04 6.0 hard start in cold temps? - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
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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post #1 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-15-2009, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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04 6.0 hard start in cold temps?

Hi everyone my 6.0 has 83,000 miles on it, and is all stock. Recently if the truck sits for awhile or overnight in cold temps here is what happens. I turn the key and wait for the glow plug light to go out. Sometimes I wait a little extra after the light has gone out on the dash. The truck will crank, and crank but will not start. Usually if I turn the kay back off and cycle the glow plugs again it will start? Does this sound like an issue with the glow plugs? I think the batteries (original) are still okay. It cranks but does not start? Thank you.

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post #2 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-15-2009, 11:35 PM
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I have the same issue and truck as a matter of fact ('04 f250 6.0). Mine also sits overnight in the cold and well... the next morning I end up having to crank mine at least 4 times for about 8 seconds before it starts and blows its white smoke. If the battery charge is ok you can rule that out but they do lose power in the cold. If it takes only 2 cranks like you said, thats normal. As for me, it takes 4 and glow plugs do last a very long time. Also, try plugging in your block heater overnight, it helped me out

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post #3 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-16-2009, 01:07 AM
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You did not mention the what ambient temperatures you are dealing with. Batteries lose a significant amount of power in colder temps. Here's a chart from Schumacher:

At 0F, you battery is only putting out 40% of its available current at 80F.

That goes for a brand new battery or a four year old on its last legs. Get a hydrometer as test your batteries. BE SURE TO ADJUST THE READINGS FOR TEMPERATURE toan accurate test.

That said, I have a 2005 F250 with 33,500 miles on its original OEM batteries. I park the truck in an insulated garage heated to 42F during winter. If my truck is at home, it is ALWAYS in the garage ALWAYS hooked up to a Deltran Battery Tender. My batteries test as new with a hydrometer and a load-tester.

A friend from Palmdale, CA is visiting me here in Cody, WY. He has a 2005 F250 with 33,300 miles. His truck is always parked outside in Palmdale (temps from 28F to 112F) and is never hooked up to a Battery Tender. Here in cody, he parks in my driveway.

It got down to -5F for a couple of nights and he couldn't start his truck. We took the batteries out and hooked them up to a Vector battery charger (now Black & Decker). This particular unit has a manual desulfate mode. We desulfated each battery for 48 hours and brought them back to life. If he's lucky, he'll may get 6 months extra life out of his batteries.

For now his truck fires up like new sitting outside at 0F. He's also hooking up a battery maintainer every night.

You probably need new batteries. Invest in a Deltran Battery Tender and USE IT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. Also, do not use accessories such as the radio, interior lights, a power inverter for your laptop, etc. with out the engine running at up idle.


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post #4 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-16-2009, 10:51 AM
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There are a couple things you could be facing. Have you owned the truck since new, or did you recently buy it?

The reason I ask is if you have always owned it, and it just started doing this, the FICM (Fuel Injection Control module) is likely bad.

If you just bought it, the FICM might still be bad, but it could also just need the newer program flashed on it.

The new program was designed to assist in cold temp startups. Here is how it was explained to me:

The way the injectors operate, is this. There is a very small cylinder that slides horizontally from side to side that opens and closes the injector. on each end of this, there is a 48v electrical coil. Initially, Ford did not use this coil for anything other than the intended purpose... Firing the injector.

The 6.0 had numerous problems with cold start, so Ford took a look at this, and realized the issue (partly) was due to the cold, thick, oil, not letting the injector open/close correctly, meaning bad starts/ poor running until up to temp. They decided that the coils use to open/close the injector, could also be used to pre-heat the oil in the injector. Out came the Inductive heat flash. Now, this is where it gets nice... The original inductive heat flash, was pulling approx. 30Amps through the FICM, to preheat the injectors. The FICM was NOT designed to handle this load, and after time, the load was causing FICMs to fail.

Ford has since, changed to a more mild version of the inductive heat flash, which is supposed to not kill the FICM (not as much current)

So, if you have never been flashed, get the new flash and I bet you will be ok. If you HAVE been flashed, and the problem only recently started, check you FICM voltage. There is a pretty good post from Dr.Quad on how to do this (and how to repair it if it is bad) Do a search for "Fix your FICM" to find his thread.

Good luck!!!!

