addicted to ether

jimbote

Certified Volkswagen Nut
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Location
spiral arm, milky way (aka central NC)
TDI
Tacoma 4x4 converted to TDI
yeah....because ether causes severe detonation which breaks your rings into little pieces which further lowers compression....hence the "dependence" of diesels started with ether....don't do it unless your going to throw the engine away and get a new one....there are diesels in which it is safe to use starting fluid but these do not have glow plugs.... there are certain "safe" procedures for using the "dragons death" on a diesel....but as far as I know the VW TDI owners manual states that "severe engine damage will result" if you use the stuff....and I have proof in the shop of such damage.....
 

MayorDJQ

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 4, 2001
Location
Williamstown, Mass
TDI
'10 Golf 2dr 6m, sold.
Maybe if you've fried the rings with too much ether, but otherwise, ether in an engine isn't like heroin in a junkie.

What vehicle/engine are you talking about? If you need ether, then there's obviously a problem with the engine, glow plugs, injection pump, timing, nozzles, etc.
 

mrGutWrench

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 29, 2002
Location
Wallace, NC
TDI
'03 Jetta Wagon
MayorDJQ said:
(snip) If you need ether, then there's obviously a problem with the engine, glow plugs, injection pump, timing, nozzles, etc.
__. Exactly. If you need ether, fix the real problem but don't use ether in a TDI for ANY REASON, EVER.
 

Mike_04GolfTDI

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 19, 2003
Location
Richmond, BC, Canada
TDI
Mine: 2019 Golf R DSG, Wife's: 2015 Golf Comfortline TDI
A friend of mine decided to destroy the engine in his Ford F250 diesel truck using ether.

Instead of replacing the glowplugs at $10 each ($80 for all), he used ether to get it started. This worked just great for about 50 starts.

Hmmm... How can I describe his engine now... Think of it this way: Take a potato sack. Fill it with hammers, and maybe some rocks. Shake it up good. Take out the old engine and replace it with the bag of hammers. See if it runs. Wow, it doesn't... Gosh, who would'a thunk it?

He had his truck towed to a wrecking yard...
 
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oilhammer

Certified Volkswagen Nut & Vendor
Joined
Dec 11, 2001
Location
outside St Louis (where it's safe)
TDI
There are just too many to list....
I had an old Rabbit brought in once that ripped the threads off of all 10 headbolts and blew the head clean off the block, shattered all 4 pistons, and bent all 4 rods as a result of an ether start. :eek: Even blew the headgasket into little pieces and scattered it all over the engine bay.
 

TDICADDGUY

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 4, 2007
Location
Blaine, MN
TDI
2000 New Beetle GLS
oilhammer said:
I had an old Rabbit brought in once that ripped the threads off of all 10 headbolts and blew the head clean off the block, shattered all 4 pistons, and bent all 4 rods as a result of an ether start. :eek: Even blew the headgasket into little pieces and scattered it all over the engine bay.
Cool! :D
 

Ski in NC

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
Location
Wilmington, NC USA
TDI
2001 Jetta ALH 5sp stock
I assume you are talking about the 3208. That engine can be damaged by ether, but not nearly as sensitive as the tdi. The right way to use ether on the 3208 is to get someone to engage the starter, and then hit air filter element with quick blips of ether. Just enough for engine to smell it and fire. Do not spray continuously and do not soak the filter element then crank it. If a cylinder gets a full mouthful of ether it can break the pistons.

If engine needs ether to start, something is wrong. I worry that the wvo has coked up the piston rings and lowered compression. Pull off rocker cover blowby vent hoses and look at blowby flow with engine idling. 3208's have alot of blowby (single compression ring) but if it is blowing out of the tubes you've got ring problems. If so, you can pull intake manifolds and do a solvent soak through intake ports.

Could also be injector pump or injector problems. No experience how that pump stands up to wvo. Others in the wvo community may know.

