Case Studies

March 2024Toyota 5FGC25 No Start

This machine is in great condition, and gets used approximately 1.3 hours a month for a small furniture retailer.

Customer complaint is that the forklift is hard to start. On the initial visit we determined that the ignition components had not been changed in years, and that the mixer was dirty and contaminated with LPG tar. We performed a tune-up and changed the mixer, and the machine seemed transformed. Started right up, ran great, and the customer was ecstatic! They used the machine all through the summer and had no issues.

As the weather got colder, the hard start issue resurfaced. After inspection we determined that squirting a little starting fluid allowed the machine to start right up. Gave the customer a can of starting fluid and explained it away as “it’s an old forklift”.

Fast forward another year, and the forklift is again difficult to start. Starting fluid and a new battery don’t make a difference. Instead of sending a tech I go out there myself, and weirdly the machine starts right up and seems fine to me. This allows the customer to receive freight and get through their day, and they are extremely grateful.

The next day the customer texts me and reports that the forklift won’t start no matter what they try. I go back and the machine won’t start for me either. I have spark, good compression and fuel. I note that the engine seems to be spinning slowly so I check the amperage draw of the starter. Amperage peak is approximately 162 amps and settles to 134 while cranking, but slow.

The amperage draw of the starter doesn’t immediately set off alarms for me, but the slow spinning of the engine gives me great pause.

So, seemingly without plausible cause I change the starter. The machine starts immediately and starts every time repeatedly without issue.

The lesson for me? Spark, fuel and compression are nothing if the timing of the combustion events is not fast enough.

Hopefully our experience will be helpful for you some day.

April 2024 – Skyjack SJ III-3219 Scissor Lift Multiple Issues

We receive a call from a contractor who has a Skyjack SJ III-3219, and the description of the problem is “we were using it and it just shut off stuck up in the air”. We respond to their location and manually lower the platform and release the brakes and travel motors so they can push it out of the way. The customer declines transport to the shop and further diagnosis.

A few days later the customer transports the unit to our shop for further diagnosis. We notice that the “ground” circuit breaker trips after about 15 seconds of “key on”. Checking voltages at the circuit breaker and lift motor, we are getting “inverted” voltages; negative battery volts. Checked total battery volts at the batteries and found that the batteries were installed backwards. The 300amp inline fuse/cable was also broken but touching enough to pass voltage. Corrected the battery direction and substituted a jumper for the fuse and now the circuit breaker does not trip.

At this point the machine will lift from base and platform controls, but it will not lower unless the holding valve manual release is activated. We disconnect the holding valve harness and test the coil and wiring harness resistance; the harness is shorted. The diode in the connector for the holding valve is shorted. Removing the diode from the circuit restores normal operation of the lower function from both the base and platform.

Now we are down to “no steer/no travel”. Taking a clue from the “no lower” episode I opened the connectors for steering and travel; sure enough the diodes are shorted. Clipped those and test – steering and travel work now.

Customers tell you the story they want you to hear. Just nod, say thank you, and do the investigating for yourself. Hope this helps.