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Old 05-28-2022, 02:00 PM   #1
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John Deere 4045 Cranks but no Start

Hello peeps,

Happy memorial day. Looking for advice on a JD 4045 engine that started having problems over the winter. Dual engine setup on our boat with engines at 430 hours.

When returning from the yard this April our Starboard engine died while coming into the dock and would not restart.Engine would crank but, not fire. No prior history of issues on this engine.

Had a JD mechanic come in and troubleshoot for us. Assuming a fuel supply issue we identified that the fuel pump outlet nut was not as tight as it should have been and we believed it allowed air to enter into the lines to the injectors. Tightened the nut and cracked the injector fuel lines and bleed the lines and then engine started. All around smiles.

Last week we attempted to head out for cruising and the Starboard engine was having issues starting. Cranking but, not firing. On fourth attempt engine started. I ran it for a few minutes shutdown for 2 minutes and then fired back up on first try. Unfortunately engine died 11 minutes. Engine would crank but, not fire.

So some data points.
  • Both engines start from the same battery bank.
  • Both engines pull from the same fuel manifold.
  • Port engine fires up just fine.
  • All fuel valves confirmed open.
  • Verified fuel in tank through site gauge
  • Fuel level lower then expected in Racor when I removed the filter. 2.25" from housing top with filter removed. Used to see fuel all the way to the top of the housing when filter installed.
  • Filters clean and spotless. No sign of water or bacteria contamination
  • No errors thrown on the engine computer display
  • On first day of failure the engine computer through an error code which was secondary analog throttle signal out of range low. Restarted computer and error code had not reappear.

Since the Starboard engine ran dry I cracked the nut on the fuel pump egress and cranked the engine until it purged diesel. Then I did the same on the injectors. Diesel coming out of the fuel lines to the injectors. Still not firing.

So it should be getting fuel and it cranks so not sure what went wrong.

On the one time error code the service manual says check sensor and wiring. Not sure which sensor they are talking about as the primary throttle linkage on the engine is in the correct mechanical spot to for neutral.

Thoughts from the community as it may be weeks before I can have an technician come out for further testing.

Attached is the wiring diagram from my engine manual.
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John Deere Start Diagram.jpg  
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Old 05-28-2022, 02:44 PM   #2
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I certainly am not an engine mechanic. But usually this sounds like air in the fuel system, unless it is some electronic problem with th engine. I would go over the fuel supply system and check for air leaks.
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Old 05-28-2022, 02:55 PM   #3
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Agree with above. Racor is suspicious to me. Check the seals on the racor as air evidently got in previously. If it cranks and has air and fuel it should start. Good luck
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Old 05-28-2022, 02:57 PM   #4
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John Deere 4045 Cranks but no Start

Check the wiring harness connections and battery voltage. A weak battery may crank the engine but the ECU won’t allow it to run without sufficient voltage. Check the o-ring gasket on your racor lid. Maybe letting in air there. Good luck.
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Old 05-28-2022, 02:59 PM   #5
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I'd start here
Quote:
Fuel level lower then expected in Racor when I removed the filter. 2.25" from housing top with filter removed. Used to see fuel all the way to the top of the housing when filter installed.
especially if you have independent racors for each engine. Sometimes the O ring on the T handle or the big ring between the lid and the housing go bad, are damaged or just not sealing correctly.
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Old 05-28-2022, 03:25 PM   #6
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If it were me, I would get a 5 gallon can of diesel fuel. Run a line into the can and connect it to the first filter on the engine. Run a second line from the engine fuel return to the can, and bleed the engine. Then start it up and see if it runs for a while.

You really need to determine whether its the engine, or something in the fuel system going to the engine.

Ted
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Old 05-28-2022, 04:41 PM   #7
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Is the Racor a duplex filter with selector valve? If so, try running with both filters enabled. I know some people who have had issues with air being drawn in, believed to be through the selector valve. Running with both filters reduces vacuum and doesn’t draw in air.
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Old 05-28-2022, 08:46 PM   #8
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You might look at the fuel shutoff solenoid, 'F' , in the wiring Diag.
If the voltage is low for any reason it may be failing to open.

