Tech Tip #69: Working on Deutz, Deere and Perkins Industrial Engines? 7 Steps to Waking Up the Hibernating Engine–Gently

Dr. Diesel
Written by Dr. Diesel


How to safely wake a sleeping giant

Foley Engines, The oldest engine distributor in North America, takes seriously our slogan “Tech Support: It Matters”. As a result, we publish a series of Dr. Diesel’s Tech Tips for the benefit of our customers and the industry.

This Tech Tip, deals with putting industrial engines back in service that have not been running for some time. Most of our suggestions apply to all engines regardless of the type of fuel used or the nature of their cooling system but focus on Perkins Diesel, Deutz, and Ford Industrial.

  1. Fresh Fuel. Drain out the old fuel and put in new fuel. Change both the primary and secondary filter elements. Check if your fuel lift pump has a screen that requires cleaning.  Add a fuel conditioner to the tank. If a diesel, don’t bleed the system just yet.
  2. Remove the valve cover. Use a coat of light grease on the valve cover gasket to be able to reuse it. For more information on how to do this, please read Dr. Diesel’s Tech Tip #17:Working on Deutz or Perkins Industrial Engines? 3 Unexpected Uses for Grease. Squirt or pour a half quart of engine oil into the camshaft area. Reinstall.
  3. Remove spark plugs or fuel injectors. Using a turkey baster, squirt oil into the cylinders. Install new spark plugs or a set of remanufactured-exchange fuel injectors. If a diesel, bleed the system. For more helpful tips please read Foley Tech Tip #58: Bleeding Lucas, Stanadyne, and Diesel Kiki Fuel Systems as well as Foley Tech Tip #82: Bleeding Perkins, Deutz, and Deere Fuel systems (Part 2).
  4. Remove the air cleaner or the wire mesh screen over the air intake (Perkins marine diesel engines don’t have air filters). Then dribble fresh fuel or WD40 into the intake area. Set the choke if a carbureted engine. Install a new air cleaner element or a Walker AirSep if a marine diesel, especially on air-filter-less Perkins marine engines.
  5. Remove the old battery and install a new one. We strongly suggest a deep-cycle gel cell battery to absorb the vibration and pounding of off-road and marine applications. With a wire brush clean the battery tray and spray it with some penetrating oil. Install cloth or fiber battery terminal discs over the terminals to minimize corrosion. Check and install new battery cables as necessary. Poor electrical connections are a leading cause of engine problems.
  6. Fire the engine up. Stand back and watch the accumulated carbon, mouse droppings and rust come out of the exhaust. Let it idle for about three minutes to get everything working then shut down the engine.
  7. Filter, coolant and impellers. At this point, you should drain the now-warm old oil and change it and the oil filter. While opinions differ on oil filter brands, seemingly Fram is one of the poorest with its cardboard construction. There is a long discussion on oil filters at the Edmunds website which we recommend. We suggest that you use the engine manufacturer’s genuine oil filter, and avoid the cheaper options. The genuine filters are usually better, have anti-drain back valves and are not significantly more in price.

For example, we offer two genuine Perkins oil filters and two genuine Perkins secondary fuel filters.

Incidentally, used engine oil when mixed with linseed oil makes a marvelous deck stain. Make enough of it and you could sell it to your yuppie neighbors as “Ye Olde Nantucket Deck Stain”. If you don’t want to do that, please read Tech Tip #33: Disposing of used Lube Oil for how to dispose of used motor oil. Look for any oil leaks. Drain the coolant from the block and change all of the soft hoses. Now is the time to change the impeller on the raw water pump on marine engines.

While we can’t guarantee that following the above steps will eliminate the need for a visit from a field service technician, this is a good start to getting an engine back into service that has been laid up for a while. Dr. Diesel™ Says that if you skip any of the above steps he is not going boating with you.

We stock workshop manuals for Deutz, Deere, Perkins, and Cummins B series engines and could get one right out to you.


Dr. Diesel
Written by Dr. Diesel
Knowledge is power. Power to build ties to engine users. To build a relationship with our customers, we share with you our 105 years of knowledge in many ways. We have this special section called “Ask Dr. Diesel™” where you can pose questions about engines, transmissions, industrial hand clutches, exhaust scrubbers, etc.