I bought this van back in July and the engine hasnt missed a beat until about a month ago. I had a few days off and the van wasn't used for 4 days. When I went to use it it turned over and over and eventually fired up with a cloud of dark grey smoke out of the exhaust.
After that it started fine until it stood for a couple of days last week. Since then it has been a major struggle to start, eventually firing up after about 5-10 mins of trying. Now it's refusing to start at all.
When looking into the problem, it doesn't seem to be the glow plugs. I checked the fuel filter and the housing was empty of fuel. I used the plunger thing to draw fuel through the system and could see air bubbles in the clear pipe that runs from the filter housing to the injector pump. I also used the plunger to fill the filter housing with fuel with the filter removed, which then slowly drained away. Is that normal or should the fuel stay in there?
Also the van starts perfectly, as it used to do, if I fill the injector pump directly with diesel by removing the bolt in the top.
Can anyone shed any light on what might be going on?