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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello and good day to ya'll!

Best proceedure to "FIRST START" a long sitting 94-7.3 IDI-N/A?

I'm starting this thread so myself and others can have a thread dedicated to "cold starts/first starts" of vehicles with engines that have been sitting for longer periods of time, and, how a person that is NOT a mechanic, but, who is mechanically inclined, should proceed with the STEP -BY -STEP process of safely re-starting a FORD 7.3L IDI Naturally Aspirated - DIESEL engine in this, following type of scenario.

Lets say a person finds a good deal on a 1994 One Ton (E350) CARGO VAN that had a leaking radiator. The van is all original and the odometer read 320,000. And, lets add, that, due to finances, the owner parked the van while it still ran very well, intending to save the money up to purchase the expensive OEM radiator (average price for OEM brass and copper radiator for this application is $400-500).

Then, life happened. A relationship with a woman ended, and that caused a separation of assets and property, and turned life "UPSIDE DOWN" so the owner of the van had to park the vehicle for several years, essentailly storing it under a carport till life and finances allowed him to revisit repairing the van.

So, in a nutshell, if YOU had such a vehicle or purchased on in this condition...... how would you proceed in the start up process?

NOTE-

1. The engine has coolant in it.
2. The oil doesnt seem to have any water or coolant in it.
3. A NEW radiator and hoses has been bought.
4. Has good, newer glow plugs and glow plug relay.
5. Has newer dual batteries.

Would YOU put a new water pump in while the radiator is out?

- Would you put anything, i.e. LUBRICANT of ANY KIND into the cylinder walls before the pistons start to move again for the FIRST time in a long time.

- Would you change the Transmission fluid and filter as a preventitive measure after start up?

- Would you drain and replace the gear oil in the rear end as a preventitive measure?

- What other preventative first start up measures would you suggest or take to prevent any addition more costly mechanical problems later?

If this were YOU, how would YOU proceed? 94_e350_crgo_7.3idi.jpeg

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First clean all the battery connections including grounds and put batteries on a charger overnight. While they are charging drain the oil and change the oil filter even if it looks clean. Change fuel filter. Check air filter, change if needed. Consider changing out hoses and belts while radiator is off. It would be best to drain the fuel and start with fresh If the tank is currently low I would add as much fresh fuel as you can. Also add fuel treatment to the fuel Power Service, etc. If it has a block heater I would plug that in for several hours also prior to starting. Once it is running I would change all fluids Power Steering, brake, tranny, axles.
DENNY
 

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Discussion Starter #3
First clean all the battery connections including grounds and put batteries on a charger overnight. While they are charging drain the oil and change the oil filter even if it looks clean. Change fuel filter. Check air filter, change if needed. Consider changing out hoses and belts while radiator is off. It would be best to drain the fuel and start with fresh If the tank is currently low I would add as much fresh fuel as you can. Also add fuel treatment to the fuel Power Service, etc. If it has a block heater I would plug that in for several hours also prior to starting. Once it is running I would change all fluids Power Steering, brake, tranny, axles.

DENNY
Thanks very much for your advice Denny!

ANYONE else?

Please dont be shy. This will not only help me but, hopefully, MANY other future readers in similar situations and with their own, long sitting vehicles, to get back on the road.

Certified DIESEL Mechanics, shad tree or home garage wrench turners and knuckle busters the world over??

I WELCOME anyone adding as MUCH of your knowledge, opinions, experience.

ALL feedback is much appreciated.

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I would probably pull the glow plugs and spray a liberal amount of WD-40 or marvel mystery oil into the cylinders. I would then turn the motor over a few revolutions by hand, then spin it with the starter until your oil pressure came up. Then you can button it up and start it. I wouldn’t invest in any other maintenance parts until you know it’s going to run. Why spend a lot of $$$ and then find out you broke a ring or something.


