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Old 02-06-2012, 04:11 PM
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Cold Starting issues

Hello,

My truck has been having cold starting difficulties. The glow plug system was shot, so that whole system has been replaced (a month or two ago). That seemed to help the issue for a while, but the problem persists.

When it is quite cold out (32F) the truck simply will not start unless I plug the block heater in for a while. I can cycle the glow plugs a few times, I can crank on it forever, it will not go. It will crank, and fairly consistently I'll get a clack or two, the tach will bounce to about 200 and the cycle repeats.

When it is a bit warmer (40-50F) I can occasionally coax it to start, but when I do it runs poorly (possibly not on all cylinders) for at least five or ten minutes before the engine smooths out. The engine is rough enough at first that it can easily rock the whole truck side to side a few inches. The truck is undriveable for at least ten minutes. If I put it into 1st (manual transmission), it simply stalls unless the engine is revved to 2500rpm and even then the truck can barely move on a 5 degree incline (unless I put it into 4 low).

In the 60s it starts fairly easily, but tends to run on the rough side until it warms up.

If I have had the block heater on it for a few hours or more, it fires up in the first or second crank and runs great.

At this point, I am unwilling to drive it when its under ~45f because I'm not certain it will start again if the block cools sufficiently, leaving me stranded somewhere.

It sounds like I have weak injectors, so I am wondering if they are weak enough where a 5w40 oil swap will make the truck start in cold conditions or if they're already too far gone.

If I am going to rebuild the injectors I'd like to increase their flow capabilities (thinking Rosewood stage1 rebuild). I would prefer not to spring for both a tuner AND the injector rebuilds at the moment, so I'd like to hold off a while.

At the same time, the oil in the truck is brand new and I'm looking at 1/8 the cost of the injectors and a tuner just to switch the oil out, so if it isn't likely to get the truck operational at 20-30F and higher, I'd rather not waste the money.

Any thoughts or experiences by those who've had or seen similar issues would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:38 PM
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How many miles on the truck/injectors? When the poppet valves get worn (you can check the clearances between the armatur plate and the injector body ... when they get down around 0.0015" they are worn) it will have trouble cold starting. The starter and batteries are also very important to cold starting. People don't think that their starters are spinning slower until they put a new one on. Cheers!
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:35 PM
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Could be injector issues, but it sounds like you've got a pretty good grasp on that.
A weak HPOP will also give you cold start issues. A worn HPOP will have trouble generating pressure and flow to fire injectors when the oil is viscous.
Wouldn't worry about an oil swap. The temps you're having issues with are too mild for that to make a noticable difference.
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Old 02-07-2012, 05:15 AM
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The batteries are matched and 6 months old. Starter, starter wiring, glow plug system (all 8 plugs, wiring, relay) were replaced within the last two months.

The truck has 218,000 miles on it. The previous owner dropped a valve in the engine. I replaced it with a running engine that I pulled from a truck that supposedly had 120k on the engine (no way to verify). The truck that I pulled it from I think had 330k on the odometer, so the engine likely doesn't have more than that at the most.
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Old 02-07-2012, 06:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backwoodsboy View Post
A weak HPOP will also give you cold start issues. A worn HPOP will have trouble generating pressure and flow to fire injectors when the oil is viscous.
I assume that a weak HPOP will exacerbate worn injectors, and vice versa? If both are in need of replacement, replacing either one would improve the behavior of the other (at least to some degree) until I can get them both replaced?

Quote:
Originally Posted by backwoodsboy View Post
Wouldn't worry about an oil swap. The temps you're having issues with are too mild for that to make a noticable difference.
Thanks for the heads up on that one, I'll save my money.

Last edited by RedDawn; 02-07-2012 at 06:25 AM.
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Old 02-07-2012, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedDawn View Post
I assume that a weak HPOP will exacerbate worn injectors, and vice versa? If both are in need of replacement, replacing either one would improve the behavior of the other (at least to some degree) until I can get them both replaced?


Yeah, exactly. Properly functioning injectors should make a haggard HPOP last a little bit longer, and vice versa.

If it were me, I would replace the HPOP before injectors (if it turns out they both need replacing). While injectors will help cover up a weak HPOP to some extent, and new HPOP will help considerably more to limp along bad injectors. Replacing a HPOP is also typically cheaper than a set of sticks. Check out the Terminator T500. Haven't heard a complaint yet about their product. Another advantage of upgrading the HPOP first is that once you decide to spring for new injectors you'll be all ready for some Stage I's.
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:40 AM
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I'll definitely look into a T500. As a car person it seems very expensive, but I'm still not used to the pricing on parts for diesels, and in the scheme of HPOPs it seems like a steal. One thing that isn't clear to me about the T500, does it modify a 15* to deliver oil on par with a 17*, or does it exceed the oil delivery of the 17*?

