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I should warn you, I am not a mechanic in ANY sense of the word. I can look things up on Google and follow directions, but I have no diagnostics abilities and feel like the town fool when trying to talk engines. That being said, my main transportation (F350) is acting up and we really don't have the money to take it to a real mechanic, so I grabbed a 6 pack and my laptop and did my best.

About a month ago, my truck was running fine. I plugged an inverter into the cigarette lighter to charge my cell phone and run my laptop an 2-3 days later it would't start. I figured I had run the batteries down by leaving the inverter plugged so I ran to Walmart and bought a new battery. (The truck has 2 batteries, but I figured right that 1 new battery would at least get me home.) After arriving home, I bought a charger and plugged the truck up. After charging for 2 days, still not working so I took all three batteries up to my local parts shop (LPS) and asked them to test them. They said all the batteries were good that they just need to be charged more. Turns out there is a difference in chargers and the one I bought was light duty so I took the light duty one back and bought the heavy duty charger. Left it plugged in for another 2 days and it was making a clicking noise when I turned the key but wouldn't start. My neighbor suggested replacing the starter, so I took out the starter (thank you Google) and took it to the local LPS. They tested it and it checked out ok. They suggested changing the solenoid on the left side firewall, so I changed that out and it started turning over, but it still wouldn't start. A Google search later and it seemed to me to be the glow plugs, back to the LPS and bought 8 new glow plugs and changed out 4 of them before it got dark.

Before the new glow plugs, I was getting grey smoke when trying to start. Now, I am not getting grey smoke at all. The tach does go up when trying to start and the engine does turn over. I plan to change out the other 4 glow plugs tomorrow, but after reading several of the threads here, I am concerned I am doing more harm than good. I did get the Motorcraft glow plugs as suggested and I have only changed out 4 of the 8 plugs. Am I on the right track or am I just scraping up my knuckles for naught?
 

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if any of your glow plugs are out then the system wont work correctly, so take the time and change the other 4, also plug in your block heater if you have the capability as that will also help with cold starts.
 

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Do you have a volt/ohm meter where you can test some things before you replace things that are good? You can get a cheap one at any hardware store for less than $20 and do a lot of testing with it.

Have you checked the glow plug relay yet? If not and if you don't have a meter yet you can short the two large lug with a good pair of jumper cables and then wait around 30 seconds and then try to start the truck. You can also try plugging in the block heater. The cord for it should be located around the drivers side front bumper. You can plug in in for around 3 hours and then see if the truck will start.

I'm going to have this moved to the 94.5-97 forums. Since your truck is a 96 and has the DI Powerstroke engine in it instead of the mechanical IDI engine.
 
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