As suggested don't ignore the Racor filter. If the seals are not installed correctly or are to old they can bleed air into the fuel stream.

There is also , I believe, a check valve in the Racor. Many people have had trouble with the check valve SEAT. There is embossing on the seat to indicate which way to install it but it is not very distinct so people install it the wrong way. There is a difference although slight, and it allows air in. I don't know if this is the case any longer but check for it.
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Old 05-28-2022, 10:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
If it were me, I would get a 5 gallon can of diesel fuel. Run a line into the can and connect it to the first filter on the engine. Run a second line from the engine fuel return to the can, and bleed the engine. Then start it up and see if it runs for a while.

You really need to determine whether its the engine, or something in the fuel system going to the engine.

Ted
Agree here. However,

1. I wouldn't bother with re-routing the return line into the 5-gal jug; and
2. I'd bypass the Racor and feed the engine direct from the 5-gal diesel jug. Idea here is to isolate the cause - Racors are definitely in-play.

QUESTION: What size Racors are you running?

Peter
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Old 05-28-2022, 10:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drb1025 View Post
Check the wiring harness connections and battery voltage. A weak battery may crank the engine but the ECU won’t allow it to run without sufficient voltage. Check the o-ring gasket on your racor lid. Maybe letting in air there. Good luck.
Check wiring harness is key. From a reliable source, JD does NOT preserve engine harness connections during assembly/installation. I was advised to disconnect, clean, preserve (Stabilant 82), and reconnect all harness connections. I have done behind the pilothouse dash, but still need to do the ER and flybridge.

We had a “low voltage or bad sensor” code on the oil pressure circuit some weeks ago. Troubleshooting with previously mentioned source indicated no issues with the harness or connections. A new oil pressure sensor cleared the error and returned us to full operation. I subsequently ordered spares of all the engine sensors and added them to the parts collection.

Good Luck
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Old 05-28-2022, 11:12 PM   #11
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There have been some spot on suggestions so far. Two questions:
- Is this a new to you vessel?
- What work was done on that engine just before or during your winter layup?
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Old 05-29-2022, 01:57 AM   #12
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If you've verified fuel all the way to the injectors...

On electronic engines the first thing I check is the stop solenoid. Then break and reconnect the harness connectors. Also every sensor connection including all grounds. It's probably not a sensor if the engine won't start.

If it stops while running then I'd suspect a sensor after I verified the stop solenoid was working correctly. Intermittent problems can be connectors or pinched wiring.

Stop solenoids and sensors have a limited life span, not necessarily related to engine hours. Sometimes there batches that are less reliable. That's why I have mechanical engines.
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Old 05-29-2022, 11:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IRENE View Post
Check wiring harness is key. From a reliable source, JD does NOT preserve engine harness connections during assembly/installation. I was advised to disconnect, clean, preserve (Stabilant 82), and reconnect all harness connections. I have done behind the pilothouse dash, but still need to do the ER and flybridge.

We had a “low voltage or bad sensor” code on the oil pressure circuit some weeks ago. Troubleshooting with previously mentioned source indicated no issues with the harness or connections. A new oil pressure sensor cleared the error and returned us to full operation. I subsequently ordered spares of all the engine sensors and added them to the parts collection.

Good Luck
Irene this seems like a great idea. I need to work on how to troubleshoot each sensor for a good/bad with the voltmeter. I will add those sensors to my next spare parts order to John Deere!
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Old 05-29-2022, 12:18 PM   #14
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Hi folks thanks for the great suggestions all around. I try to approach these issues as a way to learn more about engine troubleshooting. Hell of lot easier to do on the dock then floating out in the middle of nowhere

Some thoughts on the feedback.

Fuel manifold is stock from the factory and all hard pipe. I checked all the fittings with a wrench and all the flare fittings are tight. However, saying that last fall we had a diesel heater installed which has a run off the ingress fuel manifold. One of the fittings I was able to add about 1/4 turn to. Whether that was the source of an air leak or the Racor who knows?

