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Discussion Starter #1
My 200k-mile 7.3l had been getting pretty tough to start in cold weather over the last year or two. Through the last fall and winter, if it was around 50 degrees or so I could usually cycle the glow plugs a few times and get it to light, but much below that and it was a no-go unless plugged in for a couple of hours. Once started up, ran great.

After lots of searching and reading, it seemed more and more likely that the injectors were worn and about due for some attention. Temping as it was to buy some upgraded ones (truck has full exhaust, intake, BD turbo, tuned etc), decided that that would be asking for a new clutch for sure (still on my original!) and open up a whole new set or things to deal with. So rather than go nuts, it would be far simpler to just give a set of injector shims a shot and see if it solved the inconvenience I was having.

Struggled for a few weeks about how far to go - Should I pull them out, re-ring, rebuild; what other parts to replace, gaskets/wiring/glow plugs etc. After much deliberation, decided to not open up a bag of worms and keep it simple - After all it was otherwise running fine and wasn't 100% positive this would even fix the problem. Was told by many that gaskets would not be needed, which seemed silly, but went with the flow. So ordered a shim kit, glow plugs, under valve cover wiring harnesses. The additional things I ended up needing that no one mentioned was a set of o-rings for the CCV breather assembly on the LH valve cover, and a new o-ring for the oil filler extension. Luckily a close dealer had all of them for about $5. Also changed the EBP tube and fuel filter, not really related but kept seeing how the tube/sensor gets totally clogged up and can cause havoc especially in cold weather. Parts list:

Shim kit: 94-03 7.3L POWERSTROKE injector tune up shim KIT w/ special Tools to install | eBay
Wiring (2 needed): F81Z-9D930-AB
Glow plugs These are the "BERU" ones you want (8 needed): Motorcraft ZD-11
EBP Sensor Tube: 1C3Z9D477AA
CCV breather to VC o-rings (2 needed): F4TZ-6769-C
Oil filler to VC o-ring: W300020

The only tool you'll need besides common sockets is an inch-pound torque wrench that goes down to about 25 INCH pounds. Hint, 12in/lbs = 1ft/lbs.

Pretty simple procedure, I'm sure there are a lot of walk-throughs online. Pull intake back to turbo, pull charge pipes, unscrewed oil filler extension (oring swelled up and no good), CCV breather on LH valve cover (rubber orings swelled and trash, couldn't reinstall them. New ones are viton). Unclipped heater hoses and pulled back, take off dipstick bracket nut and pull back, remove valve covers. Driver's side is easy, passenger side takes a little more time to get all the bolts out and to remove you lift up, slide back towards the cab, and then you can pull it up to clear the AC compressor. That is all I had to remove, less than you think. Follow a gloe plug how-to and then just do the injector shimming. Found a couple good step by steps here: Replacing Glow Plugs - Ford Truck Enthusiasts Forums and https://www.riffraffdiesel.com/content/RESOURCES/Riffraff Diesel 7.3L Glow Plug Replacement.pdf

With the valve covers off, I unplugged the harness from the truck and quickly ohmed out the glow plugs at the harness plug, just to know. Continuity was fine and all the glow plugs ohmed at about .9-1.2, except one about 5. So the harness was fine and no shorts so all plugs were working, but the last one was on its way out. Pulled the gaskets and swapped on the new wiring harnesses on the bench. I already had a "quarter trick" on one side. The one harnesses have some extra "legs" molded into the connector to try and keep them from coming loose, but I put the quarter back in anyway and added one on the other side just to be sure.

Took an extra step before touching the injectors and re-torqued the rocker arms and injectors. The injectors were all pretty much fine. The rocker arms had to be broken loose, and quite a few took a quarter turn or more to torque down. Injectors are 120inch/lbs, rocker arms 240inch/lbs (or 20ft/lbs if that's too high for your little wrench). Then replaced the glow plugs. Used an air brake bleeder tool to vacuum out all the oil around the glow plugs first (there is quite a lot and you don't want it all draining down into the hole). Quick and easy, 168 INCH/lbs (14 ft/lbs) on those.

Did the injectors. I did one first by itself, then got an aluminum sheet pan out and did the rest in a line. I wanted to drill the spacer plates for better oil drainback, and the easy way to do this is by clamping them all together and drilling 2 holes so you get a groove in the bottom of all four. This is covered in the shim kit installation instructions. So had to pull all four apart together to do this. Just keep everything organized by hole so you don't switch parts between cylinders. The new shim kits don't have you bothering to measure and adjust shims on each injector, you just put a .004 under the armature plate and .005 (a .003 and .002) on each solenoid screw. I checked half of mine and they were all at about .002 originally, so went with the program. It's easy work, goes pretty fast once you get the first one done and see how it works, no big deal.

Reassembled everything. After setting on the gaskets with the new harnesses, plugged in everything on the head and them ohm tested it at the connector to make sure it was all plugged in and working. New glow plugs all ohmed out around .5 so I knew they were all present and accounted for. Be careful when you put the valve covers on that the wiring is all tucked down and not on the sealing surface. After putting the covers on I plugged in the wiring and the main harness and started the truck to make sure all was well before proceeding further. Then pipes/intake etc back in place and done. I replaced the EBP tube then also, it was caked solid with soot. Cleaned bottom of original sensor and reused (dirty but not plugged).

Turned the key, let the glow plugs do their thing for 20 seconds or so, and it started right up. It was NOTICEABLY smoother, like new. Sounded better. I attribute the overall change in sound to tightening up the rocker arms, I think that was key. It was roughly 45 degrees out, it would not have started before this. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, thank you shim kit. When they start to go south next time, we'll do aftermarket ones.
 

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Glad it worked out for you, and thanks for posting the info and results. (y)

I'm thinking this would be a good candidate for the FAQ subforum. Would you mind if I moved it there?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Glad it worked out for you, and thanks for posting the info and results. (y)

I'm thinking this would be a good candidate for the FAQ subforum. Would you mind if I moved it there?
Sorry, missed this before. Go for it.
 
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