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I would probably pull the glow plugs and spray a liberal amount of WD-40 or marvel mystery oil into the cylinders. I would then turn the motor over a few revolutions by hand, then spin it with the starter until your oil pressure came up. Then you can button it up and start it. I wouldn’t invest in any other maintenance parts until you know it’s going to run. Why spend a lot of $$$ and then find out you broke a ring or something.


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So, RT
You think that taking out each glow plug and spraying WD40 or MMO is safe? Also, how do you ecommend turning over the motor by hand? At 20 plus compression ratio I didnt think it was possible using just a 3/4" and extension and long bar to i would guess the center crank bolt or what are you suggesting? I am not a mechanic, mechanically inclined but havent dealt with doing my own maintenence on a Diesel engine in 5 years or so? Your detailed suggestion are appreciated and thanks in advance!

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With the glow plugs out, your compression ratio is 0.00 to 1. You can spin it over one handed. Yes, WD-40 is safe. Your problem may be rings that have adhered to the cylinder walls. If you jump on the starter, you have a chance of breaking a ring or one of the lands on the pistons. If you saturate the cylinder with penetrating oil. You might free them up. Turning by hand will give you more feedback as to any potential problems. Cranking with the glow plugs out will allow oil pressure to build without starting, will clear the cylinders of any excess fluid and is easy on the starter since there is no compression. Then, put the glow plugs back in and start it.


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With the glow plugs out, your compression ratio is 0.00 to 1. You can spin it over one handed. Yes, WD-40 is safe. Your problem may be rings that have adhered to the cylinder walls. If you jump on the starter, you have a chance of breaking a ring or one of the lands on the pistons. If you saturate the cylinder with penetrating oil. You might free them up. Turning by hand will give you more feedback as to any potential problems. Cranking with the glow plugs out will allow oil pressure to build without starting, will clear the cylinders of any excess fluid and is easy on the starter since there is no compression. Then, put the glow plugs back in and start it.


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RT,
Absolutely! ;) 0.00 to 1. Ouch! I just got it. lol.

RT, I actually know this information from dealing with diesels as a young man but in my 50's, now the elevator doesn't always arrive at my floor!

Thanks! That was the perfect response, ROTFLMAO- at myself!

Thanks for verifying I am on the right track- you and your response are very much appreciated right about now!

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With the glow plugs out, your compression ratio is 0.00 to 1. You can spin it over one handed. Yes, WD-40 is safe. Your problem may be rings that have adhered to the cylinder walls. If you jump on the starter, you have a chance of breaking a ring or one of the lands on the pistons. If you saturate the cylinder with penetrating oil. You might free them up. Turning by hand will give you more feedback as to any potential problems. Cranking with the glow plugs out will allow oil pressure to build without starting, will clear the cylinders of any excess fluid and is easy on the starter since there is no compression. Then, put the glow plugs back in and start it.


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RT,

I just went out to my little shop and at the moment I do NOT have WD-40 handy and available.

I DO have a BRAND NEW can of PB Blaster Penetrating Lubricant with their CATALYST.

RT, would it be safe to use that as a ring saver and valve lubricator in the cylinders?

If so, I paln to spray it in all 8 cylinders and then plug the GP holes and allow to sit overnight, possibly for a couple days just to give every possible chance to NOT break a ring or unseat a valve.

If I do these things, what do you think about my chances are of being able to have a successful and hopefully safe restart?

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That will work perfectly. If I had to put a number on it, I’d put your odds at 95% for success.


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That will work perfectly. If I had to put a number on it, I’d put your odds at 95% for success.


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RT,
Thanks for the input, insight and help. I am now following your posts. I read some of your past posts this evening and, from them I gather, you seem to be really knowledgable with 7.3L's. Are you a mechanic (your background) or just one of us who just simply don't want to pay a mechanic when you can DIY with knowledge and input from others on these types of forums and some good ol' fashioned elbow grease....?

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Are you a mechanic (your background)

Started out that way. Got my SAE certificates and everything. Then, put myself through college turning wrenches. Finally retired and still enjoy working on things. Lot more fun working on the classics than all this new computerized stuff though.




