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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi friends its Vince. Have not been in here in about 2 years. 7.3 has been running like a Swiss watch.. Okay, wife is in the van at the grocery store, im at work. She is telling me on the phone that she turns the key, wts light came on, went off, tried to start and it just cranks and cranks. Now the wts light is not showing up anymore (that's never happened before), and it just cranks over but doesn't start. She is in the grocery store parking lot and it ran fine up until 30 minutes ago when she tried to start. both tanks have fuel. Q? could the mechanical lift pump just stop working with no warning? She is telling me it just "feels " like it isn't getting fuel.
as always any help would be very appreciated right about now.
Vince in So. Cal.
 

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That is possible. The lift pump is a diaphragm pump, just like the old gasser fuel pumps. Ask your wife to look underneath, and see if anything is leaking, then check at the schrader valve to see if there is anything there. If the WTS light is not lighting up. Possibly the glow plug relay finally timed out, or there is something wrong there. You would have to check to see what is going on, look for a blown fuse I don't know where the fuse would be located, I don't think the '88 had an under hood fuse box. Possibly the fusible link at the starter relay.
At least you're in a parking lot, and not on the side of a busy highway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the respond ORD. When you say the glow plug relay 'finally timed out" what do you mean? I replaced the controller and gp's about 1 year ago. Does it time out after too many tries and needs to be reset somehow..? Thanks again.
Vince.
 

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When it finally gets warm enough it will stop working until it cools back off. It doesn't really" time out", the glow plugs develop a high enough resistance to pull enough amperage, the controller to shut down 'till it cools back off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ahh okay, Well I cant be of much help to her while I am at work. She is really stressed out about the van not starting and all. I told her to walk over to someplace to have a bit of lunch, mellow out a bit. then go give it a try in an hour or so. She called me back and said after lunch she got into the van, and it started right up.I told her to take it home and we will go over a few details see what we can find out. I will just make a list tomorrow of things to check, if I have to replace a few parts than so be it.

thank you so much for your response, id do appreciate it. I imagine I will be a regular on here again for awhile while I check things out..ask questions and such.

You all are a bunch of real good folks ! Thanks.

Vince.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Still having starting issues.

Well the van is still having starting issues. When its cold I get in cycle the gp's then start. It starts right up then in about 3-5 seconds its dies. After it dies it is very hard to start, requiring I keep cranking the starter for a much longer period than I should. After it is warmed up it starts with no issues. The van is my daily driver and at this point I have no confidence in it.
 

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It starts when it's cold then dies.
It starts good when it's hot.
The wife just cranked and cranked, no start.
The wife took a break and it started and run.
The WTS didn't come on the second time.

Sounds like you have an electrical problem.
Check for loose connections on the GP controller, also the FSS solenoid wire on the IP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Bill,
I will most likely have a window of time to really get into it on Sunday, (I work long shifts with strange hours), I will be able to remove the passenger seat and doghouse and really open it up. I will check the GPC and the FSS solenoid wire on the IP.

I had this problem once before about 2 years ago.
1. replaced the injector return lines (they were all pretty much leaking), purchased the kit on EBAY.
2. replaced the GP's
3. replaced the GPC.

started right up and haven't had problems since then. Now just out of the blue, here it is again.

Vince.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Okay. so with the information I have learned from here, I started troubleshooting the starting issue with the VAN. First I got it running. After it was running I located the shrader valve on the top of the oil-water separator filter. I used a small screwdriver tip to depress the valve, and first air came out .. then diesel fuel. I shut the engine off, let it cool down (as when I start it cold it runs for 5 seconds and shuts off), after it was cold I turned the key and it started right up. So far I have used it twice driving to and from work, each time it has started without issue. Q? Do you think air in the filter was making it start then die?
I have elected to replace the GP controller and the GP's. It's been 2 years since I last did that, so might as well get new ones in there. Q? is it common to just replace the solenoid on the GP controller (about $27) or should I replace the entire GP controller (about $80-90)? And one more question - I believe I used ZD9 (?) glow plugs last time..are they still heavily recommended or in the past 2 years has the consensus changed to a different GP?

As always: Thank you for any recommendations,
Vince Rush
 

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I would just replace the GP relay (Solenoid), make sure it's for a GP controller tho, a starter relay is not as heavy duty. Yes the ZD9 is the correct GP's, but use only Motorcraft/Beru or the IH GP's, Diesel RX is next choice.
You could just check the GP's with a test lite, disconnect all of them from the GP's, connect the test lite lead to battery POS, probe the GP, if it lights, that GP is good. Just a quick check, or with an Ohm meter, they should check ~.3 Ohm's.
 

