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post #1 of 11 Old 12-02-2011, 04:15 PM Thread Starter
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Question Hard starting, FCIM checks out. at a loss

Ever since last winter my trucks been hard starting, started fine no matter what the weather was like before last winter, But this last winter I wanted my truck to warm up faster so I bought a block heater cord and started plugging it in, about halfway through the winter I started noticing my truck getting hard to start, even had to leave it at work a few times because I couldn't plug it in. Convinced the boss to let me plug it in and it started every time so I never messed with it.

This year a about a month ago I starting it and it cranked and cranked then it would fire then die, did that a couple times then started and it sounded like it does when its cold out. was 60* btw. sounded like it was running on only a couple cylinders and loud as ****, puffed some white smoke at first but cleared up (could have been steam idk). Started plugging it in started right up ever since but still runs like **** for a min. or so then clears out and runs good.

Today I had my dad start my truck to let it run, (He starts it about every 3-5 days) A cold front moved into Kansas so it was like 30*-40*, He tried starting it and it did the same thing it did a month ago except it drained the batteries, he charged them back, tried it again, started draining them again so he jumped it with his tacoma and it finally started.

I was convinced it was the fcim so I had my dad with gpas help test the voltage, he said it stayed a constant 48v. Now I dont know what the problem is.... I had him plug my sct in and run the codes and the only code that popped up was a 90261 (#1 injector ckt low). what does that mean btw. Ik that's not the problem because I've never seen that code before and its ran like this for a year now. idk if its relevant but a long time ago my truck through codes for 1,3,5,and 7 something about the injectors but it was running fine so I cleared them and moved on. never threw them again.

Anyone have any Ideas? Glowplugs? I'm a thousand miles away from my truck until Christmas and after I plan on driving it back up here to north dakota so I really need this thing to start because its a lot colder here then in Kansas.

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post #2 of 11 Old 12-02-2011, 05:43 PM
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There are more factors involved in the starting of a diesel engine than just voltage. The most critical is compression. No matter how fancy or efficent a fuel delivery system is, it is still compression that actually causes the combustion process to happen.

This is the primary reason why diesels are harder to start in cold temperatures. So much of the heat generated by the compression is absorbed by the block,coolant and oil and until it reaches an equalibrium,the air/fuel mixture won't ignite.

Glow plugs and block heaters help by preheating the block,coolant and oil so that heat is not absorbed from the combustion process.

Cold also affects the oil makeing it thicker and harder to flow thru the small passages in the injector body.

So it takes an electrical signal from the PCM generated by the FICM to open and close the solenoid valves of the injector allowing the oil to move the actual mechanical parts of the injector, thus injecting the fuel mist in the cylinder.

So if your getting a good signal and ya have good oil pressure then the only culprit left is too low compression, for whatever reason, to ignite the air/fuel mixture.

End of lecture. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programing.


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post #3 of 11 Old 12-02-2011, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
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So if your getting a good signal and ya have good oil pressure then the only culprit left is too low compression, for whatever reason, to ignite the air/fuel mixture.
If it is low compression then why does it start fine when its decent temp outside?

Just fyi I had my dad try to start it just now and it started fine. has been sitting for 5+ hrs not plugged in??? wtf

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post #4 of 11 Old 12-02-2011, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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I've been reading that the P0261 code has turned out to be a fcim, Is it possible that it could be on its way to failure or is failing and still showing 48v?? Also idk if it matters but my dad tested the ficm after the truck was warmed up then did the procedure.

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post #5 of 11 Old 12-02-2011, 09:14 PM
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A lot of failing FICMs will show 48V after the truck has been running a while (mine did). The true test is to check it 3 ways:

1) when dead cold - key on, engine off (KOEO), should be 48V
2) still dead cold, and engine cranking (should still be 48V)
3) when running, but still cold engine - should still be 48V

When mine was going dead, it would be at 48V at KOEO and then when I started it, it would drop down to 30 V or so, and then as the engine warmed up it would come up to 48V or so.

Gotta check it cold and when cranking - should always be 48V.

It's the easiest thing to check, and definitely a good possibility for cold start problems.

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post #6 of 11 Old 12-03-2011, 03:54 AM
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Would be willing to bet on ficm. Would switch to syn. Oil if you are not already running it 5w-40 seems to be working well for many.

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post #7 of 11 Old 12-03-2011, 04:29 AM
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My truck just started the cold start problem about a month ago. Was on hunting trip temperture got down to around 25, truck would start then shut off. Had my mechanic re flash the ficm as there was a newer flash available and the truck still starts and shuts off. If I have the truck plugged in it will start every time. So sounds like you and I have same issue. My mechanic did say something about 48 volts I will have him check that first, he also mentioned maybe a glow plug problem or fuel module or injector module idk! Just want it to start and idle good on a cold morning:-(
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post #8 of 11 Old 12-03-2011, 04:58 AM
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What kind of oil are your running. Mine was doing this and then I switched to synthetic and problem solved. I'm running motorcraft 10w-30 through the winter. Still plug mine in when the weather is below freezing over night. Do what they said and check your ficm again under the guidelines stated. And if you haven't already get the conventional oil out of your truck and your injectors will thank you. Might want to check your glow plug control module... I changed that on mine and it helped quite a bite. I was pulling a code for it though.

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post #9 of 11 Old 12-03-2011, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Alright I'll have my dad recheck it asap, as for the oil I will be switching to 5w40 synthetic when I get home for xmas, I've just been running Rotella T 15w40 so whats a good choice for oil?

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post #10 of 11 Old 12-03-2011, 04:38 PM
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Definitely sounds like a FICM to me. The 1,3,5,7 codes give it away, 4 injectors, all on the same bank, don't just die at once. FICM's give those as false codes though. I've also seen FICM's test at 48V under all conditions (cold/warm, KOEO, cranking, running) and still be junk.

Get your batteries load tested first, sounds like they're weak anyways.





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