No work over the winter on the fuel system at all. Last change in the fuel filters was 1 year ago and all filters (racor and JD) where changed out per annual maintenance. No issues and we put about 100 hours on last year since change out. Now it could be that one of the racor seals dried out and leaked air. Total possible. I inspected both the lid and t-handle when I disassembled the Racors.

Racors are 7500max with ,10micron filters, which is a dual filter setup. We always run off of one filter at a time. I will try today starting off the other filter.

I don't think at this point (always the possibility of 2 issues and not one) that my issue is fuel supply from the tank. Friday in troubleshooting after bleeding the fuel line at the egress fuel line off the fuel pump it gushed fuel on crank. Also I did get fuel coming out of the injectors. I could crack the injector fuel inlet nuts and bleed those a second time.

Sunchaser - Vessel not new to us. Owned since 2018 and put about 400+ hours on them. Never had an issue with this engine in the past.

Batteries are not not suspect as both engines pull from the same DC bank. Port engines fires right up. I will revalidate the battery connections for the starboard engine but, I check and clean those every year.

Lepke - Yes I agree that the last first two times it died the engine was running. First time it was running for 30 minutes and had reached full temp when died. Second time it ran for 10 minutes before dying. Now no start. Lepke I assume that if I have fuel coming out of the fuel pump egress line that the stop solenoid is working correctly and opening to allow fuel to pass through the fuel pump?

Thanks again folks!
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Old 05-30-2022, 12:58 AM   #15
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The way I do it is slack the nuts in the injector line. Put some rags out. When you try to start, you should get strong squirts where the line is loose. If you get weak squirts or bubbles then the stop solenoid is not working right or not at all. But it still could be related to connections.
The reason for slacking the nuts for all the injectors is to keep the engine from starting while things are open. In the injector is a needle valve and spring. It takes full pressure to overcome the spring and open the valve. With the nuts open there's not enough pressure to open the valve and spray, so no fuel goes into the cylinder. If you do just one nut, and the engine does start, you may have 100 squirts before you get the engine shut down.
After you're done, a strong soap mix sprayed on the fuel the rags missed will conquer the diesel smell.
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Old 05-30-2022, 09:37 AM   #16
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Lepke,

Thanks for the advice as always. Especially the soap on rag. We had to air out the engine room after the first diagnoses due to diesel fumes and the admiral was not happy!

Because I have a good working and not working engine. I think I will slack the injector nuts on the good engine to see what the fully working fuel/pump+solenoid looks like then due the non-starting engine. Will give that a try later today and post.

Cheers!
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Old 05-30-2022, 10:04 AM   #17
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Just be careful that you don’t turn your working engine into your next problem…
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Old 05-31-2022, 10:51 PM   #18
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Success!

So appreciate the great advice and some OTJ training by Lepke around how to bleed the injectors. I went through and did the annual maintenance and replaced each of the Racor filters and gaskets. I pumped fuel into one of our 100G rear day tank which sits higher and that got me the head pressure to fill up the racor bowls after filter replacement. Bleed the fuel line at the water separator -> fuel pump -> and last on the injectors and VVRROOMM the sound of a happy engine.

Ran for 60 minutes. Will try a fresh fire up tomorrow then let is sit for a week and test again.

Thanks again for the help from the community.
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Old 06-05-2022, 07:26 AM   #19
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These are usually small problems that cause a big problem. If you suspect something is amiss with the Racor, start there. Replace the cartridge and gasket. Also along the Racor line of investigation, check everything from the tank to the Racor for tightness, cracked lines, etc. Obviously the Racor body should be thoroughly inspected. You don't know what inadvertent events may have transpired while the engines were being replaced. Check the tank vents also, it's not likely but you need to be thorough to pursue a quality investigation. One approach might be to remove the fuel line at the tank and apply about 20 PSI air pressure to the system and look for leaks that way. In fact that may the place to start.
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