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Take the top cover off of the unit. Plug it in and look at the ignitor for a bright glow or spark, depending on your ignition source. This should happen before the fan starts. Once the fan starts you should be able to see fuel spraying out of the spray nozzle. If there is no fuel, check the fuel screen, air output from the pump, air filters on the pump, and the correct air pressure from the pump. The nozzle can also be dirty. Check for air leaks on the pump by spraying soapy water on the pump while the blower fan is running.
If this has a hot surface igniter, can you see it glowing? If not the igniter could be bad or the control
board for the igniter is baed.
If you are able, remover the igniter and hook it up to a 110 outlet, if it glows the problem is in the board.
If it has a board, follow the incoming power to line 1
and line 2. You will either have to splice the two leads
from the igniter into L1 and L2 or get a special spade
connector that can hold two leads on each terminal.
Plug unit in, glow coil should glow and unit should run
thats assuming you have that style of unit. Do not
attempt to do this unless you can safely perform this.
sounds like an ignition problem. The fan is supposed to start first to get the airflow going, then the igniter should heat up (glow igniters) or start sparking (spark plug igniters), then the fuel starts pumping. If the igniter is not working the fuel won't start. Things to check....
igniter - see if it is intact, fuse (usually in the circuit board), If those are ok, then check fuel pump, fuel filter, air filter. Hope this helps.
The glow plug relay is responsible for the duration of glow plugs, this needs to be the starting point. You should get a 12v out for so many seconds when ignition is switched on.
I have taken the cover off relays in the past, cleaned up the internals, sprayed with circuit cleaner and got plenty more years out of them, worth a try.
The ignitor only glows for 5 seconds, just long enough to ignite the fuel. The heater is shutting down because the photocell does not see the correct flame color. Since you say "comes on for 5 seconds", I can only assume that there is a flame. You do not specify a lack of flame. I am also assuming that you have had the heater running this heater season and the problem just started. YOU must find out if the problem is fuel delivery related or electronics related. Start by checking the pump pressure.