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That doesn't make sense, maybe the starter is not turning the engine over fast enough? I have never heard of an issue like this one before. Maybe someone with more knowledge will chime in.
How does it sound when it's cranking? normal, spinning the engine at normal speed?
Not sure if the 7.3 injection is similar to the 6.0's, but if so maybe a High pressure oil leak, and when using the starter to crank it over, it's leaking the oil as fast at the starter is turning the pump, but when you pull start it, it spins the engine and pump fast enough to build the necessary pressure before it can leak it off? Just a guess.
05 Lariat Crew Cab, Short Bed, 142K and counting, 4x4, ARP studs, EGR Delete, IPR High Flow Coolant Filter, Dash Boss, SCT SF3 innovative tunes, Innovative FICM Tuner, Deleted CAT and Muffler, blue spring upgrade, High idle mod, Cobra 29 LXE.