View Full Version : Lorry not starting in FREEZING weather.

7th Dec 2008, 09:42 AM
This morning I was supposed to be going to a show but due to it being -5 outside she wouldn't start :(
Yesterday she started 1st time as it was warmer outside and my Hubby took her to fill her up with diesel.
Does anyone have any tips at all or is it a fairly common problem?

My lorry is a 1989 Ford Iveco Cargo 813. Any advice will be really appreciated :D


Kis Vihar
7th Dec 2008, 09:47 AM
OH NO!! What a bu**er!!!:rolleyes: No advice I'm afraid, other than maybe do what I do with my 4x4 when it's minus 20 - Stick a blanket on the engine under the bonnet....DON'T forget to take it off before you drive! I don't know if this would work!

Shame you couldn't go showing. I always think that things like this happen for a reason. You & Elouise weren't meant to go out on the road today.

Hope you get your lorry sorted! It's really cold in the UK at the moment isn't it! :eek:

7th Dec 2008, 09:52 AM
Did the engine turn over but not fire? If so, then the diesel might be too thick to get through the injectors. Only way from here is to warm it up. Years ago people used little (special) parafin heaters under their cars to keep the temperature up enough to prevent this happening.

If nothing happened at all - the starter didn't even turn turn then maybe the battery has given in due the cold! Aside, a tip if it doesn't have one fitted already is to get a battery isolator switch so that the tacho doesn't run your battery flat in between you using it LOL.

7th Dec 2008, 09:59 AM
Not sure if it works for lorries but back in the days of cars without electronic ignition we always used to keep a can of easy start to hand for emergencies. Dont use it unless you really have to as engines become addicted to it :eek:

Get the glow plugs checked (does the light take ages to go off?)
Could be a lack of compression (does it start easily once its warmed up?)
How long since you had it serviced??

7th Dec 2008, 10:04 AM
another vote for eezi start here.We use it on the lorry at the yard if its cold as that is the only way to persuade it to start.It does seem to work well.

7th Dec 2008, 10:17 AM
Only problem with easy start is once you start using it regularly you'll have to keep using it as the engine becomes dependant on it so be warned :p. It could be damp electrics so duck oil or any non conductive water dispersing lubricant in the electrical connections will help.

Not entirely sure but i dont think diesel starts waxing till its below -9 even if its that cold it should still start but you might have problems getting it above idle speeds as the waxing clogs the filter and reduces fuel flow.

Iron Maiden
7th Dec 2008, 10:26 AM
Oh no, what a shame! Well all us lorry owners have been there, welcome to the wonderful world of wagons :rolleyes: Sometimes you need to give the glow plugs a while to warm up, so you turn the key so the warning lights & buzzers come on and wait a while before turning the engine over. Some lorries have a special cold start thingumy, I call it a choke but that isn't what it is! My old Bedford had one & that would get her going on a cold morning. My current lorry doesn't have this and the glow plugs don't pre-warm, so it can be a job to get her going. The lads at the repair place I use recommended eezistart - you squirt a little in the air intake, I think it contains methanol or something highly flammable. It mixes with the air and diesel & makes the mixture easier to ignite. As has been said you don't overuse it though.

Another thought - has the beast got an isolator fitted? If not, get one! You need every ounce of battery to start on a cold morning & unless you use the beast daily the battery will tend to drain when it's stood unless isolated. If the battery is easy to acces you can just flip the earth lead off when it's stood, does the same job ;)

7th Dec 2008, 10:39 AM
I have to stand on my head, do a double back sommersault, wriggle through a small trap door in the side of the lorry, to get at our isolator!

What temp does diesel wax up, might have been a few waxy bits in the injectors?

7th Dec 2008, 12:05 PM
DON'T USE EASY START it's the gas of Satan himself.
I used work for a firm who ran lorries to Siberia in extremely cold temperatures.
There will be a reason why your lorry won't start at only -5.

Make sure you are using winter diesel. If not, use an additive.
Replace the fuel filter.
Drain the in-line fuel water trap.
Get your heater plugs checked to make sure they are working correctly.
Keep your fuel tank filled. This reduces moisture that can freeze in your fuel lines well before your diesel waxes up.

A cold engine requires more power to turn over.
Cold fuel needs more pump pressure, more pre-heat and a good rate of engine cranking speed to efficiently ignite. Remember, there is no spark plug on a diesel engine. Ignition relies purely on the heat generated by compressing misted fuel particles in the engine cylinder which causes spontainous combustion.