-Eric
 

TurbinePower

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2005
Location
Upstate SC
TDI
None
Some industrial engines actually require ether to start, but they are all equipped with more precise ether injection systems than a rattle can and a spray nozzle. And none of them are really suitable for automotive applications.

The ISB engines we run in buses at work speak of dire things if they're started with ether. The glow screen in the intake would blow your hand off while you're feeding them!
 

Drivbiwire

Zehntes Jahr der Veteran
Joined
Oct 13, 1998
Location
Boise, Idaho
TDI
2013 Passat TDI, Newmar Ventana 8.3L ISC 3945, 2016 E250 BT, 2000 Jetta TDI
Engines approved for use with ether do not have glow plugs...

TDI rings will shatter (or crack) with a single shot and attempt to start when using Ether.

The problem is the broken ring wears a deep scratch into the cylinder requiring a re-bore to oversize to fix.

DB
 

XXX_er

Veteran Member
Joined
Feb 2, 2008
Location
northern B.C.
TDI
2002 golf
I couldnt get my golf to start In cold weather with bad fuel so I pulled the pipe&MAF off the airfilter box and used my heat gun to pump warm air into the engine ... started pretty quick
 

Ski in NC

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
Location
Wilmington, NC USA
TDI
2001 Jetta ALH 5sp stock
Heat guns, hair dryers, and even propane torches are great ways to get a cold engine to fire. Used all three on various engines. Won't work on two stroke Detroits, as the heat is lost going through the roots blower. But ether (or anything else for that matter) can't seem to kill those. -Eric
 

MrMopar

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Mar 1, 2003
Location
Bloomington, IL
TDI
none
A former employer of mine had an ether start system on his 7.3 Powerstroke, but it had pretty specific switch gear for using it. There are a few days a year when it is so cold that the engine in this pickup truck absolutely would not start even after glow plugging a couple of cycles. When away from a plug for the block heater, this is a problem. The only way to use the ether on this engine was to flip the switch that disengages the glow plugs. Then the plumbing would spritz a measured shot of ether into the intake tract just after the turbo. Crank the starter, and the engine fires right up.

That being said, this system is still a bad idea for a TDI. The piston rings are way more robust and furthur from the top of the piston in a Powerstroke instead of a TDI, so that engine could take an ether start without damage. Given the gains that needed to be made in emissions, I'm not even sure that the newest Powerstroke could take ether like the old engines. The piston rings on the newest pickup truck diesels might be close enough to the top (to eliminate emissions) that they're more fragile than the older models.
 

TDICADDGUY

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 4, 2007
Location
Blaine, MN
TDI
2000 New Beetle GLS
But even for engines designed with ether injection...you can use too much too often. On the farm we always used it as sparingly as possible. On my grandfather's Case, he started to like hitting the ether alot as he grew older and often forgot to turn on the fuel. Even when its 70 degrees out that thing craves ether now and wont start without it most of the time.

Many years back corn harvest got pushed into late December and we had some brutally cold temps. I remember going out early one morning, day after Christmas, -40F actual air temp. Had a MF750 combine at the time with a Perkins engine, cant remember the displacement. We had a generator on it all night to power the block heater and a charger to keep the battery juices flowing. Got there and had to put a propane torch (weed/ice burner type) in the air intake, battery charger on full boost, and copious amounts of cranking and rounds of ether. Took a minute or two of cranking to get it to fire.

That thing sounded like an old steam locomotive when it finally got going. Had a deadline to get the corn down to the elevator, ran it for 16 hours non-stop full throttle to keep the trucks filled. Went wee on the go, just step out on the platform, wing it out and keep one hand on the wheel. That engine still never put out any heat, the warmest it probably got in the cab was 5F above. The next night was colder, we never even shut it off...just kept it on a fast idle all night.
 

kwantam

Active member
Joined
Aug 19, 2008
Location
Austin, TX
TDI
2009 Jetta soon!
Ahh, devil ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than an engine in the depths of an ether binge---and I knew the Case would get into that rotten stuff pretty soon.
 

