7.3L Rough Idle/Knock, White Smoke when Cold, Loss of Power - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
'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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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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7.3L Rough Idle/Knock, White Smoke when Cold, Loss of Power

Symptoms:
-Rough idle/distinct knock that is worse when engine is cold
-Lots of white smoke on cold start (unplugged)
-Some white smoke when plugged in
-Strong smell of diesel at all times
-Loss of power
-Terrible fuel mileage

Timeline:
1) Excursion was filled with gasoline accidentally
2) Excursion was taken to diesel shop who put in:
-New OEM injectors
-Fuel filter
-Blew out all fuel lines
-All new glow plugs (unrelated to gas incident)
3) The truck ran great for a few days, but I ran it low on fuel to clear any gas left in the system, which led to it stalling
4) I filled it with diesel and it started fine, but idled slightly rough
-Also had battery light come on intermittently
5) I replaced the alternator after having it confirmed to be bad
-No change in idle
6) I drove the Excursion for months and the idle progressively got worse
7) I did research and found that the ICP could be the cause
-ICP had oil in connector (meaning bad), so it was replaced with OEM ICP and pigtail
-This quieted the idle, but the knock was still obvious
Throughout this time, the truck would smoke white at first startup of the day and smell strongly of diesel
-Lots of smoke if unplugged, until warm
-Less if plugged in, but still some initially
8) CPS was replaced with BWD one from O'Reilly, as it is a simple and cheap thing to try
-This made the engine run terribly, so I thought I got a bad CPS
9) Got another replacement BWD CPS and installed it
-Made it run terribly again, so re-installed OEM one
So, this is where I am now. I have a rough idle and distinct, rhythmic knock that is worse sometimes than others, but consistently gets better as the engine warms up. I have white smoke on start. I can smell diesel at all times if I'm outside of the cab. I'm getting horrible fuel mileage and have a loss of power.

Notes:
-Freshly changed oil/oil filter
-Have an oil leak that I can't trace, but always keep it topped off
-I have a TS Performance 6-pos. chip installed
-I do not have access to a scan tool with live data

Does anybody have suggestions on what to check next?
Could there be other things that the gas could have damaged that weren't replaced?
Does anybody know why it would run substantially worse with a new CPS?
-Could a new CPS amplify an existing problem?
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 06:55 PM
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Who or what shut things off when it had gasoline in the system?
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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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I'm sorry, I'm not positive what you mean, but I was able to drive my X to the diesel shop and they dealt with the gasoline situation from there. I did not know that diesel had been put in it. That was found out later by the shop.
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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 07:28 PM
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Ok so the thing got filled with gas.How much diesel was in it at time of adding how much gasoline?You drove a little while.It acted up and you drove it how far to diesel shop?and I am assuming you turned it off then did repair.
I was trying to figure out how much damage was done to the engine and not just to the old injectors.Do you know if they did a compression test?
It could run great with the new injectors but as things get going again for awhile the damage in the combustion chamber can become evident.
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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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I honestly don't remember how much diesel there was, but it was not a ton of gas... maybe 5 gallons (I didn't know it was gas at the time). I think it was driven 10 or so miles with the gas and then, yes, I drove it to the diesel shop. I turned it off and left it there. Later they diagnosed it to be gas in the fuel. They then did a compression test, which they said checked out okay. Then they put in new OEM injectors, fuel filter, blew out all fuel lines, and installed all new glow plugs.
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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 08:01 PM
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Ok,that is hopeful.The fuel smell,does it smell like thick acrid half burnt diesel or more like raw fuel?A compression issue will result in the first and the second if low enough.high compression is needed for complete combustion.A raw fuel smell can be a leaking fuel bowl and a leaking passengers side fuel line leak.That leak has the potential to cause running issues.The lines retaining clip wears a hole in it.It is half way down the head.
Did they drain the tank?you indicated after you left you were concerned there was some still to be gotten out.They could have fixed the top end,send you on the way to finish off the rings,cylinder wall,and piston.I am digging a bit for info,so the more you give the better.
When diagnosing it is best to lose the chip or program and return to stock to try to eliminate that and to establish a baseline.
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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 08:04 PM
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You may have reintroduced air into the system when you ran it low. That could explain the rough idle and knocking. As far as the smoke, you might want to check the glow plug system yourself to verify it is working correctly. Here is a write up : http://www.thedieselstop.com/forums/...e-first-75094/

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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 08:07 PM
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Yeah - find the fuel leak and you might be on your way.

