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Drives a mile then dies

Discussion in '6.9L IH & 7.3L IDI Diesels' started by graver555, Jun 30, 2019.

  1. graver555

    graver555 Registered User

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    Hey everyone. I have an 86 with I think 160k? miles on it that sat for about a decade. Been driving it for several months. Fuel return between rail and filter has been blocked. Water seperator has been replaced with cheapo see thru filter until I source one I like due to sucking air.

    Drove it about 15 miles today ran just fine. Let it sit for about 45 minutes. Drove it another ten to a gas station. Something seemed a bit odd. Controlling my speed seemed harder then normal like sometimes it suddenly speed up a little. Wrote it off as me not driving it in a few weeks. (hasn't been sitting, someone borrowing it)
    Put about 5 gallons on top of a quarter full front tank and filled up back tank.
    Started driving home. OK its not me keeping my foot steady, it's surging and bucking a bit. Bad fuel? 5 more miles and stop and put in probably a double dose of the white diesel kleen? Into the front tank (the one I have been running) let's see if that helps. Nope.
    Starting surging bad and lots of white smoke. Foot down in 3rd and it's zero power, then like 80% power. just on and off like a switch.

    Pull over, fuel is in the cheapo filter. Schrader valve didn't spit but did pour out decently when I got it restarted and I pressed it. Smelt and felt like diesel.
    Seemed to ide and rev OK so started driving again. Get a few more miles. Had to stop once or twice and let it sit for a few minutes to make it to next gas station. Tried the rear tank mayby the filter is clogged. Nope same issue.
    Put about 12 ounces of 2 stroke oil in and filled the tank the rest of the way thinking mayby some bad fuel to dilute it. Also poured several cups of water over the injection pump thinking mayby it was getting over heated.

    Kept going and the water on the pump didn't help more then the amount of time we sat for would have.
    Watch storm head towards us with a bunch of stuff in the bed as we get a mile or 2 every few minutes as it let's us. White smoke this whole time at this point. Finally made it home.

    So I have a few ideas.
    Probably gonna put a new fuel filter on it tommorow. I've been meaning to do the new filter and a bunch of atf treatment for awhile, but wanted to get my Pyro probe installed so I could run the piss out of it and feel safe.

    Fuel pump? I had a fuel injected car with a failing pump that acted like this. As the pump got hotter it had less and less pressure. Stop and let it cool down and it would start. But will a mech. pump fail like this?

    What I actually am afraid of is the IP and or injectors. I'm only getting 10 mpgs atm so I was thinking it was poorly timed or they were worn out. Don't really have the cash saved up yet to replace them.

    Anything I can check to diagnose this?
    I do have another car but is about 40 miles away being borrowed. (actually I swapped the car and truck with them today) they were only driving it about a mile in town so if this has been an issue for a few weeks they wouldn't of noticed it. I'm confident they didn't put gas in it and the schrauder valve smelt like diesel.

    Also, sorry for the stupid long post. Wanted to be thoro with the info
     
  2. Macrobb

    Macrobb Full Access Member

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    Empty the fuel filter/water separator. Could easily have some water in it.

    Engine doesn't run on water, and water or air, you'll get surging, loss of power etc.
     
  3. graver555

    graver555 Registered User

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    Fuel water separator has been removed as it was sucking in air.
    It seems to act the opposite to sucking air. After it sits a minute or two it fires right away.

    Any good chemical to deal with water?
     
  4. Macrobb

    Macrobb Full Access Member

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    Any filter will act as a separator, due to gravity. I'm assuming you have the stock filter on the engine; empty it.

    edit:
    When emptying this filter, refill with cheap ATF - it'll burn, has some solvent properties, and you don't have to worry about refilling the filter by cranking.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2019
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  5. david85

    david85 Full Access Member

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    How much fuel is in the tank? Sometimes the pickup tube falls off and the engine will starve even at 1/2 full.
    Try popping the fuel cap next time it starves. If the tank vent is plugged, the lift pump will not be able to properly draw fuel. As vacuum builds in the tank, fuel starvation also increases.

    I had a similar problem recently but I'm not sure if you have the same problem. I ended up replacing the filter and lift pump at the same time, so I can't say fore sure which was the culprit. In my case the truck would surge slightly and try to stall at stoplights. It developed a dead skip and pulsed black smoke from the injectors not firing properly. It got bad enough that I needed one foot on each pedal to prevent a stall at red lights. Mine never failed on the side of the road though.
     
  6. graver555

    graver555 Registered User

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    Both tanks full. I considered this or rhat rust had clogged up one but since it's both I doubt it.

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  7. Selahdoor

    Selahdoor Full Access Member

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    Drives a mile then dies

    I was going to say something about a similarity to my love life here, but decided not to. Aren't you glad I didn't? :confused::rotflmao
     
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  8. graver555

    graver555 Registered User

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    Well drove fine for the couple miles in town i went throughout the day. Got home and changed the filter and filled it with atf.
    Going on a long drive Wednesday or Thursday so we'll see if it's fixed.

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  9. lotzagoodstuff

    lotzagoodstuff Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Go cut your old fuel filter apart and see what it looks like. You won't be able to see if there was any water in it, but you will be able to see if there's any funk and or pieces of your fuel tank pickups, commonly referred to as "shower heads", which are notorious for crumbling inside the tanks over time.

    Good luck!
     
  10. graver555

    graver555 Registered User

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    That would have been a good idea but it was already in the dumpster. Ive been meaning to get a filter cutter.

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  11. graver555

    graver555 Registered User

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    Well made the genius idea of taking the truck for 4th of July activities to test it out. Doing the exact same thing after about 30 minutes of driving. Really feels like a heat soaked component to me. Any other ideas guys before I load a lift pump into the parts cannon?
    Currently sitting at a Wendy's with a frosty with the hood open hoping w/e is getting hot will cool down.

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  12. graver555

    graver555 Registered User

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    Wonder if that has anything to do with anything.....
    Also pics of how I blocked off the return to the filter. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

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  13. lotzagoodstuff

    lotzagoodstuff Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    When you push the Schrader valve in, do you have plenty of fuel pressure at the filter head? I wouldn’t rule out a fuel delivery or air intrusion issue, especially now that you’ve pointed out that the return on the pump has been changed. These trucks are super simple, but fuel starvation and/or air intrusion can be a tough one to pinpoint.

    If you do have good fuel pressure at the filter head, then I’d do the room temperature water test over the injector pump and see if it starts. If that works you have found that you need a new inj pump.

    Good luck and at least you are enjoying a frosty :)
     
  14. chillman88

    chillman88 Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Where is the IP return line going?
     
  15. graver555

    graver555 Registered User

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    No I was not getting any fuel out of the Schrader valve. I'm pretty sure it's a fuel delivery problem. But switching tanks dosnt change anything and they are both full.
    I tried the water on the injection pump and it didn't seem to help. Thus I was thinking the lift pump.
    (just pour water on it or is there more to the test?)
    I don't know enough about these to rule out air intrusion, but it very quickly/instantly fires up after sitting and cooling down so that dosnt make sense to me.
    Got it home now so I get to relax in the ac until fireworks time!


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