A battery has up to 50% more power drawn in cold weather than it does on a warm day, so invest in a very good quality high amp hour one and temporarily pack it in roof insulation over the winter months as batteries also hate the cold.

If all of the above check out and your lorry still wont start than you will need to look closer at your fuel injectors, fuel pump and finally engine compression.

Hope this helps

7th Dec 2008, 12:13 PM
Fit an isolator switch to the battery if you don't already have one.

Lorries are meant to be driven most days and not stand as many horseboxes do. It needs to be run at least once a week, not just turned over. Our NMLM recommends leaving it running for 2 hours if it is just standing or at least a 40 minute drive. If you are just running it the brakes should be released and shunt it back and forth a few yards to stop brakes seizing on.

Park so the engine grille is sheltered from the weather, if necessary hang a tarp over the grille.

In cold weather, if I'm planning on going out the next day I start and run it the evening before. Was very cold the other weekend and did that - mine started first time the next morning and heaps of folk withdrew because they couldn't get horseboxes started.

ETA these were all lessons learnt from my old chassis which was a 1990 Iveco 813, now have a 75E15

7th Dec 2008, 03:02 PM
Easy, cheaper, immediate alternative to fitting an isolater switch (to stop tach draining battery) PULL OUT THE FUSE!

7th Dec 2008, 03:04 PM
I remember the winter that had all the lorry drivers lighting fires under their fuel tanks to unwax the fuel.

7th Dec 2008, 05:34 PM
I've only owned my lorry a few months, so this is my first winter with it. I tried starting it today, no luck. All the internal lights came on/buzzer etc, but it wouldn't start - sounded like a dead battery. This may be a stupid question, but can I jump start it? The lorry isn't exactly parked somewhere easy to charge the battery - should I buy a new one? Just need a bit of advice really.

I've read this thread, and got some great advice (I'll be getting an isolator fitted!!).

Iron Maiden
7th Dec 2008, 06:47 PM
You'll probably need something pretty heavy duty to jump start it with, like a tractor! We tried jump starting the old Beddie with OH's Landrover (which had a brand new battery) & it wouldn't even turn over. Took the battery home & charged it for a day & a half, it started first time after that. Having said that, we did manage to start my friend's Merc lorry with the Landy so it can be done, but that was not on a cold day.

Grassman - what's the problem with easistart? I've just bought a can today. Thing is that if it's using that or not getting the wagon going & possibly blowing a small fortune on entry fees, there needs to be a good reason fopr not using it! Does it overstress the engine or something?

7th Dec 2008, 07:00 PM
I use easy start with my 7.5t Layland Daf all the time,she starts first time everytime.:)
My mechanic has never once told me not to use it,or mentioned it being detrimental to the engine.:confused:
Id rather use easy start, than sit like a numpty flattening the damn battery!!! ;)

8th Dec 2008, 12:22 PM
I would agree that once you start using Eezi start you are likely to have to keep using it as time goes on. Regular start and warm ups will help you keep an eye on the overall condition of all systems especially the fuel and electrics both of which can suffer at the hint of cold / damp weather. Isolator switches are useful if the vehicle is left to stand for long periods without starting an even easier but probably less convenient method is to simply disconnect the battery. Ensure the battery connections are kept clean - smear petroleum jelly around the terminals to help prevent corrosion. Also make sure the fanbelt is ok as a loose one could cause charge or cooling problems.

Make sure the cooling system has the required amount of antifreeze mixture ..and not just in the winter either as the anti corrosion additives it contains will help keep the system in good order. Don't forget to add screen-wash to the washer bottle to prevent that freezing and splitting too!

Good, reaonably priced batteries can be had from agricultural suppliers.

8th Dec 2008, 12:43 PM
Grassman - what's the problem with easistart? I've just bought a can today. Thing is that if it's using that or not getting the wagon going & possibly blowing a small fortune on entry fees, there needs to be a good reason fopr not using it! Does it overstress the engine or something?

I'm not saying don't use it ever ever, although not used properly it can certainly cause problems.
It basically increases combustion in the cylinder but also increases pressure on the engines gaskets and mechanical parts, including the crank.

Easy Start is a cheat not a cure. If an engine refuses to start in only -5 there is an underlying problem that Easy Start certainly doesn't fix.

Fine in an emergancy... but not for long term use. Fix the problem.

If you are jump starting any vehicle let the flat battery charge for 10 - 15 minutes before attempting to start. This lowers the stress and resistance on both the jump leads and the battery from which you are jumping from.
Remember: Positive to Positive - Negative to Negative. Most batteries are marked although a few only have a red band around the positive post and a black band around the negative. Do not attempt to attach the leads unless you are 100% sure you have the correct terminals.

