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Its that time of year. Lets discuss ether.

Discussion in 'General Industry Questions' started by Vetech63, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. Vetech63

    Vetech63 Well-Known Member

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    Yet again, another call out on a machine that wont start when it gets cold. I show up and there is 4 empty cans of starting fluid laying on the ground by the machine. The machine had ice in the fuel line, and after 15 minutes with the forced air heater, it started, BY ITSELF. What say you about ether?
     
  2. Hobbytime

    Hobbytime Senior Member

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    you cant cure stupidity or lack of maintenance on equipment and then expect it to run with no issues...before cold weather sets in fuel should be treated and new filters if you think there will be a problem with contaminated fuel...I was told too much ether can make bad things happen to an engine...before I try to start any equipment in the ice cold I plug in or heat up( portable torpedo heater) just to get some of the chill out of the internals...
     
  3. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

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    To me, ether is a heat aid like glow plugs.

    First, you need to be sure that there is fuel reaching the cylinders. If there is, and it is not igniting, then a little ether will light it off and you are off to the races.

    Ether works by detonating as the piston is coming up on the compression stroke. The little bit of fire should then ignite the diesel that is already in there.

    You can also spray a large amount of ether which will cause a large and uncontrolled detonation. You don't need this. It doesn't do anything or anybody any good.

    However, as you stated, most engines from the last 30-40 years will start on their own, so instead of spraying ether, they need to figure out what is wrong with the fuel system.

    You can also fix broken glow plugs or relays or shoot a propane torch down the inlet which works without all the excitement.
     
  4. Jonas302

    Jonas302 Senior Member

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    Like anything used in moderation Ether is a godsend If you need to start an engine when its cold and no external heat available or not enough time to let it fully warm up or is just to damn cold a sniff of either though the air cleaner will not hurt anything if you need to empty a case something is wrong its much better than burning the starter out or the batterys going dead Many times you only have one chance to get it lit there is no trouble at all when properly used I like to keep the either can warm on the heater in the pickup it vaporizes better

    Remember a little goes a long ways you only need enough to get to fire

    When its -30f and blowing not to many people are out there pulling air filters and intake tubes to fart around with torches and hair driers you would end up with cold fingers broken parts and probably be looking for a job because the engine could be running and warming up instead of fooling around

    90% of our cat equipment is equipped with an either switch on the dash
     
  5. kshansen

    kshansen Senior Member

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    Some of the newer equipment actually have the ether injection system controlled by the ECM for the engine, you can't even override it at all. If engine wants it the computer gives it just the right amount and you hardly know it has happened.

    Also this topic reminds me of a 6V-53 Detroit that was afresh rebuilt in the summer then when it wouldn't start one day they screwed with it for a long time and finally called up the outside contractor who told me there were several empty cans of ether on the ground when he got there. He did some quick checks and found the emergency shut down flapper to be closed! Really didn't matter because once it did start he said there was still a problem. Seems back when the rebuilt engine was put in at our shop the big boss was told the reason the previous engine had failed was the lousy leaky exhaust letting water down the cylinders causing bent rods. Well we were told: Don't worry about it we will fix it as soon as it gets back to their shop. Guess what they never did? This big boss is the main reason I never thought twice about retiring when I hit 65.
     
  6. Scrub Puller

    Scrub Puller Senior Member

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    Yair . . .

    I have never had to contend with the cold some of the folks here speak of but I always felt the gasoline soaked rag in the inlet or around the pre cleaner was as effective as a spray can and (to me) the engines sounded happier without that ether rattle.

    Cheers.
     
  7. Ronsii

    Ronsii Senior Member

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    X2. ∆∆


    I still use a can of ether when in a hurry.. but very much prefer a gas soaked rag as it definitely lights off easier in the motor.
     
