Glow plug controller issues - Diesel Forum - TheDieselStop.com
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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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-17-2018, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Question Glow plug controller issues

This is a '93 F-250, 7.3 diesel IDI. (Controller is a NAPA Echlin and autolite glow plugs 1108)

The other morning when I attempted to start my truck when cold, the glow plug controller started immediately clicking rapidly. Normally this is an issue with glow plugs, several being burned out. Checked each glow plug and wiring and found low resistance as I should on the individual plug wires back to controller. Approx. .1-.3 ohms on each actual. All glow plugs resistances read about .6 - 1.2 ohms.
Next day I rechecked plugs and found 5 plugs out after sitting overnight. Changed out bad plugs with no improvement and immediate rapid cycling. Installed a new controller I had on shelf sitting for over a year with no improvement.

The day before, controller and plugs were working o.k, but before and during my 2200 mile trip over a week, the relay would come on for a short period of time and then immediately start short cycling before cranking engine after which when running would commence to cycle for a short time after. Usually this would indicate one to three plugs out but could not find a bad plug at this time.
I ordered still another controller of same type with no improvement at this time. instant cycling of relay with warm engine.
Unless I have stumbled across mass manufacturing problems with these controllers and I have become victim to defective manufacturing, I have no idea even with 30 years marine engineers experience with diesels and steam boats. the chilton book I have says there is a temperature switch mounted on left cylinder jacket to tell the controller when and when not to come on, but wiring diagram only shows it connected to the relay activation terminal to control the idle up solenoid and fuel filter heaters.

Last edited by chopper753159; 10-17-2018 at 10:36 PM. Reason: misspelled word
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-18-2018, 09:30 AM
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First thing to do is take those autolite glowplufs OUT. Put Beru/Motircraft or Wellman back in. Then see what happens.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-19-2018, 06:04 PM
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I agree with Chuckster. If autolite plugs work for any time at all, they're a headache waiting to happen down the road. If your good glow plugs show no improvement, check for loose connections/broken wires in the wire haress and at the glow plugs. The system decides that it is hot enough by the built up resistance as the glow plugs heat up. A loose connection will cause more resistance than the system should have, and cause the short cycle you are seeing. Same as open glow plugs.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up think issue is glow plugs with newer controllers

Thanks for the replies.
It seems as though even though glow plugs still check good, the resistance values have changed over a 10 month period from .2 to .4 ohms to between 1.1 to 1.7 ohms. I changed out all glow plugs to brand new autolites at .4 ohms and it works but differently. Now when engine is cold it latches in for a period of time(maybe 6-8 seconds then starts a steady cycling until I start engine then it cycles briefly for a few more seconds and then stops. Before it would latch in and then go out until after I started engine and then cycle for a few seconds then quit. Also it would not cycle again while it was warmed up when I would start it up, now it does it every time for a few seconds. I think that new controllers have been programmed differently.
I did e-mail Echlin in S.A. about this, still waiting reply.
I will look into the glow plugs mentioned by chuckster57. Need to find a supplier, none around here.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 11:20 AM
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Go online to Rock Auto. They have them, and fairly reasonable too

1993 F-350 crew cab non-turbo 5 speed transmission
35 years a mechanic on large stationary engines natural gas and diesel fired, and other industrial equipment.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 06:24 PM
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Depending on temp, the controller will keep them energized for up to about 11 seconds and it will cycle them for up to an additional 2 additional minutes.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-10-2018, 03:22 PM
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for the love of idi's and sanity throw those autolites in the garbage where they belong!

pute in the above mentioned!, then make sure the connections and grounds are all clean, we're talking close to 200Amps of current here!

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-11-2018, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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Wink

The issue has been resolved. However, since the autolites are working now, I will not replace with the others until they give me issues, since I already spent the money and replaced them all. We'll see if they last or not with the new controller. New controller hums when it is on like it uses a multivibrator to regulate the voltage or current to the plugs where the older ones didn't. I will still look into trying the Beru/Motircraft or Wellman plugs next

Last edited by chopper753159; 11-11-2018 at 01:02 PM. Reason: good idea at the time.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-11-2018, 09:58 PM
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just a warning, that issue will be them swelling and breaking off into your cylinder or seizing in the hole.

there is a reason we all warn you to get rid of them asap, but may luck be on your side but don't say you weren't sternly warned.





New truck: 1988 F-350 1 ton dualy 2*4, 7.3L IDI Naturally Aspirated, Dual tanks with Camper package.
Mods: Enhanced gauge cluster; Transmission temp, rear diff temp, coolant system pressure, Vacuum pressure, Fuel pressure, Crappy tire Air horn Kit, Raycor pre filter/water sep. All LED Dash lighting, Parker LFS tranny filter, super duty tranny cooler, gerret turbo, waste gated (pending).

Last edited by Xeonpony; 11-11-2018 at 10:02 PM.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-11-2018, 10:15 PM
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You wont know there is an issue with the plugs until its too late. They tend to swell and break tips off.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-12-2018, 07:13 AM
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Or worse yet swell and you can't remove them. Then you get to pull the cylinder heads.

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'91 F-250 SC 4X4, 5spd. ATS Turbo, 3:55 diff.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-12-2018, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Have you actually had tips broken off? I've used autolites since I started replacing them in 1998 in this truck, I have had them swell up and stick in the cylinder head but have been able to remove them intact with a little patience and a pair of vise grips and a seal pulling tool to use as a pry bar on the vise grips against the head, sprayed with a little penetrating oil. Usually don't have that issue either unless I try to run with the bad plugs for a while after they have gone bad and it is usually a secondary or third one that burns out since the remaining plugs are operating at a higher current and heat up faster. Usually soon as glow controller starts short cycling I will change out the bad one.
I appreciate the warnings though.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-12-2018, 06:35 PM
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I have had them break off and bouce around on then piston the LUCKILY out the exhaust valve. YES they WILL break off without warning.

It's a good thig I don't type for a living

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Last edited by oldrebuiltdodge; 11-13-2018 at 07:12 PM.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-19-2018, 11:14 PM
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I put motorcraft ZD-9 GPs in my '90 7.3 IDI. They have been running good for a long while. Glad I chose them! They are made in Germany. I bought 2 extra JIC.
NO AUTOLITE FOR ME!

MUZZLEDUSTER
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-20-2018, 06:50 AM
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If I remember right Beru and Motorcraft are the same thing. I changed my last set a few years back. They were working fine, but winter was coming on and they had 80,000 miles and 11 years on them so as you said, they last a long time.

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