'03 6.0L Hard to start when cold/cool. - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
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6.0L Power Stroke Engine and Drivetrain Discussion of the 6.0L Power Stroke diesel engine and drivetrain in the 2003-Up Super Duties and Excursions. No gas engine discussion allowed except on transmissions and drivetrain that pertain to all models. Please confine discussion of topics in this forum to those items that are specific to the 6.0L Power Stroke engine.

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Old 10-31-2007, 08:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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'03 6.0L Hard to start when cold/cool.

When air temp gets to around 40'F and the truck has had a chance to cool off all night I will have to crank it for about 30 seconds three separate times before it fires off. Once the truck starts if I shut it off and don't let it warm up it will continue to require repeated crankings till if finally starts. Once it's warm; no problem. And yes, I am waiting for the glow plug to turn off before cranking. No messages on the dash indicating any kind of trouble either.

I had the Motorcraft MAX batteries, which are 18 months old, checked at the dealer this morning and they said the batteries are fine. Not sure exactly what "fine" means. If I plug in the block heater, the truck will fire off right away in the morning. The diesel tech I talked to at the dealership told me that glow plugs rarely go out and that is probably not the problem.

Truck has 155,000 miles. Bought it last year when it had 120K miles. I had the same starting issue last year.

Why am I finally want to get this resolved? I'm going hunting in Colorado Rockies in about 10 days. It maybe 0'F in the morning there and I'm wondering if the truck will ever start under those conditions. Stealership was $120 just to check it out.

I'm an electronic engineer by trade and have a multi-meter if someone can provide me some suggestions on what to check, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks for reading.
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Old 10-31-2007, 11:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: '03 6.0L Hard to start when cold/cool.

A possible quick fix could be changing the oil to a thinner grade. It will make starting the truck in cold weather easier.

6.0 Oil Recommendations:
Some trucks with the 6.0 may exhibit hard starting, rough running and lack of power in cold temperatures, particularly on a cold start. This may be due to the oil being to thick for the operating conditions. Ford is recommending to use the following oils for the listed operating temperature.


SAE 15W-40 is the preferred oil above 30 degrees, but it is acceptable for use down to 10 degrees, and is recommended for towing down to this temperature.SAE 10W-30 is the preferred weight between -10 to 30 degrees.
SAE 5W-30 and 5W-40 is acceptable for use below 30 degrees, and 0W-30 is acceptable below zero.
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Old 11-01-2007, 10:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: '03 6.0L Hard to start when cold/cool.

I don't understand how the oil would affect my truck starting in my situation. What I mean is; why does my truck finally start? The truck hasn't warmed up by the 3rd crank and the oil surely hasn't gotten any warmer. Seems like if it was the oil, it would never start till the oil was warm or at least not cold.

I'm wondering if the glow plug dash indicator is telling me the plugs are ON and they really aren't. Anyway I can check if the indicator is lieing to me? I can tell that the indicator does stay lit longer on a cold morning. Don't know if anything is actually happening on the glow plug end though.
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Old 11-01-2007, 04:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: '03 6.0L Hard to start when cold/cool.

I have a 7.3l PSD but I was reading your posts to get a little more familiar with the 6.0l glow plugs system to diagnose the same symptoms you are having....

The 6.0l and the 7.3L use the basic same system, with some different advancements in the 6.0L. The basics of it are the ECM recives the signal from the ignition switch. It sends a signal voltage to the Glow Plug Relay (in the 6.0l they call it a glow plug relay module- and there are two of them, one for each bank from what I can tell from diagrams). The glow plug relay has a constant supply power like a solenoid. When the Glow Plug Relay (GPR) recieves the signal from the ECM, the GPR determines several factors in determinining the duration that it powers the glow plugs. EAch glow plug relay module fires each bank of glow plugs. I believe the glow plugs are on the outside of the cylinder heads on the 6.0L (the 7.3's are under the valve cover gaskets). The glow plugs are self grounding and the power supply is a one wire connection from the GPR. You can test the ECM output to the GPR by flicking on the ignition when it is cold and with a volt meter test for 12v at the GPR on the signal wire. This should be present for apprx a minimum of 30 seconds, or more... also, if you do a voltage drop across the supply 12 volts and the output of the gpr (ground side) you should have no more than 1 volt difference. Glow plugs are usually lit for a minimum of 2 seconds a glow plug.... a total of a min of 30 seconds, and often stay lit for up to near two minutes while first running. you can also use an ohm meter and unplug the valve cover wiring harness (That also pwers the glow plugs and test them with a resistance (ohms) test... the pins are

right bank
pin 1 gp1 control
pin 2 gp 3 control
pin 3 gp 5 control
pin 4 gp 7 control

left bank
pin1 gp 2 control
pin2 gp 4 control
pin3 gp 6 control
pin4 gp 8 control

From my understanding, the 6.0l's GPR module also is tied into the ECM to trip a trouble code if there is an issue with the glow plugs themselves. I hope this was of help.
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Old 11-01-2007, 05:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: '03 6.0L Hard to start when cold/cool.

as far as running a thinner oil, that may help it start in colder weather in the sense being the engine oil at colder temperatures becomes syrup like and causes things to stick, but that may just be a temporary fix to avoid the actual problem. In the process you have to consider what else it might do to your bottom end bearings etc causing damage to the engine. They are designed to work with 15w-40. There is a reason the engineers suggest this... Also a thinner oil will not only suffer from viscosity brakedown at a lower temperature, but it may also effect your HPOP which fires the injectors aswell....

