1993 7.3 IDI Naturally Aspirated CRANK no START after sitting 11 years.

SterlingCharles

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Hello guys. I’m new to this forum. I have a 1993 Ford F-350 7.3 Naturally Aspirated. I recently purchased this truck from a guy that say for 11 years (since 2011). Got a damn good deal on it too. Bought it non running. When getting the truck I noticed a rusted out valley pan with pin holes, rusted out pitted injection pump and old injectors. The first thing I tried was replacing the lift pump because I wasn’t getting fuel to the engine. Once that was a success then I noticed I wasn’t getting fuel from the injection pump so I went ahead and bought a reman pump and reman injectors.

Now turns out the glow plugs weren’t working at all so I bought new motorcraft plugs. At the time I thought they were working because I was cranking the truck like crazy and shooting a full can of ether and I just kept getting massive mist coming from the intake which I thought was heat from glow plugs but it smells like diesel.. (No need to educate me on ether I know the risk). This truck just wouldn’t fire for the life of me. So at this point I went ahead and did a compression test and leak down test and numbers were around 200 psi and under. At this point I shipped off the heads and sent them to a machine shop for a new head job.

New valve seals new lapped valves the whole 9. Now I was surprised that the pistons looked pretty Normal due to not finding any water in the cylinders just basic carbon. So I cleaned up the deck and got it’s all nice and shinny. There was a couple cavitation spots in 2 cylinders but nothing serious. Then I noticed a top carbon lip at top of all pistons. So I grabbed my wire wheel and cleaned all those carbon rings off.

Installed new head gasket and I even got a new camshaft because old one was pitted. I cleaned up the rockers arms, pushrods and lifters with mineral spirits. At this point I’ve completely rebuild the top end. Drained the oil and it was very thick and milky I suppose from maybe a blown head gasket or for sure all the water that dropped down onto the top of the engine over time.

So couple days ago I finally got everything back together. This time around is when I noticed the glow plug relay wasn’t grounded so I grounded the glow plug relay and this is when shooting ether it would catch fire In the intake so that was a success knowing they all worked.

Got a brand new starter. The engine cranks fair. But I’ve seen many guys on YouTube who’s engine cranks way faster than mines. I got what I thought was a gear reduction starter for the Idi’s from O’Reilly but when installed it kept scratching the flywheel and it turns out it’s was for a power stroke or something. So I had to settle for the original style.

At this point the truck still will not RUN. I can smell and see the misty diesel fuel shooting out of the crankcase, oil fill hole, and water pump holes. MY TIMING IS CORRECT. I even took the pump off and pulled the gear to verify that my timing was Y to Y. When cranking lots of blow by is shooting out of anywhere it can. Radiator hose, oil filler neck, everywhere….. I’ve bleed the lines several times, I see fuel squirting from top of injector lines. STILL nothing. All the time and money put into this truck I’m guessing maybe worn rings or rings stuck to pistons..did a compression test and it improved just a tad. Still they’re all well under 300 psi.

Please respond if you have a knowledgeable mechanical response…
 

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SterlingCharles

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MORE PICTURES…
 

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SterlingCharles

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hacked89

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How are you planning to compress fuel in a compression based ignition engine without proper compression?
 

hacked89

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That was a knowledgeable mechanical response.

You answered your own question in your original post. Bummer situation, head work isn't cheap.
1. You didn't have proper compression to run the engine.
2. You did a leak down test(results unspecified?) and compression test
3. Decided to rebuild the heads
4. Post leak down results? Assuming the heads are good
5. Still no compression to compress fuel...
6. That leaves the pistons/rings
 

SterlingCharles

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Didn’t wanna come off the wrong way but I’m looking for educational responses which u just not gave. Thanks for that. And I guess I did answer my own question huh.
 

hacked89

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It would be easy to tell you to put penetrating oil into the cylinders, let it sit, turn it over occasionally for a few days and try to fire it. But I wouldn't want to see you damage your engine putting too much and then trying to crank it over. It's an IDI, uses precups like you may have noticed during your rebuild, so if you pulled the injectors it would be tough to judge how much is making it into your cylinders.
 