Bad batteries should be replaced asap otherwise the engines charging system will be working overtime even when the vehicle is running, especially in winter with the extra use of lights. Prolonged use of a bad battery can cause damage to the alternator and you will end up paying for both.

It is also worth getting your alternator checked before replacing a battery. This only involves your mechanic attaching a volt meter to the battery to take a reading. A good alternator charges at around 13-14 volts.

Grassman (ex lorry mechanic)

8th Dec 2008, 01:58 PM
Grassman (ex lorry mechanic)

OOOooooo...... you shouldn't have put this at the end LOL.... you'll be bombarded with questions now :D

8th Dec 2008, 02:51 PM
I served a full apprenticeship not as a fitter but as a proper mechanic, sadly nearly 20 years ago now. Things have moved on quite rapidly since, especially on the electrical side of things but the principles remain the same. It provided me with an excellent working knowledge of most things mechanical and I can still pretty much fix anything...... as long as it's not computerised (shudder) :D

8th Dec 2008, 03:16 PM
the bf is a farmer and I had problems starting my box yesterday in the cold, he had trouble with 2 of the tractors because of the cold. Apparently there is a trick using a hairdryer on some kind of air intake thing <----- can you tell I am technically minded!!. He got mine started by using the choke:cool: I was pulling it and it turns out you have to push it!! also he says easistart is the work of the devil and to avoid it unless absolutely necessary. Mine is a 1976 bedford and she even started after 4 years of non use (not by me I hasten to add!)so I really don't have any excuse after 2 weeks of non use for her not to start as I had her completely overhauled and done up in March

8th Dec 2008, 06:53 PM
Remember: Positive to Positive - Negative to Negative. Most batteries are marked although a few only have a red band around the positive post and a black band around the negative. Do not attempt to attach the leads unless you are 100% sure you have the correct terminals.

Sound advice, but also watch out for 12V or 24V systems. Mines 24V and had to have it jumped a few years ago. (Replaced batteries immediately I hasten to add!) I cant remember what the difference is for jumping a 24V - Grassman may be able to help, there was something about connecting the jump leads to one stub on each battery?

Iron Maiden
8th Dec 2008, 07:35 PM
Use a 24V ex-military Landy ;)

I think part of the problem is that generally the wagons we use to transport our horses about are not exactly in the prime of their lives :rolleyes: My 'new' wagon would have been sold on at least 15 years ago by any self-respecting haulage company! Sometimes addressing the underlying problem of a failure to start in the cold is simply not economic given the value of the vehicle, so 2.92 for a can of Eezistart seems by far the best option :o That said, I've got a 40 year old Morris that's still going strong & the secret is regular servicing and sorting little problems before they develop into big ones. My new wagon will be getting serviced every 6 months, hopefully this will keep her sweet!

I'm still looking forward to the day that I can afford a brand new Oakley Supreme...;)

8th Dec 2008, 08:07 PM
Thankyou to everyone for your helpful replies :D
As a VERY novice lorry owner I was really upset that my lorry didn't start on Sunday but after reading your replies it seems to be something I may need to get used to on occasion LOL
My Hubby has been out and bought a nice expensive 'Jump Start/Battery Charger just in case it ever happens again.
The lorry was serviced about a month ago and flew through it's plating :D She does have an isolator key so we can turn off the power.
Someone at the yard had told me about easy start but I wasn't sure how something like that could work but thanks to this thread I now know.
Perhaps it might be an idea to get a can for dire emergencies :)
I will carry on watching this thread with interest as there has been some very sound advice and I really appreciate it :D

Keep the suggestions coming :D xxx

8th Dec 2008, 08:16 PM
Definitely not alone with this one Mrs C!!

I'm going to disconnect my battery and charge it at home and go from there.

Also going to get an isolator fitted following the advice given here!

9th Dec 2008, 08:12 AM
I have found , if the batteries are a bit flat, 20 minutes with a 24 volt charger gives it enough of a boost to get it going.

9th Dec 2008, 12:02 PM
Mine is a 1976 bedford and she even started after 4 years of non use (not by me I hasten to add!)so I really don't have any excuse after 2 weeks of non use for her not to start as I had her completely overhauled and done up in March

Slightly off-topic I started out with a 1976 Bedford and that always started in the coldest weather. (Not my old one is it? SUP 97R :D )

11th Dec 2008, 04:30 PM
no not the same as mine. can't remember the number but its got a k in it!!

Fingers crossed she will be an angel when we go to Jump Cross on Saturday!:D