Hard starting 13BT

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Mar 11, 2007
Of recent I have had two instances where my 13BT has been very hard to start.

1) Sat over night, about -1c in the morning, glowed hit the key and it has spun over strongly and a little kick then nothing, plenty of cracking later it fired on 2-3 cylinders then after about 5 seconds all were on board.

2) Today, been sitting about 2 weeks 10c ambient, similar to above, cranked strongly and got nothing for 10 seconds or more, Eventually caught on 2-3 cylinders then all shortly after. Shut it off.

Noticed that for the 2 weeks it had held vacuum in the fuel tank, will fix that. Today changed all filters and drained the sedimenter which was more or less empty. Primer pump, unscrewed plunger and started using it, plunger was wet with diesel, leaking up the shaft and never really got rock hard, just spongy.

Start the car a few more times during the day (was still cold, started and shut off a few times) and as usual started on what feels like half a crank.

My thoughts are is maybe the primer pump dead and letting air into the system between the pump and filter? Causing the hard start, this sound reasonable? Any other things to check? Is there a easy way to check the primer pump system for air?
If your primer pump is leaking when you are using it then it's time for a new one anyway, even if it's not the cause of this issue. Sounds logical though and would start there. The Bosch primers that have been mentioned on mud a number of times work well. Once that is done if it's still acting up you could supply the pump from a fuel container (eliminating all plumbing from the supply side of the pump to the tank) and see if the same thing happens.

I don't think this is related to this issue but mention it for hard cold starts: I've noticed that my 13BT is getting harder to start in the cold. And I have a push button override for those days when it's hovering around 0C and the stock glow needs help. I know someone else who was experiencing this cold start degradation and timed their pump. Made a huge difference in cold starts. Mine will get done this summer.

Empty sedimenter and vacuum in tank indicates that the fuel tank breather is plugged and the fuel pump suction is pulling air into the fuel system. Air in the fuel system is the most common cause of hard starting.
You need a new primer pump.

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