'96 hard start and electrical issues. Help appreciated. - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 05-23-2012, 02:47 PM
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'96 hard start and electrical issues. Help appreciated.

Ok, here's the situation.

A VERY good friend of mine brought me a truck to try to figure out. Hes a great guy, a bricklayer from way back, friend of my family for a long time. His truck has been acting up and hes NOT tech or mechanically savvy at all. This is kind of a dire situation for him, times are tough, he asked me if I could figure this out for him. I'm no mechanic, at least not where diesels are concerned (my personal diesel is an '82 VW Jetta, IDI N/A, 50mpg, lol) so my experience with them is very limited. I REALLY want to help him out though as hes a great guy, busts his *** for his friends/family and could really use a one-up right now.

I put a new vacuum pump on and fixed some minor issues, but heres what its still doing and what needs to be addressed ASAP, this is his work truck and he's having to borrow and bum trucks and such right now and its killing him.

Anyway, 96, 7.3, auto F350.

Hard to start. It'll run the batterys down before it'll kick over and there are some odd things going on with the electrical system.

When you key-on the volt meter in the truck jumps about 1/3 of the way up for probably 5 seconds, then you hear a CLICK from the engine bay and the meter drops down to next to nothing showing. If you throw a jump box on the truck and keeeeeeep trying eventually it'll kick over, it runs rough for the first few minutes, reading low voltage on the in truck meter, maybe 1/4 or so, then all of a sudden it'll climb to the half-way to 3/4 mark and sit. Truck seems to run fine then. You can drive it all over the place, but if you let it sit a while, the same scenario repeats itself.

Ive let the WTS light cycle over and over then tried, but it doesnt seem to help matters. As i type this Ive been trying to start the truck for 20 minutes. It just now kicked over (I ran out between paragraphs to try again). Once its warmed up it seems to start mostly fine though.

REALLY stupid question, but where is the GPR? Ive read up on the testing procedures you all have, but, I dont even know where to locate it. Ive never even sat in one of these trucks before now, let alone done anything to them mechanically.

It seems to me something in the charging system isnt working right, I dont think the alternator is charging the batteries all the way (among other things) but ANY help from the seasoned guys and gals here would be appreciated. I'm just trying to help an old friend out. Ideally id like to test things before throwing parts at it, I'm doing this all out of pocket as a favor, but my pockets arent very deep, so the less money the better, lol. The vacuum pump has already kicked me in the wallet,

Thanks guys.
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:02 PM
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GPR is the relay on the top of the motor.
Scroll down a bit for the picture
Need help troubleshooting glowplug problem with 2003 7.3L - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums
Sounds like a GPR to me
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:13 PM
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^^^^^ +1; GPR or excessive draw from the GPs, or GP wiring issue.

The behavior of the meter AFTER the truck starts is normal. That's the glow plugs eventually cycling off. If the meter is significantly right-of-center after the cycle-off, the alternator is most likely charging just fine.

It may also be one bad battery. These trucks need TWO GOOD batteries, SAME capacity, and should always be replaced in pairs. One weak battery basically pulls down the stronger one during starting. Load test both batteries, but isolate them from one another (disconnect + AND - terminals).

You don't "cycle" the WTS light. It only indicates (and pessimistically, most of the time) how long you have to wait for the glow plugs to run before starting it. But the glow plugs are not just for starting the engine. They also warm the chambers for a more efficient burn early in the run. So they stay on long after the WTS light goes off. When it's really cold, and you're someplace where you can't plug in the block heater, you can just leave the key in RUN for an extra 10-20 seconds before turning the key to START.

If it's warm where you are now, and the block heater works, but you're unsure about the starter circuit or the strength of the batteries, you might want to try plugging in the block heater and then DISconnecting the GPR, so it's not electrically burdened by the glow plugs trying to start it.
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