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Hang on to that red plastic tube when you fog the cylinders with the PT Blaster. It won't do a lot of harm if it gets lost in one but you will feel bad. Prelub the cylinders is a excellent ideal.
DENNY
 

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I wouldn't bother with spraying anything in the cylinders. But I'd pull the shutdown solenoid wire and crank the engine a few revolutions. Then reconnect the wire and start it up. In the shop where I worked we'd rebuild various diesel engines and they might sit in storage for 2+ years. Only thing we ever did was install them, check the oil and start them up. The only problem with stale fuel is if it's got algae in it. Depends on your climate, etc. Once you get it running you can add an algaecide to the fuel tank to be on the safe side. I'd definitely change differential fluid---everyone neglects that. It's supposed to be changed every 60-80 thousand miles.
 

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I wouldn't bother with spraying anything in the cylinders. But I'd pull the shutdown solenoid wire and crank the engine a few revolutions. Then reconnect the wire and start it up. In the shop where I worked we'd rebuild various diesel engines and they might sit in storage for 2+ years. Only thing we ever did was install them, check the oil and start them up. The only problem with stale fuel is if it's got algae in it. Depends on your climate, etc. Once you get it running you can add an algaecide to the fuel tank to be on the safe side. I'd definitely change differential fluid---everyone neglects that. It's supposed to be changed every 60-80 thousand miles.
LMJD and Denny,

I appreciate your input. I'm still gonna do the lubricant in the cylinders since I'm replacing glow plugs with new ones anyway. When I wrote the first post on this thread, I put that option out there to see if anyone else agreed with my methods, as Denny has and I hope OTHERS will chime in supporting this pre-re-start lubrication decision.

What have I got to lose other than a little more smoke at startup,but, I have a lot to lose if I have a ring break, as that would be an expensive lesson learned by not doing this simple preventative step.

I agree that in in a shop environment where moisture is less likely to occur but this van has been sitting outdoors under a carport for several years without being started and in South Georgia, we have humidity like Florida does.

I am going to definitely take your advice on the shut down solenoid wire after removing the glow plugs and hand truning the engine SLOWLY, with a the Serpentine belt removed also, just to see if anything (rings mainly) is bound up.

Once I have concluded the engine is spinning and things are moving. I will try to start the motor. I am taking everyones advice and considering it all carefully before moving ahead slowly, as I cannot afford a rebuilt engine or even a long block, let alone, a engine tear down.

This research is critical for me now before i get into it anymore, as this is my only vehicle now, after Hurricane Michael thundered thru my area and totalled my minivan recently.

Thanks to all for your continued help and all the folks on here that share your advice.

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Discussion Starter #17
Hang on to that red plastic tube when you fog the cylinders with the PT Blaster. It won't do a lot of harm if it gets lost in one but you will feel bad. Prelub the cylinders is a excellent ideal.

DENNY
Thanks for the reminder and heads up about the PB Blaster's "red straw". It seems like such a trivial thing but I might have done that actually. I remember an old saying....I'm so broke I can't even PAY attention, lol

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Hang on to that red plastic tube when you fog the cylinders with the PT Blaster. It won't do a lot of harm if it gets lost in one but you will feel bad. Prelub the cylinders is a excellent ideal.
DENNY
Haven’t had to do that but would a blast of compressed air shoot that red straw back out?
 

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Haven’t had to do that but would a blast of compressed air shoot that red straw back out?
ArcticDriver,

It seems you may have misunderstood. Denny was telling me not to squirt the PB Blaster into the glow plug holes to prefog/lubricate the rings if there has been any condensation that has caused rings to rust weld themselves to the cylinder wall. Lubricate with the red straw on spray button and then have the red straw dislodge from the spray button and drop into the cylinder. At that point I don't see how compressed air would get the straw back out? But, Arctic Driver, I am NOTgoing to do that in the first place (knock plastic wood, lol). I will hold onto said straw while spraying it into the glow plug holes when I remove them and replace them which I had planned to do today actually.

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