Cold weather starting issues - PowerStrokeNation : Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-28-2011, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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Cold weather starting issues

This is my first cold season with my pickup and I'm having some issues...its a 96 F250, 130k miles, runs great when warm but I have to cycle my key 3 times to get it to start and its only about 30 degrees F outside. I have ohm'd all my glow plugs, the one on the right rear was bad so I changed it. All the others tested out @ .9-1.3 ohms. My relay looks brand new (I've only had truck since May) I took the two large wires off anyway and wirebrushed them & re-installed. Any ideas? My wait to start light stays on about 5-6 seconds in the mornings, is this normal? Should it be longer? Anything else I can test? Strange thing is when it does start it starts real quick and smooths out instantly, no missing or abundant amount of smoke. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, I live in northern MN and I know its gonna be a whole lot colder very shortly.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-28-2011, 04:17 PM
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Re: Cold weather starting issues

what are you running for oil in it because i have 3 7.3s and i live down by rochester and i had the same problem you did with starting and once i change my oil to rotella 5 40 synthetic i had no problems at all
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-28-2011, 04:34 PM
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Re: Cold weather starting issues

"Cycling" the key doesn't do anything. Just leave it in RUN for an extra 10-15 seconds.

How do the connections to the valve covers look?

Did you test the glow plug relay? A brand new [email protected] relay is still [email protected] As far north as you are, I would recommend a Stancor 586-902 relay.

Could indeed be the oil, or a tired starter, or tired batteries. Does it crank slower than it did when it was warmer?
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-28-2011, 05:30 PM
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Re: Cold weather starting issues

We have a couple stancor relays in stock.

02 f250
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-28-2011, 10:56 PM
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Re: Cold weather starting issues

I doubt that it is the oil. I have ran Valvoline 15/40 since my truck was new in temperatures from -40 to +110 and the only time that I have had a problem starting it was when the factory relay went south.

You need to test the relay and make sure that it is working right. With a digital volt ohm meter test both large post with the key on and the relay activated. You should see less than 0.3 volts difference between the two.

96 F250 XLT 4x4, 4:10 gears, 5 speed, Tymar intake and HX hose, downpipe, pyro and boost guages, coolant filter, Luc clutch
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-28-2011, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Cold weather starting issues

I hate to admit it but I believe the relay is bad...I should know better than to assume a new looking relay is ok . I checked my wiring and glowplugs again this morning and everything ohm'd out great. I had my brother turn the key on while I checked the voltage drop across the relay and wouldn't you know it...damn thing showed zero volts. The relay would click and i could even feel it activate but obviously they must not make connection internally. Also, it makes sense not to cycle the key, not sure what I was thinking, they stay on even though the light is out. I do plan on switching to 5W40 Mobil 1 at my next oil change, that should also help a little. Is this other relay you guys mentioned just better made or larger? I had no choice but to buy a wonderful O'Reilly Auto replacement. Odds are it won't make the winter. Thanks everyone & lesson learned!
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-28-2011, 11:56 PM
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Re: Cold weather starting issues

Stancor relay is better quality, built for the long term, yeah, physically bigger but still fits under the "Darth Vader" cover. There's another general purpose sorta-heavy-duty relay used in Western Plow setups, that some claim makes a good GPR, but I've heard that it's not built for the long "on" time (up to 2 minutes at a time) required for our GP systems.

Common failure with the cheap relays is that one of the big posts just comes loose internally. If you got zero volts with the relay supposedly energized, that's probably what happened to yours. Did either of the big terminals feel physically loose?
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-29-2011, 12:10 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Cold weather starting issues

No, they didn't...in looking at it and operating it with a spare battery I have you'd never guess it was shot. But I put my meter leads on it and cycle it and nothing...The relay I bought is a Borg Warner, REALLY spendy, cost me $70. Wasn't expecting that.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-29-2011, 12:15 AM
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Re: Cold weather starting issues

Still have the receipt?.....
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-29-2011, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Cold weather starting issues

Yeah but its already installed...
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