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Junior Member
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1999 7.3 that sat some during the winter. I cranked it off and on, until it got to 0, then I quit, to cold to fool with it. Well when it got warmer, I cranked it, and got lots of white smoke, but it did crank and run. Then, the batteries died. I put two new batteries in, and it cranked and run, still white smoke, but it did run. But, the starter seemed to be dragging. So yesterday I put a new starter on. Now, with new starter, the engine will not turn over. I jumped the relay to see if the engine was turning. Nope, engine just sits there moving about 1/2 inch each time the starter is hit.

My family has plans to go on vacation in 4 weeks, and I wanted to drive the truck some before the trip to make certain all is well.

Does anyone know what might be the problem after 2 new batteries and a new starter?
 

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Old Fart
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889 Posts
It maybe hydro locked. That is one of the cylinders maybe filled with coolant or fuel. Pull a glow plug and turn the engine by hand, using a big bar and socket. What comes out?
 

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Stuck in Commiefornia...
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1,296 Posts
7.3s don't often hydro lock, that's more a 6.0 thing. If the white smoke smelled like diesel, it's likely an injector. If the white smoke smelled sweet, that would indicate coolant. Try turning it manually first, if it won't go clockwise, you can try counterclockwise but don't go more than 1/16-1/8 turn. If it turns counterclockwise but not clockwise, pull the glow plugs and try turning it clockwise again manually. If a hydro lock condition exists the fluid will escape via the glow plug hole. If no fluid comes from any of the glow plug holes and it doesn't want to turn you have an internal mechanical issue. There is an inspection port near the oil filter that will allow you to snake an inspection camera into the engine for inspection without removal.
 

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Junior Member
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3,533 Posts
I would be removing the starter and get it tested and see if you can turn it with a screw driver on the flywheel/flex plate if it locks up stop, try going back and forth. Then
I would pull the oil filter looking for metal.
Just a thought!
 

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Junior Member
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Turned engine ok

OK, i turned the engine with pull bar clockwise, with about 30lb of pressure, give or take, and it turned what I would call normal. I built engines with my father in the past, and it feels about the same. It moved with some resistance. Moved it back the other way, and the same.

The white smoke smelled heavily like diesel. I removed about 2 quarts of oil, and no signs of coolant, water, or anything that should not be there.

I wonder if it's just a crappy starter, it WAS made in chinatown. I also wonder about the batteries. Both check out at about 9.6 volts. They are NEW, but it has set since March without me cranking. I did put them on charge overnight, and they still show 9.6 volts. Swap em?
 

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Old Fart
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889 Posts
Yes swap them out. you absolutely need 12v to get the starter going against a diesel engine. Stay away from that China crap. Nothing but headaches.
 

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Junior Member
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Update

OK, Just put 2 new batteries in, and charged them first, before install. Both read 13.2 Volts. Tried to crank, same event, just clicks and motor moves about 1/4 inch when starter is engaged.

Would this just leave the starter? I may put the old starter back on, as it did crank it, and is a FORD starter. Suggestions?
 

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Junior Member
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
2nd update

Put old starter back on. Does the same as the China crap. But, old starter is made in Japan. No difference in the way either starter tries to turn the motor. The motor just seems to not want to turn. Attempts to turn about 1/4 inch when engaging the starter.

What else? Motor turns with pull handle. Both batteries are 13.2 volts, no junk in oil, or coolant. Motor just will not turn over with starter, but will with pull handle, with not much effort. Starter relay bad?

I just don't know that much about diesels, this is my first one.
 

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Stuck in Commiefornia...
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1,296 Posts
Put old starter back on. Does the same as the China crap. But, old starter is made in Japan. No difference in the way either starter tries to turn the motor. The motor just seems to not want to turn. Attempts to turn about 1/4 inch when engaging the starter.

What else? Motor turns with pull handle. Both batteries are 13.2 volts, no junk in oil, or coolant. Motor just will not turn over with starter, but will with pull handle, with not much effort. Starter relay bad?

I just don't know that much about diesels, this is my first one.
Ok, if the effort by hand is not any higher than you would expect from past engine turning experience, and you can rotate the engine a full revolution, then a known good starter should turn it over. That being said, based on your description of the events leading to this issue, I'm going to suggest you go back to basics.

What is the condition of the battery terminals and cables? Any current or past corrosion issues? If yes, you may need to replace the cables. Follow the cables to their respective connections. Ensure that all connections are clean and tight. This also includes locating chassis grounds from the engine to the frame and from the body to the frame.

