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Old 03-11-2017, 06:39 AM   #1
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Caterpillar starting problem

We took a 1,600 mile trip in our 1998 Beaver Contessa last summer. We never had any mechanical problems. After sitting 1 month in our driveway, we couldn't get it started.

We paid a roadside mechanic to get our Caterpillar started. While changing the fuel filter and fuel waster separator, the mechanic showed me some tank rust in the separator and recommended eliminating the rust from the fuel tank. He started the engine with engine starter fluid and ran fine while it sat in the driveway.

After running on high idle for about 15 minutes, I shut it down in preparation for a trip the next day. On the following day I tried to start again and failed. I tried using the starter fluid and it started but sputtered while I kept my foot on the fuel. Once I let go, it cut out.

Any thoughts as to the problem?
Any estimates on the maximum hours I could be looking at for a professional to fix this problem?
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Old 03-11-2017, 07:37 AM   #2
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My guess is that the injection pump needs rebuilding as it's letting air into the fuel system.
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Old 03-11-2017, 11:37 AM   #3
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My thinking is restriction in fuel supply, either in tank at pickup or long hose from tank to primary filter. You may need to get the mobile tech back out and I'd have him run a temporary hose from a 5 gallon fuel can to the primary filter, if he can prime system and engine run, the issue is back towards line/pickup/tank.

The rust he pointed out to you leads me to this hypothesis.....
1999 American Eagle
ASE med/heavy certified technician
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:04 PM   #4
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First, call the mechanic back and tell him to try again, and the use of starting fluid is a no no as well as not safe, engine damage is a real possibility. From the small amount of info, it sounds more like a lift pump or supply problem. The traveling tech needs to look a little deeper.
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Old 03-13-2017, 08:41 AM   #5
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Had the same problem. After running 1,650 miles without a problem, my engine kept losing prime and would not start. Long story short, the big fuel/water separator was leaking. Freightliner fixed it by removing the fuel/water separator, cleaning all the gaskets and connections and reinstalling it.

As noted, starter fluid should not be used.
2014 American Eagle 45T
DD 13, 500 HP
Pulling a Honda CRV
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