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Discussion Starter #1
‘04 F250 6.0. I’m stumped here, my truck won’t crank only when it’s really cold, as in -30C (-22F or colder). I know the 1000W block heater is definitely working, I just replaced it a couple months ago and tested it with my multimeter to be sure. Batteries are strong, console lights up like it should when I turn the key (and radio, fan, etc all work) but once glow plug/water sensor lights turn off and I try to crank it nothing happens. As soon as the weather warms up 10 degrees or so it will start up - but I do sometimes notice a very slight hesitation when I turn the key before it turns over. It’s like a split second of dreaded silence before it turns over and fires up normally. I also don’t think it’s related to the block heater because even if it’s not plugged in overnight, it should still attempt to sluggishly turn over (batteries also have lots of cold cranking amps). I replaced the starter a few months ago at the same time I replaced the oil/EGR coolers, glow plugs and glow plug harnesses. It’s a reman NAPA starter. I also replaced the starter relay in the fuse box under the steering column. Finally, the last time this happened (2 days ago) I tried to crank it using the wire on the passenger side under the hood with the barrel connector, touching the lead to the positive terminal to send 12v to the starter and nothing happened...until the weather climbed to -20C yesterday and the key started it (with the split second of silence before it turned over). I don’t get the hesitation or how the extreme cold weather is affecting things. Is this electrical or ignition based? Is my new starter failing but only in very cold temps? Any advice or ideas would be appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Are you using a 10w-30 or 5w40 oil? Reman after market starts don’t seem to work well for these trucks.
I use synthetic 0w-40 in the winter. I couldn’t pull the trigger on a $500 starter from the local ford dealership so I went with the $325 Napa reman. Didn’t realize they can be an issue with these trucks. Is that where I should start troubleshooting?
 

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I would start at the batteries (even though you say they are “strong”). I would then make sure all your cables are in good condition (voltage drop test them if necessary). Then I would move to the starter. IME parts house starters are nothing but problems. I once went though 3 brand new starters from a local part store house before I actually got one that partially worked. The ford starters are expensive but they last.

That type of cold will bring out any small weakness in the starting circuit and amplify it .
 

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Well said Matthew! IMO charging and then load testing batteries should be the first thing to do w/ no-start issues!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ok thanks for the input guys, I’ll start with the batteries and cables and let you know how things go.
 

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Egon,

Just to make sure I understand... warmer temps truck turns over and starts. In really cold temps you try starting and Nothing happens (as in starter doesn't turn the engine at all no clicks no nothing)? During one of these no nothing times you tried to spin the start up by using a jumper wire straight from the battery + terminal to the starter terminal and still nothing? IF this is the case I'd say starter... on one of these very cold mornings when it won't start try warming up the solenoid block of the starter after the no start before trying to start it again.

Cj
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Cj
That’s exactly the situation as you described it. I didn’t think of heating up the solenoid but that makes sense to me to try. Load test on batteries showed normal ranges, same with the voltage drop test on the cables. Next really cold day with a no crank situation I’ll grab the wife’s hair dryer and see what happens. Thanks for the idea, and I appreciate you guys taking the time to make suggestions! I’ll let you know what happens.
 

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A hair dryer might not do much. They just don't have the output. If you have a heat shrink gun, that would be a much better option.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Good point Weatherlite, I’m gonna borrow one from a buddy, don’t want to burn out what I reckon is an expensive hair dryer.
 

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If you decide to go after the starter as the culprit, I'd try to source an OEM 6.4 or 6.7 unit from a lower-miles salvaged truck. You'll probably end up with a better quality unit than any remain or "new" one from the parts house. There's usually some for sale on ebay and the like. 6.4 is direct bolt in, 6.7 will require either a bushing or drill/tap the lower mounting hole for the larger 6.0 bolt. There's a few threads out there on how to do it. Personally i'm running a 6.7 starter out of a low mileage rollover truck in my 6.0 and wouldn't do it any differently. Not advocating that the starter is the source of your issue, just making a suggestion in the event you do go after the starter.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
ok I had the no crank situation this morning at -36C (like -32F I think) After warming the solenoid with a buddy’s heat gun for only a couple minutes it turned over and started right away! Looks like it’s the reman starter, I’m going to exchange it under warranty and see how a different one does but where I live I don’t want to get stuck ice fishing in the middle of nowhere so I’m on the lookout for a new or used OEM starter. Thanks jtradford for the heads up on the 6.4 and 6.7 starter compatibility and thanks again to all who chimed in on my problem!
 
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