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Thread: Any pre-turbo 7.3 diesel mechanics out there?

  1. #41
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    I've been thinking of disabling the glow plugs after the block heater has warmed it and using a trigger squirt bottle to mist a *small* amount of diesel fuel into the intake while cranking to get a bit more RPMs and lessen the strain on the starter while trying to purge the pump and lines with the lines cracked at the injectors.

    Perhaps this is not wise . . . .
    Missing the target is not the worst thing you can do.
    Not taking the shot is.

  2. #42
    Boolit Master
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    No white smoke, means no fuel to the cylinders yet. Sometimes those injector pumps gets an air block that is just a pain to work out, then sometimes it is just a matter of seconds and it fires right up, can't explain it, it seems like there is no ryme or reason for it, but I have had it both ways.

  3. #43
    Boolit Master
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    Another thing that we didn't run into much until these things got some years on them was the starter was not spinning them as fast as they used to due to over time the battery cables and or the starter had degraded. It is a slow process and you don't really notice it until it becomes a problem, but they have to spin fast.

  4. #44
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    I don't think that's it, as it was spinning over slower when it started the one time than it is now since it's had a charger on it and plenty of time for the block heater to warm it up. Batteries are only about 14 months old. But I'll keep that in mind. More reason to try my spray bottle experiment, I suppose.
    Missing the target is not the worst thing you can do.
    Not taking the shot is.

  5. #45
    Boolit Master
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    Careful with the spray bottle, diesel does not compress, so it doesn't take a lot getin trouble.
    What I am talking about as far as turning over, is if everything is up to snuff, they will continue to start at a lower rpm, which is why we do not notice them slowing down over a long period of time, but it does make a difference when you are fighting an air block. Look at the ends of your battery cables, if there is any swelling near the terminal ends, it is not getting the needed juice.

  6. #46
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    Ok. I'll double check things.
    Missing the target is not the worst thing you can do.
    Not taking the shot is.

  7. #47
    Boolit Master Mytmousemalibu's Avatar
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    The old IDI Fords are a pita to get going if it gets air in the system. Crank with the Schrader depressed on the fuel filter housing to make sure its free of air. You can also crack a line and CAREFULLY blow compressed air in the fuel filler i pulses using a rag as a "seal". Just don't go too far, a few psig can bulge the tank. Finally, crack all 8 injector lines at the injectors and crank till all 8 start showing fuel flow. Loosen off the nut a full turn or two. The return caps and lines often need replacement on IDI Fords and make sure any rubber hose from the low pressure engine driven fuel lift pump (just like an old carbureted car has) has no leaks. If the line even looks mildly old/deteriorated, replace it. It can develop pin holes and allow the fuel system to suck air.

    IDI's don't like ether in my experience unless way down on compression so avoid using it. I absolutely would NOT! plumb any diesel pre fuel to any diesel! Never give a diesel an unregulated/distributed fuel source! In any matter, it needs to be atomized to do much good. Some diesels can handle ether or even designed to use it (like 2-stroke Detroits) but any healthy IDI shouldn't. You can pour gasoline on a rag and hold it over the air cleaner inlet or a mist of something like WD-40 while cranking, can help light it up. Also giving it hot air to breath via heat gun, hair dryer, etc helps. All of these starting aides are assuming you are getting fuel delivery now. Need to have good cranking speed to generate the compressive heat you need too.
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  8. #48
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    Well, the truck is finally running again. Went out this morning and made sure I had fuel and no air at the filter housing. Loosened all 8 lines at the injectors. Got a bit of fuel at 4 after 20 seconds of cranking, tightened those 4 down and let the starter cool 10 min. Got fuel to the remaining 4 injectors and it started firing on 1 cylinder during the next 20 seconds of cranking. Tried misting some diesel into the intake during this crank cycle, but it did no good at all so far as I could tell. Anyway, tightened the remaining 4 lines and waited 10 min again. Cranked about 5 seconds with it firing on 1 cylinder and all the sudden *it was running*. No smoking, heavy knocking, hitting on 2, 3 ,4 cylinders, just running.

    Anyway, all of you who said it was air-locked were apparently spot-on. I've no idea why it gave me so much trouble, but as the return lines, 'umbrella' fittings and 'o' rings are all new now, hopefully it won't do it again, but if it does I know what to do next time.

    I'd like to thank everyone who offered advice, and starmac in particular, as he chimed-in early and stuck with the thread.

    Thanks again, and I hope I can help some of you solve a vexing problem of your own one day.
    Missing the target is not the worst thing you can do.
    Not taking the shot is.

  9. #49
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hannibal View Post
    I've been thinking of disabling the glow plugs after the block heater has warmed it and using a trigger squirt bottle to mist a *small* amount of diesel fuel into the intake while cranking to get a bit more RPMs and lessen the strain on the starter while trying to purge the pump and lines with the lines cracked at the injectors.

    Perhaps this is not wise . . . .
    That will not work. The injectors spray diesel fuel into the cylinders at the top of the compression stroke. Spraying diesel into the intake will serve no purpose other than possibly result in pre-ignition, which will only make the engine even more resistant to rotating.

    AND I now see that you got it running.

    And YES, air in the injector lines and you're welcome.

  10. #50
    Boolit Master
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    Glad to hear it.
    As far as I am concerned the 6.9 idi was the toughest engine ever installed in a ford, the 7.3 a close second. The 87 6.9 had some of the upgrades of the 7.3 and was the best year.