just some food for thought.... I would be inclined to look at the GPR myself. Goodluck
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Old 11-01-2007, 05:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: '03 6.0L Hard to start when cold/cool.

ah, didn't see the post in it's entirety above about the lubrication suggestions and realize they are from ford.... sorry about that.
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Old 11-01-2007, 10:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: '03 6.0L Hard to start when cold/cool.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Osconda</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I don't understand how the oil would affect my truck starting in my situation. What I mean is; why does my truck finally start? The truck hasn't warmed up by the 3rd crank and the oil surely hasn't gotten any warmer. Seems like if it was the oil, it would never start till the oil was warm or at least not cold.</div></div>

The 7.3L and 6.0L use injectors which are fire by high pressure oil. So they (and especially the 6.0) are sensitive to oil in all kinds of ways that make no initial sense. They also thrash/compress the living crap out of the oil to pressurize it for the injectors, so cranking the engine a bunch really does have an effect on the oil going to the injectors; it doesn't have to warm up in the normal manner.

...and finally, the 6.0L injector shuttles in their spool valves started developing "stiction" problems as they got worn in, which were made all the worse by thick oil. Ford has had a couple of different software fixes for this, but the latest one really does seem to work: they run current to the spool valves without firing them, in order to heat up the coils, which heat up the oil right there at the shuttle piston, which reduces the stiction. They call it the "inductive heating reflash" around here, but basically whatever is the latest and greatest software update for your truck is what you want.

10W30 or 5W40-synth will help a lot, but the best fix I found was that new flash. I'm hoping this will be the first winter where I have none of those problems, while I keep running 15W40 oil. I got the flash too late this past spring to know for 100% sure it had fixed all the worst cold weather problems, but it sure has fixed all the mildly-cold weather problems!

Duncan
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Old 11-02-2007, 01:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: '03 6.0L Hard to start when cold/cool.

A service truck where I worked had a 6.0 in it, and it had starting problems that were similar to what you describe. It was kept in a shop, and still hard to start. The Ford tech replaced a glow plug module, and it fixed the problem. Im no expert on the 6.0, but know early 6.0s had trouble with thier injectors performing in the cold.
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Old 11-02-2007, 09:40 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: '03 6.0L Hard to start when cold/cool.

This is all great info folks. Thanks for your replys. I have some things I can now go look at.

Sounds like this might fix it: TSB 06-2-13 (WHITE SMOKE, LACKS POWER, EXHAUST ODOR, SURGES, RUNS ROUGH, OR NO START - 6.0L)

One question regarding reflashing the engine controller's program with the above TSB...should I have to pay to have this done at the dealer? It there a particular Technical Bulleting I should refer to?

I've been using a Superchips program so I'll have to use this new Ford program during the cold months. And since I know half of ya'll are already thinking about this; Yes, my stock Ford program also has the starting problem. That was the first thing I checked.
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Old 11-02-2007, 10:57 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: '03 6.0L Hard to start when cold/cool.

The reflash should be covered under the 100K Powerstroke warranty, but if you're past the 36K bumper to bumper, then the charge for it is usually less than the $100 deductible anyway.

In my area the one hour charge was actually *more* than $100 (yikes!) but I had to pay the whole thing anyway because I simply demanded the reflash (which took 30 minutes) rather than letting them keep the truck 3 days to "verify the concern" (drop it off on day one, they fire it up on the cold morning of day two, then reflash it, then fire it up again on the cold morning of day 3 to note that it worked.) If they don't diagnose the problem for themselves, Ford doesn't call it warranty work. The sad part is that I had just 2 months previously paid for the "buzz" reflash which, in addition to being annoying, didn't work all the time anyway. Even as someone whose 6.0L hasn't been a complete disaster, you can see why Ford hasn't made a friend out of me with this truck.

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Old 11-02-2007, 08:53 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: '03 6.0L Hard to start when cold/cool.

Just a quick question there Osconda, are you turning key forward and waiting until the glow plug cycle has completed prior to spinning it over or are you hopping in and cranking?

I don't even think about plugging the truck in until it starts cooling off a bit, 0'F.

Jack
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Old 11-28-2007, 02:28 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: '03 6.0L Hard to start when cold/cool.

Osconda,
Did you get your problem resolved? I have an 03 with 160k. I bought it used with 40k. I put an Edge,AFE, and exhaust on it around 60k. My truck started having the cold weather starting problems last year. It sounds EXACTLy like your problem. If I plug it in for an hour, it starts right up. If it's 40f or colder outside and it sits overnight and I don't plug up the block heater it will run the batteries down before cranking. This has been the only problem that I've had with this truck, I"ve been extremely happy with it overall.

I haven't had any check engine lights, so I'm gonna start troubleshooting on my own before breaking down and taking it to the dealer.

JohnRude

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Old 12-10-2007, 03:59 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: '03 6.0L Hard to start when cold/cool.

Glow plugs are a wear item. You should replace them every 100,000 miles as a set, or sooner in colder climates (or if you drive mostly short hops). 155,000 miles and troubles starting - glow plugs seem obvious to me.
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