readings on this thing. Either we are both really incompetent or we are seriously missing something here.
Our thought before dismantling the bottom end was that we were obtaining a good "static" compression reading, but while during a combustion cycle we were having a massive blow-bye effect due to the excessive play in piston to bore clearance. Just a guess though that we can't back up due to the measurements. I thought we would find a machined crank with standard bearings, or oversized pistons in a standard bore, or something of that nature....... I am at a loss on this one as well as the others on this project. I will inform you of what the rebuild shop says. Funny thing is now we get to send the pump off to have it cleaned and inspected again like we wanted!!!!! Got to laugh at something.
 
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