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Old 11-25-2018, 07:03 AM   #41
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Glow plugs, for those inclined to test each glow plug and mess with replacing one at a time as they go, sure go for it. But for someone who is going to take it to a mechanic to replace glow plugs, do you want to go back for few here and a few there. It would not be cost effective, nor time effective. So most shops will do all of them at one time.
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Old 11-25-2018, 03:17 PM   #42
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Also, you may already have a block heater! My truck didn’t have one, and when I went to install it—it was already there! All it was missing was the special extension cord ($10-15) available at most auto parts stores. Ford put them in place of one of the freeze plugs on the back of the motor.
How cool would it be if I already had one?? How do I check this? Where am I looking? Remember, I need the "For Dummies" version of the explanation.
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Old 11-25-2018, 03:19 PM   #43
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Glow plugs, for those inclined to test each glow plug and mess with replacing one at a time as they go, sure go for it. But for someone who is going to take it to a mechanic to replace glow plugs, do you want to go back for few here and a few there. It would not be cost effective, nor time effective. So most shops will do all of them at one time.
Yeah, I will probably be going the mechanic route for now, but it's good to know for the possible future - the day when I have enough time on my hands to get them dirty with all this!
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Old 11-25-2018, 05:42 PM   #44
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Glow plugs, for those inclined to test each glow plug and mess with replacing one at a time as they go, sure go for it.
Ronnie is right on. You can chase each one down as they go, and it’s not too hard (except for a couple of the less accessible ones). A clue that one has failed is the wait-to-start light will go out much more quickly—and, of course, it will be less inclined to start. Waiting until each glow plug burns out individually guarantees that you got every last penny out of each one.
But Ronnie went on to speak with practical wisdom. Replacing them all at once is slightly more expensive in materials, but saves a lot of time and trouble. Time cranking and cursing a truck that won’t start, diagnosing which plug failed (it may only be one, but you have to check all 8 regardless), time running to the parts store, time getting out tools and cleaning up. These glow plugs are about $12 each, less than $100 for a set. They should last a couple years if they’re good ones (x2 on Beru or Champion, Bosch aren’t bad; google Autolite glow plugs for horror stories).
It depends on how much you like having the hood up and how broke you are in the moment.
I need to crawl under my truck to find the spot for the block heater... check in later...
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Old 11-26-2018, 02:10 AM   #45
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[QUOTE=firebuild;299294]How cool would it be if I already had one?? How do I check this? Where am I looking? Remember, I need the "For Dummies" version of the explanation.=QUOTE]

The typical spot for the block heater is in place of the rear-most freeze plug on the passenger side, about 4” directly above the starter. To get a look at this crawl under the truck behind the passenger front tire and look above the starter for the freeze plug/electic plug. Bring a flashlight.
You will likely get a flurry of dissenting opinions on this , but—If your engine is covered in oil you may wish to use the soapy pressure washer at the local car wash; it will make anything you subsequently do easier to see and to work on. Wear clothes you’re willing to throw away, safety glasses, and have a rag in your back pocket to wipe the glasses with. The one place NOT to spray water is into the air intake. This shouldn’t be a problem if the air filter canister is on properly, but be conscious of this area...
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Old 11-26-2018, 02:19 AM   #46
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Here is a pic of the special cord that plugs into the block heater, a lousy one of the heater above the starter with a plug connected, and a glue on oil pan heater (<$20).
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 9477FDC0-5037-4585-A8E2-9DB8705DFDC5.jpg (165.1 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg EBA63E62-4FDD-4CA7-9B25-1D3E04A24AAE.jpg (209.7 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg 6E1C34E1-F73D-41C3-85E2-9DE02F53AD78.jpg (211.3 KB, 3 views)
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Old 11-26-2018, 09:37 AM   #47
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there used to be dipstick heaters too.. a block heater which heats the coolant is the best as it makes the cylinders warm.. an oil heater surely helps with cranking speed as you dont have sticky goo binding the bearings..
-Christopher
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Old 11-27-2018, 05:38 AM   #48
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At one time I owned and operated two 1990 E-350 and one 1994 E-350 mini-buses that had the 7.3L engine. Great engines. But they were all hooked up to the Ford E4OD transmission which was a piece of junk.

