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7.3L IDI Diesels (Not Power Strokes) Technical discussion of topics related to vehicles powered by the 7.3 Liter In-Direct Injection Navistar engines.

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Old 10-07-2011, 04:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hard Starting: Bad Glow PLug?

My diesel starts hard. Once running it fires up like a shot. The guy i bought it from knew how to get it going. But even then he had to crank it.

It starts but nearly exhausts the batteries.

I suspect maybe one of the glow plugs is bad. How do you test them. Please be as specific as you can because I am unfamiliar with this engine.

Thanks!
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Go to the auto parts store o'reilly and get urself a haynes diesel repair manual. It will help you out with tons of stuff like this. It's what i did. $20 bucks or so for it.
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I recommend the factory manuals, they will collectively cost you around a hundred bucks, but they're better than any haynes manual.

A quick test for the glow plugs is to disconnect them all and compare their resistance. If any are unlike the others, they are probably shot.
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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what is the outside temp when you are trying to start it? It sounds more like a fuel issue than a glow plug issue, like you hare having to reprime the entire system with fuel each time you start it.

Glow plugs aren't essential for starting, they are just there to aid in starting and help keep down smoke production during start.
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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i had the same problem. i bumped my timing back a few degrees( 1 or 2) it even had a hard time starting at 65-70* now she starts even on our 45-50* mornings.

just one idea.
glow plugs are a good start to.
as well as making sure you dont have a fuel bleed off after you shut it off
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Haynes manual is a good place to get the basics like glow plug testing.
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Haynes manual is a good place to get the basics like glow plug testing.
Agreed. I looked in my factory manuals and saw no mention of glowplugs anywhere. The factory manuals are hard to navigate, but also annoying because they seem to leave out a lot of basic diesel stuff...
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by kneisl99 View Post
My diesel starts hard. Once running it fires up like a shot. The guy i bought it from knew how to get it going. But even then he had to crank it.

It starts but nearly exhausts the batteries.

I suspect maybe one of the glow plugs is bad. !
If it's that hard to start it's likely more than one bad plug. Does the wait to start light stay on for 15 secs? I just changed my gp's... before the wts light came on for maybe 2 seconds... I had a few bad gp's. Now it comes on the full 15secs on a cold morning (50 degrees), and starts without any pedal, right away

It's an easy job to change the gp's, as long as you're careful not to force any out. If none are stuck, it's about an hour job. If you don['t know the history or brand of gp's in the truck i'd just change them all out for good ones (wellmans or beru). I can't believe I waited so long to do mine. Pretty easy repair and made a huge difference.
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'91 F-250 7.3idi XLT Lariat Supercab
Non-Turbo, Bone Stock
E4OD 4x2 4.10 non-posi
6 digit odometer
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still Minty Fresh

Sold my old 90 reg cab @340,000 miles (550,000km)
Still running I'm sure...
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by eddo View Post

Glow plugs aren't essential for starting, they are just there to aid in starting and help keep down smoke production during start.
maybe gp's aren't essential in arizona, but they are up north

unless you like smoking out your neighbors every morning
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E4OD 4x2 4.10 non-posi
6 digit odometer
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still Minty Fresh

Sold my old 90 reg cab @340,000 miles (550,000km)
Still running I'm sure...
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Old 10-08-2011, 04:50 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Agreed. I looked in my factory manuals and saw no mention of glowplugs anywhere. The factory manuals are hard to navigate, but also annoying because they seem to leave out a lot of basic diesel stuff...
EVTM section 19A, Diesel Diagnosis, 7.3L engine has all the relevant information on the glow plug system including a schematic and a pinpoint test procedure. The test procedure for the glow plugs themselves is just to use a test light and the battery to check continuity. You need all THREE manuals to have everything that you need. It's not unusual to have the manual broken up into sections. Nissan doesn't do it, but Subaru and Mercedes both do.
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Old 10-08-2011, 06:56 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Well I was following the owners manual and depressing the gas pedal halfway to the floor. Yesterday I was working on the truck and thought "I got to try and start it again" I FORGOT to push on the pedal.

It started like a shot!
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Old 10-08-2011, 11:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
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EVTM section 19A, Diesel Diagnosis, 7.3L engine has all the relevant information on the glow plug system including a schematic and a pinpoint test procedure. The test procedure for the glow plugs themselves is just to use a test light and the battery to check continuity. You need all THREE manuals to have everything that you need. .
What??? There's a 3rd manual? I have the factory ones, it's a 2 volume set... one for engine, the other for body and electrical. What's the 3rd? Didn't know there was another one....
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'91 F-250 7.3idi XLT Lariat Supercab
Non-Turbo, Bone Stock
E4OD 4x2 4.10 non-posi
6 digit odometer
122,000 miles (197,000km)
still Minty Fresh

Sold my old 90 reg cab @340,000 miles (550,000km)
Still running I'm sure...
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Old 10-09-2011, 06:55 AM   #13 (permalink)
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What??? There's a 3rd manual? I have the factory ones, it's a 2 volume set... one for engine, the other for body and electrical. What's the 3rd? Didn't know there was another one....
Yep, since at least the 70s if not earlier all Fords have three manuals. Engine, Body, and Electrical & Vacuum Troubleshooting Manual (EVTM). Body seems to be most rare and is most expensive. There is also an apparently official supplement on rebuilding the E40D from TechTran in later years (my book is 1992, matches my truck and service manuals.)

What is really annoying is that the body book has a section labeled power distribution but it doesn't cover fuse locations at all and only one of two blocks is even covered (the one in the truck.)

IMO Nissan has the best manuals in the industry, even in 1989 the manual is vastly more legible than my 1992 Ford books, the diagrams are superior both in what projection they chose (i.e. you will get a view of a part from an angle at which you might actually see it) and in the quality of the diagrams, which are produced AT SIZE for EACH ILLUSTRATION instead of being scaled to fit the book from whatever arbitrarily sized piece of paper it was originally drawn on. Ford is somewhere down near the bottom with lousy manuals with lousy tables of contents, bad diagrams, et cetera. Mercedes is even worse since instead of diagrams they have bad halftone pictures, so don't feel bad Mercedes also uses multiple books, and the whole set costs maybe $200 or more. Subaru is just as bad and the books cost even more because they're relatively rare, they have the lowest production of anyone who sells cars in the US.
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Old 10-09-2011, 12:54 PM   #14 (permalink)
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hard start as well

i have been having the same problem lately. i go to start and it cranks and cranks and puts out a lot of white smoke. i just replaced all vthe glow plugs last winter so i dont know if it could be them. i have a brand new ip and all new injectors any ideas on what else it could be? any help would be grately appreciated. thanks.
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Old 10-09-2011, 03:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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quick-test the glow plugs by disconnecting their harness from them and connecting a test light between the positive battery terminal and the glow plug end terminal, all should light up. if it's putting out smoke it's getting fuel so glow is still the likely culprit.
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