Good Truck gone Bad?!? Substantial Drivability Issues - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-15-2017, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
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Good Truck gone Bad?!? Substantial Drivability Issues

Bear with me while I get all this out of me head and written down so maybe someone here can steer me in the right direction.

Truck;
Built 5/97 Cali Truck CCSB 4x4 (As far as I have been able to tell it was bought and kept in Utah till I bought it in 2012)
PCM - MME0 (Pretty sure this is what I saw when I had the kick panel off)
Cal - 7-90P (That's the sticker in the door, pretty sure it's never been updated)

PO installed Guages, ATS Intercooler, 4" exhaust, Superchip programmer. Everything else appeared stock. It seems the PO used the Truck to pull a 5er for vacations only as it took 15yrs to rack up 88,000 miles (I know about the 5er from the rails in the bed and google earth images of his house =).

History
I brought it to Texas and starting driving it cause it just makes me smile. Near 120k the torque converter started to fail and wasted the front pump. I rebuilt and upgraded everything necessary inside according to BTS (I wanted him to build it but I didn't have time for the back log) and put a PI Converter in front with the lower stall option. 40k later zero troubles there so I must have done something right for a change. I did have BTS tune the valve body when I was passing through a year later and those guys are truly helpful, I wish I had had more time to hang out.

When the trans was out, I replaced the up-pipes & doughnuts and found a missing gasket on the turbo output that helped the truck make a bit more boost.

Slight regression, the problem I've been trying to solve since I bought the truck is that the truck will go extra sluggish on occasion for me, never enough to get too excited about but I've chased the problem on and off to no avail b/c I've not found anyone else on here or the other common sites with similar enough issues that were ever solved and I’ve never found sensor data that was way out of line using my AE diag scanner. I've always thought that boost was a bit low but everyone I talked to chalked it up to the intercooler doing its job. It's never performed like other powerstrokes I've driven or ridden in but it’s been manageable and like I said it makes me smile to drive it around. I've never been able to get boost over ~18psi on the gauge in the truck but I've never really had a trailer on it that weighs more than 6-8k. I've always run the Max Performance program until yesterday when I put it back to stock to make a record of drive-ability in stock now that my problem has become so much worse.

Problem
The problem history goes something like this; other than the less than stellar performance on occasion, it also 2-3 times a year would throw P1393 and or P1391 Glow Plug Low Input. Usually this would happen when it's cold (texas cold, like maybe freezing) but it’s happened several times in the middle of summer too, always at a cold start for the day. I never thought too much of it b/c I never had trouble getting the truck to kick off and I knew that when I bought it, the dealer had just replaced 3 of the GPs and it usually went away after a few key cycles. I did visibly check the harness connections outside the valve covers and re-seated the connectors. I've not seen any evidence of overheating of the plugs or harnesses but I'm not ruling that out, I just haven't explored it further.

This year I decided that since it was giving the code more frequently I would go ahead and replace all 8 GPs and gaskets and under cover harnesses. Hasn't been done yet but all the parts are on the bench.

Then the other day (2/10) a fuel puddle shows up under the truck. I check it out (2/14) and find a leak from the fuel pump or accumulator saucer under the turbo mount so I've got parts on the way for that. While I'm poking around I decided to dig out my computer and do a little more investigating with AE since I'm going to have the valve covers off soon maybe I'll find something helpful and at least be able to log a few miles before and after to see if there are any noticeable differences. So, I've got my laptop hooked up and I run some of the diag tests, notably I run the buzz test twice. First time I didn't really know what to expect, second time it sounds pretty much the same. All definitely buzzed and from where I was standing there was slight pitch change from inj to inj but none seemed to exhibit a major difference (However this is the first time I've run this on my truck and other than the general idea of what it is supposed to do I can't claim expert knowledge) I'm not sure if the buzz test is supposed to return any values but it said that it passed.

2/14
Real Problems start when I fire the truck up after the buzz test. Now it sounds more aggressive at idle like a 49 state truck, and a bit lopey. Then I try to drive it and it can barely move. RPMs don't want to go over 1500 with the pedal on the floor at first and LOTs of whitish/bluish smoke. I finally make it down the street a bit and RPMs start to pick up and power is better but it’s still very low on power. Further down the street, I can get the truck up to 40mph and it seems to smooth out a bit but when it goes back to idle, definitely sounds like it’s missing a cylinder or two. I should note that the truck had been driven earlier in the day so it wasn’t stone cold but it wasn’t warm either. As it warms up, power gets better but timing is different for sure as the truck sounds more aggressive throughout the range, and shifts are more abrupt. Eventually the truck seems to run almost stronger than it used to but there is still a noticeable miss or lope at idle and it’s slow out of the gate but otherwise drives normal or slightly quicker.
Back home, I hook up AE and run a cylinder contribution test and it sounds at several points like it might not make it through. Really rough some times and tons of smoke (smoke may be normal for this test?) Only codes were P1393 and P1391. I went to drive it again and record some data and it drove almost better than normal above 1200 rpm but there and below it was grumpy.

2/15
Truck kicked off fine at first this morning but after it idled for a few minutes it was getting progressively weaker and rougher sounding. Again, it barely made it down the street with almost zero power and more smoke. Once it was out on the road and I opened it up a bit, it drove like before, rough idle and low speed but seemingly as much or more top end than I’m used to. Smoke stopped after getting out on the main road. When I came back home I plugged AE in again and went for another data log drive. It felt about the same as previous night. I had a friend suggest swapping back to the factory programming to see if that recalibrated anything, so I did. Other than losing more power and resetting how the trans shifts it didn’t seem to make much difference. I did make a data run in the stock configuration while warm for records. Then I put my fans on it for a few hours to try to make it cold again to see how it would act so I could record that as well. After 4-5 hrs, the oil in the pan was at ambient and so was the valley so it was as cold as I could get it. Started AE and cranked up the truck to make a record. Took it for a drive to get it warm and performance was unchanged.

