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Thread: Any DIESEL mechanics here?

  1. #1

    Exclamation Any DIESEL mechanics here?

    Care to help me solve a problem?
    1988 Ford F250 5.2 L Diesel 4x4
    Well here goes...
    A while back, I went to Walmart in the middle of the night, and the temperatures were near freezing. My truck tends to not want to start when the temps dip because it needs to be tuned up. Well, it started right up. When I got to Walmart, parked the truck in a back row, went in the store to grab a few things, ended up sitting on a bench in Walmart and falling asleep for 3 hours. I woke up at about 5 am.. It was about 20 degrees outside temp, and I took my bags out with me. I went in the cabin, and tried to turn the key in the ignition, at first it wouldn't turn, but after I wiggled it, the engine tried to turn 3 times then failed. I glowed the truck and turned the heater on, flipped the gas tank over to the other one, pushed the start and the truck turned over instantly with a huge cloud of black smoke.

    The rest the way home the truck was acting jerky, hesitating, bucking and wheezing. It stalled a total of 3 times and pressing on the gas caused the car to jerk like a ribeye steak. On turning into my street, I hit a massive puddle of water ( 2 feet ? ) and the truck stalled, would not turn back over and it still won't turn. I've been able to get it started to go to school and back by removing a fuse that I have no idea what does. Its the fuse by the end, and I have to keep my foot on the clutch at all times or else it will stall ( even if I'm not in gear.. )

    What is wrong with my truck?... I can fix it myself if I knew what was wrong with it. I've replaced the alternator and power steering pump myself before.

  2. #2

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    Not a diesel mech, but worked on them quite a bit when I was in the Army. My guess would be a) bad glow plugs, b) water in fuel) or c) alternator is bad and system is not charging and getting enough juice to power the glow plugs.

  3. #3

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    Already checked Alt, its outputting fine and haven't had to use batt. Charger yet either.

    Will check the other 2, any way to check for water in diesel or should I put fuel additive or add more diesel both tanks are half full... Lol like everything to be even on it

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by timmydiaperloverboy View Post
    Already checked Alt, its outputting fine and haven't had to use batt. Charger yet either.

    Will check the other 2, any way to check for water in diesel or should I put fuel additive or add more diesel both tanks are half full... Lol like everything to be even on it
    There should be a "Water in Fuel" light that comes on if the system detects it. As you have a Ford, though, the chances of warning lights working properly is slim. There is usually a drain that can be used for this.

    One other thought is that you may have gotten some summer blend diesel instead of winter blend during your last fill-up. Don't know that it would cause all these problems, but I think the winter blend burns at lower temps than the summer blend.

    If you have a turbo pump on your truck (very likely), the fuel re-uptake could be malfunctioning. This leads to a loss of power and finally a total shutdown. On my Dodge, I have had two of these fail, and it is a pretty expensive fix.

    Finally, check your air filter. These usually have a "reset" button for after you change it. Diesels rely on air more that gas engines, and a clogged filter can affect this.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by closet dl View Post
    One other thought is that you may have gotten some summer blend diesel instead of winter blend during your last fill-up.
    Since the problem presented itself with freezing temperatures, this is the first thing that I thought of as a possible cause. In fact, the paraffin in summer diesel solidifies - therefore making fuel become muddy - when temperatures go below 25F, clogging the diesel filter and therefore causing problems to the engine such as the ones you experienced. Winter diesel, instead, contains additives that allow it to remain fluid until the temperature goes below -4/-5F. Anyway, after the filter gets clogged with paraffined fuel, it's necessary to change it.

    I wouldn't say it's a glow plugs issue, or at least not only that, since that could make it difficult to start the engine at low temperatures but, once it's running, they're no more involved.

    Then, I'm not that big diesel engine expert (I'm more a fan of petrol ones... ), and as closet says, it may also be something else, depending on the conditions of your vehicle.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by quattrus View Post
    Since the problem presented itself with freezing temperatures, this is the first thing that I thought of as a possible cause. In fact, the paraffin in summer diesel solidifies - therefore making fuel become muddy - when temperatures go below 25F, clogging the diesel filter and therefore causing problems to the engine such as the ones you experienced. Winter diesel, instead, contains additives that allow it to remain fluid until the temperature goes below -4/-5F. Anyway, after the filter gets clogged with paraffined fuel, it's necessary to change it.

    I wouldn't say it's a glow plugs issue, or at least not only that, since that could make it difficult to start the engine at low temperatures but, once it's running, they're no more involved.

