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Old 11-08-2018, 12:24 PM   #1
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Rough/Disgusting Diesel Startup

I bought an '01 7.3 PSD with 46k miles in California this summer. Have been going through the conversion process myself after driving it to Canada to get a Tufport topper put on. I have about $22k all in right now.

As I have building it, I haven't been driving it much at all - just the occasional trip to Home Depot, but mostly just driving it 50 feet up and down my driveway. It's been a bit slow to turn over recently and today it barely started with outside temps at about 26 degrees. I was about to give up on starting it when it turned over. LOTS of blackish smoke poured out of the exhaust pipe, and it definitely didn't sound great. I had to kill it, and find a different ride. Anyone have any ideas what could be going on? I had a full inspection done in Reno, and was told the van was solid and in great shape. I failed emissions in Colorado after they found the PCV hose wasn't connected to the intake. I fixed that, and it passed.

Are disgusting clouds of black smoke just the norm for these engines? Do I need to drain the water/fuel separator? I'm literally so disgusted with this van that I'm scared to turn it on.

Thanks for the help y'all.

Max
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Old 11-08-2018, 01:09 PM   #2
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How long has it been since you brought it up to operating temp?
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Old 11-08-2018, 01:18 PM   #3
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A 7.3L should start up with fairly clean exhaust.


Black smoke indicates a fuel, or fueling issue (e.g. unburned fuel). Have you been letting the glow plugs warm up before cranking the engine?




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Old 11-08-2018, 01:25 PM   #4
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How long has it been since you brought it up to operating temp?
Probably got it almost all the way there four days ago. Should I try turning it on again now that it warmed up a bit?
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Old 11-08-2018, 01:26 PM   #5
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A 7.3L should start up with fairly clean exhaust.


Black smooke indicates a fuel, or fueling issue (e.g. unburned fuel). Have you been letting the glow plugs warm up before cranking the engine?


Herb
Yeah, I've been waiting for the light to turn off. Should I give it more than one cycle to heat up?
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Old 11-08-2018, 01:30 PM   #6
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The actual glow plug cycle is actually longer than the Wait to Start light, but multiple cycles are always a possibility. That said, while cold, 26 degrees isn't that cold.




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Old 11-08-2018, 01:55 PM   #7
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"Black smoke and not sounding great" sounds like it's not firing cleanly on all cylinders. Could be one or more bad glow plugs, or even just a weak battery (you did say it was barely turning over.) Note that it *is* pretty common for diesels to knock louder on cold starts, too.

Diesels can also build up soot in the exhaust if they idle or are only driven slowly for long periods of time, and it can make quite a smoke show when it finally blows out the tailpipe. Fifty feet up and down the driveway isn't enough to clear that out, especially at low temps.

If you can, I would take it on the highway and get it up to speed long enough to come up to normal operating temp. Do at least one foot-to-the-floor acceleration run to clean it out (the old "Italian tune-up.") Then see how it behaves. Engines like to be driven, and diesels doubly so. Starting it and then not letting it get up to operating temp is actually harder on it than not being started at all.

Other things to check would be compression and injector nozzles, but since those are more expensive I'd try the other things first.
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Old 11-08-2018, 02:35 PM   #8
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Try the block heater next time. If it starts better, your glow-plugs are shot. Pretty common.
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Old 11-08-2018, 10:13 PM   #9
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Don't have a block heater, but that is a good idea to try. I honestly think ORV really nailed it, lots of built-up soot that got cleared out after 30 minutes of highway driving. I really appreciate the feedback, I'll update again tomorrow.

It was significantly easier to turn over the engine after it was hot, but still not as effortless as it was one month ago even when cold.

Is there an easy way to test glow plugs?
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Old 11-09-2018, 03:29 AM   #10
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Weak batteries, weak GPR, weak glow plugs, clogged air filters come to mind...
Do you have a tuner on it?
Double check the driver's side of the block for the block heater, if I remember correctly it's an orange cord.
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