In my experience the glow plugs in my buses lasted about 60K miles. Because we did a lot of shuttle work where the buses would run a route and then shut down for an hour and then start up and run the same route again multiple times per day and multiple days per week it meant we were having to start the engines a lot more times in a month than you will in a year. As a consequence the glow plugs would die off.

I could always tell when it was getting time to think about new glow plugs because the wait to start light would go out after shorter and shorter intervals. I discovered that I could still start the engines when it was below 40* with just four working glow plugs. It would require cycling the key enough times that the total amount of wait to start time was about what it would have been if all eight glow plugs had been working properly.

The two 1990 buses were much easier to R&R the glow plugs than the 1994. The change in the body style made getting the glow plug out of the first hole on the curb side virtually impossible without removing the A/C compressor and compressor mount. I discovered that only having 7 working glow plugs was more than adequate 95% of the time.

I also discovered that sometime between the second and third glow plug change required a starter change.

It has been more than 15 years since I had any of those buses so I don't remember exactly how long the wait to start light would stay on. IIRC it was usually for at least a long count to 10. If it was below 40* I would cycle the glow plugs at least twice before trying to engage the starter. If the glow plugs did their work the starter rarely had to turn more than one full revolution before the engine started.

Once the engine started if it was cold enough the wait to start light would cycle back on and off a few times until the engine was warmed up enough that the idle smoothed out. Each time the wait to start light would cycle on and off you could hear the controller clicking on and off--that is a pretty hefty relay carrying quite a bit of current so it is no wonder it makes such a loud click every time it cycles.

Once we got to less than 4 working glow plugs the engines would not start for any reason if the ambient temperature was anything below about 70* and the engine temperature was below 100*.

If we got in a situation where we couldn't take the bus out of service long enough to R&R the glow plugs we would plug the engine heater in and not shut the bus off until it got back home.

I started one of my buses that had not been started for more than a year that didn't have 3 working glow plugs without any problems by plugging it in overnight.
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Old 11-27-2018, 02:42 PM   #49
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As cowlitzcoach points out, the E4OD transmission is a weak link. Installing an additional tranny cooler will help, as heat is the primary killer of automatic transmissions. Google E4OD maintenance/servicing for instructions on changing fluids, etc.
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Old 12-04-2018, 01:27 PM   #50
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Thanks so much for the photos of the block heater! It doesn't look like I have one, unfortunately.

Weirdness since I last posted: One random day, out of the blue, when it wasn't even super cold, I couldn't start it at all until I primed it, just like the old days. Not sure how it lost prime; fuel was full, and I've never had that happen unless fuel had gotten low. Since then... Starts on the first try, no matter how cold it is. I really don't get it, but I'll take it.
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Old 12-04-2018, 08:41 PM   #51
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Must have been air in the fuel lines somewhere. Might be lucky and it is all purged now.

If it starts getting hard to start again, try priming it again, then see if starting improves. If so then it will be a matter of looking for any leaks in the fuel lines, connections mostly.
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Old 12-05-2018, 07:54 AM   #52
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does the IDI have a hand primer pump near the fuel pump? I had big time issues with my DTA360 losing prime after it sat for a long time.. i realize its different than an IDI. but the lift pump on both is pulling a negative pressure on the fuel system..



my little primer pump itself was leaking a bit of air / fuel.. so when the bus sat the fuel drained back to the tank.. in my case. the fuel pump itself held a little fuel.. so the bus would start and run for 20 seconds or so then die.. and be a trie PITA to get going again.. unless I went out ands pumped the primer a bunch of times nefore i cranked it.. I could feel it.. the primer would be super easy to pump then got stiff.. that meant the system is primed.. and the bus would start and run perfectly..



if when you pump the hand pump you notice a little fuel around the shank or a couple drops at the bottom of it then i'd go ahead and change it out.. it doiesnt take much for a little air to get in the system and wreak havok..


