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Crank no start. Batt drain. Dash lights. Short bus issues.

943 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Sarahps33
Hi everyone, new to this site and to the world of diesels. So please forgive my incompetence lol.

I bought a 2002 e-350 7.3 powerstroke- corbeil - it's a shortbus.
It started and ran when I bought it (with some trouble getting it started). Towed by friend to my house on a rollback. Started up to back it off trailer, but it hasnt started since. I've done some work to it, I dont know if I've done something that its preventing it from starting, so I'll start from the beginning.
-Both batteries (850cca)
-lugs & cable ends connecting to battery & positive connection under starter.
  • oil & filter
  • transmission fluid & filter
-fuel filter
- brake lines

Things I ran into
Had a pull cable that released and closed drain valve in fuel bowl, turns out I didnt get it closed after draining and tried to start vehicle. Fuel ran out. I got it closed now.
Fuel gauge says its full, I knocked on the tank sounded dry, put in 12 gallons. At some point within there before I put more fuel in it, I did try to start it.
I cycled the key a billion times still no start.
When cranked 3-4 times the starter gets slower and slower and batts lose voltage.
Checked for parasitic draw, in series off the neg terminal. Showed 0.01amps, switched to milliamps, It started at 28ma and dipped down to 3.5ma and stayed there.
Batts are 12.6ish upon starting, dipping down to 9.5 upon cranking then once stopping voltage goes up to a little less than they were like around 12.3. Each time I crank they seem to get lower.
A light stays on on the dash after turning key. I think it's the oil pressure or fuel/water or oil/water light (the fuel/water thing is compeltly new to me, but I'm not certain it isnt the oil pressure light or not because theres also a gauge that I thought measured pressure, but maybe that's just for oil level? )
ABS light stays on when key is in (I'm in the process of changing hoses, theres no brake fluid in there yet.)
Starter looks suspicious clean as compared to everything else under there. So I'm thinking either it was replaced by previous owners because of the problem I'm having now or the people I bought it from stuck a starter on there from something else.

Because it's a corbeil I have a pran board with a billion fuses and relays for things like the stop sign, arm, bus lights etc. I think I've located the main connector that gives the board current via a wire tied in to turn it on when key is in ignition. I've thought about disconnecting this but I'm not sure if I'll end up screwing something up.

I know it's alot, but if yall have any thoughts or ideas, I'm all ears and will be super appreciative! Thanks
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The gauge in question measures oil pressure. Given that it ran before id suspect you are sucking air at one or both of your fuel filters. Did they seat tightly? replaced the seals? didnt pinch a seal or anything? The one on the driver frame rail gets alot of people. Either overtightened or pinched seal.
Also if you have a battery charger id have that on to recharge your batteries especially after all that cranking.
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Do you have any white smoke out of tailpipe when cranking?
Have you tried plugging in the block heater?
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To get it running you need:
Glow plugs
RPM (I believe minimum 100)
Fuel pressure (40-60lbs)
High Pressure Oil (500psi)

Do you have a way to check for this?
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Thanks for the replies guys really appreciate it. Today I only had the chance to check the glow plug relay and from what I understand I think it's working fine. Tomorrow I'm gonna recheck the fuel filter and make sure everything's lined up and nothing pinched like yall mentioned and also the oil level in the hpop. Thanks for clarifying what the dash light is. I'm not real sure how I check the oil pressure but I'll read and watch videos until I figure it out! Like yall are mentioning about needing at least 500psi that's something I'm gonna try to check within the next day or two. Thanks again. I'll let ya yall know what happens.

Alson Gnathy, I have no idea what the block heater is or how to plug it in, lol. I'm sorry. I have alot to learn. But I'll start researching that as well! Thanks.

Welcome to PSN. I have posted this just a few times... "I would recommend that you first invest in FORScan ( and a suitable adapter. I have an OBDLink EX usb adapter (should you wish to use a computer to collect data), or take a look at either a BAFX or OBDLink unit. Both BAFX/OBDLink have a bluetooth/Wifi units (there are a few folks around here that recommend them) that will would work with a smart phone (Run of the mill box store scanners and even a great number of the higher end scanners can't touch these trucks as Ford used the "heavy duty diesel" protocol for communication). Once you are setup I would capture data.. At minimum I would save RPM (really this is CPS), ICP, IPR, MAP, EOT and IVS (at least I think that is the PID for the go petal). FORScan will allow you to save the data as a .csv file which you can import into excel. The information you get from the truck will help identify what your problem really is without just "throwing parts" at the truck."
This works on the vans as well. As for the block heater - It is mounted just above the oil filter. The power cord comes out the side (mine is an orange color) and if you follow it through the engine bay you should find a 110 volt plug.

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Okay finally got it figured out. Turns out it was the alternator - totally seized.
It's one of those things that i just looked over! Thinking oh, cant be the alternator....but of course in hindsight, it makes sense.

I kept volt testing things like the starter and solenoid, gpr, and even the batteries were giving me wonky readings that would hop around here and there so I thought for sure there was an electrical issue or drain when key was in on position (which there still could be, but hope not, fingers crossed.) Reseated fuel bowl lid, checked electrical connections all over the place, cleaned hpop sensor, plugged and tested block heater, and so on.

My uncle came over and with much protest he finally convinced me to let him shoot in a quick spray of ether. It still didnt start. We kept trying and trying to get it started. Thought one of the batts could have been bad from the store, hooked up an additional battery, another shot of ether and it came to life - shredded the belt and we realized the alternator pulley was so seized it was stopped everything from turning over and what was probably (hopefully) the cause of the weird voltage readings.

Kept it running for a while. Turned it off, removed what was left of the belt and it started up again and again.

So relieved that is was something simple, but I know its only the beginning of the work that needs done.

Thank you so much for all the thoughtful replies and info. Definitely learned some things!
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