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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, new member here posting for the first time.

I have an 89 f250 that is my secondary work truck (work on a farm, usually have one primary truck and an older one that more or less gets abused.....I know....sad story) It's kinda been one of those trucks that I've never put much time or money into because I figured it probably won't be around too much longer, but the good old 7.3 just keeps going. I'm trying to fix it up a little and get it to be a little more reliable, especially with cold weather coming in.

biggest problem is it's always been hard to start. it will crank and crank but take forever to start. when it's below 70 degrees a lot of the time it takes a shot of ether (i know....I know) to get it going. runs and restarts fine for the rest of the day after it's gotten going. just recently wouldn't start at all no matter what I did. put on a new filter and lift pump 2 days ago (mechanical) but it ended up being the pickup tube in the tank broke off (thanks to the forum for that one...I was about to pull out my hair until I read that the pickup tubes tend to break off). it had new glow plugs, new injectors, new water drain valve on the bottom of the filter that was leaking, and new fuel return tubes about 10k miles ago. glow plugs seem to work fine (I get the wait to start light for 10-12 seconds when I first turn the key on) but I haven't checked them individually yet. high idle solenoid doesn't seem to work but I usually just push the pedal down when I'm trying to start so I wouldn't think that would really matter would it? lift pump helped a little bit on the starting problem that now I usually don't need any ether but it still cranks a lot. acts like fuel is leaking back to the tank or something. I guess it could be air intrusion but I usually don't have any fuel at the schrader valve on the filter when I go to start the truck. When cranking I have A LOT of white smoke coming from the exhaust, then when it finally starts I get a lot of blue smoke for a while and continue to have blue smoke only under acceleration after it's been started. I used the think the blue smoke meant I was burning oil but the strange thing is even with the smoke and the engine leaking oil several places, I only have to add oil every couple months (truck doesn't see a lot of miles.....maybe 2-3k a year if that)

I think that's all the details I can think of right now. I'm wondering about the glass ball valve on top the the IP? or maybe the IP is just getting old (truck has about 175k miles on it with the last 30k being a lot of hard pulling and tough work....not a lot of straight highway driving)

any other ideas?
 

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you might check that you have power at the cold timing advance terminal on the injector pump. the same switch controls that and the high idle. there are two terminals on the ip you want the one on the drivers side back of it.
some one on here as a good pic of it,you should be able to find it with a search.
put a jumper wire on the terminal and see if it helps. the fact that you get a lot of smoke points toward glow plugs though. Look up what glow plugs to get on here, lots of people have trouble with autolites. oh and if you use ether
disable the glow plugs. or use wd40. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
checked the cold timing advance and I don't think it's working either (which might tell me why the high idle isn't working.) I checked for voltage at the wire going to the timing advance spade and had nothing. when I ran a jumper wire from the battery to that spade I could hear a small click and I could hear a small difference with the engine running. where is the temperature switch that controls the timing advance and high idle located? looks like I need to check there next to try and get all that working. with the jumper wire to the timing advance solenoid it may have been a little easier to start but not by much, but it's still one more thing that I think if it got working right would add up to a much better running truck. Am I right in thinking both the high idle and timing advance should have power with the key on and the engine cold...or is there something else to it?

also it still seems like I have to crank for a while until fuel gets pumped back up to fill the filter. what should I look at that might cause fuel to leak back down after the truck has been sitting overnight or a couple days?
 

