Colorado high altitude starting issues - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
Power Strokes 1994-1997 General Technical discussion of topics related to vehicles powered by the Power Stroke engine in 1994 through 1997 models.

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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Colorado high altitude starting issues

This was originally posted by skibrain in 2008,The last reply on this topic was in 2008. Unless I've missed something, there wasn't any resolution to this symptom or problem ? I was in Colorado last fall hunting at 11500 ft and my 97 7.3 was doing exactly as mentioned. It would help if you put generator to block heater for a half hour or so. I'm planning on going back this fall towing a camper this time.....DON'T want any problems. Has there been any resolution ???
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 03:25 PM
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Um, a link to that thread would help, so we all don't have to go hunting for it individually....

But the first thing I would check is the BARO sensor.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 04:35 PM
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^^^^^^^^^^^^What he said^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


The barometer sensor along with the glow plugs and relay.

If plugging it into a generator for a while I would suspect the glow plug system which includes the barometer sensor.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-03-2017, 07:52 PM
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Here is the aforementioned thread: High altitude starting problem

Cheers!

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 08:04 AM Thread Starter
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I'm sorry I didn't see how to do the link....sooo I'll use my senior citizen card for that . Why doesn't the check engine light come on if there's a failure in starting system ?. Does anyone have a flowchart as to what happens in the starting sequence? I called the local Ford dealership in Glenwood springs and of course he told me altitude wouldn't affect it starting which I didn't believe. At home 600ft above sea level starts down to 28 degrees without plugging in block heater. Thanks for the idea of barometer switch, any other thoughts ?
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 09:27 AM
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When you turn the key on the PCM gets it's information from the EOT (engine oil temperature) and the barometric sensor to send a ground to the glow plug relay which will turn it on. Then the PCM also controls the delay as to when to remove the ground to turn them off.

Unless you have a California model you won't get a CEL.

Even if where you live at 6000' you should be able to start your truck well below zero with just the glow plugs. I live at 6500' and never have had to plug in my truck to get it stated. It will argue with me when it gets below a -20 but it will start. Even at a 11,000' in the winter after sitting for a extended time at below zero I have no problems

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-04-2017, 11:20 AM
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^^^ Right; the PCM doesn't know the difference between an inaccurate BARO reading and an accurate one, if it's within some "sane" range. It doesn't know, for example, that you're in Colorado, and the BARO should read lower than here in Wisconsin.

For the link in Patrick's thread, just put your mouse over the underlined words in blue and click. If the link doesn't open, look at the tabs at the top of your browser. You might see a new one next to the one you're on. Click on that tab and it will probably be Patrick's link.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 07:28 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Bugman. Is this the only time barometric switch is used ? I've noticed also more black vapor since being back home. I've used the "diesel injector cleaner" ever so often.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-05-2017, 11:43 AM
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The PCM monitors BARO constantly, and uses it (among many other factors, of course) to adjust injection timing.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-06-2017, 07:59 AM Thread Starter
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Ok Thanks I'll check all this out.
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-07-2017, 11:47 PM
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The original thread from 2008 has some major flaws, like the altitude in Morrison, CO is 8600ft or whatever, and the truck will not start, but starts fine in Denver at 5280ft. Bullony, Morrison is 10 miles west of Denver and 5600ft elevation. If it starts in Denver, it will start in Morrison exactly the same given the same temperature. I don't believe altitude matters much to a diesel engine, as they don't rely on air/fuel mix. If it starts at sea level, it will start at 10,000ft unless the temperature is really low, then the glow plug system needs work if cold weather starts are a problem regardless of what altitude.

Fred 1997 Queens, NY
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 01:00 AM
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Elevation (not altitude; these trucks don't fly....) must "matter" to these engines; otherwise the truck would not have a BARO sensor.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 10:25 PM
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The baro sensor is mostly to control smoke levels. It will cut down the amount of fuel injected at higher load conditions at high altitude to keep smoke and high exhaust temps from a possibility. It also adds time to the glow plugs at high altitude to help control smoke while starting. I can't imagine it would cause a high altitude startup problem. Remember how a diesel works, and that is you want all the air you can get, and adding fuel increases power up to the point more added fuel no longer has enough air to burn, then smoke and high exhaust temps begin. So the baro sensor is one way to avoid this, an emissions thing, not a startup thing. Even if it does go bad the truck reverts to MAP reading to do the same basic function, and it both sensors failed it goes to some preset level that still functions fine. No sensors on the old IDI 7.3 and guess what? It didn't need any, and we don't either except to satisfy the emissions.

Fred 1997 Queens, NY
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 01:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freddyfender1999.999 View Post
No sensors on the old IDI 7.3 and guess what? It didn't need any, and we don't either except to satisfy the emissions.
I'd love to see how you'd run a PSD without a CPS.....
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 02-11-2017, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freddyfender1999.999 View Post
No sensors on the old IDI 7.3 and guess what? It didn't need any, and we don't either except to satisfy the emissions.

You're aware that the PSD isn't a mechanically injected engine, right? The PSD needs several sensors to run.
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