Where are you located - might be some help from a member close by...


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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 08:16 PM Thread Starter
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The fuel smell is kind of like half burnt diesel when it is warming up and smoking white (because it is half burnt diesel), but after it stops smoking, it's more like raw fuel. The exact values for compression on the receipt from the shop are:
Cylinder 1,5,7: 305 PSI
Cylinder 3,4,8: 300 PSI
Cylinder 2: 310 PSI
Cylinder 6: 295 PSI
(The altitude here is 5000 ft.)

The receipt also states "drained the fuel tank and blew out the fuel lines. He replaced the fuel filter and added 20 gallons of fuel."

I was concerned that there might still be fuel just because after dealing with the shop for so long, they made me not really trust them. However, they're supposed to do good work and are the largest independent diesel shop in northern Colorado.

Tomorrow, I will disconnect my batteries and take of the chip to rule that out.
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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 08:25 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flywheel View Post
Yeah - find the fuel leak and you might be on your way.

Where are you located - might be some help from a member close by...
Yeah, the more I think about it, it could be a fuel leak that has progressively gotten worse. Makes sense with the terrible gas mileage, too. If there was a fuel leak, would I be seeing it drip at all once I park? What's weird is that there is always what looks like oil under my truck. There was quite a bit of oil buildup in the valley from when my ICP connection was leaking, but since I've replaced it, I haven't noticed lower oil levels, but still have the puddles. Do you think it's possible for fuel to be leaking into the valley, mixing with the old, somewhat dry oil and causing it to drip? As in, could the puddles be mostly fuel that is tinted by oil, causing me to think that it's oil?

And I am in Fort Collins, Colorado
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post #11 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PATRICK4 View Post
You may have reintroduced air into the system when you ran it low. That could explain the rough idle and knocking. As far as the smoke, you might want to check the glow plug system yourself to verify it is working correctly. Here is a write up : http://www.thedieselstop.com/forums/...e-first-75094/
Yeah, I'll have to check my glow plugs. And about the air in the system... if I've put on like 6,000 miles since then, would the air have worked itself out, or would I have to do something to force the air out?
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post #12 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 08:46 PM
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The compression is your problem.those values are at the very bottom for it to run
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post #13 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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What are good compression values? After searching for awhile, I've found pretty inconclusive values, but it seems like about 350 or more at sea level is okay. I read somewhere that the compression adjustment at 5000 ft. (my altitude) is .8617, meaning that you multiply that value by good compression at sea level (~350psi) to get good compression numbers at altitude. 350 x 0.8617 = 301.595, which is pretty much exactly where my numbers sit. Is that correct, or do I not need to adjust for altitude?
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post #14 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 09:00 PM
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the dripping is probably from a fuel leak and or hydraulic leak.You have a few different things going on but that shop should have told you that 300 is the lowest value for that engine and that would be a very weak engine.They should have told you the extent of damage can do to a diesel and with the values being at the bottom and below,that it would be very likely if they just did the fuel system and injectors to get it going once everything stated going again there would be another drop in compression as things started to wear into place again.
I would ask why this was not explained to you before you authorized the repair.If it doesn't go well,consult a lawyer.A lawyer can usually get good results with a. $100 dollar introduction letter to that shop.Dont loose that piece of paper.
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post #15 of 37 (permalink) Old 03-04-2014, 09:07 PM
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Book says 300 to 400.At sea level where I am the air is more dense.diesels really need about325 or better to run and at that figure it's going to be weak,will have smoke issues especially with cold starts.I have never dealt with compression in the clouds so maybe I ve missed that factor of altitude in the equation and if I am off base I appologize.
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