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7.3L powerstroke cold start

Discussion in 'Trucks and Trailers' started by mowerbrad, Mar 26, 2010.

  1. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    I found a 2001 F350 powerstroke near me that I'm pretty interested in. I test drove it the other day and was pretty pleased with how it ran. I did some homework on the truck and went back today to go over it a little more and look at all the little things. The truck sat overnight, which got down to about 20 degrees, and this morning it was about 33 degrees when I went to look at it. It did not want to start!!!! It would turn over a little but wouldn't start. The more we tried, the more "dead" the batteries sounded. We even tried to jump start the truck from my truck and couldn't get it to go. The dealer ran a volt meter out to test the batteries and they read fully charged.

    The dealer called the previous owner to see what he did to start the truck on the "chillier" mornings, and the owner said he would always plug in the truck once the night temps got down to the 30's or so. But even my 6.5 diesel sits in this kind of weather unplugged and starts perfectly fine, actually, I didn't even plug my truck in all winter this year.

    I have talked to a few people who currently own or used to own 7.3's and they said that when it gets down to the temps we are seeing now, they would plug their trucks in otherwise they would start hard or wouldn't start.

    Does this sound like a glow plug issue or is this actually normal for these engines? If it is a glow plug issue I know it would be near $700 for those to be changed and all new ones put in. Any ideas?
  2. AintNoFun

    AintNoFun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,807

    i would say its glow plugs, or theres a relay or sensor that controls the glow plugs (if i remember correctly). i had to do one in one of our 7.3l's a few years ago. i dont remember the glow plugs costing 700 though, thought it was much cheaper...
  3. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    As far as the price for the glow plug repair, I'm going by about how much it cost to have the glow plugs on my 6.5 changed out (all 8)....which as I recall it was near $700 for me to have my mechanic do it, and that was with a slight discount I think too.
  4. AndyTblc

    AndyTblc LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,480

    All the people I know with 7.3's always plug their trucks in when it gets cold, it's just how they are.
  5. Moto52

    Moto52 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 154

    It's either the Glow Plug Relay is not working, or all or must of the glow plugs are not working. My 7.3 starts fine in -20 when everything is working properly. it's about 20 bucks per glow plug if you do it yourself it's not to hard to do just pop the valve covers off. I think you can even switch one of the other relays out with the GPR to see if thats the problem before you buy a new one, and if that doesn't work you definitely need new glow plugs..
  6. Moto52

    Moto52 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 154

    You should check out www.ford-trucks.com forums and scroll down to 1999-2003 powerstroke 7.3 and there is lots of good info on that site...
  7. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    I'm not mechanically inclined enough to do this myself, so it would be going into my mechanic, if I were to buy the truck. I get the feeling that it does have a glow plug issue whether it be the actual glow plugs or the relay. And being that it was 30+ degrees outside, I still think it should have started easier even if it had a couple glow plugs out.

    This isn't a deal breaker for me, but the price will need to be right for me to buy it then, just to compensate for the extra money I will have to spend on the glow plug issue then.
  8. WH401

    WH401 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 571

    Try a new glow plug relay first, then try new glow plugs. They can be a common failure on the 7.3 that keeps them from starting when the outside temps dive. When both of those things are working properly the 7.3 should have no problem starting at temps near 0, at least. Plugging it in to get it start is not the norm for these engines. If that has to be done then one of those two things most likely needs to be fixed.
  9. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    When we tried to start it, it sounded pretty much like the batteries were dead or dying (thats the best way I can put it). But all the lights in the truck would come on and wouldn't even dim. Does this still sound like a glow plug related issue?
  10. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,613

    volt meter won't tell you if the batteries are good, chance are they're not. it's all about the amps, the battery will likely still output 12V but the amps are what's going to turn over that motor.

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