  8. Tones

    Tones Senior Member

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    WD40, CRC556 or other such products are much better to use than ether. Ether dries the bore away to much for my liking and engines seem to become addicted to it IMO
     
  9. bushcat

    bushcat Well-Known Member

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    Have to agree with you on that Tones and I like to warm the can up good on the truck heater before spraying
     
  10. Vetech63

    Vetech63 Well-Known Member

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    4 cans of ether..........$14
    Service call...............$250.00
    Job foreman telling me this morning " If ether was bad for engines, they wouldn't manufacture it and sell it."...........Absolutely PRICELESS!:roll
     
  11. DIYDAVE

    DIYDAVE Senior Member

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    Ether is fine, when used in moderation, in engines that are built tough enough, to take it. That being said, DON'T USE IT ON ASIAN DIESELS! blowing your piston tops into the oil pan, doesn't make you any money...

    If its real cold, take a propane torch, torn it on, and try starting on propane. Or better yet, use a coolant heater, or my favorite, for where there is no power, slide a single burner coleman gas heater, under the oil pan, and wait the 45 min to an hour it takes to warm up the engine...:pointlaugh
     
  12. RZucker

    RZucker Senior Member

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    Turkey fryer jet burner works really well for oil pans. (grin).
     
  13. Vetech63

    Vetech63 Well-Known Member

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    Reminds me of times in my younger years when on jobsites, the crew would keep fires going for days, even weeks, and shoveling the coals under the equipment for a warm up on cold days. Those were the days!
     
  14. old-iron-habit

    old-iron-habit Senior Member

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    I started my old 4-53 Detroit in my log skidder this morning same as I do every morning. Lift the dust cover off the intake, give it a shot of the "good" ether aimed at the air cleaner element, replace the dust bowl, jump in the machine and hit the starter. Cranks about 8 to 10 revolutions and starts right up down to about zero F. Colder than that and it gets a torpedo heater blowing on the side of the engine for 20 minutes. No ether required then. I also would be leary of ether in most newer engines. At 40 and above the 4-53 starts right up with no aids. Same starting game for the 4-53 in the feller buncher. Beware of the type ether you buy. Some of that crap is made for fuel injected gas engines and have hardly no ether in it. I used some in a old 2 valve 4-71 and it just would not go. It always fired right up in the past. Finally when I used the good ether it started right up and ran wild for 10 seconds from all the crap ether in the intake tube laying there unburnt until the engine fired. Got lucky that time and always read the can now to make sure it is not diluted.
     
  15. Planedriver

    Planedriver Well-Known Member

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    I have noticed about the only place to buy good either is at the equipment dealer and then you have to be careful that it is at least 80%. The stuff they call starting fluid is about worthless.
     
  16. Vetech63

    Vetech63 Well-Known Member

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    Ive never tried the gas rag routine. I was taught at a young age that was bad. It seems a lot of you haven't had any trouble doing it though, so was I taught wrong maybe?
     
  17. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

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    I can't see how gas could hurt anything like ether does. Ether goes off with such a loud knock that if there is too much in there the shock wave is liable to damage something.

    Most types of fuel are valued for their resistance to detonation while ether is valued because it is prone to detonation.
     
  18. PJ The Kid

    PJ The Kid Well-Known Member

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    If its one that just hasn't been started in a while, I use jb80 or worst case use choke clean, only think I use ether for is setting beads on tires, as long as it's 80% which the normal parts houses don't carry.
     
  19. rsherril

    rsherril Well-Known Member

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    Last week I needed to move some snow around with the grader. Plugged in the block heater and returned to start it when I discovered the block was still cold. After 12 years the 2000W block heater had failed. Not wanting to put the ether to it right away, (tempertures was right around zero F), I went into town to buy a new heater and ran into a old farmer friend. He said that he had used WB-40 on his JD machines instead of ether. His thinking was it supplied some lubrication. I ended up using ether as I was not in the mood to to clamp off cold hoses for the replacement and I was concerned about WD-40 messing up my paper air filters.
    Any thoughts on using WD-40 instead of ether?
     
  20. Birken Vogt

    Birken Vogt Charter Member

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    You spray WD40 directly in the intake when cranking. It is not vapor/fumes when it gets to the cylinders like ether or gasoline, it is still small droplets, so the air filter will take out most or all of it and as you surmise you will be left with an oily air filter.

    The reason ether works well and is flexible to different situations is because it is so violent. That is what also makes it prone to damage. Other methods will work but not as easily. You choose your poison.