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99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke Engine and Drivetrain Discussion of the 99 & up 7.3L Power Stroke diesel engine and drivetrain in the 1999-Up Super Duty trucks 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 7.3L Power Stroke engine.

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Old 03-09-2011, 10:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Stalled - Won't Start

'02 F-250 7.3L 113K miles

Got about 3 blocks from the house this morning and the truck started cutting out and died. I was stopped a at a stop sign, and when I took off is when it started cutting out and then died. It will crank but will not start up. After it first happened, it acted like it wanted to start and I had some white smoke coming out of the tailpipe. I am wondering if maybe I have condensation or water in the fuel?? Any ideas what might be wrong. If I can get it to the auto parts store, will they be able to scan it for me since I do not have a way to do that?? Thanks for any help!
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You local parts stores scanner won't be able to pull codes. Do you have a SES light on?

Do a couple of quick tests. Make sure you have a wait to start light. Open your fuel drain valve (on the back side of the fuel filter housing) and cycle the key. Do you get a healthy stream of fuel? Try pulling the ICP sensor harness (front inner aspect of driver's side head - three wire harness) and try cranking it again. Check your engine oil level. What is your current fuel level? If it is 1/4 tank - you may have plugged in tank screens.

Report back what you find and we'll try to help from there.
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Old 03-09-2011, 11:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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RT.. Thanks. I will check it all out. This is what I know right now. The fuel level is low (a little less than 1/4 tank) but it shows I still had 40miles until empty (usually still plenty of fuel left under normal circumstances). There were no lights showing on the dash, other than the gas light that just came on this morning. I just checked the oil about 2weeks ago and all was good, unless something has happend in the meantime.

A couple of things I noticed while trying to crank it. While waiting for the "wait to start light" to go off, my oil pressure guage does not move until I start to crank. I can't remember if this is normal or not. After turning my key off, I can hear a humming noise for about 10seconds that I assume is my fuel pump cycling???

Anywhere I can have it scanned??
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The Ford dealer or any reputable diesel mechanic can scan for codes - but if you dont have the SES light on - its a crap shoot whether there will be anything there.

The 1/4 tank and below phenomenon is pretty common. The tank screens will get clogged, and the pump will suck through the bypass which is right at a quarter tank. If you have less fuel than that, it sucks air.

Before you go spending any money, I'd dump 5-10 gallons of fuel in to see if that's your issue. If it fixes it, you need to consider the Hutch modification:

Welcome to guzzle's In-tank Hutch Mod Web Page
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I am definitely going to put some fuel in it first. Is there a way to check and clear the tank screens. Over the past 8 years I have ran this truck WAY lower than this on fuel and never experienced a problem.
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Old 03-09-2011, 02:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree with RT

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The 1/4 tank and below phenomenon is pretty common. The tank screens will get clogged, and the pump will suck through the bypass which is right at a quarter tank. If you have less fuel than that, it sucks air.

Before you go spending any money, I'd dump 5-10 gallons of fuel in to see if that's your issue. If it fixes it, you need to consider the Hutch modification:

Welcome to guzzle's In-tank Hutch Mod Web Page
This happened to me a couple of weeks ago. Driving along the engine starts missing and finally quits. Tries to restart but then nothing. I dumped a couple of gallons of fuel in the tank and after a rough start it ran and is still running great. For now I'm keeping the tank above the 1/4 mark. Once its warmer I'll drop the tank and do the Hutch and Harpoon mods.

I always ran the tank to 550 miles or more which is about 1/8 tank on my gauge and a 26 gallon fill. When mine died the tank had 517 miles on it and was showing 1/8 full. It could be coincidental that it happened to you at a light.
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Old 03-09-2011, 02:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I am definitely going to put some fuel in it first. Is there a way to check and clear the tank screens. Over the past 8 years I have ran this truck WAY lower than this on fuel and never experienced a problem.
When a problem develops, it always has to start some time. Today is your day. The only way to check them for sure is to either drop the tank - or if you have a couple of buddies that will help - lift the bed up and off. I believe that is the easiest way to do it. That way, you don't have to worry about hoses kinking or wires not getting attached right.

A cheesy way to test is to use compressed air to back blow through the fuel line (at the pump connection) - this will blow some of the crap out of the screens - however, it just goes into the fuel where it will clog the screens up again.
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Just an update that I got it running again. I put some fuel in it and topped off the oil. Ran fine for a few days... Then....

sigh... my water/fuel sensor light came on. I drained the bowl yesterday and put a new fuel filter on it. Turned the truck on and drained some more out of the bowl. The sensor did not go off so I thought maybe it needed to run for a little while. Drove it about 3 miles back home and parked it. Got up this morning and got about 1/2mile down the road and I lost power and it started sputtering. Got to a safe place off the road and it died. Will not crank back up. Not sure if there is more water in the fuel or not. It has about 1/4 tank of diesel in it right now. Any ideas??
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Sounds like you need to drop that tank and clean out that screen. Better yet, eliminate it with the Hutch mod.
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I am afraid you might be right.. But, does that explain the sensor light??
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:19 PM   #11 (permalink)
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No, it doesn't explain the light. Have you tried draining more fuel? I had to drain the separator on my dad's truck daily for about a month straight to get the light to stay out. But he will leave the cap off his transfer tank and still pump right into his truck's tank.
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:33 PM   #12 (permalink)
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No. I have not tried draining it today. I did not have time this morning. My plan is to add some more fuel and drain it again. Then see if it will crank back up. Not sure what else to do unless anyone else has any thoughts?? I should have drained the bowl plenty last night..
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Old 03-15-2011, 06:34 PM   #13 (permalink)
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No. I have not tried draining it today. I did not have time this morning. My plan is to add some more fuel and drain it again. Then see if it will crank back up. Not sure what else to do unless anyone else has any thoughts?? I should have drained the bowl plenty last night..
Is there actually water in it? Try collecting it next time in a glass jar. Water sinks to the bottom of the tank and is quickly pulled up the fuel pump and put in the bowl. If there is a lot, it will push it back to the tank, but you would have stalled already. I would also get used to keeping more than 1/4 tank. Kinda stinks, but it's nothing that many of us have not already had to deal with.
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Old 03-16-2011, 08:10 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I will try to collect it and take a look at it next time. It did appear to have some water in it, but not sure how much. I went and drained the bowl twice after work yesterday. Put another 5gallons of diesel in it and she cranked right up! Ran rough for a few minutes then leveled out and purrs like a kitten. However, the water/fuel sensor light is still on???? Looks like I might need to look at the Hutch mod again. Hope it is a fairly easy one. For now, I will def keep it topped off above 1/4 tank. Any idea about the sensor light, unless there is still water in the fuel I guess???
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Old 03-16-2011, 08:59 AM   #15 (permalink)
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The WIF sensor is not a very high tech piece. Crud with rusty scale in it will be conductive enough for the light to be turned on. I'm betting if you remove filter and get up where you can look down in filter housing with a light, you will a dark hole instead of an aluminum housing with heater plate.
You may be able to get enough crud out of the bottom with moderate air pressure blow nozzle with it in truck but best way is to remove the filter housing and clean it thoroughly and replace the drain fitting cover and handle assembly.
Sounds like there is some crud that is hanging out in your tank and it just reached a level where it is no longer staying put.
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