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Old 12-24-2011, 07:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Truck won't start After using block heater???

Ok guys, this was the weirdest thing:

First time ever actually using the block heater today. Its been down to 15 degrees or so and has started just fine every time but I figured with the good weather I'd see if the block heater actually worked and plugged it in, a few hours later I go to start it

Walk outside and unplug, let the glowplugs cycle 2 or 3 times like I always do, Then when I turn the key to start I get nothing! No clicks or lights or anything just the spring-like resistance in the ignition. I tried this 3 more times and still got nothing.

After that I wait for a minute and try again, this time a few lights flash and the Water In Fuel light flashes in time with the 3 or so (totally guessing) cylinders that are turning over. Its mostly shaking at this point, certainly far from running, shaking like the last couple revs before I turn it off after a drive.

After this I'm frustrated and totally confused and get out my multimeter and open the hood. 12.65 volts on my new (yesterday) batteries... not a power problem. Then because I've never used a block heater before I start touching things, absolutely everything is warm, the fuel filter, heads, alternator, Everything is warm (guessing 80 degree???)

Anyways I get back in the truck for one last try before I quit and it starts before I can let off the key, high idle working and everything. I check voltage and its running at 13.3 or so and everything is working as good as can be.

Sorry for the long background by why would my truck not even hint at turning over until several minutes after it's unplugged then start like its the middle of July?

Thanks in advance guys and Merry Christmas!
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Chech your block heater for leakage to frame.while it may be working it could be leaking AC voltage into a DC circuit. My bobcat was hot but same thing I found the block heater was shorted partialy, changed it out never had another issue.
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Old 12-27-2011, 12:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Did that happen even after it was unplugged? I first tried to start mine after I unplugged it and the above stuff happened.

I was talking to a guy at work who although didn't know specifics about the IDI said that some of his older trucks had a relay wired in so that when the block heater was on the kill switch was engaged. Do our trucks have anything like this that could cause the problem
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Old 12-27-2011, 01:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Block Heater

Just for your added information, my factory installed block heater works and is NOT connected in any way to the trucks wiring. It has its own three wire cord with plugs on both ends. One end plugs into the heater on the side of the block; the other is the standard 3 wire plug at the front bumper.

If your block heater has leakage to the block from an element failure, pinhole or erosion in the cromalox heater itself then you would definitely trip a GFI if you connect it to an outside circuit protected by a Ground Fault Interrupter. BE SURE YOU ARE USING THREE WIRE extension cord to connect it.

Just a little extra safety note, if any of you guys connect the block heater and do not use a grounded three wire cord connected to a grounded outlet or GFI, you risk electrocution or at least a nasty shock if in fact your block heater does develop and electrical leak. If the block heater shorts to the block, your entire truck will be sitting there on rubber insulators and energized to 120 volts AC. Then here you come along or someone to touch the vehicle body and something grounded or leaky shoe soles and zap. SO NEVER CONNECT THE BLOCK HEATER USING AN UNGROUNDED CORD OR PLUG!
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Old 12-27-2011, 04:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If anyone is feeling froggy you can get a rainproof GFCI plug on eBay for about $20, and you can use any extension cord, cut off the existing plug, and slap that sucker on there with a screwdriver. You won't get waterproofing with the stock cord, but it's easy enough to splice on a real cord. And then there's shore power connectors, e.g.
http://www.amazon.com/Conntek-125-Volt-5-15P-Straight-Flanged/dp/B002JXFD08 http://www.amazon.com/Conntek-125-Volt-5-15P-Straight-Flanged/dp/B002JXFD08

still looking for a stainless shore power connector that isn't a jillion dollars...
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Old 12-27-2011, 11:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djlloyd View Post
Just for your added information, my factory installed block heater works and is NOT connected in any way to the trucks wiring. It has its own three wire cord with plugs on both ends. One end plugs into the heater on the side of the block; the other is the standard 3 wire plug at the front bumper.


I didn't say it was wired into the harness.