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That .3 ohm reading is with a COLD glow plug. As they warm up, the resistance will be higher. I usually check mine while it is still cold before the first start of the day. A test light works to check for continuity, but it won't tell you the condition of the glow plug. Too much resistance will cause the controller to shut down early how early depends on how much resistance. As they wear out, they build resistance until they finally go open, or short out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Is there a certain place to order the Motorcraft/beru ZD9 GP? the lowest price I can find is 11.19 each = $89.52 for a set, does that sound a bit high $$? Yea I believe I will just replace the GPC solenoid instead of the whole controller. The Van died on me this morning after running fine for a week and a half, but it was much colder out this morning. Started up...then quickly died. Had to bum a ride from my wife.

Thank you
Vince.
 

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Bad glow plugs won't cause your engine to die. They are only used to start the engine. Once it's running the glow plugs are not used like spark plugs in a gasser.

$11.99 is about right for a ZD9, your engine issue sounds more like air intrusion to me.
 

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I just bought a set from Ebay for $85, i used nickel anti seize on the threads and seats of them.

1988 94 Ford Motorcraft IDI 7 3L Glow Plug Set 7 3 Glow Plug ZD 9 | eBay

i also redid my hardness with 12 gauge wire and the connectors (i had the turbo off). Those crimp on connectors for the bullet style are crap though, they are fine connecting to the wiring but dont grip very tight to the glow plug. i had one come loose and i've even tightened the ends of the glow plug ends. I might end up buying one of those expensive international harnesses and using the connectors from it if one vibrates loose again
 

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I've used (with good success) a 14 GA. butt splice connector. It slides over the GP. snug, snaps in place, and stays there. You'll need to cut the insulation (just back to where the metal connector starts) off of the end that you are going to put down over the GP. It works quite well, and is what I use every time I break one now. I've also done that with the post type connectors on the temp. senders, and the oil pressure senders. $12.00 apiece is why I check my glow plugs, and only replace the bad ones. What Chuckster said is true. You have air intrusion, or a drain back problem. Might also be the fuel shut off solenoid not working properly. Once that engine starts, the glow plugs are pretty much out of the picture.
 

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These are the connectors I purchased I didn't trim any plastic though.

http://pages.ebay.com/motors/link/?nav=item.view&id=271794433516&alt=web

I agree with air intrusion, maybe from injector caps or the duck bill check valve falling off of the sending unit return lines? Or rusty lines of course. I hose clamped mine on when I replaced the tanks.

Did you say you recently changed the fuel filter? Maybe the metal line got stressed and the olive around the fuel line on the line is leaking
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hey Fella's.
Yes I do agree with you all that it makes no sense for the issue to be the GP's or the GPC. But this is what happened 2 years ago:
1. Started noticing that the duration of the wait to start (WTS) light would stay on longer and longer. A-few weeks later ---->
2. The GPC started making a clicking sound while the WTS light was on. (example - click..............click.............click...........). A-couple of weeks later ---->
3. After the WTS light would turn off the clicking sound would be much faster. (Example - click..click..click..). A-couple of weeks later ------>
4. The engine would start and after about 3 seconds it would die.

I did notice that a couple of injector return lines were showing some fuel on them so I replaced all the hoses and caps. At the same time I replaced the GPC and all GP's. In hind-sight I realize I should have tried to start the engine with just the return lines being new, but I was tired of bumming a ride to and from work so I did all the work at the same time. So anyway after replacing the GP's - GPC and injector return lines, it started right up and has ran without issue for 2 years now.

Now (today), when I turn the key the WTS light comes on .... a bit longer than normal, and last week the GPC stared making that dang clicking noise again....But THIS TIME the injector return lines still look brand new...no fuel leakage. Sooo I am going to replace the GPC and the GP's. I will let you all know what happens afterward.... Your recommendations are awesome and I really appreciate your time.

Thanks again.
Vince.
 

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Does it have a block heater? Plug the block heater in overnight and that should rule out the glow plugs
 

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Does it have a block heater? Plug the block heater in overnight and that should rule out the glow plugs
Good idea. Also check the glow plugs before you start throwing parts at it. the longer GP cycle might just be because it is a little colder outside. Mine is starting to cycle a little longer now too, but it is 30* out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Shawn - yes it does have a block heater, unfortunately I live in an apartment and have assigned parking that is across a very heavily traveled street, so ...yes I wish I could plug it in but that option is not opened to me.

OldRebuiltDodge - I live in southern California so we don't see temps under 50. Although the last 4 days have been pretty cold in the early morning - maybe 45-50 degrees. I am thinking if replacing the GPC and the GP's does not help, then I can justify replacing them as just general preventative maintenance.

The block heater does function correctly as I have used it when we were at our lake property in Kern County. It gets below freezing there and with the block heater plugged in the van always started right up. I agree other than general prevent maintenance items, I don't really want to just throw new parts at it if I don't need to.

I will hopefully replace those items this weekend, keeping my fingers crossed.
Thanks again Friends.

Vince.
 
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