SuperDave

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There is one thing you said that worries me, the fact that there is crankcase vapor coming out of the water pump holes, that definitely should never ever happen. if the engine isn't running there is not enough heat to convert leftover water/coolant to steam. That being said I have revived some idi engines that not many could and probably should not have been revived. They will run with 200+ psi compression but be hard to start. Put some marvel mystery oil or some type of penetrating oil in each cylinder, re assemble and refill your cooling system and plug in the block heater for about 2 days ( the heat will help the penetrating oil do its job on the rings). Turn the engine over by hand a few times to get the excess penetrating oil out of the cylinders (to avoid hydrolock) then try and start it. If you can ever get the pistons hot the rings will free up and compression will most likely improve. Or if it's a manual trans you can just get someone to tow you around with a chain until it starts
 
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SterlingCharles

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It would be easy to tell you to put penetrating oil into the cylinders, let it sit, turn it over occasionally for a few days and try to fire it. But I wouldn't want to see you damage your engine putting too much and then trying to crank it over. It's an IDI, uses precups like you may have noticed during your rebuild, so if you pulled the injectors it would be tough to judge how much is making it into your cylinders.
Yeah before I did all this work I did shoot some on PB Blaster down the injector holes but I only let them sit for a couple days. Then After all the head work before putting the heads back on I put some Slimy Lucas compression restorer in all cylinders.
I did see a guy on YouTube who was starting a truck that hasn’t started in years he was spraying WD-40 and Silicone spray…and it started right up after numerous attempts. That’s there is something I been wanting to try…
 

SterlingCharles

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There is one thing you said that worries me, the fact that there is crankcase vapor coming out of the water pump holes, that definitely should never ever happen. if the engine isn't running there is not enough heat to convert leftover water/coolant to steam. That being said I have revived some idi engines that not many could and probably should not have been revived. They will run with 200+ psi compression but be hard to start. Put some marvel mystery oil or some type of penetrating oil in each cylinder, re assemble and refill your cooling system and plug in the block heater for about 2 days ( the heat will help the penetrating oil do its job on the rings). Turn the engine over by hand a few times to get the excess penetrating oil out of the cylinders (to avoid hydrolock) then try and start it. If you can ever get the pistons hot the rings will free up and compression will most likely improve. Or if it's a manual trans you can just get someone to tow you around with a chain until it start
There is one thing you said that worries me, the fact that there is crankcase vapor coming out of the water pump holes, that definitely should never ever happen. if the engine isn't running there is not enough heat to convert leftover water/coolant to steam. That being said I have revived some idi engines that not many could and probably should not have been revived. They will run with 200+ psi compression but be hard to start. Put some marvel mystery oil or some type of penetrating oil in each cylinder, re assemble and refill your cooling system and plug in the block heater for about 2 days ( the heat will help the penetrating oil do its job on the rings). Turn the engine over by hand a few times to get the excess penetrating oil out of the cylinders (to avoid hydrolock) then try and start it. If you can ever get the pistons hot the rings will free up and compression will most likely improve. Or if it's a manual trans you can just get someone to tow you around with a chain until it starts
Well…I do have the driver side pipe unhooked so it’s smoke coming from everywhere. But yeah I do see it coming from the lower radiator hose. Now that u said something it is strange…I have videos is there a way I can post them here?
Guess that means I have a problem with head gasket? I did use some copper gasket spray because I nicked the gasket because it was so damn heady. So I wanted to fill the dents with the copper spray.

And as far as the block heater I was like “why the hell is there an extension cord in the engine” lol until I figured out what it’s for. I already cut it smh. Now I need to get another cable.

So using the block heater for several days I guess I won’t have to worry about nothing catching fire??

I’m already really leaning to trying that Silicone spray like the guy in that video.
 