Check for damage to the wiring harnesses. Chaffing or animal damage are possibilities, rabbits, rodents, even birds can get places you wouldn't expect, and they can damage the electrical system. Inspect everything you can visually, use a mirror and a light to see into hard to view areas.

Once you've eliminated the main cables and wiring harness as possible causes, and knowing the engine rotates a full revolution or more manually, you'll want to make a jumper wire for the starter solenoid, I recommend using a switch and fuse, attach the wire to the starter solenoid start post, usually identified with an S and usually a small post the size of a #8/#10 machine screw. Attach the other end of the jumper circuit to the positive side of the battery. I like to use alligator clips or strip back the wire enough to make a good connection with the clamp from the battery charger so that in case the switch fails, I can pull the wire free of the positive terminal easily. Simple circuit path follows:

|STARTER SOLENOID|----------|Switch|--|FUSE|--|+BATTERY|

If the engine cranks with the jumper, put the key in and turn it to the run position and see if it can be started with the jumper. If it starts, you may need to repair the ignition switch or the circuit to the starter solenoid. If the engine still doesn't crank, after verifying all power and ground connections, and verifying it turns a complete revolution manually, I would try a different (new) starter.
 

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Junior Member
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9 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
3rd update

Well, when I put the made in Japan starter back on, it cranked. It blows white smoke, like crazy. Still nothing in the oil or coolant tank. Ran it for about 15 minuets, and it smoothed out for about 30 seconds, and ran fine. Then went back to knocking. Shut it off.

Let it sit for one day. Cranked it up, without any problem, fired right up. I tried to drive it, but when I got in the highway, it had no power, at all. I backed up and limped into the driveway, and it barley made it back into the yard.

I let it run for about 15 minuets. At first it would not rev above 1000 rpm. I would slowly try to increase Rpm's and finally got it up to 3000. The smoke changed from white at idle, to grey/blue while giving it more RPM's. It still has a knock that is noticeable. It then started to smell, different, like oil was burning. I then shut it off.

Any thoughts?
 

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Stuck in Commiefornia...
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1,296 Posts
Ok, so you have a running truck, but just barely. There are a few things to check. For a 7.3 to run, it needs an ample supply of clean air, clean fuel at about 45psi, and the correct level of engine oil in good service. The air filter should be clean, the turbo should spin freely without excessive play, the EBPV should move freely and be in the open position, and there should be no engine oil in the exhaust. The fuel filter should be reasonably clean to new, pressure at idle should be in spec, the injectors need about 45psi, but the OBS has a mechanical pump in the valley, so at idle it may not be that high, Google should provide the spec if you search. The oil should be in good condition and be filled to the correct level, at that point te low pressure system pressure should be checked to be in spec, followed by checking the high pressure system operation to verify ICP (injection control pressure), and the IPR (injection pressure regulator) duty cycle, are within spec. There are also electrical and computerized tests to verify the IDM and injectors are operating properly. If the computer has set a CEL/MIL (actually, even if it hasn't) scan for codes to help your diagnosis.
 

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Greasy Greenhorn
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18 Posts
I didn't have time to read thru all the replies or the results of things you've tried and I just skimmed over some of the symptoms so sorry if I'm too late or misdiagnose your problem. But from what I've read, it sounds like what happens when my truck has run low on oil. A few months ago back in about late June, I cranked my truck up and let it run for a couple of mins, like I always do on a cold start to let oil circulate, then I pulled out of the driveway and headed to work.
I got about a 1/4 mile down the street and I started bogging down and puffing white smoke out of the tailpipe and wouldn't go over 30-35mph with my foot to the floor. After about 45 secs it picked back up and ran fine. When I went to leave work and go home, I cranked my truck and it had a really, really rough idle almost like a heavy cam lope.

When I pulled out onto the street it did the same thing it did when I had left the house but this time the check engine light came on and it died. I pulled over, checked a few things and then checked the oil level. NONE on the dipstick so I added a gallon that I luckily had with me. It was extremely hard to start but it eventually started, ran like crap for a minute or so but smoothed out I later talked to a guy that told me the injectors work off of oil pressure and that's why it died when the oil level got severely low.

*EDIT* Wow, I just noticed the date of the last reply. And yeah, I'm a little late. Like 3 months. Lol.
 
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