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regaurding your fuel draining problem.... does the truck fire then shut off then crank for a while before restarting? if so then its ur return line o rings are prolly bad. they make cheap kits to repair that...
fuel doesn't drain out of the injection lines and out of the injection pump. so if your not having the above issue, then i would look to ur glowplugs. i don't even have my cold idle or timing advacne hooked up (long story) and mine starts no prob. when u turn ur key on, does ur voltage drop to around 9? how cold is it at night where u r?
Once your truck starts does it run good or does it choke a bit before it settles down?
also, have u tried running ur glowplugs multiple times before trying to crank it?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
once the truck fires it runs fine... it just takes a long time to get it to fire (or at least fire consistently enough to run. when I turn the key on the voltage goes up for just a second then drops to 8 or 9, then after the wait to start light goes off (around 10 seconds) the voltage goes up to around 12 or so like normal. the temperature has been all over the place around here but the low temperatures have been settling in around freezing. 2 nights ago it got down to 25 and last night it was about 35. projected to be around freezing for the rest of the week. I'm starting to think more and more that it's the glow plugs. I haven't had time to work on it much because we've needed it a lot recently and once you get it started it runs fine. I just took my multi meter too it on the side of the field an hour ago when I had a chance and checked one of the glow plugs I could get at and got a reading of 0.5 ohms between the contact of the plug to ground so I'd assume that one is no good since there's hardly no resistance it wouldn't heat up much if any. the others are probably similar i would guess. I think they are champion plugs that are in it now. has anyone had the tip swelling problem with champions? i'd just like to get an idea if it's something I can do pretty quick or if you think i might run into problems and have to fight them to get them out. also I know there's been a lot of discussion on the topic but I'm having trouble finding what would be the best brand to replace them with. are champions ok or should I get something different? I would guess motorcrafts are probably one of the best.
 

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The fact that you are getting a large amount of white smoke while cranking
pretty much rules out a fuel issue. check your glow plugs with a test light,
clip one end to a + bat. term. and touch the other to the gp in question, if it lights its good, if not its bad. take the air cleaner off, it makes it much easier to get to the gp's. to You can spend about a week on here reading posts about which glow plugs are the best to use, the verdict seems to be
motercraft/ breu are the way to go, whalmann are iffy and stay away from everything else. If you have a gp that sticks when you are unthreading it, doin't force it, ask on here for tips on what to do. personally, I have not had an issue getting them out, but i have only changed a couple sets. the switch for the cold timing is located to the passenger side of the ip down in the valley of the engine at the front, i know there are pics of it on here somewhere. its a round screw in type thing with two terminals on it. you are right, both terminals on the ip and the high idle should all have 12 volts when cold.
 

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Try plugging in the block heater a couple of hours before you start it. If it starts right up, the glow plugs are the problem.
 

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check the glow plug controller and the glow plugs them self's as well and replace the bad ones with any thing buy auto lite and dont use ether after you do that
 

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I'm having the same issue with my 89 F-SuperDuty with the 7.3 I have replaced the glow plugs with motorcraft ones replace fuel filter and put in a electric fuel pump on and I get a lot of smoke while cranking. The glow plugs are on a toggle switch and all are working properly. I'm leaning towards a weak injection pump but once it starts it will start up for the rest of the day.
 

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Provided you have good new glow plugs, the timer in your hand isn't anywhere near as good as the timer in the glow plug controller. Try leaving the glow plugs on for a little longer, and see what happens
 

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I have my plugs on a toggle switch and I have let them stay on up to a minute and it's still hard to start even with the block heater plugged in and the worst part is that it was hard to start on the other day when it was 89 degrees here and I still had to put a gas soaked rag over the breather
 

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You might try looking into your injectors. If they're hanging up, there might not be enough atomization to fire the fuel. If you have somewhere to take them locally for a pop test, I would start with the injectors, and go from there. Once the injectors are eliminated as the source of trouble, then take the pump off, and get it rebuilt. If it starts and runs well when warm, you might be able to rule out any compression issues. The pump is lazy, after its minimum it will only put out the pressure the injectors require to pop. If they're weak, the pressure through the tips will be low, causing the spray pattern to be weak, making a cold engine hard to start. Lots of white smoke = un-burned fuel. Usually when a pump fails, there isn't much smoke, because the fuel output is low.
 

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Ok I'll have to check around and see if I get them checked. I'm leaning towards the pump being weak as the truck was sitting for a long time and it was starting good at first then the times started getting longer and longer
 
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