1988 F350 Diesel..not gettin enough power to start? - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
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Old 09-21-2010, 09:40 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question 1988 F350 Diesel..not gettin enough power to start?

Hello all,
I bought a 1988 F350 Diesel.
This is my first Ford....Ever!!

I bought the truck an drove it home. The next morning I left the house an got on the freeway, drove about 3 miles an truck stopped. It acted like it was running out of gas. I got it towed off the freeway.
Now.....I knew nothing of Ford engines, let alone a Ford Diesel engine. So you know this got fun....lol
The truck wouldn't start at all. I changed the Fuel filter an put some gas in the gas tank. It took a few minutes but it started up an I drove it home.
The next day I got in the truck to go find a rear fender(dually), it stopped on me a mile from my house. I just knew it couldn't be the gas cause i put some in. Well I found out that out of the 2 tanks on the truck, only 1 worked.
I fixed the tank that wasn't hooked up(leak), fuel lines were ok. I replaced the fuel selecter valve, primer pump(arm was broke on it, they had a elec. fuel pump on truck), voltage regulator, solenoid, all the glow plugs, had the starter checked out an got 2 brand new batteries.
"Truck won't start"
Something is stopping me from getting all the power from the batteries to start. The battery gauge readz about 9, just before the red.
I'm assuming I'm grounded some where because the fuel gauge works sometimes,

Any help would be Deeply Appreciated!!!
Gauge
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Old 09-21-2010, 10:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to The Diesel Stop

First off, You didn't put gas in it did you? I am sure you meant diesel fuel.
There is a known problem of the pick up tubes in the tank breaking off and the engine running out of fuel at about 1/4 tank. Sounds like you may hae experienced that.

With everything you replaced, are you sure that you connected all the wires in the same spot they came off? When you say the gauge reads about 9 Volts, does it jump up after about 12-15 seconds?

The factory gauges in these trucks are a joke. Let me explain what happens when you turn the key to start it. Wait To Start light comes on for about 12-15 seconds and the volt meter is on the lower side. Then the WTS light goes off and the gauge jumps to the higher side and bounces back and forth. You START the truck and the bouncing continues for up to a minute.

Glow plugs will heat for 12-15 seconds and they draw a bit of current. Then the Controller will "cycle" the GP's for up to two minutes. During this time the gauge will reflect the initial draw and cycling. If that's not happening, then I would start looking at the GP wiring. The fuel gauge issue is another problem we can deal with after we get the truck up and running!!
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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When you say "Truck Wont Start," what exactly happens when you try to start it? Is this an issue of the engine not turning over, or an issue of it turning over but not firing?

Like chuckster said, its normal for the volt meter to go down to 9 volts when all the glow plugs are heating up, but the engine will still turn over normally. Does is click rapidly? Does nothing happen at all?
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Old 09-22-2010, 05:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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When you say "Truck Wont Start," what exactly happens when you try to start it? Is this an issue of the engine not turning over, or an issue of it turning over but not firing?

Like chuckster said, its normal for the volt meter to go down to 9 volts when all the glow plugs are heating up, but the engine will still turn over normally. Does is click rapidly? Does nothing happen at all?

Not to butt in but my truck everyonce and a while it will click rapidly what does this mean?
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Old 09-22-2010, 07:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If the Glow Plug system is operating like it should, When you turn the key on to start the engine the WTS light will illuminate while the GP's are energized. Depending on the temp of the engine, the controller will cycle the GP's for up to two additional minutes. This cycling can often be heard as a clicking noise.

