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Just purchased - 2001 F250 SD 7.3 - Cold Start Issue

Discussion in '7.3L Powerstroke Diesels' started by BKahler, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. BKahler

    BKahler Full Access Member

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    Last month on my Birthday I purchased a really nice looking 2001 F250 SD 7.3 Crew Cab Short Bed truck. It has 145,000 miles on the clock and has been pretty well maintained (came from west Texas). This isn't my first 7.3, I've had an 88, 92 and a 2000. Although this isn't my first post to Oil Burners I haven't posted in about 8 years or so.

    Overall the truck runs really well and appears to have been chipped, possibly with an SCT X3-3000 although I haven't confirmed that as yet. But in the back of the tool box was a programmer for the X3. Not sure how?

    At the moment I'm having a cold start issue. Over the past few weeks we've been having temps down in the 0 degree to single digits. During that stretch I corrected a few issues such as a dirty fuel filter, bad (i.e. cheap assed) replacement battery clamps on the negative cables and the drivers side positive cable. Those two changes really helped in starting but they weren't fixed until the temps were in the 30s or higher. The changes were not put to the test until last night when it got down to 18 degrees. This morning when I tried to start it, it took 10 to 20 seconds or so before it tried to fire. After that each time it sounded a little better and actually got to the point where it sounded like it was going to take off and would then abruptly die like it was being turned off. I generally cycle the glow plugs for about 20 to 30 seconds or so between tries.

    During one attempt I checked the battery voltage with a meter while I had the ignition switch in the on position (i.e. glow plugs cycling) and was surprised to see the battery voltage was down do about 11.8 volts. However when turning the engine over it seems to spin at a reasonable speed. I believe that tells me the glow plugs are cycling properly.

    What should I be looking for to resolve this problem?

    Oh yeah, I have not been using the block heater as it appears the element is bad.

    Thanks!

    Brad
    Richmond, KY
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
  2. BKahler

    BKahler Full Access Member

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    Oh yeah, forgot to mention. The batteries were new in Oct/Nov of last year.
     
  3. greenskeeper

    greenskeeper Full Access Member

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    Jump the large posts on the glow plug relay (a jumper cable clamp works good for this) for at least 30 seconds prior to starting.....does it start any better?

    You can probe the glow plugs at the valve cover gasket plug. Any plugs with an open reading are not working. If you don't have a maintenance history on the glow plug system I would replace all 8 and upgrade to a stancor relay.
     
  4. BKahler

    BKahler Full Access Member

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    I did try jumpering the GPR posts this morning and it didn't make any difference. The voltage on both of the posts was actually down as low as 11.4 or so at times. Possibly even lower. I did finally get it started but it took a lot of cranking. It didn't seem to matter how long I left the switch on before cranking, in other words no change in symptoms. What finally seemed to work this time was to crank it over until it popped, turn the key off, right back on and crank again without waiting for the WTS light to come on. Even then it took a while. Lots of white smoke during this and especially after it started.

    I think the GPR is ok so like you suggested I'm going to replace the glow plugs. Hopefully I'll get that done before all of the cold spells end so I can see if that made any difference. When the temps are in the high 30s or higher it starts right up every time, even after sitting over night.

    Brad
     
  5. BKahler

    BKahler Full Access Member

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    What's the part number for the Stancor relay?
     
  6. BKahler

    BKahler Full Access Member

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    One other thing. While cranking the tach doesn't move. If the engine fires, even momentarily the tach needle will start to climb but before it goes to maybe 300 or so it acts like it shuts down. Could it be the CPS?
     
  7. lotzagoodstuff

    lotzagoodstuff Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    Start with the easiest/cheapest troubleshooting first. Check all of the glow plugs by unplugging the harness off on your valve covers, should be to four outermost pins on each valve cover, they should read .1-2 Ohms if I remember correctly. If any are open they are burned up.

    After that, I'd check the big relay and upgrade it if you find it to be bad to a Stancor type.

    I like to gamble: I bet 2 of your glow plugs are bad and the extra cranking is wearing down your batteries, which is compounded by the cold weather you are experiencing.

    If it were me: I'd replace the element in your block heater as it will be an immediate "fix", then fix the rest of your issues when it warms up a bit.

    Good luck and welcome back to OB
     
  8. BKahler

    BKahler Full Access Member

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    Thanks for the info.

    If I can get to it before it starts raining tomorrow I'll check the GP wiring. If I don't get the chance tomorrow it's gonna have to wait until next weekend.

    I do plan to replace the block heater but that's gonna have to wait for a while. I have been collecting parts though, upper/lower radiator hoses, ELC coolant, etc. I would like to do a cooling system flush, hose replacement, new t-stat and the heater element all at the same time.

    There is one thing I'm finding to be a challenge, the truck has 2" lift and I'm 5'6". Makes it a real challenge to work in the engine compartment!

    Thanks,

    Brad
     
  9. greenskeeper

    greenskeeper Full Access Member

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  10. lotzagoodstuff

    lotzagoodstuff Supporting Member Supporting Member

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  11. BKahler

    BKahler Full Access Member

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    I did check the heater cable and its good. Stupid me should have checked the heater resistance while I was under the truck but didn't :( Next time I'm under the truck I'll check it.

    It's already started raining here so I won't be crawling around in or under the truck until next weekend.

    Brad
     
  12. BKahler

    BKahler Full Access Member

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  13. F350camper

    F350camper BOOST!

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    on my 2001, I had a bad alternator that was resulting in a hard start. Basically it was charging at idle, but not at any rpm above idle. The battery light never came on.

    Long story short, this guy's video is what helped me ultimately find the problem. I didn't realize these things could crank so well, yet still not have enough amps to keep the pcm lit.

    Just thought I would throw this out there as more FYI, in addition to the good info that has already been posted.

     
  14. BKahler

    BKahler Full Access Member

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    Rob, thanks for the video. Kinda surprising how fast it started with the helper battery.

    I will say mine cranks over a whole lot faster than in the video so I'm hoping that's not the issue. I do have a new replacement positive battery harness to replace the butchered one that's in there now. Weather permitting I'll try and put it in next weekend.

    Thanks,

    Brad
     
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