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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK... Here goes...

I have been having trouble getting my 87 F250 to start in the mornings when it's cold (sub 45) outside. Yes, I realize that's not really "cold", but that is the temperature at which Mable begins to groan about getting going in the morning. In any event, in speaking with the folks at the Baltimore Diesel Services, they suggested that I test my glow plugs using a light tester and replace any that don't test out. Well that was all of them. I began the task of removing all eight glow plugs and when I was finished I had two that were busted off in the combustion chamber. The pieces were between 1/8" and 3/8" in length (basically the tips of the glow plugs), and are cylinders one and five. I contacted the folks at Baltimore Diesel Services. Buddy is a great guy who's been around a long time and I trust his judgement. He advised that because the pieces are 1) hollow, 2)soft, and 3)small, that most likely they wouldn't pose a problem but would eventually be jettisoned out with the exhaust. He stated that they only way it would pose an issue would be if one of the pieces got stuck in a valve. He advised that I remove the injectors in those two cylinders and turn the engine over in the hopes that the compression would force the pieces up and out. I tried it. It did not work. So... I am forced to make a decision and I am here to put the decision to you in the hopes that you will weigh in with your thoughts. There are a lot of very smart and experienced folks on this forum and I value your input. As I see it, I can do one of two things:

1) Install the new glow plugs (along with a 6amp resistor so I don't burn them out again), and go about my daily business hoping that said pieces of debris will get flattened and eventually make their way out the tail pipe.

or

2) Remove the head, retrieve the debris, and put it all back together again.




If you advise that I do choice number 2, I'd be most grateful if you could point me in the direction of any useful posts or other resources that can step me through that process. I know it's rather involved, and though I'd rather not have to do it, I am excited for the learning opportunity that it presents. Additionally, if you could give me a heads up about any pitfalls I should look out for while doing the job, that'd be super neato.

OK... I'll look forward to hearing from you all. Thanks a bunch!

Lewis
 

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The 6.9 and 7.3 IDI engines have a "pre cup" that's in the head. That space is where the glow plug tip would be.

You could try using shop air in the GP hole while using a shop vac on the injector hole.

How lucky do you feel? That piece may have been pooped out long ago, and if so your good. If it's floating around in the pre cup, it may stay there, it may drop into the combustion chamber. Hard decision, I have tools and been wrenching for 40+ yrs so it would be just gaskets for me.

If you decide you want to pull the head, post back for instructions. 1and 5 are on the same side so only 1 head has to come off.
 

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He advised that because the pieces are 1) hollow, 2)soft, and 3)small, that most likely they wouldn't pose a problem but would eventually be jettisoned out with the exhaust. He stated that they only way it would pose an issue would be if one of the pieces got stuck in a valve.
I don't know how he figures that miracle would be likely to happen. Like Chuckster posted above, if a tip drops into the combustion chamber you're looking at a grenaded engine, no different than dropping a 1/4" nut down the intake manifold and letting it enter the combustion chamber. Another option, if it were to get "jettisoned", chances are it would wedge between the valve and seat, holding the valve open, then you've got a lot of destruction when the piston comes up and hits the valve. Not trying to be negative but I've seen situations like that happen in the past many times.
 

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Unless you felt it break off when you were removing them, chances are the tips are long gone.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G935A using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Hello Chuckster57,

Sorry it took so long to get back. I took a new job that has be commuting 100 miles each way and the project that is my truck has fallen to the back burner. However, we've decided we're going to purchase a new house in the next couple months, so I need to get to work fixing her so she can come with us. Otherwise, I'm afraid I'm going to have to have her hauled off to the grave. So I'd like to go ahead and remove the head in question. You mentioned that I could check back with you for instructions on performing the removal. I would appreciate any and all guidance, advice, tips, etc that you and the rest of the group are willing to share. I will be doing this job in the next couple weekends. How long do you think it will take? What replacement parts should I order (beyond a new head gasket)? What are the potential issues that I could run into? Are there any special tools that will be required? Once again, I thank you for your time and insight and look forward to reading what you have to share!


The 6.9 and 7.3 IDI engines have a "pre cup" that's in the head. That space is where the glow plug tip would be.

You could try using shop air in the GP hole while using a shop vac on the injector hole.

How lucky do you feel? That piece may have been pooped out long ago, and if so your good. If it's floating around in the pre cup, it may stay there, it may drop into the combustion chamber. Hard decision, I have tools and been wrenching for 40+ yrs so it would be just gaskets for me.

If you decide you want to pull the head, post back for instructions. 1and 5 are on the same side so only 1 head has to come off.
 

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Chuckster already told you how to get any pieces of glow plug out, that normally works. You can usually hear a piece come out using a shop Vac to suck, if you don't hear anything, the pieces are well long gone. There is only 0.040 thousandth clearance at Cyl. TDC.

DO NOT use Champion or Autolite GP's. You probably have ZD1 GP's. Replace with Motorcraft or Wellman.

You say 6 Amp, you probably mean 6 Ohm, that resistor would have to be huge to handle the Amperage (130) the GP's pull.

Which GP controller do you have, the one screwed into the head or the Electronic module one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey Trucker87,

So I am not sure what glow plugs I have in there at the moment. I got them from the guys at Baltimore Diesel Services. I tried the shop vac method, and did not hear nor see anything coming out. In terms of the controller, I'm not using one. I have a toggle switch on the dash that I flip up for approximately six seconds (was originally told 10, which is probably why they burnt out).
 

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Hey Trucker87,

So I am not sure what glow plugs I have in there at the moment. I got them from the guys at Baltimore Diesel Services. I tried the shop vac method, and did not hear nor see anything coming out. In terms of the controller, I'm not using one. I have a toggle switch on the dash that I flip up for approximately six seconds (was originally told 10, which is probably why they burnt out).
You might want to go to a momentary push button. I used a toggle switch successfully for several years and it was placed in a protected area, but there is always a possibility of something ACCIDENTALLY turning it on and frying the plugs or your engine. Even though my switch was in a protected area, I was constantly mindful of it or if I left my dog in the truck or grabbed coveralls/overalls, and things it was on my mind that the switch could be turned on. When I installed the push button, I was able to forget about it.
 

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Little late.
But to determine what GP's you have.

The ZD1 ones have the spade terminal on the end.

The ZD9 ones have a pin terminal on the end.

The Autolite and Champion GP's are prone to burn out very quickly.

The Motorcraft/Beru or Wellman or much more reliable. A glow of up to 15 seconds is not unusual. Timing of the IP if it's too far advanced will contribute to GP burn out.
 

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I had something similar happen on my 7.3. when i was changing the GP's, one of them broke off and the tip stayed stock in the head. I decided to play safe ad remove the head. well it end up with bunch of upgrade and full engine reseal kit but it give me a good peace of mind
 

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Hey OP. Did you get this resolved? I'm interested to know the outcome.
 
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