Join Date: Dec 2013
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1995 7.3 cold starting
I bought my 1995 F350 XLT crew cab 4x4 auto 223k miles about three weeks ago. I posted recently a question about coolant and I am going to go to the Delo ELC when the weather warms up a bit. I have three gallons of the concentrate and four gallons of the 50/50 pre mix.
The day after I bought the truck I came home from work and tried to start it up. The temperature was in the mid 20s and the truck had been sitting without the block heater attached. It was a real challenge to get the truck started requiring quite a few tries. One of the things that I noticed was that it sounded like the engine was really laboring to turn over. Thick oil? The guy I bought the truck from had told me that it was hard starting in the cold and needed new glow plugs so I bought a set from Rockauto hoping that they would help.
I am a big fan of synthetic oils and did an oil change a couple of days later to Delo synthetic 5W40. It was the cheapest synthetic that I could find at Walmart at $20/gallon. The engine ran great and the oil pressure was the same as before. I especially wanted to use synthetic oil since the engine oil does so much more in a diesel vs. a gas engine.
The truck has been sitting in my unheated shop for the last week waiting on a new vacuum pump. Last night it was 12F and I was in the shop messing around so I decided to try to start the truck. Nothing to lose. It bit on the first crank and fired right up.
I just went out this morning and now it is only 4F. Again the truck fired right up and sounded very happy. None of this was with the block heater plugged in.
The only difference from very hard starting at 25F and easy starting at 4F was the change in the engine oil from presumably 15W40 dino oil to 5W409 synthetic oil. I have also used an extra heavy dose of cetane booster/injector cleaner to clean out the injectors which might make a little difference.
That first day after I bought the truck and had such a hard time starting it I was pretty worried because one of the reasons that I bought the truck was for the four wheel drive when the weather gets bad. The mid 20's is not very cold here in the winter and it does not do me much good if I drive to work and then cannot start the vehicle at the end of the day. The temperature today (4F) is about as cold as it gets here so now I am not worried about cold starting.
I wanted to share this very positive experience presumably from switching to synthetic oil.
I am going to switch to Mobil 1 ATF in the transmission and transfer case when I feel motivated. I have 24 quarts sitting in the shop which should be just enough. Not cheap but the amount and way that I will drive this truck, I may never have to change the trans fluid again.
Now I need to figure out why the EBP valve is not working properly and something to do with the blow by gasses since now they are routed out under the cab. The joys of a new old vehicle but I do love it.