First start in the morning, turn the key on and watch the WTS light and the volt meter. Once the light goes out see if the volt meter doesn't jump back and forth in time with a clicking noise.
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ATS Turbo upgrades: 3" DP with 3" exhaust Magnaflow XL muffler: Pictures Here
2012 Copper Canyon 273 FWRET w/2 slides, Air Lift 5000 bags
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Hypermax Cowl induction, K&N air filter, flex-a-lite 26K trans cooler with fan,Tekonsha prodigy
Train Horns: Pictures here

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Old 09-23-2010, 03:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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@Chuckster57
Lol...sry bout that. Yes I did mean Diesel fuel an not Gas.
I did replace the pick up line in the rear tank(though didn't need too). I'm getting fuel from both tanks with no problems.
Yes, I replaced all wires where I got them from.
The fuel gauge I have to knock on the plastic in order for it to move. I did notice it go up a notch afterwards.
Now...I will check around on the GP wiring. I don NOT hear any clicking after the key is on. It clicks once an that is the IP. Once the GP's heat I hear nothing afterwards.
I sat there an left the key on just to see.

@Fagbus
The engine turns over, but it's not turning fast enough. It seems sluggish as if the batteries are low.
These are 2 brand new batteries. I went an had them charged one time an that didn't help.
I even connected my cadillac to it to give alil extra and it still was at 9 an sluggish as if not enough juice.
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Old 09-23-2010, 03:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Sooo sry FlagBus!!!!
I noticed the mistake I made on your name...I do APOLOGIZE!!!!!
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Old 09-23-2010, 04:09 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gauge View Post
I noticed the mistake I made on your name...I do APOLOGIZE!!!!!
This is one of those times when editing a post is OK
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Old 09-23-2010, 04:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I wonder if your GP controller isn't sticking "on" and drawing all the current. Having the batteries charged is good, but you need to verify that the AMPS are there. Load test them, and look for the GPC test on the IDI forum. I will look as soon as I get a chance and post a link.
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ATS Turbo upgrades: 3" DP with 3" exhaust Magnaflow XL muffler: Pictures Here
2012 Copper Canyon 273 FWRET w/2 slides, Air Lift 5000 bags
Pillar pod: Autometer C2 Series gauges: pyro,trans, boost, water, oil pressure
Hypermax Cowl induction, K&N air filter, flex-a-lite 26K trans cooler with fan,Tekonsha prodigy
Train Horns: Pictures here

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Old 09-23-2010, 09:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Sounds like time to check voltage drop across the battery cables, from B+ to relay, across relay, then at the starter. If you see less than 10V you have a problem. You can also use an inductive ammeter, as a rough estimate if you're seeing much over 350-400A being drawn while cranking the positive cable or starter is toast.
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Old 09-24-2010, 05:53 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Of course, having too much resistance will reduce the current flow, since E=IR. So if R goes up then I falls. Or in other words, unnaturally high OR low current indicates a fault
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1997 Audi A8 Quattro 225k Warm/Cold packages
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Old 09-24-2010, 08:12 AM   #12 (permalink)
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That's true, though I've never personally seen low current come from good batteries. It's always been either high current & 9ish volts from good batteries due to excessive resistance, or a few seconds of normal cranking then nothing as voltage from the bad batteries drops too low to continue. That's where my (currently broken, no pun intended) 500A carbon pile load tester comes in handy.
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Check my lists of common part numbers in my photos! Updated often!

1991 F350 Lariat XLT, 7.3l, 5-speed, crew cab, SRW, 3.55, 2WD.

1990 Jeep Wrangler Sahara, in the process of a major overhaul/upgrade. OM617 on the horizon! Front & rear Dana 44s from a Wagoneer till I get some 1-ton axles built & narrowed, and eventually a front shackle reversal. Diesel YJ, bay-BEE, and not a cookie-cutter 4BT conversion!
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Old 09-25-2010, 02:18 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Did you try plugging in the block heater? When my glow plugs were bad, I would have to crank it several times before it would start cold, even on a warm summer day. If I plugged the block heater in an hour before I tried to start it, it would fire right up. Eventually I replaced the glow plugs, that made a huge difference also.
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:46 AM   #14 (permalink)
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If you need the block heater to start in any but the coldest temps then something is wrong.
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1982 MBZ 300SD W126 California model w/Sunroof, no EGR
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Old 09-25-2010, 09:20 AM   #15 (permalink)
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but just not firing isn't his problem, so heat or gp's shouldn't be the issue. if its a sluggisgh turn over it should be batteries, wires, or the starter/starter solenoid.
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