Guide for Excavator Starting Issues

All excavator operators may encounter various unexpected situations during construction, and one of the most concerning issues is difficulty starting the engine. This article summarizes basic methods to address these issues, hoping they will be adopted by everyone.

First and foremost, the most likely cause is an electrical failure, manifested by no response when turning the ignition switch or the starter motor running at a low speed, giving the feeling of the excavator being powerless. If these two phenomena occur, it can be generally determined that there is a fault in the starting circuit. The question then arises: how to troubleshoot?

  1. Check the starter relay and fuse box. Open the relay box to check if the connections are loose. Also, open the fuse box to inspect whether the starting circuit fuse is burnt. Additionally, faults in the starter motor or generator can result in difficulty starting the engine.

  2. Next, inspect the battery terminals. Clean the battery terminals, tighten the screws on the terminals, as poor contact or insufficient voltage might be the cause. If the battery is normal, the next step is to check the wiring. Follow the wiring and check if there are any broken wires or loose connections.

Secondly, a fuel system failure is also a common reason for the engine not starting. How to determine if it's a fuel system failure causing the issue?

  1. If you can hear the starter motor turning vigorously when turning the ignition key and there is no abnormal mechanical friction sound from the engine, it can be roughly determined as a fuel system issue. The inspection of the fuel system in direct injection vehicles is simpler compared to electronically controlled high-pressure common rail engines. Here are a few steps:

    A: Check if there is fuel in the tank. Some vehicles can observe the fuel level through the fuel gauge. However, it is recommended to check the fuel level using the fuel tank level gauge or by opening the fuel tank cap.

    B: Check if air is mixed in the diesel. Locate the hand primer pump and loosen the air vent screw next to it. Press the hand primer pump until diesel comes out, then tighten the vent screw.

    C: Many excavator owners do not have the habit of draining water from the fuel-water separator every day. If the fuel quality is not high, it may lead to difficulty starting due to excessive water in the diesel. The fuel-water separator generally has a red float. When the float is in the middle, promptly open the drain screw at the bottom of the fuel-water separator to discharge water.

Thirdly, if after inspection, it is found that both the circuit and the fuel system are normal, it is very likely a mechanical failure within the engine itself. Generally, the probability of a mechanical failure in a diesel engine is low, but once it occurs, it indicates a situation where the engine needs a major overhaul. Common mechanical failures include cylinder pulling, bearing burning, and piston pounding. Mechanical failures usually have preludes, such as sudden loss of power or abnormal mechanical noises during normal operation.

Difficulty starting a engine is a common problem for drivers, usually occurring after the excavator has been idle for several days or even longer. In such cases, the main causes of difficulty starting are electrical and fuel system failures. It is recommended that drivers have some basic knowledge of inspection, maintenance, and troubleshooting and can easily solve many temporary issues during the use of the excavator.

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