    They do not have the power that newer electronic diesels have, but will do anything a pickup is intended to do in my opinion, and do it economically over the long haul.

  11. #51
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    Yes, I learned early on that there's no point trying to get in a big hurry or trying to pull a big load down the road at 80mph in this truck, because all you'll accomplish is making it smoke a lot and waste fuel. But if you don't mind ambling along at about 60, I've yet to find anything it won't pull.

    Thanks again everyone.
    Missing the target is not the worst thing you can do.
    Not taking the shot is.

  12. #52
    Boolit Master
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    Spraying gasoline fuel into the intake aint good for the motor,but a motor can be run like this to get fuel up to the injectors.....with a mechanical injector pump.........Ive spent a lifetime running **** diesel machinery,and I know just about every trick to get the last day of life from an old motor...........when pump problems happen,its wise to keep an eye on the engine oil level.......rising dipstick and thin .or smelly oil will be big problems from fuel dilution.........and V8s run a lot better than 4s on sprayed gasoline fuel.Use low octane,never alky blend.

  13. #53
    Boolit Master
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    Generally when a ford (international) idi builds motor oil it is the mechanical transfer pump and not the injector pump. These do not have to be old, the diaphragm in them can and does go bad at any time. Originally the injector pumps could fill the oil pan, but supposedly they changed something and even the old ones were changed when rebuilt to where they claimed it was no longer a problem, and I tend to believe it, as I have not seen it occur since about 86 or so.

  14. #54
    Boolit Master
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    Glad the OP seems to have the issue resolved. I am new to the diesel world, bought a used one last year, and found this an interesting read.

  15. #55
    Boolit Master
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    You can get a bit of excitment with diesels,like the feller who washed his air cleaner element in kerosine ,and assembled wet.......reckoned the motor hit 10,000 revs before the kaboom......motors that run backwards unexpectedly can be interesting too........mostly though ,dont play around with gasoline sprays,remember that two marines and a can of gas destroyed half the Pacific fleet in 1943......said to be twice the damage of the Jap attack two years earlier.

  16. #56
    Boolit Master
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    The older chevy diesels would blow up if someone screwed up and filled the tank with gas.
    The idi fords would not run on it, injector pumps would not pump it or something, not sure about the strokes.
    The cummins would run, but just above an idle, I had a customer call me once, thinking his fuel filter was plugged and was headed my way at just a little more than an idle, if he didn't get there I was to go to him, he made it 6 miles and when I pulled the filter, it was gas instead of diesel, it seemed the fuel man that fueled up his 500 gallon tank at home screwed up. I bet the fuel company called me a half a dozen times the next week or so, checking to make sure he hadn't had any more trouble.

  17. #57
    Boolit Master
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    Repairers get in quite a few cars and pickups accidentally run on gas,lack of lubrication quickly ruins the injection equiptment......or so the customer is told......I went to one pickup,a Isuzu, filled up with gas,but on about 1/8 tank of diesel.I added as much engine oil as the tank would take,rocked the truck by hand to mix,and ran it back to the shop.No repairs needed.Just drain and refill with diesel.Never even worried about the filters.

  18. #58
    Boolit Man
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    I didn't read all the threads... but here's my experiences with a 1990 f250 7.3 IDI years ago. If it sat for a couple weeks, I'd have to bleed the lines at the injectors. Return lines were leaking. Installed a return line kit and solved it. Got a good deal on new injectors and glow plugs so while I was there I replaced them too.

    I eventually ran into injector pump problems. It would surge at times up until it outright died. Replaced the pump with a reman and solved that. Thought I had it bleed properly and took it for a ride only for it to die two miles from home. Had someone depress the shrader vavle between the injection pump and fuel filter while cranking. After that she started and ran until the day I sold it.

    These are great engines without computer controls. I forget more about them than I remember. Your truck has some age on it, so I'd be questioning anything with a vitron seal.

    eBay is your friend when searching for parts. When I was searching for the parts mentioned above, I searched all the manufacturers part numbers and cross referenced all that I came up with until I found the "deals". Took some time but spent less that half of what I would have spent at Napa, Autozone, etc.

  19. #59
    Boolit Master
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    Hannibal,

    Try squirting a little WD40 into the intake & see if it will start/run on that. - If NOT, it's time to get out the troubleshooting guide & start with A & continue to Z.

    Do NOT use ether, as the NAVISTAR engines don't do well with it, as it doesn't contain lubricant.

    BEST WISHES.

    yours, tex

  20. #60
    Boolit Master Hannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by texasnative46 View Post
    Hannibal,

    Try squirting a little WD40 into the intake & see if it will start/run on that. - If NOT, it's time to get out the troubleshooting guide & start with A & continue to Z.

    Do NOT use ether, as the NAVISTAR engines don't do well with it, as it doesn't contain lubricant.

    BEST WISHES.

    yours, tex
    Truck is running. See post #48. I guess I should lock the thread, just thought someone out there might find something useful if they read through the whole thread. Thanks for the advice. If I ever have to purge air from the injector pump again, I may well try that. After trying a mist of diesel, I've come to believe it must be the propellants that are burned, but I'll not argue with anyone about it.
    Missing the target is not the worst thing you can do.
    Not taking the shot is.

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