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Originally Posted by djlloyd View Post
If your block heater has leakage to the block from an element failure, pinhole or erosion in the cromalox heater itself then you would definitely trip a GFI if you connect it to an outside circuit protected by a Ground Fault Interrupter. BE SURE YOU
Quote:
Originally Posted by djlloyd View Post
ARE USING THREE WIRE extension cord to connect it.


this is assuming that the outside plug is grounded proplerly and that the leakage from the block heater is enough to overload the circuit breaker.

As for a kill switch I have never heard of it but I cannot say for sure that it isn't out there
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Old 12-28-2011, 02:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Devdg View Post
[/FONT][/COLOR]

I didn't say it was wired into the harness.



this is assuming that the outside plug is grounded proplerly and that the leakage from the block heater is enough to overload the circuit breaker.

dj's reply:
NO SIR, A GFCI looks for loss current to the ground circuit or 6 milliampers of circuit imbalance hot to neutral. Loss to the block and stray capacitance and or resistance to earth ground will result in higher current sourced by the hot than is returning to the neutral. So a properly operating GFCI will trip EVEN IF the cord or receptacle ground is defective.

Just 6ma. (0.006 AMPS) of leakage to ground will trip a GFCI!

That is what keeps one alive when a fault occurs, however if your not on a GFCI circuit your only prayer is a 3 wire cord and a properly grounded receptacle. Using a two wire circuit OR cord is suicide without a deferential (modern) GFCI.



As for a kill switch I have never heard of it but I cannot say for sure that it isn't out there
Well not on a Powerstroke factory block heater.
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thank you for the help guys but no GFI plug, It was on a looong extension cord from a 20a plug inside the garage. For the life of me I can't see why the ignition would not work until after about 5 minutes of being unplugged then function perfectly. I just don't want to get stranded outside work one night should it decide that it's not going to resume function one day
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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If it happens again, try jumping across the terminals on the main starter relay (on the fender) while in neutral to see if the engine will turn over. If not you have a starter heat problem. If so you have some other problem.
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Old 12-31-2011, 07:43 AM   #10 (permalink)
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After using a block heater several glows shouldn't be necessary, you most likely have a battery or starter issue. AC leakage somehow into your engine isn't the problem.
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Old 12-31-2011, 10:59 AM   #11 (permalink)
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It sounds to me like a failing ignition swith. As after several cycles the gadges/lights started working again and then it fired.

Jonathan
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Old 12-31-2011, 02:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Weren't the 89's recalled for bad ignition switches?
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Old 12-31-2011, 02:54 PM   #13 (permalink)
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You're right, I had a switch replacement for my '88 T-Bird but they were supposedly a possible fire hazard, it wasn't a failure problem.
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Old 12-31-2011, 11:41 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
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If it happens again, try jumping across the terminals on the main starter relay (on the fender) while in neutral to see if the engine will turn over. If not you have a starter heat problem. If so you have some other problem.
Thanks Drinkypoo, you saved my butt. I had some company fuel money that had to be spent tonight and I'd hate to have to throw that away.

But back to the issue I jumped the little unit on the fender with 2 wrenches, it turned over great and I eventually got it started up. I had thought that little unit was the voltage regulator which gets tossed in the 3G alternator swap I'm planning, looks like I was wrong but now that I know about that relay its a cheap fix but where is the voltage regulator if I switch to an internally regulated alternator???

Thanks again guys, This saved a bunch of money that would have been wasted not to mention not having my truck. Looks like the block heater was just terrible timing (first time I ever used it), go figure
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:37 AM   #15 (permalink)
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You're right, I had a switch replacement for my '88 T-Bird but they were supposedly a possible fire hazard, it wasn't a failure problem.
Supposed fire? Many fires on those vehicles occurred from the ignition switches. I used the inspect burned vehicles for Ford and the ignition switches were the cause of the fires. Quite often the vehicle would be parked and turned off over night and the next day the fire wold start.
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