During the initial start after the truck's been sitting for 6+ hours, turn the key and wait for the glow plug indicator to clear, the engine is sluggish to turn over, similar to having near dead batteries, but after a short cranking period it fire's only to cough and stall. This problem persists after about 2 or 3 attempts and then finally it cranks up and starts.
I bought the truck used back in 2007 and can only assume that the original batteries are still in the vehicle, however I've had the tested prior to this season's changing and they still had sufficient power to get me through the winter.
I'm thinking my problem is possibly having a few bad/dead glow plugs ? If this is the case, how are these checked to determine which need to be replaced ? It's been a great truck since I've owned it, I do the regular maintenance on it myself, and it's got just over 63k on it for mileage.
I had a similar problem with my '03 6.0 a year or two ago. When I came out of work and tried to start the engine cold it took me about 3 tries. Then, once it did start, it ran like TOTAL GARBAGE - until it warmed up. Once it reached operating temp, it ran great. How does yours run once it does start?
Turned out to be a couple of bad injectors... a fairly expensive fix, but it did cure the problem.
From what I've read, researched, and personally experienced, these 6.0L engines really need to be plugged in when the ambient temp is below 20*, maybe 25*. I'm no diesel engineer, but when you think about what it takes to turn over and start a big heavy engine in freezing weather with no spark, well it's kinda asking a lot. I take a 100' ext. cord to work with me and plug it in at work too if it's really cold. Kinda cheap insurance in my opinion.
The glow plugs obviously help, but they can only warm the chamber, the rest of the engine is still cold as hell... wait... that doesn't make sense does it...
Anyway, find a friend or a good dealer you can trust (I'm still looking...) and I hope you get it straightened out without having to pay too much.