SuperDave

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It's entirely possible the vapor is just migrating into the cooling jackets from the air since everything is open. Block heater cord is on ebay, OEM Ford one isn't expensive. The cord is what's known for starting fires so if you have a new cord the chance is significantly less and you can just plug it up when you are around to keep an eye on it. I've never used wd40 silicon spray, I've always used marvel mystery oil or atf mixed with acetone. I believe with enough persistence you will be able to get it started and if not then putting piston rings in one of these isn't a bad job to have to do.
 

Big Bart

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Some thoughts -

1) A common issue not often brought up on this site is if you pull the lifters and let them drain they easily collapse and prevent good compression. (Don’t open the valves all the way.) They may work when rotating the crank by hand, but not during the cranking of the starter. I have seen this on a few threads over the last two years. You said you cleaned them, the oil may be out of them or partially out of them, this may be adding to your low compression. (Or causing artificially low compression.) I don’t recall what folks did to fix, as I recall some got the engine running and higher oil pressure fixed it. If you pull the heads I would soak them in oil for 24/48 hours. If the fill up they should not leak down easily.
2) You replaced the CAM, just make sure it is timed right.
3) You mentioned you have diesel mist coming out of the crankcase, sounds like a ring issue. (Could also be a intake valve not shutting or seating.) Seafoam makes something called deep creep. I would put some in each cylinder for 48 hours to help clean and perhaps break loose the rings. If you pull the heads it is easy to soak and clean/wipeout. If not pulling the heads then pull the glow plugs and soak. The turn the motor by hand a 4 revolutions to get most of it out. Then run the starter and blow out the rest. I would then repeat with a teaspoon of Delo oil in each cylinder. So when it starts the cylinders are lubed.
4) You need to find out why you have compression coming into your cooling system. You mentioned cavitation holes, did you sleeve that piston? If you have a pinhole or two on a cylinder it could be pushing air into your cooling system. But more likely it is one or two head gaskets if you damaged them. So you should pull the heads, look carefully for pin holes in the cylinder walls, often some discoloration around and below the pin hole.(I am not saying you do, but you mentioned above.)
5) You put on a new IP, I would move it one dimes width towards the passenger fender.

Deep creep the cylinders, get some oil in the rings, and put the heads back on. Check your compression again and see if it’s at least 300psi.(I would expect it could start and after running it will increase to 350psi or better.

You started with a non-runner, you did a lot of work, put on a lot of parts, and you just need to be patient and recheck your work. Go step by step and review your work. Think about other potential issues like is your IP solenoid getting power and working. Is the fuel line from the tank to the lift pump working or is it clogged. Are the glow plugs working correctly. Since your pistons did not get water in them you should have a decent bottom end and something else is causing the low compression.

Let us know how you plan to attack and what results you are getting. We can help guide you from there.
 

hacked89

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Some thoughts -

1) A common issue not often brought up on this site is if you pull the lifters and let them drain they easily collapse and prevent good compression. (Don’t open the valves all the way.) They may work when rotating the crank by hand, but not during the cranking of the starter. I have seen this on a few threads over the last two years. You said you cleaned them, the oil may be out of them or partially out of them, this may be adding to your low compression. (Or causing artificially low compression.) I don’t recall what folks did to fix, as I recall some got the engine running and higher oil pressure fixed it. If you pull the heads I would soak them in oil for 24/48 hours. If the fill up they should not leak down easily.
2) You replaced the CAM, just make sure it is timed right.
3) You mentioned you have diesel mist coming out of the crankcase, sounds like a ring issue. (Could also be a intake valve not shutting or seating.) Seafoam makes something called deep creep. I would put some in each cylinder for 48 hours to help clean and perhaps break loose the rings. If you pull the heads it is easy to soak and clean/wipeout. If not pulling the heads then pull the glow plugs and soak. The turn the motor by hand a 4 revolutions to get most of it out. Then run the starter and blow out the rest. I would then repeat with a teaspoon of Delo oil in each cylinder. So when it starts the cylinders are lubed.
4) You need to find out why you have compression coming into your cooling system. You mentioned cavitation holes, did you sleeve that piston? If you have a pinhole or two on a cylinder it could be pushing air into your cooling system. But more likely it is one or two head gaskets if you damaged them. So you should pull the heads, look carefully for pin holes in the cylinder walls, often some discoloration around and below the pin hole.(I am not saying you do, but you mentioned above.)
5) You put on a new IP, I would move it one dimes width towards the passenger fender.