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post #5 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-16-2009, 04:24 PM
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Here is my most recent post on the FICM check/repair.
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post #6 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-19-2009, 05:50 PM
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my '06 was doing this a few weeks ago, 69,000 miles just picked it up from the dealer with a new FICM (Fuel Injection Control module) installed,,,hope this did the trick ! : )

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post #7 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-20-2009, 09:57 PM Thread Starter
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Hi everyone, well the other morning I went to start my truck and it cranked a few times very slowly and that was it! Unfortunately I think this was a good thing, it narrowed down my hard starting problem. I am no diesel mechanic, and this is my first diesel truck. But I believe the glow plugs were not receiving enough voltage to heat up properly? I replaced both batteries and it fires rite up! 2004 86,000 miles original batteries from new.

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post #8 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-20-2009, 10:43 PM
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Thought I had bad batteries a few days ago, turned out the charge wire coming back from the alt. was rusty. I was getting voltage on the meter but as it turned out not much amperage. Cleaned it up an all is good.

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post #9 of 35 (permalink) Old 12-28-2009, 09:28 PM
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6.0 hibernating

My 2005 F-350 Dually is a lot like me, I don't want to get out of a warm bed on a cold day. It has been starting fine in Houston TX, but now I am in Northern TN and it takes awhile to "git er done". It will crank, try to start and then no fire. Lots of black and white smoke coming out when it fires.

I was thinking it was the glow plugs dropping out, one or two of 'em. The lights dim when the glow plug indicator goes on and gets a little brighter when it goes off. New batteries. If I crank it for about 15 minutes: Try it till it fires for a few seconds and then turn it off and run the glow plugs again. Eventually, it will keep running and it will run fine (once it warms up). While it is cold, it has hardly any power and runs pretty rough. (like me till I've had some hot coffee).

Somebody wrote about flashing the FICU. Somebody wrote about the GPCU. I have 160K on this truck without any starting problems (except when the batteries went out). Last year`I was in Ohio in the winter and it had no problems, none till now. So whatever it is, it just happened.

Anybody care to comment?
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post #10 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 02:53 PM
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Well, It wouldn't start at all, so I got a "salamander" forced air heater and turned it on pointing under the truck for about 20 minutes. Went out and it started up right away and kept running. Maybe it's the GPRM. I wish I had a pin-out of it. Seems it's a solid state module that isn't cheap. It would be nice to test it before plunking down the dough to replace it only to find it's something else.
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 04:14 PM
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Pointing that salamander into the air intake of the front end is like the grid heaters on Dodge/Cummins. Instead of the salamander, if you point a hair dryer into the intake it will fire right up. Those GPCM's are $105.
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 01-01-2010, 05:09 PM
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i have also ben told if you do not buy a ford oil filter it is not made right and will make your truck hard to start. havent heard a guarentee on this theary but have heard its a problem from many people.
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-30-2010, 08:08 PM
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it sounds like glow plugs. once the light goes out the plugs shut off, so try cycling the plugs twice in a row then start. it should work.
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 06-30-2010, 09:38 PM
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you should probably check the glow plugs you need to ohm them out i think the spec is somewhere between 2 and 5 ohms if they are much higher than that they are bad. over time they get higher resistance and become less efficient

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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 07-02-2010, 11:55 AM
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Well, I had to get another vehicle to use as the ol' diesel was not starting in a reasonable amount of time.
When I got time and money, I did the following things:
1. Replaced the fuel filters.
2. Replaced the glow plugs.
3. Replaced ALL of the injectors.
4. Changed the oil and put in new filter.

I charged the batteries and tried to start it. It took a lot of cranking and then recharging (good) batteries. Finally, after hours of trying and charging, then, after all the cranking and rumbling, coughing and sputtering (while it was purging the air out of the fuel lines), it began to run normally.
I shut it off and when out to start it the next morning (about 72F) It took a lot of cranking before it would run!
I say that because it would often start and run smoothly for a few seconds and then shut off like I turned it off! It was the same as before the air was purged and before I did all those items above. After a long time, and a lot of cranking, and a lot of running for a few seconds then cutting off, it finally started running (under protest). I figured I had more air that didn't get purged, but after awhile it began to run normally and it settled down. I drove it for 2 hours on the interstate and up and down hills. If I stopped anywhere, it started back up right away.
Of course this morning it is the same old thing. I checked for codes but found none.
The only plus side to this is that the injectors needed replaced. It runs much smoother and with more power than ever (when it starts).

It looks like a trip to the dealer and I just don't have the $$$ to go through this.

Anybody got any ideas? Anyone? Anyone? Bueler?
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