    Then, I'm not that big diesel engine expert (I'm more a fan of petrol ones... ), and as closet says, it may also be something else, depending on the conditions of your vehicle.
    Yes but I live in Florida, I don't even think Winter grade is sold here?

    And the light never did come on, but diesel is one expensive mfer, and considering that both tanks are now on almost E cause I drove it today for about 130 miles roundtrip to get some furniture..

    It did give me only one problem and thats the smoke but still can't start it unless I have the clutch held down. ( The clutch doesn't even work btw, it changes gears w/o using the clutch. )

    Could it be that its drying out?? I'm going to take it into Gator's auto tomorrow and have him look at it. Thanks for the suggestions. I don't like doing anything with fuel because I could screw it up. And cause a fire, I know diesel burns HOT

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by closet dl View Post
    There should be a "Water in Fuel" light that comes on if the system detects it. As you have a Ford, though, the chances of warning lights working properly is slim. There is usually a drain that can be used for this.

    One other thought is that you may have gotten some summer blend diesel instead of winter blend during your last fill-up. Don't know that it would cause all these problems, but I think the winter blend burns at lower temps than the summer blend.

    If you have a turbo pump on your truck (very likely), the fuel re-uptake could be malfunctioning. This leads to a loss of power and finally a total shutdown. On my Dodge, I have had two of these fail, and it is a pretty expensive fix.

    Finally, check your air filter. These usually have a "reset" button for after you change it. Diesels rely on air more that gas engines, and a clogged filter can affect this.
    Yeah its got a turbo ( It whistles when I cut it off sounds like a jet winding down ) What is the range of what I might have to pay if its broke?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by timmydiaperloverboy View Post
    I don't like doing anything with fuel because I could screw it up. And cause a fire, I know diesel burns HOT
    Before making diesel burn you have to really try, it's not like petrol that gets on fire as soon as there's some flame nearby. Well, of course be cautious, but it's not like you have a bomb in your hands... just avoid smoking or playing with fire while you're servicing your engine, y'know, the good old common sense, and you'll be fine...

    BTW, if you don't have winter diesel available, when temperatures go down you can add some petrol to it in a low percentage (3-5%) to avoid it getting muddy. It's something my fellow RVers sometimes do on their diesel-engined campers and it seems to work fine at least on "not-too-hightech" diesel engines.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by timmydiaperloverboy View Post
    Yeah its got a turbo ( It whistles when I cut it off sounds like a jet winding down ) What is the range of what I might have to pay if its broke?
    If I'm not mistaken, he's referring to a fuel pump, not the turbocharger. Diesels (newer ones) have a 2 stage fuel system and 2 pumps. The lift pump (low pressure)brings the fuel from the tank and pushes/ pulls it through the filters to the secondary (high pressure) pump that sends the fuel to the injectors.

    What color is the smoke?

    One cause of the black smoke could be that one of the injectors is stuck open, causing excess fuel in the motor which would make it hard to start and smoke when running. Another cranks/ won't run problem is if you have air in the lines. There should be a manual pump and instructions on how to purge the system somewhere under the hood. At any rate, if you have never checked/ replaced the fuel filters, start there. That way you can see if there is any debris or water in the bowl and you get a fresh filter to work with.

    I'm not an expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night! (Actually I was a service writer for a GM dealer that did work on diesels.) YRMV, Good Luck.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lil Snap View Post
    If I'm not mistaken, he's referring to a fuel pump, not the turbocharger. Diesels (newer ones) have a 2 stage fuel system and 2 pumps. The lift pump (low pressure)brings the fuel from the tank and pushes/ pulls it through the filters to the secondary (high pressure) pump that sends the fuel to the injectors.

    What color is the smoke?

    One cause of the black smoke could be that one of the injectors is stuck open, causing excess fuel in the motor which would make it hard to start and smoke when running. Another cranks/ won't run problem is if you have air in the lines. There should be a manual pump and instructions on how to purge the system somewhere under the hood. At any rate, if you have never checked/ replaced the fuel filters, start there. That way you can see if there is any debris or water in the bowl and you get a fresh filter to work with.

    I'm not an expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night! (Actually I was a service writer for a GM dealer that did work on diesels.) YRMV, Good Luck.

    Yeah, its black. I will try what you said and get back to you. I have air/fuel filters waiting I just have not felt like putting them in. I will do it tonight when everyone's asleep. Got a jack in the garage she lets me use so I will do that. Found the pump. I depleted the lines w/ it but it still runs rough as hell, will a trip to Walmart to get fuel injector cleaner do any good? Or do I need special stuff???

    Cause I saw STP on sale for 90 cents... I could get a few.

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