In reviewing the data I can only find a few anomalies that don’t really point to anything I understand about how these trucks are supposed to function. The biggest weird thing I found is that the Engine Coolant Temp Sensor seems to act bananas but the gauge acts fine and it’s my understanding that this value isn’t used in control so I don’t know if I should let this distract me or not. Engine Oil Temp seems to be acting normal. Injector Control Pressure stays around 500 at idle and goes up to 2500 or more when accelerating. Map sensor seems to be showing appropriate changes in pressure with accel. Throttle position is slightly goofy, I cannot get it to go over ~75% squished to the floor. I have floor mats but I haven’t pulled them out, maybe they are interfering but only at the top end. Vreff stays at 5.01.

Any ideas to go from here that don’t immediately involve pulling injectors? I’d be grateful for any suggestions as what to look for next. Again the only codes it will throw are P1391 and P1393. I did run the CCT again and it acted about the same as before and only posted P1391 and P1393. I guess really I need to solve those first with my new plugs, harnesses, and gaskets and see if that’s the magic bullet but if anyone has some special insight, I’d love to hear it.

I attached the AE Datalogs if someone feels inclined to poke around and look for all the obvious stuff I missed.
Attached Files
File Type: xls Ford 7.3L CCSB Auto-1997-February 2017.xls (1.50 MB, 12 views)

Last edited by aggiediesel01; 02-15-2017 at 11:07 PM. Reason: found a typo
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post #2 of 14 Old 02-16-2017, 01:10 AM
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Possibly an issue with fuel pressure...especially since the fuel pump is leaking? Might not be building enough to run correctly, in which case a new pump would solve both the leak and the pressure issue. A word of caution, if it is fuel pressure related...i would not run the truck until the new pump was in...its hard on the injectors! Best of luck finding the problem.

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post #3 of 14 Old 02-16-2017, 05:29 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input, I think the new pump will be here tomorrow. I'll be nice to it till then.
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post #4 of 14 Old 02-16-2017, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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Diagnosis update;

I have a fuel pressure gauge so I put it on and at first it only registered about 12 psi and was stuck there, accelerating didn't make a difference. the gauge is old and has been used for gasoline and oil systems as well so I thought it might be stuck. I bled the gauge and it went back to zero, I checked the connections to make sure the schrader valve was being pushed down and restarted the truck, it came up to 12 and kind of stayed there even with a couple of moderate romps on the pedal. Then I held it steady at about 2500 and pressure began to slowly rise through 20 and 40 psi. I increased the pedal to 2700 and acceleration seemed to stall like it didn't want to go higher and the miss was more pronounced and I could see some smoke. Then there was a change in the tone of the engine and fuel pressure rose rapidly to over 80 psi. Almost a jump to 80 but not quite, the truck smoothed out and when I came back to idle pressure stayed pulsing around 72-76psi. Then when I took the rpms back to 3000, pressure rose to above 95 but not quite 100. After this, the truck idles noticeably smoother but it's pretty warm now.

Is it possible that the Buzz test jammed a nozzle open?

If not, where does this point me?

I know the fuel pump is going to be replaced in the next couple days so that's a given. If that doesn't solve it, does the low pressure and smoke mean an injector is sticking open and draining the rail? Is this something a strong dose of ???? in the fuel bowl will clean out?

In the past, I've used the Gray Power Service Diesel Kleen + Cetane 2-3 times a year for general PM and I over do it, usually half a 32oz bottle in each tank. Lots of people talk about Lucas products or just ATF, are they all just bandaids or can they really be a path forward to renovate a high mile injector?
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post #5 of 14 Old 02-16-2017, 10:47 AM
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post #6 of 14 Old 02-16-2017, 11:15 AM
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Assuming your pressure gauge is right (and it probably is seeing the truck ran better as the pressure came up), i would say let'r sit if you can til the new pump is in then recheck the fuel pressure. If i recall OBS fuel pressure should be 45-55 psi at idle...it will climb as rpm's increase but anything over 75 psi is bad. 12 is definately no good if that happens often! Change that pump and see where you are after all the air is bled out. You may get the leak and running issue at one whack!

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post #7 of 14 Old 02-16-2017, 11:29 AM
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Change the fuel pump and UVCHs, inspect the fuel bowl for leaks too. Put it back together and see what happens.

Try another fuel pressure gauge too. Harbor Freight has an inexpensive FP tester kit usually on the store shelves.

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post #8 of 14 Old 02-16-2017, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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K, I'll be back after the Fuel Pump, GPs and UVCHs and pass along anything new. Looks like my pump won't be here till tomorrow. We'll see if I can get it done Saturday.
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-16-2017, 05:04 PM
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When you run a buzz test it is just sending voltage to active the coil. The coil being energized will pull the armature plate up opening the poppet valve. However since there is no high pressure oil in the high pressure oil rails there is no actuation of the Intensifier piston hence no fuel is injected. Now if you had a cracked nozzle pissing fuel it would be obviously smoking a ton of white smoke. Your issue sounds like a weak pump. You may also have a regulator problem.

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post #10 of 14 Old 02-16-2017, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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I like this logic of how it works, thanks. That shuts down some other directions of thinking I was following, good.

This also makes me consider how long it takes for the fuel bowl to clear of air after a filter change. I changed the fuel filter a couple weeks back but the truck has been running since I changed it. However, I've been home since then only tooling around the local area in the truck and not getting it out on the highway for a good run. Could I have still had some trapped air in the system that hadn't worked it's way out yet?
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