Anybody remember the old Cummins "build a fire in the intake manifold" system? Glow plug and hand pump, worked well if you knew how to use it.
Last year some dimwit tried to start a 416 Cat backhoe with the ether injection switch, putting ether in the engine w/o cranking it at the same time. Result? Cracked head and I believe one bent rod. I'll occasionally use a little goose juice on my own equipment in cold weather, but I'm cranking the engine at the same time I aim the can at the intake.
Often the air cleaner is not accessible to the operator station. In those cases I use a small shot of ether on the air cleaner and run to the operator station. Since I don't use much ether, I might have to run 2 or 3 times.
In many cases, as I'm half deaf to begin with, I can't hear the engine very well because of other engines running or in excavators it's far from the glassed in cab. So when I hear the engine start to rev, I back the rack off quickly which often results in shutting the engine down. No problem. I do it 2 or 3 times if necessary. Trying to use enough ether or rack to get it going the first time can be an easy way to ruin an engine.
I leave the rack full on until that sucker is running. First chance might be the only chance with bad batteries. Diesel fuel will not hurt it.
But ether might. I really do not like dousing an air filter with a long intake tract. It seems that sometimes you have to spray a lot of ether to get it to fire and once it does take off it draws the remaining ether from the air filter and sometimes it is more than you want.
But sometimes desperate times call for desperate means. I just don't want to be the one responsible for a customer engine just to save 20 minutes of work starting it some other way.