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Old 09-11-2017, 12:21 PM   #1
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Diesel engine having trouble starting

So i have been on two trips in my van, and both times the when I get in to head on my way home the van struggles to start. Both times I have gotten it started but after 3-4 attempts. Van is a 2003 7.3L PSD with 94k miles

First trip was more of a backpacking trip. Parked the van at a trailhead that was approximately 8000ft in elevation on Thursday night. Went backpacking and got back early afternoon Sunday to leave. Temp was probably around 65 outside. Took 3 tries to get the engine to turn over.

Second trip was just this past weekend up in Lower peppermint campground, about 5200ft elevation. Drove in Friday night, started the van on Saturday in the middle of the day when it was about 80 degrees outside no problem, and then early Sunday morning had a tough time getting it going. It was probably around 55 degrees outside. took 4 tries to get it going and it was a rough start on the fourth try.

I never have issues starting it at home, and usually drive it 2-3 times a week. Even fired it up this morning before going to work to make sure it didn't have any problems. First trip made me thing elevation was this issue, second trip made me think temperature, now I am just confused.

One last note was I was camping with bemerrit's "Clif" on the second trip (1998 7.3) who had no problems starting up in the exact same conditions.


Thoughts, advice, or solutions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:23 PM   #2
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Have the batteries tested. Can go from starting 'just fine' to not starting at all in the blink of an eye.


Herb
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:26 PM   #3
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Have the batteries tested. Can go from starting 'just fine' to not starting at all in the blink of an eye.


Herb
Will do, thanks. If it was the battery would it be a more consistent problem? the trips were over a month apart and I had no issues inbetween them
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:53 PM   #4
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Could be any number of things..

Replace CPS just because, they go out and this could be the cause of it and they're cheap. Buy two and keep the spare in the glove box.

Get it on a good code reader and check codes, and check fuel pressure and HPOP pressure.
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Old 09-11-2017, 06:44 PM   #5
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have you put eyes on the starter? after a 4 day camp trip over labor day our van wouldnt start. it had been giving me slow start issues early in the am, but not in the pm after it had warmed up. i didnt think too much of the hard starts until labor day about 4pm. tried to start and click click. got on motorbike and rolled up the road till i found someone wiling to jump. got hooked up to another diesel and click click again. flipped on my inverter cause it has a gauge on it and it was showing 13.56. more than enough to start even a cold 7.3. crawled under to give the starter a tap while the wife held the key on. smacked it and sparks shot everywhere. looked a little closer and everything was loose as hell. the 2 bolts that hold the assembly together were stripped out and loose. tightened them as tight as they would go and got it to start. old gent that tried to jump the truck said roll back into town and i could borrow some wire to help hold it together for the rough trip down the mountain. made it home swapped it out with a new one and all issues have disappeared. turns over so much faster now. no clue how long those bolts were loose...
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:02 AM   #6
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have you put eyes on the starter?
Hmmm, this sounds similar to what I have been experiencing. I will give that a look. Thanks!
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:56 PM   #7
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^^^ np. hopefully its something easy.

heed rallys advice about carrying a spare cam sensor as well. was actually the very first thing i bought for the van for my 2500 mile trip home after buying it. theres a few tips to getting the best one, do a search here to get that info or maybe rally will post up a link to the info iirc he posted.
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:17 AM   #8
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Just replaced our starter with 599,347 miles with a new not rebuilt one
Unbelievable difference!!
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:43 AM   #9
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^^^ np. hopefully its something easy.

heed rallys advice about carrying a spare cam sensor as well. was actually the very first thing i bought for the van for my 2500 mile trip home after buying it. theres a few tips to getting the best one, do a search here to get that info or maybe rally will post up a link to the info iirc he posted.
I've used Ford ones, and Napa $25 ones. Not sure there's any difference, but I'm not one to worry too much..
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:47 AM   #10
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maybe it wasn't you, my apologies. I had read a thread that mentioned colors as what to look for. when I get a sec ill search and see if I can locate the info.
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