great troubleshooting on your part to get this far!!
-Christopher
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Old 12-05-2018, 09:30 AM   #53
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I have a 1992 ford with 7.3 IDI and it has the block heater installed. I noticed it by observing a "standard" 110v extension cord coiled up and zip tied to the side of the radiator. You can also crawl under it and look at the freeze plugs, these are very low on the block and just look like indention in the block. They are approx 1-1/2 or so in diameter. There are 3 or 4 on each side. One on them will be different. There will be two wires going to it.
I'm following in your foot steps, I just got the bus at auction and I'm going over it now.
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:15 AM   #54
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I'm following in your foot steps, I just got the bus at auction and I'm going over it now.
Congratulations! Now the fun begins...
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:39 AM   #55
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does the IDI have a hand primer pump near the fuel pump?
No hand pump, unfortunately.

I'm guessing the prime issue has to do with the fact that both my sending units are bad, and need to be rebuilt as the part is obsolete (a task that's about a mile over my head). I can't use the rear tank (which is the larger one) at all, because though it might play nice for a while eventually the fuel filter light will pop on and the bus will roll to a stop, just like it's run out of fuel. The front tank is OK though the gauge constantly reads full, so I have to pay attention. I fill up ALL the time, because if it ever gets below a half a tank it seems to just suck air like crazy as soon as I turn the engine off. I have been diligent about fueling up; I do it literally ever 50 miles or so and will continue to do so until I can afford to find another solution. Despite this, Buster lost prime again today, even though the tank is full, so maybe another problem is brewing. Oh goody. The good news is my confidence level has really increased; I seem to be able to eventually get him started no matter which issue is rearing its head.

If I weren't so hooked (and hadn't spent so much time and energy already) I'd probably have given up on Buster by now. But I am just stupid - I mean loyal - enough to stick with him and keep working out the kinks. All I know is, Buster may have had issues all along but it was far from a lemon when I bought it and I just refuse to see it as one now. I don't know if it's a virtue or a fatal flaw but one thing I can say about myself is I don't give up easy.
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:01 AM   #56
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I *think* on a ford the gauge pegged ful is an open circuit.. so it may be as easy as a busted wire or faulty connector at that sending unit.. prime issues can def be difficult.. you may end uo having to pull the line oiff the tank and give it a bit of positive pressure to see if its leaking anywhere up to the fuel pump..



someone else mentioned a check valve.. im not sure if its in the fuel pump?



how do you re-prime that system? just crank the heck out of it?
-Christopher
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:44 AM   #57
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hand in there

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...
If I weren't so hooked (and hadn't spent so much time and energy already) I'd probably have given up on Buster by now. But I am just ....

I think your plan is sound. Its a hard road right now, but once your done you will:
a) know your vehicle and that will greatly reduce your stress in life.


b) you will have a "new" simpler vehicle that is more reliable than anything being produced today, at a fraction of the dollar cost.


c) you will have skills and knowledge that you can use to help your neighbor, that builds a better more friendly and progressive society.

d) and you will have a set of tool, that you know how to use, and that will give you more security than anything else I know.


At least that the theory I'm testing right now.


Hang in there, we can cry on each other shoulders
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:55 AM   #58
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Alpine hit the nail on the head!! knowledge is king.. I love learning and sharing it with the community.. and learning how to use new tools is a priceless thing.. its amazing what you think you will never use and then some years down the line you think back "wow that skill I learned and im using it more than ever"...



-Christopher
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:58 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
I *think* on a ford the gauge pegged ful is an open circuit.. so it may be as easy as a busted wire or faulty connector at that sending unit..
It isn't. Unfortunately the word "simple" never seems to enter the equation! Tanks have been pulled, senders are basically held together with spit and prayers, having been repaired multiple times already. [/QUOTE]


Quote:
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how do you re-prime that system? just crank the heck out of it?
-Christopher
Yes, on a good day, floor it and crank. On a bad day it's a two person operation with one cranking and the other under the hood pushing a tiny valve. Haven't had to go that far for a few months now, knocking on wood, which is good because my 80-year-old mother is usually the only other person around and coaxing her out to the bus, especially under the hood, doesn't usually work. .
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:00 AM   #60
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c) you will have skills and knowledge that you can use to help your neighbor, that builds a better more friendly and progressive society.
Whoa, that one is DEEP. I'm in.
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