Deep creep the cylinders, get some oil in the rings, and put the heads back on. Check your compression again and see if it’s at least 300psi.(I would expect it could start and after running it will increase to 350psi or better.

You started with a non-runner, you did a lot of work, put on a lot of parts, and you just need to be patient and recheck your work. Go step by step and review your work. Think about other potential issues like is your IP solenoid getting power and working. Is the fuel line from the tank to the lift pump working or is it clogged. Are the glow plugs working correctly. Since your pistons did not get water in them you should have a decent bottom end and something else is causing the low compression.

Let us know how you plan to attack and what results you are getting. We can help guide you from there.
Response to #1 and "common issue" -

The cam pushes on the body of the hydraulic lifter. The pushrod pushes on the plunger side. The spring and check valve assembly when working properly can open and close the valves when the oil cavity is empty. If that assembly is broken you have a bad lifter. You want to prelubricate the body and bore but not preload the lifter. It sounds like you are indicating preloading the lifting, but soaking will not force oil into the lifters oil passage. You shouldn't preload the lifter. The oil gallery to oil passage on the lifter will flow and fill the oil cavity on the lifter once the engine starts. This then takes the slack out of the valve train after the valve train is already assembled onto the engine and the pushrod is pushing down against the hydraulic lifters plunger with an empty oil cavity.

When you install rocker arms on the 7.3 and turn the damper to 11:00, it's 24ft lbs on the rocker arm nuts. That seems like no torque but when you do it, it easily pushes the hydraulic plungers down into the spring, opening certain valves, and setting the baseline. Because the oil cavity in the lifter isn't preloaded. Once you start the engine, slack is adjusted out as a I described above.

To what you observed in the last two years -
Handing cranking works to open and close the valves as described above, makes sense. If theres an issue with the plunger assembly it usually results in a dead lifter and you won't see the valves open at all, but they can partially fail. Cranking the starter in theory would push oil through the gallery's and the lifters oil passage. But, in my experience and testing I've cranked quite a bit and had a clear line on the rear gallery after rebuild and no gallery pressure on the line. So thats why cranking doesn't "fix" the issue. Once the engine fires its a second for the oil to go through the passages and not alot of seconds for the lifter process to do its thing. Maybe it's obvious now why when you start the engine it works the process, cause that's what you are supposed to do. You aren't depended on hydraulic lifter preload to fire it.

Valves are closed by default. It's not a perfect vacuum, there's air in his cylinders for a not running compression test to work. When running a partially bad lifter on an intake valve can throw it off because it's not opening enough to draw in the amount of air expected on the intake stroke.

Also regarding compression psi numbers. It's a 21.5:1 CR engine, so it's baseline psi to run well should be about 315ish. They *can* start and run down into the mid 200s but if it's 250 or under I would diagnose and repair.

SuperDave - tell us exact psi for compression test per cylinder as the engine currently sits, and home many strokes it takes to reach the psi. And what the actual results of the leak down test is currently per cylinder. Also, even a small cavitation spot is an issue.
 
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SterlingCharles

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It's entirely possible the vapor is just migrating into the cooling jackets from the air since everything is open. Block heater cord is on ebay, OEM Ford one isn't expensive. The cord is what's known for starting fires so if you have a new cord the chance is significantly less and you can just plug it up when you are around to keep an eye on it. I've never used wd40 silicon spray, I've always used marvel mystery oil or atf mixed with acetone. I believe with enough persistence you will be able to get it started and if not then putting piston rings in one of these isn't a bad job to have to do.
Yeah I just checked eBay and Amazon and threw one in my cart. Gonna be ordering it soon. Thanks for the kind words I will try to keep a level head and not give up on it.
 
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