For those of you with trucks that start up properly in colder weather:

If one of your trucks has been sitting out overnight at or a touch below freezing (no block heater plugged in), and you hop into the truck, how long:

* do you wait for the glowplugs before cranking
* do you crank before the oil pressure gauge hops up to normal?
* does it knock without starting before it comes to life?
* do you crank the truck before it actually starts?
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedDawn View Post
If one of your trucks has been sitting out overnight at or a touch below freezing (no block heater plugged in), and you hop into the truck, how long:

* do you wait for the glowplugs before cranking
* do you crank before the oil pressure gauge hops up to normal?
* does it knock without starting before it comes to life?
* do you crank the truck before it actually starts?
1 (GP run time) - Usu. an extra 10-15 seconds after the WTS light goes off
2 (oil gauge) - I always forget to look (sorry)
3 (crank time) - Maybe 4 seconds? I'd say about twice as long as if it's plugged in (or a warmer day)
4 - Isn't this the same question?

What all was replaced wrt. the gp system? New wiring / UVCHs? Have you TESTED to see that it all works? When the engine finally starts, does the voltmeter say left-of-center for a minute or two, and then swing right-of-center?

What brand of GPs and relay are you using? If you replaced any wiring/harnesses, what brand?

BTW, you don't "cycle" the glow plugs. They run for up to two minutes when the engine's cold. Just leave the key in RUN an extra 10-15 seconds before turning to START.
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Old 02-08-2012, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
1 (GP run time) - Usu. an extra 10-15 seconds after the WTS light goes off
2 (oil gauge) - I always forget to look (sorry)
3 (crank time) - Maybe 4 seconds? I'd say about twice as long as if it's plugged in (or a warmer day)
4 - Isn't this the same question?
3 and 4 may be exactly the same in your case since its running right. For me, when it is cold, it usually clacks for a second or two and shudders and tries to start before it actually succeeds. From the sounds of it, in your case, when it starts clacking it starts running - simple as that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
What all was replaced wrt. the gp system? New wiring / UVCHs? Have you TESTED to see that it all works? When the engine finally starts, does the voltmeter say left-of-center for a minute or two, and then swing right-of-center?
I believe wiring/UVCH/relay/plugs/starter/starter wiring was all replaced, I'd have to go back and check my receipt to verify that though. Visibly I am certain that the relay is new as is all wiring to/from the relay, and the valve cover harnesses have some new wires spliced in. I have not tested to verify that it all works. I do know that before the truck had the GP system replaced it was much worse about cool (60 degree) starts and now it will actually start, at least when its fairly warm, without being plugged into the block heater. All of my testing and experience with this truck started in November, and I've never had or been around one of these era diesels before, so I really don't know what to expect. I am used to the SD 7.3's and 6.0's (my dad has had both), so I know better what those behave like year-round.

I will watch the voltmeter next time. I know that when the truck is turned to ON it sits around O, when the GP relay kicks in it moves just left of N, and once its running I think it sits around A or L. I am not certain whether it moves instantly (I think it does) or if it takes a few minutes to swing right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
What brand of GPs and relay are you using? If you replaced any wiring/harnesses, what brand?
A shop did it so I am not certain of all the brands. The plugs are Motorcraft, I am not certain of the wiring/harnesses or the relay. I can check when I get home later today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
BTW, you don't "cycle" the glow plugs. They run for up to two minutes when the engine's cold. Just leave the key in RUN an extra 10-15 seconds before turning to START.
Because mine tends to be such a dinosaur, I have, in attempts to start the truck, waited 2 minutes until I hear the relay click off and repeat the cycle again. I do not key off/on as soon as the WTS light goes away, I wait until after the relay itself finishes.

Last edited by RedDawn; 02-08-2012 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 02-08-2012, 10:29 AM
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It sounds like, at this point, I need to verify that my glow plug system works (I think it does), and check the HPOP and injectors.

I've read that for HPOP all I need is an OBDII code reader that can stream live data so I can read the ICP numbers. Is that correct? Would something like this be adequate?
Amazon.com: Actron CP9575 Auto Scanner Trilingual OBDII and CAN Scan Tool: Automotive Amazon.com: Actron CP9575 Auto Scanner Trilingual OBDII and CAN Scan Tool: Automotive
. Are there other brands or models that are preferred or make more sense? I currently do not have any scanners/code readers of any kind. Would something like this also allow me to do a buzz test as well, or am I looking at one of those $300+ scanner devices to do that?
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