MayorDJQ

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 4, 2001
Location
Williamstown, Mass
TDI
'10 Golf 2dr 6m, sold.
darkscout said:
True. But that monster probably doesn't have glow plugs or an intake heater.

Another example, my grandfather's 20 or 25 year old International tractor has an ether system, but no GPs. There's a little button on the dash next to the key and the bottle is installed on the left side of the engine. He hasn't used ether in years because it's always parked in a garage and has a block heater.
 

businmotion

Active member
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Location
Colorado
TDI
1980 Gillig bus
thanks

thanks for all the responses... Im not certain whatto think,, gonna get into the IP on Monday
 

Ski in NC

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
Location
Wilmington, NC USA
TDI
2001 Jetta ALH 5sp stock
Bus- Before you go into the IP, try this. I assume you have a problem with cold start...cranks over fine but does not fire. I'm also assuming that once started it runs ok.

Go stand by the exhaust pipes. Get someone to roll engine with the starter for about about 10-15 seconds. Use no ether. Watch the exhaust pipes.

If heavy white smoke comes out, IP and injectors are fueling engine. Then there is no point in going into IP..its ok.

If there is no heavy white smoke, then engine is not fueling, and there could be a problem with IP.

Post exactly what the symptoms are, as many details as you can. Sometimes a little wierd detail is key in troubleshooting. I troubleshoot marine diesels for a living (including 3208's), and may be able to help.
-Eric
 

orion2.0

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 28, 2006
Location
syracuse, NY
TDI
2002 golf tdi
i believe little whiffs of propane are safe for starting diesels. I know some industrial engines have propane injection used just for startup.
 

MayorDJQ

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Dec 4, 2001
Location
Williamstown, Mass
TDI
'10 Golf 2dr 6m, sold.
orion2.0 said:
i believe little whiffs of propane are safe for starting diesels. I know some industrial engines have propane injection used just for startup.
"Little" is the key; measuring the whiffs is the problem. Even propane would be explosive with glow plugs, I would think. Large industrial and over the road Diesels almost never have glow plugs or heated intake manifolds. They're typically direct injection with higher (than TDI) compression and strong starters that don't object to extended cranking.

I haven't tried it with my '80 300SD, but I had a glow plug problem on my '82 Rabbit. They weren't working at all, but I knew that if I cranked it long enough, it would start. So I hooked up my battery charger on the 55 amp jump start mode, and my '89 Toyota truck with jumper cables, and cranked, and cranked. After about 60 seconds, with no GPs, it started to fire randomly on one cylinder. About 10 seconds later 2 or 3 cylinders started firing, and then it started and ran under it's own power. It only took 55 amps boost, plus probably 65 or 75 amps from the Toyota. I had a spare starter and access to a junk yard with several Diesel Rabbits, so I wasn't worried about burning up the starter. It turned out to be a relay problem.

If only VW would give us stronger starters and triple the battery capcity....
 

businmotion

Active member
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Location
Colorado
TDI
1980 Gillig bus
..

After not starting it for 2 weeks, the engine fired right up with a little starting fluid.. it was about 4 pm on a warm day...the next day, this cold morning it wont start..I will wait till midafternoon and try starting again..

I do notice a little white smoke on start up which is a new thing as this engine has never really smoked before...
 

businmotion

Active member
Joined
Jul 22, 2008
Location
Colorado
TDI
1980 Gillig bus
MayorDJQ said:
If it won't start at 50*F, it sounds like the engine is shot.
thats BS, an engine is composed of may diffrent components.. this is my home.. not just a project////
 

40X40

Experienced
Joined
Feb 12, 2006
Location
Kansas City area, MO
TDI
2013 Passat SEL Premium
businmotion said:
thats BS, an engine is composed of may diffrent components.. this is my home.. not just a project////

Well, Why didn't you say so in the first place? This changes everything!

It is now apparent that your home may have a bad engine.

Sheesh!

Bill
 
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