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Old 11-15-2021, 11:58 AM   #1
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Power loss / fuel gelling? Sub freezing temps

Hello again,

2001 E350 7.3L Diesel

I had an odd power loss yesterday while up in Anchorage. Air temp was about 10F as a high. Van started fine and while driving to get parts for my other vehicle, the van lost its power. did not really seem to run ruff, not no power and it never died. I shut it down and restarted it, seemed good for a couple blocks, then it returned. Limped it home. Inspected things, installed a new filter in the filter bowl and new air filters while I was at it.

Today, in -1f it started fine and has no noticeable issue. I did have the block heater plugged in this morning.

The fuel I drained from the fuel bowl before swapping the filter seemed watery in appearance.

What do you normally do to prepare your vehicle for constant sub freezing temps? I have not ever experienced these issues in the lower 48. My old gas Range Rover is also pissed at me and is not wanting to start in these temps.

I am planning to drive the van back to Washington in December and need to figure out a game plan to deal with the cold temps for that trip. It gets pretty remote and I will not have plugins for the block heater on that trip.
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Old 11-15-2021, 12:07 PM   #2
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I always use a diesel fuel additive (Opti Lube XPD) for my 7.3L, all year long. I'm not suggesting that fuel gelling is your issue, but a multi-purpose diesel fuel additive doesn't hurt. Kind of like taking vitamins.

Do you have a way to read any OBD codes?


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Old 11-15-2021, 12:35 PM   #3
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Might look into in a hydronic coolant heater for the trip home. I can’t imagine there’s many outlets available along that journey to utilize.
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Old 11-15-2021, 01:31 PM   #4
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When did you fill up prior to this?

Fuel suppliers adjust the blends to forecast seasonal temps. If the cold snap was usually early, the last fuel delivery to the station might not have been adjusted yet, and if you had the same fuel for a while, you would have missed any adjustments anyways. As mentioned, good idea to carry some fuel conditioner in cold climates.
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Old 11-15-2021, 05:06 PM   #5
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I just picked up some Diesel Fuel Supplement +Cetane Boost from https://powerservice.com/

No codes at the moment.

The van seems happy now, we will see...

I filled up last week while down on the Kenia. It "should" be winter fuel, but I did just top off the tank yesterday as a precaution in Anchorage. I have been in AK for a few months and have burned almost 9000 miles in that time. Going through plenty of fuel.

The hydronic system would be nice, but I am hoping not to have to add one.
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Old 11-15-2021, 05:09 PM   #6
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Couple things to check:
1. Scan for diagnostic trouble codes
2. I had the air temp sensor go bad and it created a weird power loss condition when cold. Mine was a biit intermittent and yours, by running the block heater, you may have bypassed it's fail condition for that start. The Air Temp sensor is very easy to change and is located on the passenger side of the air cleaner assembly.
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Old 11-15-2021, 05:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1der View Post
Couple things to check:
1. Scan for diagnostic trouble codes
2. I had the air temp sensor go bad and it created a weird power loss condition when cold. Mine was a biit intermittent and yours, by running the block heater, you may have bypassed it's fail condition for that start. The Air Temp sensor is very easy to change and is located on the passenger side of the air cleaner assembly.
I do have my scanguage plugged in. It showed no codes or pending codes.

I just had the dealer do an oil change the day before, so I immediately checked that air temp sensor. The last dealer that did an oil change left it unplugged. Everything else looked fine.
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Old 11-15-2021, 05:28 PM   #8
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Cool. Re: ScanGauge - it is okay but it does not get down to the deeper codes. I am fortunate to have AutoEnginuity software and I have found codes in that software that my ScanGauge never displayed.

Maybe ForScan can show deeper stuff, too? I have not played w that.
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Old 11-15-2021, 05:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1der View Post
Cool. Re: ScanGauge - it is okay but it does not get down to the deeper codes. I am fortunate to have AutoEnginuity software and I have found codes in that software that my ScanGauge never displayed.

Maybe ForScan can show deeper stuff, too? I have not played w that.
I will look into those.
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Old 11-15-2021, 08:51 PM   #10
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A bottle of Howe's couldn't be too hard to find up there. Don't buy it from a truck stop, it will be 3x as much as at a farm store or truck dealer. Find a big commercial diesel truck dealer and buy it from the parts counter.

As CarringB said, winter fuel is supposedly usually treated but you never know.
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