For those of you that followed this thread and helped me work thru the less expensive options available I salute you!
I found this in a forum and not sure if it was this one but it explains all of the seemingly crazy symptoms I was seeing. This is a mechanical issue so no codes would be present. Read and enjoy!
Put my own injectors in for 3k less than the dealer quoted.
Powerstroke Injector Failure
Vehicles Effected: 1994‐2003 E and F series with 7.3L PowerStroke Engine
: Effected vehicles will experience long cranking or no start during
start up after an extended cold snap. Once started the engine may
run rough for several minutes and poor engine performance will be
observed until engine oil temperature reaches operating
temperature. During the above conditions white smoke may be observed from the exhaust tailpipe.
: Vehicles start to experience theses symptoms around half of the
B50 (see Appendix A) rating of the engine 260,000km (160,000miles) or equivalent hours of operation. Poor vehicle maintenance will shorten the
above mileage. The cause for this failure is wear of the lower poppet valve seat in the injector. This in turn lowers the position of the valve in the injector. The top of the poppet valve is attached to the armature plate with an armature screw. The armature is acted on by the solenoid to control oil movement into the injector.
Lower Poppet Valve Seat
In a new injector clearance between the armature plate and adapter housing of the injector is 0.004” Poppet valve wear will reduce this clearance to zero over time.
Armature Plate Clearance
: Two issues will arise from this concern. The first is with a reduced clearance high viscosity oil will begin to cause a suction effect
between the armature and adapter housing. This suction is what causes inoperative injectors at start up. Performing a “buzz test” will isolate these injectors when cold by listening for a quiet or muted injector. No fault will be recorded in the scanner as this is an electrical test and the failure is mechanical. As engine oil heats up the viscosity lowers and suction acting on the armature is reduced and the injector begins to operate normally.
The second issue sees the armature screw itself break and cause the injector to be completely inoperative.
: The obvious repair is injector replacement but it is recommended to follow all diagnostic procedures before coming to this conclusion.
It has become popular in the diesel engine business to describe engine durability in terms of "Bx life". This is usually described as B10 life; the time, in miles or hours of operation, that 10% of the units in service will require major repair. The remaining 90% will go farther. (Navistar's definition of major repair to an engine is when the repair requires removal of the cylinder head and/or the oil pan.) Other Bx numbers can be used, the next most popular being B50 life, where 50% of the engines will have required repair. This can be looked upon as "average" life to overhaul.
T444E 200,000 350,000