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'94 F350-Stranded twice lately, acted like dead batteries but just installed 2 brand new NAPA 850CCA batteries 2 months ago, & were strong until the other day. I've charged them fully, to 13.6V each. Glow plugs cycle normally, then there's a sluggish sound to the start. The starter sounds normal but sluggish, like low amps. When I add a 3rd and 4th battery with jumper cables, & squirt some starting fluid, it barely does start, and then runs normally. Literally, I have 3 second bursts to start it, or batteries run down quickly. 14.6V with engine running(alternator works, right?). It acts like there's and undo strain on the starting system. Cable btwn batteries & to solenoid and starter looks good. I wondered if an accessory like PS or waterpump or alternator could be locked up & putting a resistance load on the engine, but engine does not overheat (water pump), steering is fine, etc. Where to start? NAPA? Thanx in advance...
 

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'94 F350-Stranded twice lately, acted like dead batteries but just installed 2 brand new NAPA 850CCA batteries 2 months ago, & were strong until the other day. I've charged them fully, to 13.6V each. Glow plugs cycle normally, then there's a sluggish sound to the start. The starter sounds normal but sluggish, like low amps. When I add a 3rd and 4th battery with jumper cables, & squirt some starting fluid, it barely does start, and then runs normally. Literally, I have 3 second bursts to start it, or batteries run down quickly. 14.6V with engine running(alternator works, right?). It acts like there's and undo strain on the starting system. Cable btwn batteries & to solenoid and starter looks good. I wondered if an accessory like PS or waterpump or alternator could be locked up & putting a resistance load on the engine, but engine does not overheat (water pump), steering is fine, etc. Where to start? NAPA? Thanx in advance...
You do know that if the glow plugs are cycling and you are using starting fluid you are asking for major problems to happen with the engine. Major NO NO one or the other but never both .
That said do you know if your starter is any good or not , and no don't have Napa bench test it unless it is a load test being done. Bench test means nothing other then the starter will spin over. Make sure all your connection are clean and tight, at batteries , grounds and at starter.
 

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I wondered if an accessory like PS or waterpump or alternator could be locked up & putting a resistance load on the engine, Thanx in advance...
That's highly doubtful, sounds like you may be due for a starter overhaul (starters get badly abused with these engines due to lack of fuel system maintenance ) or bad cable connections, glow plug system etc.
 

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Used ether the one time 'cause I was stranded at a public boat ramp. Vultures drained my tanks last time I left it there. No way it would've started without it. Will pull the starter. Got an excellent auto electric shop in Monroe GA that'll check it out.
Chronic air intrusion into the fuel system is a real thorn. Unreal how much metal fuel line (that pits) is used in these longbed crewcabs with 2 tanks, and this has been a Southern (salt free) truck! Seems to be the major flaw with this engine in this truck. I've replaced 30' of fuel line so far, injectors, pulled both tanks, & still have bubbles. Need about 30' more, incl return line.

Yeah, my starter may be toast, but every starter I've ever had go bad has made weird noises. Not this one.
 

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If you have to use starting fluid you really need to disable the glow plugs even for one time. I just had a starter go out one mine. Knew it was cranking slower then should. Go to NAPA one day for some parts come back out , cranks a little then dead. Pulled it off take it in to have tested , said it was ok. But decided to put a new one on anyhow. Fired right up like it was suppose too.
 

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Used ether the one time 'cause I was stranded at a public boat ramp. Vultures drained my tanks last time I left it there. No way it would've started without it. Will pull the starter. Got an excellent auto electric shop in Monroe GA that'll check it out.
Chronic air intrusion into the fuel system is a real thorn. Unreal how much metal fuel line (that pits) is used in these longbed crewcabs with 2 tanks, and this has been a Southern (salt free) truck! Seems to be the major flaw with this engine in this truck. I've replaced 30' of fuel line so far, injectors, pulled both tanks, & still have bubbles. Need about 30' more, incl return line.

Yeah, my starter may be toast, but every starter I've ever had go bad has made weird noises. Not this one.
The square O rings at the filter and injector pump on these can cause air bubbles if bad or old on these.
 

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More than likely the starter bearings are worn out. If it's an original starter or one that is old the
bearing cotton that was soaked in oil, the oil is long gone. When the bearings wear the magnetic field will pull the Armature down so that it scrubs the field lamination's. A starter in that condition pulling 600 Amps is a powerful magnet. Replace your starter.
 

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The best batteries can't work through dirty terminals, and you haven't told us anything about your truck's terminals. That includes the terminals at the starter relay AND at the starter. Click these & read the captions:


(phone app link)



(phone app link)


Similarly, the starter has to have a clean mounting surface to the bellhousing, which must have clean surfaces to the separator plate & the block, in order to have a good ground path back to the battery (-) cable & post. This shows an alternator mount, but the idea is the same for the starter & bellhousing:


(phone app link)


When you hear the starter spinning slowly, test the voltage across it (red probe on the hot cable; black probe on the starter nose casting) DURING CRANKING. If it's above 11VDC and the starter is slow (with fully-charged batteries & clean terminals); either the starter is weak/bad, or the engine is binding (not likely if it runs OK).
 

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Another issue that's not uncommon is corrosion INSIDE the battery cables near the batteries. The resulting green goo from the corrosion is a terrible conductor of electricity and can result in slow starting speeds due to the voltage drop in the cables.
Besides corrosion on the terminals themselves (as Steve said, check them all - even ground points), corrosion inside older cables is a distinct possibility.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Cables & posts are perfect. The inside of my starter looked terrible. Wish I'd have shot a picture of it. Shredded insulation, armature had gaps in it. $92 overhaul and starts like a new truck for now.

I still have a few bubbles coming from each tank, & probably from the return line, too. That's the third clear tubing hose I have yet to install to complete the diagnostics on air intrusion, but that's for another thread, and maybe in another lifetime. Entire fuel system could stand to be replaced, but the truck just isn't worth that much to anyone other than me... This is the best, most helpful forum I've ever joined. Thanks.
 
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