I picked up a low mileage 95 (158k miles) a month ago. It has a lot of rust issues and the bleeder plugs on the front calipers are stuck but otherwise it's in perfect mechanical condition. It's been running great. Always started within a second or so on the first try. Every time until now. It ran nice and smooth. Didn't eat too much fuel, I was seeing around 20 mpg
on the highway and everything. This past weekend I put 500 miles on it in the White Mountains, ran great. It cold starts below freezing without any trouble. A little puff of white smoke and then it runs clean and smooth.
Today it utterly refused to start. The engine spins, white smoke comes out but it won't fire. I tried a dozen times. Every time the engine spins and puffs out white smoke but won't start.
No idiot lights with the key in the on position but when it's trying to start the "check engine," "engine temp" and "fuel filter" lights come on. They go off when I stop trying to start it.
I checked under the hood and nothing is obviously wrong. The engine is apparently low on oil. I would estimate that it could use about 4 quarts (which I'll add ASAP) but the oil pressure gauge shoots up to a good level as soon as I try to start it so I don't think that's my issue.
Over the weekend my rear gas tank started dripping at a good rate so I decided to run it empty rather than let the diesel go to waste. While I was driving it last night the gauge got to the 'E' line for that tank so I switched it over to the front and parked it. By running the tank that low could I have gotten water into my fuel filter and would that cause it not to start? If so, what does it take to replace the filter? I've done plenty of work on my cars including building a big DOHC engine and retrofitting it into my SOHC Mustang so I'm competent with a wrench but utterly inexperience with diesels. Any advice would be appreciated.
If it's not the fuel filter, what else could it be?
Thanks guys, any help is really appreciated.
EDIT: It's a 95 F250 xl with an A4OD automatic if that makes a difference. I also have an SCT XCAL3 tuner but I think the truck uses an older version OBD
port so I can't pull codes with it. Is that right? Also, since the check engine light doesn't stay on are there even any codes to pull?